Justifying Agnosticism: Epistemic probability in regards to Atheism vs Theism

When it comes to Philosophy of Religion it seems the biggest question that has occupied the conversation has always been the “God” question. Some of the best minds in history have dedicated time and writing towards a position on this exact area of debate. For anyone who is familiar with my past work you may or may not be aware that I somewhat recently uploaded a video to YouTube outlining my disposition towards the “God question” and that video can be found here: https://youtu.be/un1eZtP91-w

At the time of that video my epistemic probability fell roughly as follows: 60% probability that Naturalism/Atheism is true and 40% probability that (Classical) Theism is true. As you will have undoubtedly inferred from the title of this article, my probability has shifted ~10% and brought me to an approximately 50-50 probability assigned to each worldview although if I am being honest, if you were to put my toes to the fire I would still favor Naturalism by a minimal amount but for all intents and purposes a 50-50 scale is accurate. Not to mention agnosticism can be justified if one has a probability assignment between 0.4 and 0.6 for either respective side. All this to say I would like to outline a brief list of the arguments I like for either side and hopefully further elucidate why I take the Agnostic position towards the “God question.” Although this list will not feature an extensive treatment of any of the arguments, hopefully it will at least adequately indicate my general thought process and provide examples of arguments for further research.

It should also be noted, that I currently hold that Theism and Naturalism are the only plausible options on the table in terms of worldviews. From my research so far, the strongest manifestations of the Theistic worldview are embodied by the Classical Theist tradition as defended by contemporary thinkers such as: David Bentley Hart, Edward Feser, Joshua Rasmussen, Alexander Pruss, etc. So the arguments for Theism I provide will be formulated as arguments I take to be evidence for Classical Theism although they are not necessarily confined as such. The only alternative to Theism being true, it seems to me, would be Metaphysical Naturalism defined as follows: “There are none but natural causal entities with none but natural causal properties” (Oppy, 2018). I tend towards this position because it seems intuitive to me that if Theism is false (and therefore Atheism is true) any form of “Supernaturalism” is radically implausible. I am of course open to changing my mind on this but I cannot see how Atheism could account for any form of non-naturalism, and any attempt to reconcile any forms of theism and naturalism are laughable at best. Naturalism enjoys the support of contemporary philosophers such as: Graham Oppy, Paul Draper, Evan Fales, Felipe Leon, etc. For these reasons I will assume that Naturalism and Theism are the only worthwhile worldviews on the table and formulate my epistemic probability accordingly.

I shall begin with outlining a handful of arguments I think provide strong support for Classical Theism and hence why I assign it a ~50% chance of being true. As I mentioned above I will not be giving a comprehensive case for these nor even be putting them in proper syllogism form but just giving an overview/intro.

  1. Neo-Scholastic Metaphysics

The recent Renaissance in Christian intellectualism has brought with it a resurgence in metaphysical frameworks built upon the foundations set by the Medieval philosophers, chief among them is of course Thomas Aquinas who has a rather philosophically rigorous fan club even today in the form of “Thomism.” One of these contemporary Thomists is Edward Feser who I mentioned above. Once an atheist, Feser is now fully committed to Roman Catholicism and the Neo-thomist school of thought. He has recently written a book titled “Scholastic Metaphysics” which outlines and argues for the scholastic metaphysical framework. This is where we get to the support for classical theism. Some of the key tenets of scholastic metaphysics are: the act-potency distinction account of change, formal and efficient causality, hylemorphism (combination of form and matter), essentialism, etc. There are good reasons to accept or at least strongly consider many of these concepts, especially essentialism and the act-potency distinction. But herein lies the problem for those naturalistically inclined, these concepts do not jibe well with an entirely natural account of Ontology, especially those such as hylemorphism. These Neo-Scholastic concepts and arguments are generally very good and their total success would commit one to classical theism if they were to be accepted. And so, I think the sheer defensibility of these tenets as well as the strong arguments they level against reductive physicalism should warrant any enquirer at least a moderate level of tentativeness when trying to explain reality in wholly Natural terms and thus I take the development of Neo-Scholastic metaphysics and the arguments contained within to marshal powerful support for Classical Theism.

2. Consciousness, Life, and physical reduction

The Mind-Body problem is one of the oldest problems in the history of philosophy, and we still have not figured it out although many have tried and are actively trying. And a Naturalist outlook on reality seems to have some some gargantuan roadblocks when it comes to giving an explanation of how minds arose and why/how we even have consciousness. This issue is partially due to the fact that it is difficult to see how Naturalism can avoid collapsing into physicalism/materialism, which is the view that all ontological reality consists of physical parts, protons, electrons, energy fluctuations, quantum fields, dark matter (whatever that is) so on and so forth. The issue with this view, is that it commits one to the (possibly absurd) notion that all phenomena can be reduced to physical parts. So intentional conscious states would have to emerge from completely physical bio-components in the brain, and the rise of life itself would have to be reduced to chemical reactions and fluctuations in non-organic matter that would somehow just “become” organic. Seems like quite the leap does it not? Naturalism of the gaps works no better than “God of the gaps” does in that we cannot just assume that all phenomena can be reduced to natural phenomena and then when something seemingly non-natural happens we just plug in the idea that “something natural” occurred and pray to the spirits that we eventually figure out how to materialistically explain such phenomena. So, to put it a little more briefly, any kind of “emergentist” account of the rise of life, minds, etc. seems to me to be radically implausible and dare I say metaphysically impossible. Herein lies another problem for Naturalism (and thus support for Theism), it seems to me there are a number of phenomena that we cannot explain as “emerging” from physical states and this lends support to Theism seeing as Naturalism does not play too well with non-physical occurrences. These conclusions would have devastating impacts upon certain scientific theories if they are true, namely as aforementioned, Abiogenesis (the theory that life arose from non-organic compounds and chemical fluctuations) is impossible if reductionism is false and this would be a telling blow against Naturalism. The same line of reasoning applies to the rise of Consciousness in Homo Sapiens, given that we are drastically more intelligent than the hominids that preceded us, it is difficult for a Naturalistic account of things to explain the jump from say Neanderthals and Denisovans to us. I have not yet heard a Naturalist account of the mind that is 1. Non-emergentist and 2. Non-physicalist and I am not all too confident that such an account is even possible but as always, I am all ears as to hear why I am wrong or need to account for new evidence. The anti-reductionist case is one that I take to be rather strong and thus lend at least moderate support to Theism.

3. Leibnizian Cosmological Arguments

Cosmological arguments are arguably the most popular category of argument that Theists level for the existence of God. It is my opinion that cosmological arguments enjoy their strongest manifestation in the vein of Leibniz with strong contemporary defenders such as Dr Joshua Rasmussen and Dr Alexander Pruss. Rasmussen in particular has focused on this and has developed what is probably the strongest version of a Leibnizian cosmological argument that we have seen and one of the better arguments for God that there is. I will not recant his exact argument(s) here for fear of not doing them justice but I would strongly recommend looking into his work and this argument in particular. For now I will justice outline a couple key concepts behind these kinds of arguments and why they are convincing. Most importantly, these arguments make use of the Principle of Sufficient Reason which is “sometimes described as the principle that nothing can be so without there being a [sufficient] reason why it is so” (Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, bracketed term my addition). Now there are many forms of principles of sufficient reason, some weaker, some stronger, etc. the most updated and robust version is outlined and argued for by Pruss in his book “The Principle of Sufficient Reason: a reassessment” although for our current and limited purposes the limited definition I gave shall be “sufficient” (ah philosophy puns, the death rattle of those doomed to eternal solitude). To be very general, the PSR is a difficult concept to deny both intuitively and upon some investigation. Philosophers such as Peter Van Inwagen ad Graham Oppy have leveled some arguments against it but those arguments only work against certain forms of the PSR and not necessarily the updated versions advanced by Pruss, Rasmussen, Gale, and co. The only real alternative to the PSR is some form of Brute Facts being true, which would mean there just “are” facts that cannot be explained further and are ‘just there’ effectively. Now I will readily admit I have not delved much into the literature on the PSR as of yet so I shall remain agnostic on the truth of it and let the reader decide for themselves and research further but as I mentioned, at least initially I find the PSR a difficult concept to deny. The other concept that one must be familiar with in regards to LCA arguments is that of contingency. Contingency is the capacity of a thing to possibly not exist, in other words, if something is contingently true it could have been false and vice versa. In contrast, something is necessarily true if no matter how contingent realities played out, it would not fail to be true. Leibniz explains this in terms of saying that a necessary truth is true in every “possible world” which introduces us to the concept of modality but that is beyond the scope of what I seek to do here. Hopefully by now you see the general outline of what this argument is trying to do, it starts with the notion of contingent realities and then the PSR is added. Every contingent reality could have been false and thus there is always a sufficient reason for why this contingent reality is true as opposed to others. The idea of contingency can even be carried over to entities, objects, and the like and so as the argument goes, if we extrapolate from every contingent reality that there is a sufficient reason why it is true we must reach a necessary foundation for all reality. This is a rather strong argument for God and I will further expound on why in the next section. Also, this was admittedly a very poor sketch of how good the LCA actually is, so please look into the work of some other philosophers, most importantly Josh Rasmussen to get a better idea of how good it is. Josh has a YouTube channel called “Worldview Design” and he has a 5-part video series there on the argument from contingency so definitely check that out!

4. Necessary Existence

In the above section you got a brief explanation of some of the core concepts utilized by Leibnizian cosmological arguments, sometimes just called contingency arguments. I would like to explain here a little more of why this provides support for Theism. The LCA and other arguments in that vein undoubtedly get us to Necessary existence, if the PSR is true (which is difficult to deny) and reality is comprised of contingently existing things (which it is) then there MUST be a necessary foundation for reality. Even the best Naturalist philosophers take or lean towards a view in which there is necessary existence, Graham Oppy prefers a view in which there is an “initial singularity” from which all contingent realities originate, he just believes that this necessary singularity is part of the Natural world. Philosopher Felipe Leon also takes the view that there must be necessary existence, he believes the natural world (or at least parts of it) to exist necessarily. I say all this to say, that we seem to be able to reason from our armchairs and come to the conclusion that there HAS to be “something” that exists necessarily. All contingent realities can fail to be true, not all reality can be contingent or nothing at all would exist. Why is there something rater than nothing? Because some foundational part of reality, God or not, cannot fail to exist. Denial of necessary existence simpliciter commits one to what I take to be an absolute metaphysical absurdity. Why does this favor theism? To be brief, it favors Theism because it is extremely difficult to make the case for matter being able to exist necessarily and as stated in a previous section, it is difficult for Naturalism to avoid a collapse into physicalism, and physicalism does not seem to be able to account for necessary existence. All states of physical matter are subject to constant fluctuation, change, etc. they are always contingent upon other physical factors and phenomena, and prior universal states for their existence. It is difficult to see how the atomic compounds that make up matter could be in a state in which they could not fail to exist. This point is developed quite brilliantly by David Bentley Hart in his book “The Experience of God” which is nothing short of a philosophical masterpiece and a book I would recommend the any Christian wishing to bolster their beliefs, and any atheist willing to question theirs. The section of the book in which he explains the contingency of matter is ultimately what shifted my epistemic probability back to Agnosticism from Atheism. The concept of Necessary existence is impossible to rationally deny and it is difficult to see how material states could explain it.

And thus concludes my exposition of the arguments that I currently take to provide strong support for a (classical) Theistic worldview. You may be thinking these arguments damn Naturalism into absurdity but never fear! The section on Naturalistic arguments is here!

  1. Ontological Simplicity and Predictions

When it comes to evaluating worldviews the 2 most important tools we have at our disposal are A) Simplicity and B) Explanatory power. We want our “big picture” worldviews to be able to explain all of the relevant data the best they can while also not committing us to any ontological baggage that is not necessary to explain said data, phenomena, etc. Via Ockams razor we should try to shave away anything that does nothing to explain any phenomena or data, but we should of course not shave away TOO much because we of course still want our worldview to have the explanatory power to fit reality. One strong reason to prefer Naturalism to Theism is that Naturalism undoubtedly wins the simplicity debate. Under Naturalism, we are only required to believe in completely natural causal entities with only natural causal properties. We are committed to all the things detectable by methods of scientific practice, protons, electrons, planets, biological matter, quantum vacuums, black holes, and so on and so forth. Under Theism, we are committed to every single thing that Naturalism is committed to but with the addition of at least one more “thing” which would be God. However, most theists are religious and a religious worldview commits one to considerably more entities and phenomena than just bare classical theism. Take Christianity for example, it commits one to the addition of God, 3 persons of said God that are somehow one being, angels, demons, souls, states of eschaton, etc. And it seems to me rather unclear what exactly these additional entities and phenomena are supposed to do for us in explanatory power. I cannot think of one thing that could absolutely not be explained unless we posited the existence of angelic beings. But that is just Christian theism not bare theism, even this however, commits us to a minimum of 1 more causal entity beyond the natural and so it is not even a matter of debate as to simplicity, Naturalism takes the victory for minimization of ontological baggage hands down. The debate then really becomes and issue of explanatory power which I shall briefly develop a little further. This brings me to the second part of this section which is some predictions we can make from observation and compare to our competing worldviews. There are quite a number of phenomena that it seems Naturalism explains with relative ease and theism has to do more work. We will start with some simple facts about the natural world around us: the universe is roughly 13 billion years old, the earth itself is approximately 4.5 billion years old, the majority of the universe we have observed is extremely hostile to life, life arose and developed on earth over the course of millions of years by the process of biological evolution, homo sapiens have many physical defects such as remnants of biological elements from the creatures we evolved from including: wisdom teeth, tails (in early human embryos), palmar grasp reflex, nicitating membrane, auricular muscles, palmaris longus muscle, pyramidalis muscle, to name just 7 (Source: https://www.britannica.com/list/7-vestigial-features-of-the-human-body ). I understand that most of these empirically observed facts will be rejected by those that adhere to any form of “young earth creationism” but I am not particularly concerned with what creationists think and you should not be either. I prefer my interlocutors to be open-minded and honest seekers of truth who follow the evidence and facts wherever they may lead. These are only a few things about the natural world that can be listed and Naturalism seems to have no problem at all explaining any of these points. We would expect a world containing only natural causal entities and properties to develop without any concern for human affairs and to develop according to somewhat sporadic events governed only by the laws of nature. It is no surprise to the Naturalist for example, that biological life took so long to arise and develop and that the process would result in us bearing “footprints” of species we evolved from. In contrast, under theism we expect God to be partial to the Homo Sapien species in a variety of ways. This is especially apparent given any religious view of things but even under bare theism God has seen it fitting to gift only us advanced apes with consciousness so he at least minimally favors us. But how does this make sense? If we are somehow so radically special to God why would he create us by such a long ardous process as evolution and have us evolve from simpler creatures and bear remnants of those species? Would it not make more sense for God to create us separately from all “lesser” creation? And why would he not make it more evident to us that we were more valuable to him than the rest of that which he created? I do not desire to go into intricate detail on every one of the points about the natural world but I assume the reader gets the gist. They mostly breakdown into some form of argument from dysteology, which I think both helps the Naturalist when it comes to predictions, and undermines some claims of general teleological arguments. Arguments to the effect that God fine-tuned this planet for life are objectionable by means of arguments from scale (the fact that most of the universe is mostly hostile to development of life) and so on and so forth. I assume the reader can make their own inferences about how all the facts I listed above provide support for Naturalism seeing as I would like to move onto other predictive arguments. The other naturalist predictions deal with belief and conflict as opposed to natural phenomena, I shall briefly mention 2 such arguments. A) Divine Hiddenness and B) Religious disagreement. I originally planned on a separate section for hiddenness arguments but then figured it could be subsumed here. Arguments from divine hiddenness have recently been popularized by philosophers such as JL Schellenberg and run something along these lines: we expect that if Theism is true then God has created us and thus desires a personal relationship with us as long as we are open to it. Therefore, if theism is true, then there should be no non-resistant non-belief. But of course, there is non-resistant non-belief and quite a lot of it I might add, such an occurrence is no surprise if naturalism is true seeing as the beliefs of some evolved primates on a tiny planet have effectively no bearing upon the foundations of reality. Another argument along these lines is that of religious disagreement which I first heard articulated by Justin Schieber in the book “An Atheist and a Christian walk into a bar” this argument takes the fact that we have so many different religions that most times radically disagree with one another when it comes to key doctrines, beliefs, and such. Under theism, it seems it would make quite a bit more sense for God to clearly and effectively reveal himself in the form of one obviously true religion, or maybe at least he could interfere in some way as to prevent escalations to violence that occur between opposing religious traditions. Under naturalism religious disagreement comes as no surprise as it makes sense that different peoples across different cultures and times would come up with differing accounts of reality as well as different coping mechanisms for the existential dread and the like. I will close off this section by saying that I certainly do not think that any of these predictive arguments independently provide some sort of knock-down defeater for theism, rather I think we can reason conceptually from observable data about what we would expect from either worldview given a set of events. Theists may appeal with something to the effect that God is “testing our faith” by making the universe “appear” older than it is, faking the remnants of evolution, intentionally hiding himself from some to test if they will make a leap of faith into absurdity to believe him, created other religions as tests, etc. Any of these lines of thought or similar is plainly ludicrous as it reduces God to not much more than the “evil demon” that Descartes conceived may be tricking us by playing with our minds.

2. Evidential Evil and Animal suffering

About 2,000 years ago the Greek philosopher Epicurus advanced the first documented logical argument from evil against the existence of God which was later updated by David Hume in his “Dialogues on Natural Religion” and then further formulated by John Mackie in “Miracle of Theism.” Such “logical” arguments from evil seek to prove that there is a logical incompatibility between the existence of God and the existence of evil. Such logical arguments have been defeated by thinkers such as Alvin Plantinga, David Bentley Hart, Brian Davies, and the like. Even though these logical arguments have been defeated, the evidential ones have not. Instead of asking “why is there evil” the evidential arguments ask “why is there SO MUCH evil.” Free will defenses do nothing to quell this inquiry especially since even theists have to believe that there can be free agents who never do evil (God, to name one). The idea that this is the best of all possible worlds is just simply asinine as we can all conceive of one way in which the worlds events could have gone which would have made it exponentially better in terms of reduction of suffering and similar occurrences. Religious defenders of God may also claim that you cannot run an argument from evil without an objective moral framework but anyone familiar with basic logic will be able to see that this is plainly false. Even if I have no objective basis for ethics, the argument is being run internally by assuming God exists and comparing his existence to relevant data about evil and so a religious framework is usually what the argument is run from, an assumption that God would desire to alleviate suffering. Even more recently, evidential arguments from evil have been formulated focusing on the massive amount of animal suffering, specifically that which occurred throughout the course of evolution. Throughout the history of biological life developing on the Earth there were millions of years of organism experiencing immense biological suffering and pain in the forms of parasitism, carnivorous suffering, viruses, etc. Not to mention the fact that prior to Homo Sapiens there were 5 mass extinction events that took place. Perhaps the strongest and most emotionally compelling variant of this argument was put forth by William Rowe when he sketched the thought experiment of a wildfire burning through a forest, scorching a young deer with 3rd degree burns. The fawn drags itself out of the forest and lays for 3 days slowly dying a painful death. There are no people around to observe this, the fawn suffering is not necessary to prevent any greater evil and it achieves no greater good and is thus an unjustified evil. Why would any benevolent God not alleviate the suffering of one of his creation? But this is exactly what happened for millions of years during the course of evolutionary history. Any attempt by Christians to denounce this as a result of the human fall does not even get off the ground since there were millions of years of mammalian evolution before homo sapiens even came on the scene. This concept of massive amounts of unjustified evils is a belief you will find most all philosophically inclined atheists and agnostics share and I would say rightfully so. Arguments from evil of this variety are enough alone to warrant one questioning the existence of any benevolent God in my estimation.

3. Determinism

In section (3) above I mentioned the Principle of Sufficient Reason as being one aspect of building a case for Classical Theism especially in regards to Leibnizian Cosmological arguments. There is however, an issue for Theism this principle raises if it is true and that issue is that of Determinism. If the PSR is true, then every effect has an antecedent cause, every event relies on a prior event or state of the universe for its existence. It can be spelled out quite simply as follows: If A occurs there is a sufficient reason why A occurs, if A or B could have both been true, but only A is true then there must be a sufficient reason as to why A occurs and B does not. Therefore, there must be some determining factor that caused A to manifest rather than B. So it seems that if the Principle of sufficient Reason is true, determinism comes along with it thereby negating libertarian free agency. See the problem? If libertarian free will is negated then Theism itself is rendered false, theism relies on the truth of libertarian freedom in more ways than one. Most evidently as I mentioned above, theism requires that God himself posses the capacity for free action but if there must always be a sufficient reason as to why God chooses 1 over 2 then he cannot be free ipse ergo theism is false. Tack onto this the free agency us humans supposedly have as gifts from God and the additional implications this has for Christian Theism are nigh on insurmountable (fall of man, fall of angels, constant sin and evil committed by humans, etc.). So we reach the paradoxical conclusion that if a principle relied on by some of the strongest theistic arguments is true, that same principle implies the falsity of theism. This, along with other evidence for, and implications of determinism provides us with reason to doubt the truth of theism and thereby is evidence for Naturalism according to the criteria I have established.

4. Principles of Material Causality

The argument against Classical Theism by utilizing a principle of material causality was first made by Dr Felipe Leon who wrote a paper on the metaphysical impossibility of creation “Ex Nihilo” for his blog “Ex-apologist” which you can find linked under “Resources” on the home page of my blog so go read his paper after you finish this one seeing as his is far better. He also develops this argument in a podcast episode with the RealAtheology podcast which can be found on their YouTube channel and/or Apple podcasts. Leon’s argument says that material causation and change requires a material cause. All the instances of change we observe are different states of material objects being affected by other material objects or at least partially material. What I mean here by “partially material” is that even if we were to grant that human beings have immaterial souls that make up our existence, we still are comprised at least partially of material components that make it possible for us to interact with and effect change among external material objects so the principle Leon advances works even if the agents in question are only partially material things. We constantly observe matter changing states, water can be frozen from a liquid into a solid, heat can change solid gold into liquid, colliding tectonic plates and volcanic activity can reform land masses into mountains and so on and so forth. The best example we can draw it seems to me, is that of a sculptor. A sculptor can take a block of solid marble and chisel it into a beautiful statue of a woman, which is admittedly a remarkable feat. But here’s the rub, God is not a cosmic sculptor, he has no “block of marble” upon which he can form a world, he has no prior material which he can reshape and exercise his power on to in order to bring our universe into being. But all the Classical Theist traditions that I know of hold it as doctrine that God created the universe from nothing, the only real alternatives would be some form of panentheism wherein all material reality is somehow contained “within” God or one has to posit that material reality stretches infinitely alongside God and never fails to exist, hopefully you can see how these kinds of approaches become problematic. And appeals to the omnipotence of God seem to not provide much help either seeing as even an omnipotent being cannot by definition do that which is metaphysically impossible. And that is Leon’s argument exactly, it is metaphysically impossible for God to create material states from prior states which utterly lacked any material “stuff” for God to draw from. One illustration Leon sketches that I rather like is one where we conceive of a man who has a completely empty stomach but goes on dry heaving in hopes that he will vomit out something even though there is nothing for him to expulse. No matter how much God metaphysically “dry heaves” there is nothing from which he can draw to shape material states. Those are the bare bones of what Leon argues and I (obviously) find it rather convincing at some levels. I would like to briefly build on this principle and outline an argument I have been thinking about and working on developing which I call “The Argument from Natural Eternality” which draws on the work of Dr Leon and this principle he has developed, my thoughts go something like this: remember the problems for emergentism that I briefly laid out above as evidence for Theism? Well I am beginning to think that this argument goes both ways and here’s what I mean. It is almost undeniably true that we cannot get immateriality arising from purely material interactions, so we cannot throw dirt clods at a dirt mound and eventually POOF we have a genie. Such an occurrence is quite obviously a metaphysical impossibility. But does this not apply vice versa? I agree we cannot get immaterial objects from the interactions of material objects but it seems then that we cannot get material objects from the interactions of immaterial objects either. We could not have 2 genies collide over and over again and eventually POOF we have dirt, this is also a metaphysical impossibility. So here is the conclusion of this reasoning:

  1. We cannot get material states from immaterial states and vice versa
  2. Therefore either the material or immaterial exhaust all reality and is eternal
  3. We have only empirically observes material states
  4. Therefore, material reality exhausts all reality

Hence my argument from the Eternality of the Natural. I think that the Principle of Material causality sketched by Leon and the implications it has for metaphysical relations gives us strong reason to favor Naturalism over Theism.

Conclusion.

Hopefully by the end of reading this you at the very least come to understand why I currently take the position of Agnosticism in regards to the existence of God. I would also like to note that the length of each above section is in no way indicative of the weight I place on the arguments contained, some ideas just took me longer to develop than others due in large part to my general literary and philosophical incompetence which I apologize for but hope that I at least made the points comprehensible.

Brief recap:

Theism- 50% epistemic probability

  1. Scholastic Metaphysics
  2. Consciousness and physical reduction
  3. Leibnizian Cosmological Arguments
  4. Necessary Existence

Naturalism/Atheism- 50% epistemic probability

  1. Ontological Simplicity and predictions
  2. Evidential and Evolutionary Evil
  3. Determinism
  4. Principles of material causality

Hopefully this paper was at least worth the time you spent reading it and I wish all readers luck in the pursuit of truth.

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