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Gregory W. Dawes
University of Otago
  1. Belief is Not the Issue: A Defence of Inference to the Best Explanation.Gregory W. Dawes - 2013 - Ratio 26 (1):62-78.
    Defences of inference to the best explanation (IBE) frequently associate IBE with scientific realism, the idea that it is reasonable to believe our best scientific theories. I argue that this linkage is unfortunate. IBE does not warrant belief, since the fact that a theory is the best available explanation does not show it to be (even probably) true. What IBE does warrant is acceptance: taking a proposition as a premise in theoretical and/or practical reasoning. We ought to accept our best (...)
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  2. What is Wrong with Intelligent Design?Gregory W. Dawes - 2007 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 61 (2):69 - 81.
    While a great deal of abuse has been directed at intelligent design theory (ID), its starting point is a fact about biological organisms that cries out for explanation, namely "specified complexity" (SC). Advocates of ID deploy three kind of argument from specified complexity to the existence of a designer: an eliminative argument, an inductive argument, and an inference to the best explanation. Only the first of these merits the abuse directed at it; the other two arguments are worthy of respect. (...)
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  3. Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?Gregory W. Dawes - 2007 - Religion Compass 1 (6):711-24.
    A number of recent historians claim to have defeated what they call the ‘conflict thesis’, the idea that there exists some inevitable conflict between Darwinism and Christianity. This is often thought to be part of a broader ‘warfare thesis’, which posits an inevitable conflict between science and religion. But, all they have defeated is one, relatively uninteresting form of this thesis. There remain other forms of the conflict theses that remain entirely plausible, even in light of the historical record.
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  4. In Defense of Naturalism.Gregory W. Dawes - 2011 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (1):3-25.
    History and the modern sciences are characterized by what is sometimes called a methodological naturalism that disregards talk of divine agency. Some religious thinkers argue that this reflects a dogmatic materialism: a non-negotiable and a priori commitment to a materialist metaphysics. In response to this charge, I make a sharp distinction between procedural requirements and metaphysical commitments. The procedural requirement of history and the sciences—that proposed explanations appeal to publicly-accessible bodies of evidence—is non-negotiable, but has no metaphysical implications. The metaphysical (...)
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  5. Evolution and the Bible: The Hermeneutical Question.Gregory W. Dawes - 2012 - Relegere 2:37-63.
    Theistic evolutionists often suggest that one can reconcile evolutionary theory with biblical teaching. But in fact Christians have accepted Darwinian theory only after reinterpreting the opening chapters of Genesis. Is such a reinterpretation justified? Within Western Christian thought, there exists a hermeneutical tradition that dates back to St Augustine and which offers guidelines regarding apparent conflicts between biblical teaching and natural philosophy (or “science”). These state that the literal meaning of the text may be abandoned only if the natural-philosophical conclusions (...)
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  6. Could There Be Another Galileo Case?Gregory W. Dawes - 2002 - Journal of Religion and Society 4.
    In his 1615 letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Lorraine, Galileo argues for a “principle of limitation”: the authority of Scripture should not be invoked in scientific matters. In doing so, he claims to be following the example of St Augustine. But Augustine’s position would be better described as a “principle of differing purpose”: although the Scriptures were not written in order to reveal scientific truths, such matters may still be covered by biblical authority. The Roman Catholic Church has (...)
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  7. Paradigmatic Explanations: Strauss's Dangerous Idea.Gregory W. Dawes - 2007 - Louvain Studies 32 (1-2):67-80.
    David Friedrich Strauss is best known for his mythical interpretation of the Gospel narratives. He opposed both the supernaturalists (who regarded the Gospel stories as reliable) and the rationalists (who offered natural explanations of purportedly supernatural events). His mythical interpretation suggests that many of the stories about Jesus were woven out of pre-existing messianic beliefs and expectations. Picking up this suggestion, I argue that the Gospel writers thought paradigmatically rather than historically. A paradigmatic explanation assimilates the event-to-be- explained to what (...)
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  8. Justified Believing:Avoiding the Paradox.Gregory W. Dawes - 2012 - In James Maclaurin (ed.), Rationis Defensor: Essays in Honour of Colin Cheyne. Springer.
    Colin Cheyne has argued that under certain circumstances an internalist or deontological theory of epistemic justification will give rise to a paradox. The paradox, he argues, arises when a principle of epistemic justification is both justifiably believed (in terms of the theory) and false. To avoid this paradox, Cheyne recommends abandoning the principle of justification-transference, which states that acts of believing made on the basis of a justifiably-believed principle are themselves justified. Since such a principle seems essential to any internalist (...)
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