Yesterday, philosopher John Schellenberg (yes, his name is revealed!) suggested that we read two philosophy books: Richard Swinburne’s The Existence of God, and William P. Alston’s Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience.
Over at EvolutionBlog, Jason Rosenhouse discusses his take on Swinburne’s The Existence of God. (He has read it, by the way.) Jason has a Ph.D. in mathematics with plenty of training in probability (see his book on the Monty Hall problem), so he’s well equipped to analyze what seems to be a Bayesian approach to proving God. Jason’s verdict? Thumbs down:
I have read my share of Swinburne, however, including The Existence of God. I fear he had the opposite effect on me from what Coyne’s correspondent described. It is not anything I learned from the fundamentalists that has driven me to my generally negative opinion of theology and the philosophy of religion. It is people like Swinburne who did that.
This is an assessment of Swinburne’s work as a whole; go read the post for his comments on the book. This seems to be the first of a series of posts that Jason will publish on Swinburne.
I’m still going to read The Existence of God, but judging by the comments of those who have already read it, I’m not expecting a slam-dunk proof of God.
Also note that Richard Dawkins has published, as a comment (# 56) on that thread, his Sunday Times review of a book by Swinburne.