Why “God’s Will” is a lousy explanation

Ok, that’s an easy one, but I needed a vehicle for talking about post- and pre-dictive explanation.

If you give ‘God wanted it that way’ as the reason for anything, you do actually get 100% postdictive success. There is no question that that mechanism will actually lead to the outcome you are trying to explain. “Duh!” you might say, but there are a lot of mechanisms proposed in academic papers which in fact do not lead to the claimed outcome. So in this respect, God’s will is actually a pretty powerful explanatory mechanism.

What you lose with God’s will is predictive success. Since you don’t know God’s will in advance, you don’t know how things are going to turn out. So predictively, God’s will is no better than random guessing.

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One Response to “Why “God’s Will” is a lousy explanation”

  1. Christopher Roussin Says:

    Ah — As always there’s a loophole here, Steve. You’re assuming that the “you” in question is not God [herself], or in possession of Godlike abilities.

    Nice blog! I sent you an e-mail with a factor analysis question.

    -c

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