A strike against a striking principle
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Several authors believe that there are certain facts that are striking and cry out for explanation—for instance, a coin that is tossed many times and lands in the alternating sequence HTHTHTHTHTHT… (H = heads, T = tails). According to this view, we have prima facie reason to believe that such facts are not the result of chance. I call this view the striking principle. Based on this principle, some have argued for far-reaching conclusions, such as that our universe was created by intelligent design, that there are many universes other than the one we inhabit, and that there are no mathematical or normative facts. Appealing as the view may initially seem, I argue that we lack sufficient reason to accept it.
KeywordsCalling for explanation Strikingness Probabilism Epistemic principles Fine-tuning arguments
Many thanks to Sharon Berry, David Enoch, Yehuda Gellman, Eli Pitcovski, Joshua Schechter, Ruth Weintraub and Preston Werner for helpful comments on previous drafts, and to Roger White, Miriam Schoenfield as well as participants in my presentations at Tel Hai College and at the Haifa Conference on the Philosophy of Religion (2018) for helpful discussion.
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