PDC Homepage

Home » Products » Purchase

Faith and Philosophy

Volume 30, Issue 1, January 2013

John T. Mullen
Pages 26-48
DOI: 10.5840/faithphil20133012

Looking through Pascal's Window

This paper is an attempt to draw a time-honored insight from Blaise Pascal, generalize it for contemporary use, and apply it to two topics of general concern to contemporary philosophers of religion. The two topics are the status of evolutionary biology as evidence for Philosophical Naturalism, and biological versions of the problem of evil (I focus specifically on the problem of long ages of animal suffering). The “Pascalian” insight is that God wants human beings to be in a state of epistemic ambiguity when we consider important, life-altering claims. I call this state of epistemic ambiguity “Pascal’s Window,” and argue that God’s desire to place human beings into Pascal’s Window with respect to important, life-altering claims generates the important constraint on His creative activity that He must create gradually. This constraint is then employed to argue that evolutionary biology supplies very little evidential support for Philosophical Naturalism, and that appeals to “divine hiddenness” can become effective responses to the problem of “biological evil.”