The essay “Looking Through Pascal’s Window” by Bethany College Associate Professor of Philosophy John Mullen, Ph.D., has been published in the January 2013 issue of Faith and Philosophy: The Journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers.
The 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 addressed in ‘Looking Through Pascal’s Window’ 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,” says Mullen.
It is the first in a series of articles Mullen will write under a grant from The BioLogos Foundation arguing that gradual creation via evolution is not contrary to Christianity. As Mullen explains, “The ‘Pascalian’ insight is that God wants human beings to be in a state of epistemic ambiguity when we consider important, life-altering claims; and this state is what I call ‘Pascal’s Window.’ I 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.’”
Mullen is a retired U.S. Naval Reserve Commander, who earned his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and specializes in epistemology and the philosophies of religion and science. He has previously taught at St. Gregory’s University, the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, Oklahoma Baptist University, and Valparaiso University. Mullen began at Bethany in 2012.
Faith and Philosophy is peer-reviewed scholarly journal that “encourages discussion among a wide variety of theological and philosophical perspectives that fall largely within the philosophy of religion.” Faith and Philosophy is widely recognized as the leading journal in its field, and is published quarterly with assistance from Asbury Theological Seminary, the University of Notre Dame, and the Society of Christian Philosophers. Mullen’s work appears in volume 30, issue 1.