Monday, June 18, 2012

A Very Good Review of Plantinga's New Book

HT: ex-apologist

The philosopher Paul Draper begins his review of Alvin Plantinga's book, Where the Conflict Really Liews: Science, Religion, and Naturalism, by quoting from the book:

"There is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and religion, in particular theistic religion, and superficial concord but deep conflict between science and [ontological] naturalism." Alvin Plantinga repeats this formulation of his thesis several times in the book. Unfortunately, on the book jacket the last three words are changed from "science and naturalism" to "naturalism and religion," which makes the sub-thesis of deep conflict appear rather easy to defend. I mention this mistake as a service to all those critics of the book who appear to have read little more than the book jacket. (In all seriousness, the fact that some of these irresponsible critics are philosophers is disturbing.)

Obviously Professor Draper took the time to read more than the book jacket and gives a very insightful review of it. Since the most talked about part of Plantinga's book is his discussion of ID, I thought I would just quote what Draper had to say about it:

"Plantinga believes that Michael Behe's case for design in Darwin's Black Box, when understood as an attempt to construct a convincing argument for intelligent design, is a failure. His reasons for holding this belief (which are sketched in chapter eight) strike me as extremely strong. He is slightly more optimistic but still skeptical about Behe's case for design in a more recent book, and he argues (in chapter seven) that, while the fine-tuning design argument has more force than its critics are willing to admit, it has much less force than is often attributed to it by its defenders. Clearly, then, the goal here is not to mount a defense of intelligent design theory or even to provide a detailed analysis and evaluation of contemporary design arguments, though Plantinga's critical discussion of these arguments is certainly worth reading."

I found chapter nine of Plantinga's book to be the most significant, and I think Draper agrees:

"Philosophers of religion should find chapter nine ("Deep Concord") to be of considerable interest. Plantinga describes in detail a variety of ways in which our cognitive faculties match the world and shows that the possibility or success of science depends on this match. Further, he argues plausibly for the position that, by appealing to the image of God doctrine, theists can account for this match. Naturalists, on the other hand, lack the resources to explain it (evolution is inadequate if not irrelevant here) and so must regard this multi-faceted match, implausibly, as just blind luck. Plantinga draws the provocative conclusion that theism, not naturalism, deserves to be called the "scientific worldview."

Both Draper's review and Plantinga's book are worth reading, folks.

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