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Showing posts from July, 2008

A Review of J.L. Schellenberg's New Book

...The Wisdom to Doubt: A Justification of Religious Skepticism, came out the other day at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, here. I haven't yet picked it up, but I understand it's a "must-read" book in philosophy of religion. It's the second of what he projects to be a trilogy on foundational issues in philosophy of religion. The first was entitled, Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion (NDPR reviews it here), and the forthcoming third volume is entitled, The Will to Imagine: A Justification of Skeptical Religion. All three are published with Cornell University Press.

J.L. Schellenberg is a prominent philosopher of religion, known primarily for his seminal book-length exposition and defense of the problem of divine hiddenness, Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason. He is also known for his articles on the problem of evil and the problem of religious diversity.

P.S., He did an excellent job defending the argument from divine hiddenness against the philosopher Jeff …

Linda Zagzebski

...has a novel and interesting paper defending the rationality of religious belief, based on a Foley-style argument from intellectual trust in oneself and others. It can be found at her department webpage at the University of Oklahoma, here. It's the one entitled, "Is it Reasonable to Believe in God?" The paper doesn't look to be published yet, but has only been delivered in the form of a quasi-popular talk.

Zagzebski remains one of the leading philosophers of religion. The other papers there (not to mention her books) are well worth reading.

Michael C. Rea

...is a young "star" philosopher at Notre Dame who specializes in metaphysics. He's especially known in this field for his work on the problems of material composition -- e.g., the problem of how two or more material things could compose a new thing (I know this sounds like a trivial problem, but believe me, it's a very hard problem. To see why, read Peter van Inwagen's seminal book, Material Beings). However, he is also a Christian, and a young star in the field of philosophy of religion. For example, he is known for using ideas from his work on the nature of material composition to attempt to give a coherent account of the doctrine of the trinity. He's probably best known in recent years for his book, World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism, which, as you may have guessed, is a critique of naturalism (and a very rigorous one at that). I remember reading it in grad school while still a Christian (still with dreams of infiltrating aca…

Notes on Draper's Article on Behe's Design Argument, Part 5: Are Indirect Routes Really Too Improbable?

I. Review
We've seen that Behe's argument turns on two key claims:

(i) Some biochemical systems are irreducibly (very) complex

(ii) Irreducibly (very) complex systems can't plausibly be accounted for in terms of evolution.

Thus, if one rebuts (i.e., shows false or otherwise contrary to reason), or at least undercuts (i.e., undermines the evidence for), (i) or (ii), then one has shown that Behe's argument is a failure. We've seen that Draper has offered apparently decisive criticisms against (i), and thus has already defeated Behe's argument. However, Draper goes beyond this and offers two main criticisms of (ii) as well -- i.e., he argues that evolution can produce a biochemical system even if it's irreducibly complex. In the current installment, we'll focus on Draper's first main criticism of (ii).

II. Behe's Argument Against Indirect Pathways
Recall the two routes or pathways that evolution can take to producing a given biological system -- direc…

Plantinga vs. Tooley

A nice review of Knowledge of God -- the written debate between Alvin Plantinga and MIchael Tooley -- has just come out in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. I haven't yet picked up a copy of the book, but it's definitely a must-read for those interested in philosophy of religion.

Michael J. Murray

...is a Christian theist who does interesting work in philosophy of religion. You can read most of his articles by going to his department webpage. I especially look forward to his two forthcoming books he lists there. He looks to be working seriously on two key worries for theism that go back to at least Hume: (i) the problem of animal suffering, and (ii) naturalistic accounts of the nature and causes of religious belief.

P.S., it's worth reading his exchange with William Dembski on Dembski's intelligent design stuff, here and here.