Skip to main content

Science and Religion Discussion

Here is a video of an interesting discussion on science and religion with Alvin Plantinga, W.L. Craig, Richard M. Gale and Quentin Smith.

HT Mike Almeida at Prosblogion


Ron said…
That was interesting. Plantinga was my favorite. Smith's argument against the existence of God struck me as very dubious to say the least. Craig did a good job of pointing out the flaws in that. Smith though did get the better of him when he mentioned the "point of eternity," and the timelessness of God. Kinda lost me there.

Dale was interesting. I wish they spent more time on the issue of libertarian free will and theism but time was limited.

Smith's biggest mistake was to say that naturalism and Darwinian evolution are inseparable. This is not true. Darwinian evolution only implies that natural processes were the only things involved in the evolution of life; it does not say anything about metaphysical realities. Naturalismm, however, is a set of metaphysical beliefs which include causal closure, atheism, etc.
exapologist said…
Hi Ron,

I agree with all the nice points you make here. I'm often puzzled by the things Smith says.
M said…
I can attest from first-hand experience that Smith is much better on paper than he is to an audience. Of course, this is obvious when contrasted with Craig--a brilliant rhetorician and sophist of the highest order. Craig wants to pursuade and convert; Smith wants to learn the truth and doesn't care about his appearance, delivery, or Craig's specious, crowd-swaying debate tactics.

However, I absolutely relished seeing Craig stumble when Smith called him out on his theo-babble nonsense; I loved how he didn't let Craig get away with apologetic bullshit. Sadly, the moderator (sympathetic to Craig, I suppose), quickly changed the subject.

Smith and Craig are both Presentists; and I always thought that Smith's arguments against Craig's were less understandable. But looking at them again--after many years of intensely reading the both of them--I think that Smith's "Presentist Eternalism" has more going for it than what I (and others) originally thought. His theory of time--connected with his Naturalism--is almost Spinozist while making room for presentism. Very interesting. Great discussion.

Oh, and I can't stand listening to Plantinga anymore. I've seen him speak several times in the past year and I'm convinced that he (1) has nothing new to say and (2) has long since passed his heyday (70's-1990).

Though I disagree almost entirely with the lot of 'em, Swinburne is a far, far more capable, coherent, and intelligent philosopher than either Craig or Plantinga.

Popular posts from this blog

Epicurean Cosmological Arguments for Matter's Necessity

One can find, through the writings of Lucretius, a powerful yet simple Epicurean argument for matter's (factual or metaphysical) necessity. In simplest terms, the argument is that since matter exists, and since nothing can come from nothing, matter is eternal and uncreated, and is therefore at least a factually necessary being. 
A stronger version of Epicurus' core argument can be developed by adding an appeal to something in the neighborhood of origin essentialism. The basic line of reasoning here is that being uncreated is an essential property of matter, and thus that the matter at the actual world is essentially uncreated.
Yet stronger versions of the argument could go on from there by appealing to the principle of sufficient reason to argue that whatever plays the role of being eternal and essentially uncreated does not vary from world to world, and thus that matter is a metaphysically necessary being.
It seems to me that this broadly Epicurean line of reasoning is a co…

Notes on Mackie's "Evil and Omnipotence"

0. Introduction
0.1 Mackie argues that the problem of evil proves that either no god exists, or at least that the god of Orthodox Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, does not exist. His argument is roughly the same version of the problem of evil that we’ve been considering.
0.2 Mackie thinks that one can avoid the conclusion that God does not exist only if one admits that either God is not omnipotent (i.e., not all-powerful), or that God is not perfectly good. 0.3 However, he thinks that hardly anyone will be willing to take this route. For doing so leaves one with a conception of a god that isn’t worthy of worship, and therefore not religiously significant.
0.4 After his brief discussion of his version of the problem of evil, he considers most of the main responses to the problem of evil, and concludes that none of them work.

1. First Response and Mackie's Reply
1.1 Response: Good can’t exist without evil; evil is a necessary counterpart to good.
1.2 Mackie’s reply:
1.2.1 this see…

Notes on Swinburne, "On Why God Allows Evil"

Notes on Swinburne’s “Why God Allows Evil”

1. The kinds of goods a theistic god would provide: deeper goods than just “thrills of pleasure and times of contentment” (p. 90). For example:
1.1 Significant freedom and responsibility
1.1.1 for ourselves
1.1.2 for others
1.1.3 for the world in which they live
1.2 Valuable lives
1.2.1 being of significant use to ourselves
1.2.2 being of significant use to each other

2. Kinds of evil
2.1 Moral evil: all the evil caused or permitted by human beings, whether intentionally or through negligence (e.g., murder, theft, etc.)
2.2 Natural evil: all the rest: evil not caused or permitted by human beings (e.g., suffering caused by hurricanes, forest fires, diseases, animal suffering, etc.)

3. The gist of Swinburne’s answer to the problem of evil: God cannot – logically cannot -- give us the goods of significant freedom, responsibility and usefulness without thereby allowing for the possibility of lots of moral and natural evil. This is why he has al…