Thursday, February 24, 2011

Plantinga's Forthcoming Book on Science, Religion, and Naturalism

Alvin Plantinga has a book that's due out in September with Oxford University Press: Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism.

Here's the blurb:

A long-awaited major statement by pre-eminent analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies illuminates one of our biggest debates--the conflict between science and religion. Plantinga examines where this conflict is said to exist--looking at areas such as evolution, divine action in the world, and the scientific study of religion--and considers claims by Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Philip Kitcher that evolution and theistic belief cannot co-exist. He makes a case that their arguments are not only inconclusive, but that the supposed conflicts themselves are superficial, due to the methodological naturalism used by science. On the other hand, science can actually offer support to theistic doctrines--for instance, some versions or interpretations of quantum mechanics provide useful models for divine action. He goes on to outline the deep and massive consonance between theism and the entire scientific enterprise. In the last chapter, Plantinga argues that one can't rationally or sensibly accept both current evolutionary theory and naturalism, the thought that there is no such person as God or anything like God. The book concludes that there is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and religion, in particular theistic religion, and superficial concord but deep conflict between naturalism and religion.

And here's the table of contents:

1. Evolution and Christian Belief (1)
2. Evolution and Christian Belief (2)
3. Divine Action in the World
4. The New Picture
5. Evolutionary Psychology and Scripture Scholarship
6. Defeaters?
7. Fine-Tuning
8. Design Discourse
9. Deep Concord
10. Deep Conflict

4 comments:

AIGBusted said...

Doubt I'll buy it. If it comes to a library near me I might read it. But so far this looks like just a rehash of bogus arguments Plantinga has made before.

RoBe said...

"Plantinga argues that one can't rationally or sensibly accept both current evolutionary theory and naturalism, the thought that there is no such person as God or anything like God."

Am I right in assuming Plantinga is conflating methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism to give his argument merit. As previously stated in this blurb:

"but that the supposed conflicts themselves are superficial, due to the methodological naturalism used by science."

It seems he'll be discussing methodological naturalism, but this line:

"and naturalism, the thought that there is no such person as God or anything like God."

Seems to suggest, from my admittedly very limited understanding, that he's attempting to make methodological naturalism have the position that no God exists, when it was my understanding it was neutral on this topic. It is philosophical naturalism that made such a claim. And not what scientists use when examing evolution through a worldview?

But I would appreciate correction, so I don't get my ass handed to me, for making this claim elsewhere :)

Tom Clark said...

RoBe,

There's a discussion of Plantinga's arguments against naturalism at www.naturalism.org/plantinga.htm which might shed some light on your questions.

best,

Tom Clark
Center for Naturalism

RoBe said...

Thanks so much Tom!

Site Meter