Science & Religion – Where the Conflict Really Lies

Former Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Alvin Plantinga examines the question of whether evolution and theistic belief can co-exist. He argues that there is a deep and massive consonance between theism and the scientific enterprise.


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Video from Plantinga’s Retirement Celebration

This last May, Alvin Plantinga was honoured on his retirement by a special conference at the University of Notre Dame. Plantinga is one of the most important and influential living philosophers  in the area of metaphysics, epistemology, and, particularly, philosophy of religion. His retirement at Notre Dame was commemorated with several  presentations from a wide range of scholars over three days. Here is the video from the talks (I’ve embedded the first part of each talk – for all the parts go here).

Michael Bergmann (Purdue University) “Commonsense Skeptical Theism”
RESPONDENT: Stephen Wykstra (Calvin College)
CHAIR: W. Jay Wood (Wheaton College)

Trenton Merricks (University of Virginia) “Singular Propositions”
RESPONDENT: David Vander Laan (Westmont College)
CHAIR: Jerome Gellman (Ben-Gurion University)

Peter van Inwagen (University of Notre Dame) “Causation and the Mental”
RESPONDENT: Robin Collins (Messiah College)
CHAIR: Bernard W. Kobes (Arizona State University)

Richard Otte (University of California) “Theory Comparison in Science and Religion”
RESPONDENT: Bas van Fraassen (San Francisco State University)
CHAIR: René van Woudenberg (Free University)

Ernest Sosa (Rutgers University) “Descartes and Virtue Epistemology”
RESPONDENT: Raymond VanArragon (Bethel University)
CHAIR: Rik Peels (University of Utrecht)

Eleonore Stump (Saint Louis University) “The Value of Atonement”
RESPONDENT: E. J. Coffman (University of Tennessee)
CHAIR: Laura Ekstrom (The College of William and Mary)

Thomas P. Flint (University of Notre Dame) “Varieties of Accidental Necessity”
RESPONDENT: Thomas Crisp (Biola University)
CHAIR: Laura Garcia (Boston College)

Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers University) “Stages in God’s Foreknowledge”
RESPONDENT: Donald Smith (Virginia Commonwealth University)
CHAIR: John Mullen (Oklahoma Baptist University)

Nicholas Wolterstorff  (Yale University, Emeritus, and Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia)
“Then, Now, and Al”
CHAIR: Andrew Chignell – Cornell University

(Source: Michael Sudduth)

Plantinga's Warranted Christian Belief now available online

Christian Classics Ethereal Library has made Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief available online in full. Published in 2000, Warranted Christian Belief is Plantinga’s third entry in his series on epistemology and represents an important work in the debate about the rationality of theistic belief. Plantinga suggests that the many common arguments against Christianity can be divided into two categories: the claim that Christian belief is false (de facto objections) and the claim that Christian belief is irrational or intellectually unacceptable (de jure objections). In his book, Plantinga focuses on the de jure objection and defends the view that belief in God may not only be rational, but rational without supporting beliefs or arguments.

Expect an intellectual work out – the argumentation can be complicated at times, but it is worth the investment. Plantinga is one of the great philosopher’s alive today and his writing has had a massive effect on the way scholars have approached questions in metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of religion. William Lane Craig has suggested that Plantinga’s 1967 book, God and Other Minds, was the turning point in the debate about the death of God.

Some endorsements for Warranted Christian Belief:

“Warranted Christian Belief is a tour de force … it will be a welcome summary of an important movement, and for anyone interested in debates about the rationality of religious belief, a reference book for many years to come.” – Books & Culture

“This is an impressive book … Every philosopher interested in epistemology should read it and every philosopher should be interested in epistemology.” – Australasian Journal of Philosophy

“The book is full of philosophical and theological interest and is an exciting book to read… Throughout the book the writing is clear and entertaining, parts of it written with a controlled passion and enthusiasm, and with hafts of sarcasm, self-deprecation and other assorted humour. Plantinga has command of a vast range of philosophical and theological material.” – Mind

James Anderson has written a helpful introduction and review of the book here.

(HT: Patrick Chan at Triablogue)