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Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism

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Where the Conflict Really Lies

Science, Religion, and Naturalism

By Alvin Plantinga

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Format: Hardcover, 359 pages
Published In: United States, 01 December 2011
This book is a long-awaited major statement by a pre-eminent analytic philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, on one of our biggest debates - the compatibility of science and religion. The last twenty years has seen a cottage industry of books on this divide, but with little consensus emerging. Plantinga, as a top philosopher but also a proponent of the rationality of religious belief, has a unique contribution to make. His theme in this short book is that the conflict between science and theistic religion is actually superficial, and that at a deeper level they are in concord. Plantinga examines where this conflict is supposed to exist - evolution, evolutionary psychology, analysis of scripture, scientific study of religion - as well as claims by Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Philip Kitcher that evolution and theistic belief cannot co-exist. Plantinga 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, and Plantinga uses the notion of biological and cosmological "fine-tuning" in support of this idea. Plantinga argues that we might think about arguments in science and religion in a new way - as different forms of discourse that try to persuade people to look at questions from a perspective such that they can see that something is true. In this way, there is a deep and massive consonance between theism and the scientific enterprise.

Table of Contents

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

About the Author

O'Brien Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame.


There is much ... to note and commend in this demanding and rewarding work. ... Yet the present reviewer regards the permanent value of this important book as lying in its critical implications for the beliefs of the 'New Atheism.' Not an easy read, admittedly - but for those with patience and perserverance, this is a highly commendable addition to a pastor's library. * Alister McGrath, Churchman * a highly worthwhile contribution to the contemporary science-and-religion debate, and one which brings the much needed voice of this rigorous philosopher to bear upon the complex conceptual issues at stake. ... The book is relatively technical, but thanks to Plantinga's generaous use of examples and the relegation of the most technical material to smaller print, the non-specialist should have little difficulty understanding the thrust of this excellent book. * Max Baker-Hytch, Theology * a robust defence of religion against the claim that it is defeated by science. * Julian Baggini, TPM * an engaging read ... a very good book, well worth reading by both theists and non-theists for its thoughtful consideration of difficult and contentious issues. I warmly recommend it. * Robert J. Deltete, Philosophy in Review * Alvin Plantinga is one of the most eminent philosophers in the world, and a book from him on science and religion is of the first importance. It is a joy to see how he uses precise logical analysis to counter the arguments of his opponents, and issue a trenchant defence of Christian thought. * Keith Ward, Third Way * Plantinga is an intellectual heavyweight in the philosophy of religion, and those who want to keep abreast of the best work in this area would be well advised to read this long-awaited contribution. * The Tablet * Plantinga is at his most persuasive when exhibiting defeats in the naturalist world-view. * Anthony Kenny, Times Literary Supplement *

EAN: 9780199812097
ISBN: 0199812098
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Dimensions: 21.08 x 14.22 x 3.3 centimetres (0.50 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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