Volume 5 / Number 3 / Autumn 2013
Précis to Where the Conflict Really Lies
In Where the Conflict Really Lies I argue for two essential theses: First, there is no serious conflict between current science and religious belief, specifically Christian belief. In particular, there is no conflict between Christian belief and evolution. There is conflict between Christian belief and unguidedevolution, but the scientific evolutionary theory is neutral as between guided and unguided evolution. Second, there is essential conflict between naturalism, the thought that there is no such person as God or anything like God, and current science. That is because N&e, the conjunction of naturalism with current evolutionary theory, is self-defeating ...
Is Plantinga a Friend of Evolutionary Science?
Where the Conflict Really Lies (WTCrl) is a superb book, on a topic of great importance, by a philosopher of the highest calibre. There is much to learn from it, much to critically engage, much to inspire further work by others. In this article, I will focus on the question of whether Plantinga is a friend of evolutionary science ...
Plantinga on Providence and Physics
In Where the Conflict Really Lies, Alvin Plantinga argues that there is nothing more than a superficial conflict between contemporary science and traditional Theistic belief. He goes on to argue that there is a deep conflict between contemporary science and atheistic naturalism. I will concern myself here with only one part of Plantinga's argument for the first thesis, i.e. that there is only superficial conflict between science and Christian Theism. I will focus, in particular, on the argument from Chapters 3 and 4 to the effect that there is no conflict at all - not even superficial conflict - between contemporary physics and the claim that God can, and does, on occasion interact in 'special' ways with God's creation ...
René van WOUDENBERG
Chance, Design, Defeat
In his wonderfully wise and witty, sharp and subtle Where the Conflict Really Lies, Alvin Plantinga suggests, among many other things, that beliefs to the effect that this or that has been designed are typically basic, i.e. that they are not held on the basis of arguments. For instance, upon noticing a watch that lies on the heath, one may form, without engaging in any form of argument, the belief that it displays design (i.e. that 'its parts are framed and put together for a purpose', to use an expression from William Paley's famous discussion). basic design beliefs aren't only about human-made artefacts. upon observing the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature, one may form, as Darwin confessed he often did, without engaging in any form of reasoning, the belief that those items display design. Plantinga maintains not only that design beliefs are typically basic, but also that they can be, and very often in fact are, properlybasic, i.e. that there is nothing improper, irrational or otherwise epistemically untoward in holding design beliefs in the basic way. Design beliefs align, in this respect, with perceptual beliefs, memory beliefs and beliefs about other minds, that typically are also held in the basic way, and very often properly so ...
An Atheistic Defence of Christian Science
Should the Christian community engage in Christian science - doing science starting from the standpoint of the Christian evidence base? Plantinga asks this question, and I argue that the answer is 'yes'. moreover, this is an answer that both Christians and atheists can agree upon. Scientific progress should not be shackled by methodological naturalism; instead we need an ecumenical approach to science, which will allow for various high-level research programmes to count as science (including Christian science). If one does science by giving scientific arguments for or against such research programmes, one will fulfil the goal of having science be objective, open, and universal, not constrained by a methodology that favours the naturalistic worldview ...
First, thanks very much to my commentators and interlocutors, and to the editors of the European Journal for Philosophy of Religion. I'm delighted to be a part of this symposium ...
Ciro DE FLORIO & Aldo FRIGERIO
God, Evil, and Alvin Plantinga on the Free-Will Defense
Abstract. In this paper we will give a critical account of Plantinga's well-known argument to the effect that the existence of an omnipotent and morally perfect God is consistent with the actual presence of evil. After presenting Plantinga's view, we critically discuss both the idea of divine knowledge of conditionals of freedom and the concept of transworld depravity. Then, we will sketch our own version of the Free-Will Defence, which maintains that moral evil depends on the misuse of human freedom. However, our argument does not hinge on problematic metaphysical assumptions, but depends only on a certain definition of a free act and a particular interpretation of divine omniscience.
The Job's Dilemma: Fiat justitia, ruat caelum
Abstract. The aim of the paper is to examine the problem of suffering in the Book of Job and the possible solution it offers. For this reason, it is structured as follows: (I) In the first section, we will analyse Job's evidential argument; (II) the second section will delve into the 'friends' and their failed attempt at a retributive theodicy; (III) finally, we shall look into God's argument and try to explain Job's answer in terms of sceptical theism.
Joanna VAN DER VEEN & Leon HORSTEN
Cantorian Infinity and Philosophical Concepts of God
Abstract. It is often alleged that Cantor's views about how the set theoretic universe as a whole should be considered are fundamentally unclear. In this article we argue that Cantor's views on this subject, at least up until around 1896, are relatively clear, coherent, and interesting. We then go on to argue that Cantor's views about the set theoretic universe as a whole have implications for theology that have hitherto not been sufficiently recognised. However, the theological implications in question, at least as articulated here, would not have satisfied Cantor himself.
Generic Theistic Reliabilism
Abstract. In this paper, I present the recently much discussed Value Challenge for Theories of Knowledge and formulate Generic Theistic Reliabilism as a theory, which can answer this challenge, with respect to Theism and the proposition 'God exists'.
The Theistic Argument from Beauty: A Philonian Critique
Abstract. In this paper I consider an understudied form of the design argument which focuses on the beauty of the natural world and which argues, on that basis, that the world requires a divine Artist in order to explain its beauty. Against this view, one might raise a question concerning the beauty of, and in, this divine Artist. What explains the divine beauty? This kind of explanatory regress objection is exactly like that used by Philo in Hume's Dialogues to undercut standard versions of the design argument focused on the orderliness of the world. Here I argue that Philo's explanatory regress objection likewise significantly undercuts versions of the design argument focusing on the beauty of the world.
The Cliffordian Virtue
Abstract. There is a case to be made for the contention that it is a virtue to have a disposition to try to conform to W. K. Clifford's ethics of belief. The arguments are not Clifford's own but new deductive ones. There is also a discussion of some recent criticisms of Clifford. They seldom succeed against Clifford's original position and never succeed against the case for the Cliffordian virtue. It is pointed out that there need be no conflict between religion and Cliffordianism. The virtue approach emphasizes the value of striving over the value of success.