Thursday, December 15, 2011

Never The Twain Shall Meet . . .

These recent threads at the Madville Times illustrate that the the atheist vs believer conflict shows little sign of abating.  The local comments echo the comments of noted atheist Richard Dawkins and religious philosopher Alvin Plantaga
Mr. Plantinga and Mr. Dennett do agree about one thing: Religion and science can’t just call a truce and retreat back into what the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould called “non-overlapping magisteria,” with science laying claim to the empirical world, while leaving questions of ultimate meaning to religion. Religion, like science, makes claims about the truth, Mr. Plantinga insists, and theists need to stick up for the reasonableness of those claims, especially if they are philosophers.
Plantinga, at least as he is portrayed in the NYT profile, takes positions that both sides in the local dust up might find a bit off-putting.

Plantinga will anger the local atheists when he asserts,
The so-called New Atheists may claim the mantle of reason, not to mention a much wider audience, thanks to best sellers like Mr. Dawkins’s fire-breathing polemic, “The God Delusion.” But while Mr. Plantinga may favor the highly abstruse style of analytic philosophy, to him the truth of the matter is crystal clear.
Theism, with its vision of an orderly universe superintended by a God who created rational-minded creatures in his own image, “is vastly more hospitable to science than naturalism,” with its random process of natural selection, he writes. “Indeed, it is theism, not naturalism, that deserves to be called ‘the scientific worldview.’” 
On the other hand, some of the more vociferous believers might take umbrage at the following: 
Mr. Plantinga says he accepts the scientific theory of evolution, as all Christians should. Mr. Dennett and his fellow atheists, he argues, are the ones who are misreading Darwin. Their belief that evolution rules out the existence of God — including a God who purposely created human beings through a process of guided evolution — is not a scientific claim, he writes, but “a metaphysical or theological addition.”
I suppose that one can hypothesize the fact that Plantinga will probably anger both sides of the contentious  debate means that he's stumbling close to a truth.

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