Posted by: gcarkner | September 15, 2012

Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies.

Alvin PlantingaWhere the Conflict Really Lies. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Every thinking Christian needs this book. Many other university academics should read it as well. Quite simply because Alvin Plantinga does know exactly where the most basic conflicts between our  secular society and  the world of religious faith lie. More innovatively, he argues that there is deep concord between science and theistic belief in spite of the common assumption of conflict. Moreover, the apparent concord between science and naturalism is mistaken.

The argument in a nutshell is that there is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and theistic religion and superficial concord but deep conflict between science and naturalism.

Plantinga takes two chapters to dispose of the thin arguments of Dawkins, Dennett and “other soloists in the choir of voices” claiming incompatibility between theistic belief and current evolutionary theory.

In the next two chapters he deals with divine action in the world: both the old and the new picture. He then examines evolutionary psychology in the light of Scriptural scholarship and asks the question “Where are the defeaters?” and concludes that there are none.

The next two chapters on the fine tuning of the universe and the design discourse provide a refreshing review of that literature and conclude that the evidence points to consistency with theistic belief but no proof either.

The final two chapters develop the most original part of his discussion: (a) Christian theism and the deep roots of science and (b) the evolutionary argument against naturalism..

Plantinga’s final two sentences are worth quoting: “Given that naturalism is at least a quasi-religion, there is indeed a science/religion conflict all right but it is not between science and theistic religion: it is between science and naturalism. That’s where the conflict really lies.”

This is an absorbing and challenging discussion which changes the defensive posture of Christian apologetics into an positive new perspective.

Olav Slaymaker, Professor Emeritus Geography UBC

September 15, 2012. UBC Graduate Students and Faculty are welcome to join a reading group on this book starting this fall.

Contact for details:

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