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Where the Conflict Really Lies

Science, Religion, and Naturalism

Alvin Plantinga (University of Notre Dame)



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Oxford University Press
15 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.
By:   Alvin Plantinga (University of Notre Dame)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 213mm,  Width: 148mm,  Spine: 30mm
Weight:   495g
ISBN:   9780199812097
ISBN 10:   0199812098
Pages:   376
Publication Date:   15 December 2011
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
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

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

Plantinga is at his most persuasive when exhibiting defeats in the naturalist world-view. Anthony Kenny, Times Literary Supplement 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 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

  • Winner of Christianity Today Book Award (Apologetics/Evangelism) 2013

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