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ISBN: 9780199812097

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Where the Conflict Really Lies

Science, Religion, and Naturalism

Alvin Plantinga


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.

Selling point: A major statement by a pre-eminent analytic philosopher

Selling point: Examines arguments by Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Philip Kitcher

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

Alvin Plantinga , Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, United States

Alvin Plantinga is O'Brien Professor of Philosophy, at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of: Essays on the Metaphysics of Modality, The Nature of Necessity, Warrant and Proper Function, Warrant: The Current Debate, Warranted Christian Belief, and Science and Religion: Are they Compatible? (with Dan Dennett).

"His thesis is both controversial and straightforward...His arguments are clear, forceful, and often compelling... The result is a feisty and formidable work, one that deserves a broad reception and careful evaluation." --Trinity Journal

"Where the Conflict Really Lies is an ambitious volume.... A careful reading repays the reader with insights developed by one of the sharpest minds in the conversation."--Karl W. Giberson, The Christian Century

"Recommended for readers seeking a rigorous philosophical survey of complex religious thought. " --Publisher's Weekly Religion Bookline

"It's astonishing that so many scientists, philosophers, and theologians think there is a serious conflict between science and theistic religion. In this superb book, the world's leading philosopher of religion explains, with characteristic wit and perceptiveness, why none of the main reasons for thinking there is such a conflict are even remotely successful." --Mike Bergmann, Purdue University

"Argues that these is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and theistic religion, but that there is superficial concord and deep conflict between science and naturalism."--The Chronicle Review

"It is never philosophically superficial...I expect the book to generate considerable secondary literature."--Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews