Thursday, April 5, 2012

Random means Random!

When I first saw the title of Alvin Plantinga's new book, Where the Conflict Really Lies, I immediately wanted to buy and read it, especially after reading the description at

"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."

I have not read the book, but apparently much of it is helpful in reconciling faith and science.  But as Jay Richards of the pro intelligent design, Discovery Institute points out, perhaps he is trying too hard.  Richards claims that Plantinga uses a non-standard definition of the word "random" which allows the idea that God could intervene in the process of evolution, thus imputing purpose and meaning - something which neither Darwin nor current leading evolutionists intend to allow.  In his review, Richards says that at times this non-standard definition is used when it is politically useful, as in appeasing a school board member, but when it comes to textbooks and teaching in the classroom, philosophical naturalism, denying God any place in the process of evolution, is the standard procedure.

In short, Plantinga is defending theistic evolution, a flawed idea I've written much about in my blog.

You may read Jay Richard's review here.

Let's not fool ourselves.  Darwin and his followers do not intend to give God any role in the creation.  Today, secular historical scientists (those who try to explain how the world and humanity came to be) start by assuming He does not exist, promote theories explaining as much as possible without Him, and then say that Christians are "unscientific" if we doubt their conclusions.  What a farce!

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