Book

Where the Conflict Really Lies

Alvin Plantinga

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199812097
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199928590 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812097.001.0001
Where the Conflict Really Lies

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This book is a long-awaited major statement by a pre-eminent analytic philosopher, 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. This book's author, as a top philosopher but also a proponent of the rationality of religious belief, has a unique contribution to make. The theme of 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. The book 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. The book 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 the text uses the notion of biological and cosmological “fine-tuning” in support of this idea. The book 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.

Keywords: science and religion; rationality of religious belief; evolution; evolutionary psychology; analysis of scripture; Dan Dennett; Richard Dawkins; Philip Kitcher; theistic belief

Book.  336 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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Table of Contents

Evolution and Christian Belief (1) in Where the Conflict Really Lies

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Evolution and Christian Belief (2) in Where the Conflict Really Lies

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Divine Action in the World: The Old Picture in Where the Conflict Really Lies

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The New Picture in Where the Conflict Really Lies

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Defeaters? in Where the Conflict Really Lies

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Fine-Tuning in Where the Conflict Really Lies

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Design Discourse in Where the Conflict Really Lies

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The Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism in Where the Conflict Really Lies

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