Oct 302006
 

NOTE: This is a re-post from an earlier OP that was lost due to the recent crash of the host server for our blog. Since I didn’t keep a copy, this is a close reconstruction from memory as to what I originally wrote and the point I wanted to make. I believe Teleologist still has the orginal comments to this OP and will add them back in.
Donald M

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Richard Dawkins is on a crusade to destroy religion and any concepts of God. At least, that’s the message of his newest book, The God Delusion. Dawkins, being the village atheist from Oxford that he is, just can’t help being postively euphoric over the wonders of science and the ability of reason to explain, well, everything. Everything, that is, except the premise itself. (Oops!!!)

In Dawkins worldview everything, absolutely everything, is explanable as the end result of the blind, purposeless forces of matter and energy evolving and acting over eons of time through chance and necessity or their combination. Of course, taken to its logical conclusion, this means that we humans also arrived on the scene as a result of those same processes, and further that the cognative faculties we posses also arrived by that route. But surely there is a problem here for Dawkins and his like-minded atheistic philosophical naturalists.

Philosopher Alvin Plantinga of the University of Notre Dame (go Irish!!!), posits what seems to be an insurmountable challenge to this naturalistic premise. In a lecture called An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism Plantinga basically argues that philosophical naturalism coupled with evolution presents a real dilemma for the naturalist. Why? Because if we and our cognative faculties really are the end result of the aforementioned blind, purposeless forces, then we have no good reason to think that those faculties have as one of their primary functions the formation of true belief, including the belief that naturalism (or atheism) is true. At best this means that the Darwinian naturalist ought to be agnostic towards any belief she holds as true; at worst it means that she ought to reject the premise outright. Either way,the argument is in trouble.

I’d love to see a live debate between Dawkins and Plantinga on this very question!!

  3 Responses to “Can Dawkins Survive Plantinga”

  1. Nor did I see how, on a materialist basis, knowledge or thought was possible. The light which reaches my eyes causes nervous impulses in about half-a-million fibres running to my brain, and there gives rise to sensation. But how can the sensation be anything like a reality composed of atoms! And, even if it is so, what guarantee have I that my thoughts are logical! They depend on physical and chemical processes going on in my brain, and doubtless obey physical and chemical laws, if materialism is true. So I was compelled, rather reluctantly, to fall back on some kind of idealistic explanation, according to which mind (or something like mind) was prior to matter, and what we call matter was really of the nature of mind, or at least of sensation.

    From evolutionist JBS Haldane: Why I am a Materialist

  2. I’ve always thought that Plantinga is brilliant. What’s interesting is that Plantinga gave this talk back in 1994, twelve years ago. It just shows that philosophy should be left to the professionals or at least out of the hands of the mentally deranged, like Dawkins. It is like putting matches in the hands of a child.

    Atheists like Dawkins and his clone PZ Myers woefully ignorant and lack any modicum of logic when it comes to their religious fixation. They are like The Stillborn Atheist. To borrow a phrase from Nicholson from A Few Good Men, Dawkins don’t want the truth because he can’t handle the truth. Instead Dawkins and Myers would prefer to commit rational suicide.

    P.S. Thanks for the link. There are some other good speakers on there.

  3. It just shows that philosophy should be left to the professionals or at least out of the hands of the mentally deranged, like Dawkins. It is like putting matches in the hands of a child.

    I’ve thought of introducing some new figures of speech:
    “Faster than Richard Dawkins can make an illogical argument” or
    “As easy as refuting Richard Dawkins”

    Whaddya think?

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