Thursday, January 18, 2007

Plantinga on Dawkins

Plantinga reviews Dawkins

HT: Michael Sudduth

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. This review was very helpful.

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  2. I agree. There are some responses to Plantinga online by Clayton Littlejohn and a brief comment by Brian Weatherson, respectively:

    http://claytonlittlejohn.blogspot.com/2007/01/god-delusion.html

    http://tar.weatherson.org/2007/01/15/some-links-5/

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  3. hostus twinkius1/18/2007 11:28 PM

    Methinks Dawkins is a mental midget with a big mouth. Plantinga disassembles this dwarf...

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  4. I found Plantinga's piece rather disappointing as I was expecting more from a heavy-hitter like him. Instead, his "critique" reads like a series of plaintive innuendos which don't add up to much of anything but an over-anxious opinion piece.

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  5. Because Plantinga has gone into excruciating detail on many of these issues in the past, I think he feels free to merely allude to those arguments rather than recapitulate the whole argument all over again.

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  6. I think that's right, Steve. A friend of mine, Andrew Bailey, is working with Plantinga and will ask him on Monday whether that review really is Plantinga's. I also hope that Plantinga will make a brief comment on either Brian or Clayton's blogs. He has posted on Brian's page before.

    Btw. While some of Plantinga's responses to Dawkins are quick, presumably for the reason Steve points out, it also seems to me that many of the responses to Plantinga are far too quick. For instance, Brian Weatherson notes that Plantinga has confused one kind of probability (metaphysical?) with epistemic probability. In other publications, Plantinga has been really clear on distinguishing kinds of probability and I think Brian's comment is a little silly trying to remind Plantinga what epistemic probability is. As for Clayton's responses, though he points out some weaknesses, his own response shares weaknesses. For instance, he responds to Plantinga's evolutionary argument in two paragraphs. The bulk of his response is to argue that Plantinga's argument is tu quoque. His claim is that if theism is true, it is not clear that our faculties would work any better. Why not? Because God allows lots of evils to occur. At this point, I would just direct Clayton to the edited book on the topic, noting that TKO's in philosophy do not come nearly so easily. But hey, he's a young ambitious philosopher not nearly has pessimistic about his intellectual projects than, say, Peter van Inwagen, who regards all substantive philosophical arguments as failures.

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  7. Does van Inwagen have a substantive philosophical argument for that conclusion or is it just a hunch on his part? :)

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  8. I would say it is an argument and a hunch about what some idealized audience would say. I blogged about it in October over at Blogitations and John Fischer posted something recently over at the Garden of Forking Paths. There is an extended discussion of it there.

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