Richards and Plantinga

Over at the DI’s blog “News and Views”, Professor Alvin Plantinga engages with Jay Richard’s commentary on Plantinga’s book, Where the COnflict Really Lies. In the book, Plantinga investigates the relationship and compatibility between modern science and religious beliefs. For the content of Plantinga’s post, head over to the DI site to read it. I just want to make a brief note on how well Plantinga exercises intellectual methods that are all too often missing from the public debates about evolution and intelligent design, namely, the practice of carefully defining and distinguishing. It often happens in this debate that two people who hold similar opinions express them in precisely opposite terms. One may say, “I accept evolution” and mean by it that he has no problem with the idea of organic descent and common ancestry, although he rejects the philosophical nihilism that insists that evolution is truly “unguided.” Another may say, “I  reject evolution”, and mean by it that while he has no problem with descent, he rejects the Darwinian mechanism of change. The nature of each man’s opinion and the points of real debate are, in this case, obscured by broad sweeping terms that carry different baggage for different people. The problem becomes even more severe when such lack of distinguishing and definition is combined with the assumption of motives: as when any and all forms of evolution are rejected or accepted, depending on your preference, because of shoddy arguments claiming that evolution supports atheism.  The way forward, for those truly interested in honest investigation of truth, lies in the old Scholastic maxim: Always distinguish.

3 comments on “Richards and Plantinga

  1. charles allan says:

    The trouble with the acceptance or non denial of the evolutionary process (as opposed to adaptation of DNA already created)is the resurrection which is patently a non evolutionary miracle – Jesus came back to eat with the disciples after going to the Father plus Thomas put his fingers on his flesh. So why would God need to use evolution eg to create Adam from dust.

    • Charles, as the post says, distinguish. The question of whether God needed evolution is a separate question from whether or not He used evolution. Of course God did not need evolution, but that doesn’t mean He didn’t use it. In fact, as the Church teaches, God did not need to create anything at all in the first place, and yet He did…

  2. charles allan says:

    Michael – lets say the Ressurection proves that God did not need evolution.
    We are then left with the question – did God use evolution ?
    Since the bible does not mention that creatures were evolved over long time periods then I accept that evolution was not used by God.