Saturday, January 13, 2007

Plantinga Reviews Dawkins

The great Notre Dame philosopher Alvin Plantinga has recently released his review of Richard Dawkin's newest book, The God Delusion. Here is an exert from Plantinga's review:

Now despite the fact that this book is mainly philosophy, Dawkins is not a philosopher (he’s a biologist). Even taking this into account, however, much of the philosophy he purveys is at best jejune. You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is (grade inflation aside) many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class. This, combined with the arrogant, smarter-than-thou (‘thou’ being believers in God) tone of the book can be annoying. I shall put irritation aside, however and do my best to take Dawkins’ main argument seriously.

Dawkins' book makes you wonder about all the times we've heard that science should be completely set apart from other disciplines. If we really took this advice and drew such lines dividing the disciplines, then why is Dawkins (a scientist) writing a philosophy book? That aside, the book made many poor arguments and, despite its best-selling status, is only worth reading to understand Dawkins' thought process.

As for Alvin Plantinga, he is highly regarded as one of the top philosophers history has even seen. His areas of focus are epistemology and philosophy of religion and it has been said of him that he is the greatest philosopher of religion since Gottfried Leibniz and possibly even since Thomas Aquinas.


Cody said...

Odd, your link just goes to another page which links to a Norwegian url word document. I see no mention of this review elsewhere on Google. Did Plantinga mean to release it somewhere else at some later time, perhaps?

Also, I was going to take issue with a few points in the article, but since you mentioned that he's the greatest philosopher of religion since Gottfried Leibniz and possibly even since Thomas Aquinas, well, do pardon me if I feel somewhat intimidated.



Tony F said...

Dear Samuel, I'm afraid that your website is absolute rubbish... Alvin who? The greatest what? Intelligent Design theory is just plain stupid. Your religiosity is revealed in every sentence you write. Give up.

Jim Sherwood said...

Plantinga runs rings around Dawkins, although that is not hard to do.

Leon Brooks said...

It's interesting to see someone with a bit of literary talent taking down Dawkins, who seems to have the attitude that because his doctrine is correct, details like making sense can be conveniently overlooked.

All of his writings seem to have fallen into the category "rant," which makes them wearisome & uneducational (except in the sense of "how not to do it"), which leads people to a very simple conclusion: if this ranting twit is for one side, the other side probably makes sense.

This conclusion arrives regardless of whether Dawkins' victims do actually make sense or not; in other words, Dawkins is being his own worst enemy. It's intersting to see Plantinga carefully pointing this out.