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Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? (Point/Counterpoint)

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  78 ratings  ·  16 reviews
“Given the stature of its two protagonists, this book will become something of an instant classic, occupying a unique and special place in the literature on this topic, and enjoying wide and long-lasting readership and usefulness as a supplementary text.”
— Gary Rosenkrantz, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

“This engaging little book treats key issues of chance and...more
Paperback, 82 pages
Published September 10th 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Leo Horovitz
This has to be one of the most frustrating texts I have read in a long time! I've never read anything by Plantinga before, but my thoughts of him after reading this are not very high... Dennett is again and again clearly and carefully laying out the obvious facts of the matter without directly arguing against the existence of god, which would be besides the point in this debate, or rather, any strong arguments against god's existence would render the debate meaningless since religious beliefs me...more
Lance R. Goebel
Relatively interesting read when it comes to noting the underlying differences in assumption between rigorous, scholarly members of both the theist and atheistic camps.

Dennett says believing that God directed evolution is just as silly as believing Superman was sent to the Earth hundreds of millions of years ago in order to engineer human life.

Plantinga says that the Superman idea is silly based on the limitations of Superman’s abilities and that the only way to reconcile this is to essentially...more
Paul
As with most science-faith debates, this one eventually devolves into the two representatives talking past each other. In this case, each seems unable to grasp the third way between their arguments. Plantinga has made the unfortunate choice to jump into the "irreducible complexity" boat with Behe and other Intelligent Designers, thus claiming that evolution could not have been an unguided process – as a theist, Plantinga clearly opposes ontological naturalism, which can't be proven one way or an...more
Danny
A very brief and ultimately frustrating book (77 pages). Denett's response's to Plantinga's essays reduce to ridicule of theism and hand waving with respect to EAAN .
Mike Dagle
An extension of their 2009 American Philosophical Association debate there isn't much that's new here if you're familiar with the science/religion work of Plantinga and Dennett, but the debate format does bring out some interesting discussions. I think Plantinga does a much better job of sticking to the arguments (that's as much a statement about his style as anything else) but Dennett does an admirable job of pushing whether or not the comparability that Plantinga argues for is trivial.

Dennett...more
Deniz Cem Önduygu
Two strands of discussion going on: one in which Plantinga, just like almost every theist thinker, repeatedly fails to see that naturalism is the null hypothesis (as Dennett explicitly states on p49), and one where he fails, despite Dennett's efforts, to acknowledge why the first premise of his "evolutionary argument against naturalism" is an invalid one.

The one thing that I took away from the book is a refreshed surprise at how confused people can get when trying to reconcile reason (science, l...more
Tomoyasu Nakamura
Before I began to read this book, I had thought that a debater, even if he was studying theology, could have minimum knowledge about science and logic which were necessary for a discussion like the theme "science and Religion."This booklet is only 77 pages. Usually I read such a book within a few days. I had to read Prof. Plantinga's part several times, because his "opinion" is so complicated or vacant to understand. Therefore I have to spend more than a week. Now I feel I lost money and time. P...more
Troy
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John Christmann
An interesting exchange between Dan Dennett and Alvin Plantinga. A lot of the time they seemed to be talking past each other (especially with regard to the definition of naturalism). Also, as the essays progressed, civility began to slowly break down and pettiness began to take hold of these two distinguished academics. It's all very amusing.
Darren
The format was excellent, giving both sides space to lay out the debate. I wish the atheist had taken more time with his final response; I thought it felt a bit rushed. Well worth reading. I especially liked Plantinga's last chapter, and his insistence that evolution doesn't automatically mean naturalism.
Anastasia Geffe
This extended debate bring up a few interesting and up to date approaches to this question, but sadly devolves into a published bitch fight between these two respected philosophers. It is a quick read though and, thanks to the fight, occasionally funny.
Brian
Deep epistemology. Definitely better in a book form than on a tape due to some of the technical language that requires more than a teaspoon of brains to understand. Like many other atheists, Dennet does not understand Plantinga's arguments.
edenstephen
We have the original conference audio of the papers that comprise this book.
Andrew
Ugh, I could just hear these two bickering in my head.
Moses Operandi
Dense and, on Dennett's side, petty. Not for the layman.
Samuel Garcia
Plantinga is the obvious winner.
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8131960
"Daniel Clement Dennett (born March 28, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a prominent American philosopher whose research centers on philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He is currently the co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies and the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philoso...more
More about Daniel C. Dennett...
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon Consciousness Explained The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul Freedom Evolves

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