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

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  136 Ratings  ·  21 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
Paperback, 82 pages
Published September 10th 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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 .
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
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Although I have known of him for some time, this was my first encounter with the writings and ideas of Alvin Plantinga. I could not help but notice he tries to validate his assumed conclusions with formal logic that really only amounts to GIGO--garbage in/garbage out. I thought it was interesting that Dennett conceded that religion and science are compatible, but realize the point he was driving at is that science works with or without the assumption of religion. Ultimately I found Dennett to be ...more
Mike Dagle
Oct 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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.

Grasped in Thought
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Oct 02, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being an atheist and naturalist, it's not easy to read this book. For all its shortcomings on both sides, one thing is sure:

Plantinga wiped the floor with Dennett.

Fortunately this does not mean he was right, and I'm pretty sure he wasn't, but that doesn't change a thing. Dennett, despite his patronizing attitude, has no argument against Plantinga, although, as other reviewers pointed out, Plantinga's arguments are weak. Still, Dennett does not even attempt to refute them.

The book is disappointin
Joshua Mingo
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Plantinga ....always so good
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Lance R. Goebel
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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
Tomoyasu Nakamura
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Nick Spencer
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
Short, and thin. Dennett is patronising and supercilious; Plantinga is fixed on how evolution needs to be guided to get to us and seems to think this is an inevitable theistic position. Not very satisfactory either way. More heat than light.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Plantinga makes a strong case with his evolutionary argument against naturalism. Dennett responds by creating analogies in a mostly fruitless attempt to shield his belief system from Plantinga's accusation.
Anastasia Geffe
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard Smith
Aug 11, 2014 rated it liked it
My introduction to the evolutionary argument against naturalism. Not a fantastic debate, but there's some good stuff here.
We have the original conference audio of the papers that comprise this book.
Jan 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, philosophy
Ugh, I could just hear these two bickering in my head.
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Jul 30, 2013
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howl of minerva
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Dec 31, 2013
Thaddeus Schickling
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Dec 30, 2014
Maziar Noei
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Sep 02, 2013
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Jun 22, 2013
Colin Lok
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Jul 16, 2016
Mordecai Americus
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Apr 04, 2015
Mitch Stokes
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Mar 17, 2012
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Apr 28, 2014
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Daniel Clement Dennett III is a prominent philosopher whose research centers on philosophy of mind, science, and biology, particularly as they relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He is the co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies and the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. Dennett is a noted atheist, avid sailor, and advocate of the Brights move ...more
More about Daniel C. Dennett...

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