Alvin Plantinga on the science-religion conflict

Dr. Alvin Plantinga is currently the William H. Jellema Chair of Philosophy at Calvin College, and was until his retirement in 2010 the John A. O’Brien Chair of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is a past president of the American Philosophical Association and the Society of Christian Philosophers, a Guggenheim fellow, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been awarded several prestigious lectureships, including two Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen, the Wilde Lectures at Oxford University, and the Suarez Lecture at Fordham University. His most recent book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (2011) was just published with Oxford University Press.

In the video below, Plantinga explores these questions: What is the relationship between Christian belief and modern science? Is the modern theory of evolution compatible or incompatible with theism? Should we take it at face that a naturalistic worldview is compatible with the theory of evolution? Or is it possible that theistic religion and science have greater compatibility than naturalism and science?

Plantinga at Biola University (November 2011).



2 thoughts on “Alvin Plantinga on the science-religion conflict

  1. Plantinga’s book is primarily directed to atheists (especially naturalists), but has lessons for apologetics as well. Most religious people respect science and all use its findings. Many scientists are religious, some very much so. Both science and religion, however, have limitations which should be mutually respected.

    In my free ebook on comparative mysticism, “the greatest achievement in life,” is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is the center of all religion.”

    E=mc², Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Love, Grace, Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (f(x) raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.

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