First up to speak last night was Dr. Alvin Plantinga – he is a bit of a rock star here, which is amazing considering he is a 78 yr. Old philosopher.
Dr. Plantinga is incredibly credentialed; taught at Yale and Notre Dame, former President of the American Philosophical Association and widely published, he is a preeminent scholar.
The argument he presented, one which I had heard before concerns the fact that naturalism is a defeater for a belief in evolution. I have never met an atheist who could effectively counter this argument once they understand it. Basically it demonstrates that holding a naturalistic view of our origins and believing we are evolved creatures makes the likelihood our cognitive abilities are reliable very low. This can actually be demonstrated formulaically:
P(R/N&E) – P being probability, R being reliability of our cognitive abilities, N&E being the acceptance of both naturalism and evolutions true.
The reason for this is that a belief needn’t be true to promote behaviors that enhance survival – thus there is no inherent reason for evolution alone to have conferred highly reliable belief forming abilities as part of our cognitive equipment. So a a belief in naturalism actual undermines a belief in evolution. Heady stuff, and that was the opening session. 🙂
I will try to put up more later.