Blogging the EPS conference 1

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.  


8 Responses to Blogging the EPS conference 1

  1. Justin says:

    I watched several lectures by Plantinga and he is really intellectually entertaining to hear.

    I’ve seen a lecture on you tube on this subject by Plantinga and it makes sense. Atheists dismiss religion as an errant by product of evolution, but somehow the belief in evolution itself is not an errant byproduct of evolution. Somehow they exempt their views from their own criticisms. Interesting.

  2. Bettawrekonize says:

    No offense, but you guys are boring. Everything you guys are discussing has been discussed ad nausea since before I was even born. Not saying I disagree with Jack or anything, just that these are prehistoric discussions that have been around forever and get boring after a while.

  3. jackhudson says:

    This argument was first proposed in 1993; I always took you for at least 18 Betta?

  4. Bettawrekonize says:

    Ok, maybe it was proposed long after I was born. Sorry. Still, I find it hard to believe that theologians haven’t thought of this long before I was born.

  5. Bettawrekonize says:

    (well, not long after I was born actually, I’m not old yet)

  6. jackhudson says:

    Actually, it is was of the rare new arguments concerning critiquing naturalism in philosophy – it is just one of the ways Alvin Plantinga successfully made inroads in the defense of theism and criticism of naturalism in philosophy. He is in many ways a remarkable intellect.

  7. Plantinga’s lecture, as well as all the EPS conference MP3s are now available online at the EPS Web site. Look for the 2010 talks here:

  8. jackhudson says:

    Thanks Lenny – I was hoping those would be available soon. Now I can catch up on the ones I missed while I was there!

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