In Where the Conflict Really Lies, Alvin Plantinga maintains that any apparent conflict between science and classical Christian theism is superficial at best, and that the real conflict lies between science and the "quasi-religion" of naturalism. In fact, because there is evidence of biological and cosmological "fine-tuning," he claims, science may even provide evidence that God exists. In this review Richard M. Smith critiques what Plantinga has to say about three main topics: design arguments that purport to show a deep concord between science and theism, scientific challenges to theism from biological evolution and divine action in the world, and Plantinga's frontal assault on naturalism—that thinking would be impossible and cognition would be unreliable if naturalism were true.
Published on the Secular Web
Richard Smith had been a lifelong Christian until he underwent an unexpected deconversion in 2011 at the age of 54. "From the Outside" explains his reasoning. As one of our reviewers commented: "Comprehensive in its coverage, has emotional impact, and is meaningful in its intent. Welcome to the sane world of atheism."
As part of my coming out as an atheist, the pastor at my church challenged me to review the work of believer scientists, to look at how they had found Christianity compatible with their scientific work. What follows is my best shot, as a layman, at a difficult subject, based on careful thought and reflection. Its value, if any, is in showing how some well-known scientist-believers (John Polkinghorne, William Pollard, and Francis Collins) make the compatibility arguments in ways they would never accept in their scientific day jobs, and end up tangled up in, or in downright conflict with, the methods of science and the claims of theism.