28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Plantinga at the top of his game,
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This review is from: Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (Hardcover)
This book ties together several areas that Plantinga has been writing on and doing lectures on college campuses over the past several years. He goes methodically through the current discussions on quantum mechanics and evolution and discusses the relevance each has for naturalism and theism. The book progresses towards Plantinga's conclusion that naturalism is in conflict with science where he further develops his evolutionary argument against naturalism. The book contains the latest developments in science and many of the footnotes will reveal that the articles and books cited are current within the last decade (for instance, Robin Collins recent formulation for the fine tuning argument in the Blackwell companion to Natural Theology).
What I appreciate most about the book is Plantinga's ability to separate what he believes are the facts from what would make the best argument. He is rather candid in his assessment of probability theory concerning the various fine tuning arguments that may surprise or disappoint some theistic readers but this is a major strength of the book; Plantinga puts forth what he believes are the limits of some of the theistic arguments which makes the book all the more rigorous in its approach. Even for those that disagree, Plantinga's careful approach should provide the reader with ample material to assess their position. In other words, Plantinga does not seek to automatically stack the deck in his favor.
Lastly, a great feature of the book is the separated fonts throughout the books' arguments; the primary material is presented in one font and the more advanced philosophical discussions are in another font so that the reader can decide whether they want to skip ahead or not, thereby easily benefiting readers of various philosophical or scientific levels. I wish more books like this would employ this feature to reach a wider audience. The book is generally easily understood and avoids getting bogged down except for the few times where more concentrated philosophy (mainly in the latter part of the book in the section on the evolutionary argument against naturalism) is used.
Regardless of a person's position on these issues, the book is, in my opinion worthy of 5 stars for it's careful research, well thought out structure, clarity, how it engages the reader, and the level of sophistication from a top-tier philosopher. Even Theists who already generally agree with Plantinga may be challenged by his conclusions on how to approach the fine tuning arguments and intelligent design in biology. There are few negative things to say about this book, which covers a lot of ground and yet can be finished in a reasonably short period of time.