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Editorial Reviews

Review

This collection of fourteen essays provides a focused challenge to Hume's legacy in natural theology. Given the renewed interest in questions raised for Christian thought by science, and the proliferation of efforts among theologians to either defend or deny explanatory systems like intelligent design, this philosophic endeavor is an important one. (Charlene P. E. Burns, Teaching Theology and Religion, September 2008)

About the Author

James F. Sennett (M.Div. in Old Testament, Lincoln Christian Seminary; Ph.D. in philosophy, University of Nebraska) has taught at Lincoln Christian College and Seminary, Northwestern College, Pacific Lutheran University, Palm Beach Atlantic College, and McNeese State University. He is author of Modality, Probability, and Rationality: A Critical Examination of Alvin Plantinga's Philosophy. And he is editor of The Analytic Theist: An Alvin Plantinga Reader. His articles have appeared in such professional journals as Philosophia Christi, Faith and Philosophy, Journal of Philosophical Review, Cross Currents, Religious Studies and International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.

Douglas R. Groothuis (PhD, Philosophy, University of Oregon) is professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary in Denver, Colorado. He has also been a visiting professor or adjunct faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary (Colorado Springs extension), Metropolitan State College of Denver, Westminster Theological Seminary (California campus), University of Oregon, New College Berkeley and Seattle Pacific University. His articles have been published in professional journals such as Religious Studies, Sophia, Theory and Research in Education, Philosophia Christi, Themelios, Think: A Journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, Christian Scholar's Review, Inquiry and Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. He has written several books, including Truth Decay, In Defense of Natural Theology (coeditor), Unmasking the New Age, Jesus in an Age of Controversy, Deceived by the Light, The Soul in Cyberspace, and, in the Wadsworth Philosophers Series, On Pascal and On Jesus.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (November 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830827676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830827671
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment edited by James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis offers a collection of arguments from prominent theist scholars who offer a critique of Hume's reasoning against natural theology. This piece provides a comprehensive, thorough critique of David Hume's arguments against natural theology; except for chapter three, which offers a pro-Humean stance and chapter two, which outlines the most important sections of Hume that relate to natural theology. Part one explains Hume's thought and begins a critique offered by Keith Yandell and James F. Sennett. Part two offers nine arguments in favor of natural theology. Some of which directly address Hume's objections, while others present indirect, yet related arguments against Humean thought. Chapter three by, Todd Furman presents the lone pro-Hume account and leaves the reader to decide whether the arguments presented in part two save natural theology from Hume's critique.

In outline, after introductory remarks, chapter two by Hume scholar, Terence Penelhum presents Hume's ideas that relate to natural theology, followed by chapter three, which offers a pro-Hume stance. The Humean critique begins with chapter four "On Meaning, Verification and Natural Theology" by, Keith Yandell. In this chapter, Yandell successfully establishes the most significant problems with Hume's objections to natural theology given the self-refuting nature of verification empiricism and concept empiricism, the problem of other minds, and the problem of psychological states. As for the Ontological Argument (OA), Hume offers the following objection: "whatever we can conceive the existence of, we can conceive the nonexistence of.
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By Nolan on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
In Defense of Natural Theology seeks to respond to David Hume's still popular criticisms of natural theology, while at the same time sketching a positive case for theism.

Part one, which consists of 5 chapters, is primarily descriptive, and even includes a chapter in support of Hume's arguments. Part two, consisting of the remaining 9 chapters, navigates through Hume's thoughts on a variety of proofs of God (cosmological, teleological, moral, consciousness).

The book certainly succeeds in responding to and criticizing some aspect's of Hume's philosophy. For example, Hume's apparent support of positivism's verification principle is correctly shown to be self refuting. Unfortunately, many of the responses fall short, leaving the cumulative case for theism unsubstantiated. Douglas Groothuis, for example, struggles painfully to force omnipotence and omniscience into a finite act of creation ex nihilo. Paul Copan argues against Hume's views on morality, but even if he is successful in those arguments, he fails to coherently show how God is a reasonable explanation, not addressing the many serious objections to a God based morality. J.P Moreland spends nearly his entire chapter attacking the coherence of naturalistic explanations of consciousness, while doing nothing to show how supernatural explanations can possibly be successful, constituting an argument from ignorance. Upon close examination of each chapter of the book, similar flaws of over reaching the evidence or creating false dichotomies consistently arise.

Overall, In Defense of Natural Theology provides a reasonable description and response to many Humean arguments, but it may be overly ambitious, ultimately failing to provide a successful case for theism.
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By Al Motter on February 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The item was delivered promptly. I have not completed my study of the book, however, what I have read so far has made the purchase wortwhile.
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Excellent work, goes into principles underlying the arguments- very detailed. Highly reccommend for those who have some knowledge of theistic proofs under their belt. If you want a thorough defense of theistic proofs, and discussions of the most formidable objections to those proofs- especially by Humeans, this is the work for you.
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