Via Jerry Coyne I learn of some Remarkably stupid remarks by a sophisticated theologian. In the New York Times this week is an article about philosopher Alvin Plantinga, headlined Philosopher Sticks Up for God. Well maybe he does, but not with logic. Get a load of this reason why we should believe in god:
Mr. Plantinga readily admits that he has no proof that God exists. But he also thinks that doesn’t matter. Belief in God, he argues, is what philosophers call a basic belief: It is no more in need of proof than the belief that the past exists, or that other people have minds, or that one plus one equals two.
“You really can’t sensibly claim theistic belief is irrational without showing it isn’t true,” Mr. Plantinga said. And that, he argues, is simply beyond what science can do.
Brilliant. Just declare the laws of logic to be completely backward, and… er well that’s it really. If you can’t prove god doesn’t exist, then he does. To which I reply, well Mr. Plantinga, when are you going to repay the $1,000 I loaned you? What, you say, I never loaned you the money? Well, can you prove I didn’t? Because by your logic, if you can’t prove I didn’t, then I did. And I want my $1,000.
You have to marvel at the workings of the religious mind. So certain that god exists that you can just declare it true. That’s what philosophers do, apparently.
He’s no better in his criticisms of Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett either:
Mr. Dawkins? “Dancing on the lunatic fringe,” Mr. Plantinga declares. Mr. Dennett? A reverse fundamentalist who proceeds by “inane ridicule and burlesque” rather than by careful philosophical argument.
Proceeds by “inane ridicule and burlesque”? You mean like saying your opponent is “dancing on the lunatic fringe”? Do you ever think about any of the things you say, Mr. Plantinga? Serious question.
The article ends with:
“To call a philosopher irrational, those are fighting words,” he said. “Being rational is a philosopher’s aim.
Then you failed.