Saturday, February 15, 2014

[PHI 3000] Is Atheism Irrational?

In this interview on the New York Times' The Stone, Alvin Plantinga makes the case for the rationality of theism over atheism. For two points extra credit, pick one of his arguments, analyze it, and evaluate it. Leave your analysis as a comment on this post by 02/18.


  1. Cleopatra Acquaye-ReynoldsFebruary 18, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    Alvin Platinga’s first arugment for theism over atheism explains the theory of fine-tuning.
    Premise 1: Properties of the universe are in perfect balance with each other
    Premise 2: So much so that if it varied even slightly, life, as we are familiar with it would be impossible.
    Conclusion: The universe is fine-tuned, not just for life, but for intelligent life, such as the one we are given.
    This argument is a fallacy. There is no proof leading us to believe that intelligent life would not be able to sustain itself if we were not in these conditions. The only reason it is defined as “perfect” to us is because we live in this structure now and are ignorant of any other type of life.

    1. Cleopatra, this is a very interesting point. When people make the argument from fine-tuning, they usually say something like "If the constants of physics had been slightly different, life as we know it would not have existed." As you point out, however, even if life as we know it would not have existed, maybe _life as we don’t know it_ would. Perhaps there are forms of intelligent life that can exist in a universe that is very different from the one that we inhabit.


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