Dennett Debating Plantinga At The 2009 Central APA

This morning PZ is drooling over the book Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? (Point/Counterpoint) because it features a debate between Alvin Plantinga and Daniel Dennett, and because he is seriously jonesing to see Plantinga get pwned.

Well, thanks to YouTube, one can hear it instead! Below is an audio recording of their debate at the 2009 American Philosophical Association Central Division conference which laid out the arguments that they then adapted for the book.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • philosophickle

    I think I would much rather hear it than read the ridiculous circle-jerking of Myers and Coyne, et al. Thanks for the link.

  • AgeOfReasonXXI

    well, one can also can be forgiven for bursting into laughter when a person who believes in immaterial souls, people rising from the dead, uneducated carpenters walking on water, etc, or suggesting that the natural “evils” may be due to demons, has the balls to say that Dawkins is “dancing on the lunatic fringe”!
    If that ignorant moron, and a “pretentious clown” (to quote P.Z. on Plantinga) is really the most prominent Christian philosopher, Christianity is worse off than I thought.

  • blablabla

    Just a quick remark regarding Plantinga and theistic philosophers. Take a look at this debate between WL Craig vs Quentin Smith (

    Bill Craig opens like this:
    “During the last quarter century, a remarkable revolution has occurred in American philosophy. This change was so noteworthy that even the popular media observed it. In an article entitled “Modernizing the Case for God,” published on April 7 of 1980, Time magazine commented,

    “In a quiet revolution in thought and argument that hardly anybody could have foreseen only two decades ago, God is making a comeback. Most intriguingly, this is happening, not among theologians or ordinary believers, but in the crisp intellectual circles of academic philosophers, where the consensus had long banished the Almighty from fruitful discourse.”

    The article quotes Roderick Chisholm to the effect that the reason that atheism was so influential a generation ago is because the brightest philosophers were atheists. But today, Chisolm says, many of the brightest philosophers are theists, and they’re using a tough–minded intellectualism in defense of that theism. Premiere among this new crop of philosophers stands Alvin Plantinga of the University of Notre Dame”

    Q. Smith replies like this:
    “I think that I can agree with Bill that many of the brightest philosophers today are theists, but I recall Shakespeare’s statement that it is the fool who knows in his heart the truth, and I rely on Shakespeare to defend me in my response to Bill tonight. ”

    So Smith agrees with Craig that the brightest philosophers today are theists. Now this debate was in 1996, but the picture hasn’t changed much. One recalls philosopher and atheist Antony Flew shocking the world in 2003/4 by declaring he now believed in an intelligent designer.

  • Nicholas Telman

    my dear friend, i believe you are mistaken! just on shear numbers alone (as theists are a minoriy) one would have to expect to see the majority of our philosophy departments to be heavily influenced by secular thinkers. Craig is a debater and his work in philosophy is limited and he isn’t widely recognized in philosophy departments as worthy of note OUTSIDE OF HIS DEBATING. he is often incorrect and tends to rely more on style and rhetoric than actual points of argument. in this case, dr. craig is simply incorrect! dr craig IS a formidable opponent in a debate-style setting but he little more than a popularizer and apologist…although he appears otherwise. dr. craig would be more suited to political scheming than many of his fellow acedemics. when it comes to the pursuit of the truth, dr. craig thinks he has it (the truth) in his back pocket and the word ‘truth’ is synonymous with “gospel”. his debates are fun to watch and (in my case) fun to refute, but dr. craig is NOT an authority and people should always double check the facts. as for anthony flew, I never really paid attention to him that much. i think he was before my time, however, in a friction filled universe there are bound to be a few converts and his descension means little to me, i can speak for non-other but i feel that the rest of us have too. i assure you my friend, to a high degree of probability, we non-theists have moved past anthony flew! I don’t mean to pick on you or your response but i could not let this slide when I believe (strongly) that you are mistaken.

    a study of this very topic was done recently, here are the results!