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Plantinga's argument for Design.

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  • Plantinga's argument for Design.

    One of the keystones of Plantinga's Theory of Warrant and 'Proper Belief' is his argument for the necessity design and against Philosophical Naturalism. The purpose of this thread is to demonstrate that there is no justification for his argument for the necessity of 'design' other then his assertion by belief that this is true.

    [quote=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Plantinga]

    Evolution and Christianity

    In the past, Plantinga has lent support to the intelligent design movement.[50] He was a member of the 'Ad Hoc Origins Committee' that supported Philip E. Johnson's 1991 book Darwin on Trial against palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould's high-profile scathing review in Scientific American in 1992.[51][52] Plantinga also provided a back-cover endorsement of Johnson's book.[53] He was a Fellow of the (now moribund) pro-intelligent design International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design,[54] and has presented at a number of intelligent design conferences.[55]

    Originally posted by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Plantinga

    In a March 2010 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, philosopher of science Michael Ruse labeled Plantinga as an "open enthusiast of intelligent design".[56] In a letter to the editor, Plantinga made the following response:


    "Like any Christian (and indeed any theist), I believe that the world has been created by God, and hence "intelligently designed". The hallmark of intelligent design, however, is the claim that this can be shown scientifically; I'm dubious about that."

    ". . . As far as I can see, God certainly could have used Darwinian processes to create the living world and direct it as he wanted to go; hence evolution as such does not imply that there is no direction in the history of life. What does have that implication is not evolutionary theory itself, but unguided evolution, the idea that neither God nor any other person has taken a hand in guiding, directing or orchestrating the course of evolution. But the scientific theory of evolution, sensibly enough, says nothing one way or the other about divine guidance. It doesn't say that evolution is divinely guided; it also doesn't say that it isn't. Like almost any theist, I reject unguided evolution; but the contemporary scientific theory of evolution just as such—apart from philosophical or theological add-ons—doesn't say that evolution is unguided. Like science in general, it makes no pronouncements on the existence or activity of God."
    The problem is without this keystone his arguments tumble like a house of cards.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 03-18-2014, 06:34 AM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  • #2
    This assertion by Plantinga: "There’s No Good Argument For Design, But Who Needs One?" put the final screws with lock washers in the coffin for any possible argument for design, and results in an extreme circular argument that only Plantinga's belief is the justification for his argument.


    Originally posted by http://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2011/11/plantinga-theres-no-good-argument-for-design-but-who-needs-one/

    That argument swings both ways, of course. If Plantinga is right, and if there is no good argument for God in nature’s design, there is also no good argument against God in nature. Plantinga mentions that in this context but he does not dwell much on it.

    Probably he thought it was unnecessary. He had already shown that Dawkins’s argument against God is “unsound in excelsis.” For a top philosopher, he can be most entertaining at times, and never more so than when he has the opportunity to take down Richard Dawkins. He’s not unkind about it, I assure you. He only dishes out what Dawkins (Dennett, too) is asking for.

    Anyway if there is no design argument, does that mean no design, and no designer? No. For Plantinga it’s much simpler than an argument. Design is just apparent in the world. We can see it, as we can see that the world wasn’t created intact in its current form just five minutes ago, that our memories are at least somewhat trustworthy, that there are other people (other minds) in the world besides ourselves. No argument that could prove these things true, yet we know them with trustworthy knowledge regardless. These are “basic beliefs:” things we know without having to call upon a string of inferences to support that knowledge.

    We can see design just as clearly, says Plantinga.

    "The same goes if you are on a voyage of space exploration, land on some planet which has an earth-like atmosphere, but about which nothing or next-to-nothing is known, and come across an object that looks more or less like a 1929 Model T Ford. You would certainly see this object as designed; you would not engage in probabilistic arguments about how likely it is that there should be an object like this that was not designed."
    Here is where Plantinga's argument fails catastrophically in that other then an assertion of belief there is no justification for the design argument. Basically he asserts what he proposes is true, and there is no legitimate argument either way.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 03-18-2014, 06:37 AM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

    Comment


    • #3
      I spent (wasted) way too much time promoting the Intelligent Design model. As I recall, it was initially a reaction to the US Supreme Court decision in Edwards v Aguillard (1987) that disallowed Creationism in Public Schools. Sort of a Scopes Monkey Trial revisited.

      Charles Thaxton's Of Pandas and People (I think that's the title) was republished replacing the words creation and creationism with the phrase intelligent design. I think it was a physicist who coined the term, but I don't know who.

      Anyway, when you compare the original book (published prior to the 1987 SC case) to its 1989 revision, it is obvious that a word processor was used to simply insert Intelligent Design at every instance where creation / creationism was used in order to subvert the Court's action.

      Plantinga's arguments were embraced to make ID appear more "science-y," I think.

      Personally, I don't have an argument with those who wish to view the world as the product of Intelligent Design - so long as we don't try to preach it as a valid scientific theory in public schools. Besides, if you are a Theist, what is wrong with the old, mystical, magical version of creation? And, why would you want to meet Constitutional muster? The Constitution is a very intentionally secular document meant for a population of citizens that includes theists and non-theists alike.

      NORM
      When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by NormATive View Post
        I spent (wasted) way too much time promoting the Intelligent Design model. As I recall, it was initially a reaction to the US Supreme Court decision in Edwards v Aguillard (1987) that disallowed Creationism in Public Schools. Sort of a Scopes Monkey Trial revisited.

        Charles Thaxton's Of Pandas and People (I think that's the title) was republished replacing the words creation and creationism with the phrase intelligent design. I think it was a physicist who coined the term, but I don't know who.

        Anyway, when you compare the original book (published prior to the 1987 SC case) to its 1989 revision, it is obvious that a word processor was used to simply insert Intelligent Design at every instance where creation / creationism was used in order to subvert the Court's action.

        Plantinga's arguments were embraced to make ID appear more "science-y," I think.
        Plantinga's argument is like a table with four legs. A critical leg to give his argument for Warrant and Proper Function' a theistic basis, is his argument for 'Design' against 'Philosophical Naturalism.' Knock this leg out and his argument can be basically used to justify any belief system including Atheism, and Agnosticism. This is important if he is able to justify that other arguments for diverse belief systems, like atheism, may not be justified by the same argument.

        He unfortunately persists in the archaic failed argument using examples of necessity of design in nature when compared to the necessity of design for human technology such as a 747.

        The following is from his site 'Thoughtful Christianity.' There is a contradiction here in his argument where he states that; Plantinga asserts that the design plan does not require a designer: “it is perhaps possible that evolution (undirected by God or anyone else) has somehow furnished us with our design plans.” The problem remains his view of 'Design Plans.' further on he argues; "Plantinga seeks to defend this view of proper function against alternative views of proper function proposed by other philosophers which he groups together as ‘naturalistic’ including the ‘functional generalization’ view of John Pollock, the evolutionary/etiological account provided by Ruth Millikan, and a dispositional view held by John Bigelow and Robert Pargetter.[38]Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism is also discussed in the later chapters of Warrant and Proper Function."


        Originally posted by http://www.thoughtfulchristianity.net/?p=6504
        In the second book, Warrant and Proper Function, he introduces the notion of warrant as an alternative to justification and discusses topics like self-knowledge, memories, perception, and probability. Plantinga’s proper function account argues that as a necessary condition of having warrant is that one’s “belief-forming and belief-maintaining apparatus of powers” are functioning properly—”working the way it ought to work”.[36] Plantinga explains his argument for proper function with reference to a “design plan”, as well as an environment in which one’s cognitive equipment is optimal for use. Plantinga asserts that the design plan does not require a designer: “it is perhaps possible that evolution (undirected by God or anyone else) has somehow furnished us with our design plans”,[37] but the paradigm case of a design plan is like a technological product designed by a human being (like a radio or a wheel).

        Plantinga seeks to defend this view of proper function against alternative views of proper function proposed by other philosophers which he groups together as ‘naturalistic’ including the ‘functional generalization’ view of John Pollock, the evolutionary/etiological account provided by Ruth Millikan, and a dispositional view held by John Bigelow and Robert Pargetter.[38]Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism is also discussed in the later chapters of Warrant and Proper Function.

        Personally, I don't have an argument with those who wish to view the world as the product of Intelligent Design - so long as we don't try to preach it as a valid scientific theory in public schools. Besides, if you are a Theist, what is wrong with the old, mystical, magical version of creation? And, why would you want to meet Constitutional muster? The Constitution is a very intentionally secular document meant for a population of citizens that includes theists and non-theists alike.
        Personally I strongly object to the concept of 'Intelligent Design,' because it tends to portray God as an engineer from an anthropomorphic human perspective.

        'God is a Creator not an engineer nor designer.'
        Last edited by shunyadragon; 03-17-2014, 08:13 AM.
        Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
        Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
        But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

        go with the flow the river knows . . .

        Frank

        I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
          Plantinga's argument is like a table with four legs. A critical leg to give his argument for Warrant and Proper Function' a theistic basis, is his argument for 'Design' against 'Philosophical Naturalism.' Knock this leg out and his argument can be basically used to justify any belief system including Atheism, and Agnosticism. This is important if he is able to justify that other arguments for diverse belief systems, like atheism, may not be justified by the same argument.

          He unfortunately persists in the archaic failed argument using examples of necessity of design in nature when compared to the necessity of design for human technology such as a 747.

          The following is from his site 'Thoughtful Christianity.'
          Thoughtful Christianity is NOT Alvin Plantinga's site. You're misrepresenting him.

          Please start your argument by citing what Plantinga actually says, rather than secondary sources. You get rather tetchy when people 'mis-quote' you, or don't 'accurately' cite your posts in discussions... ... you should do the same for Plantinga.
          ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

          Comment


          • #6
            There is intelligent design. Worst case being, nothingness to matter-space-time order, non-life to life, life to intelligences to intelligent design. Even with this, this depicts an order. Nothingness to intelligent design. Unless you are going to argue none of this is intelligent.
            . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

            . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

            Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
              Thoughtful Christianity is NOT Alvin Plantinga's site. You're misrepresenting him.

              Please start your argument by citing what Plantinga actually says, rather than secondary sources. You get rather tetchy when people 'mis-quote' you, or don't 'accurately' cite your posts in discussions... ... you should do the same for Plantinga.
              ALL my references cite Plantinga verbatim, and Thoughtful Christianity is sympathetic to Plantinga. I'm sorry for the minor mistake. If you see the quotes by Plantinga in error, please bring it to my attention. I will cite Plantinga more.
              Last edited by shunyadragon; 03-17-2014, 05:46 PM.
              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

              go with the flow the river knows . . .

              Frank

              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                Thoughtful Christianity is NOT Alvin Plantinga's site. You're misrepresenting him.

                Please start your argument by citing what Plantinga actually says, rather than secondary sources. You get rather tetchy when people 'mis-quote' you, or don't 'accurately' cite your posts in discussions... ... you should do the same for Plantinga.
                Proper Function Account of Warrant by Alvin Plantinga

                Abstract

                Plantinga says that sufficient warrant, together with true belief, yields knowledge, and he holds that warrant is to be understood primarily in terms of proper function. Plantinga maintains that there is a design plan for various parts of our cognitive apparatus, and that a belief has warrant only when our cognitive equipment to be functioning as it was designed to function. This account implies that the fundamental kind of warrant is that which attaches to beliefs. I argue to the contrary that the fundamental kind of warrant attaches to propositions, and that an implication of this fact is that proper function is not relevant at all to the concept of warrant. [/quote]
                Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                go with the flow the river knows . . .

                Frank

                I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 37818 View Post
                  There is intelligent design. Worst case being, nothingness to matter-space-time order, non-life to life, life to intelligences to intelligent design. Even with this, this depicts an order. Nothingness to intelligent design. Unless you are going to argue none of this is intelligent.
                  This is your belief and not coherent argument for 'Intelligent Design.' Intelligence is basically a human quality, that we apply to ourselves when compared to other animals, and if God exists, it is a part of Creation and not likely a limiting attribute of God. There is evidence that there was ever philosophical nothingness. By the present evidence the Natural existence is orderly based on Natural Laws.
                  Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                  Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                  But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                  go with the flow the river knows . . .

                  Frank

                  I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                    Personally I strongly object to the concept of 'Intelligent Design,' because it tends to portray God as an engineer from an anthropomorphic human perspective. 'God is a Creator not an engineer nor designer.'
                    As a former Theist, I can see your point. Ironically, as a Theist, I fully embraced ID. I thought it made Christianity more "believable."

                    NORM
                    When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                      ALL my references cite Plantinga verbatim, and Thoughtful Christianity is sympathetic to Plantinga. I'm sorry for the minor mistake. If you see the quotes by Plantinga in error, please bring it to my attention. I will cite Plantinga more.
                      So far in this thread NONE of your references are direct citations of Plantinga. I suspect you're arguing against a strawman, composed of your muddled misconceptions of what you conceive Plantinga thinks, rather than what he actually says.
                      ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        So far in this thread NONE of your references are direct citations of Plantinga. I suspect you're arguing against a strawman, composed of your muddled misconceptions of what you conceive Plantinga thinks, rather than what he actually says.
                        Read my posts, Plantinga's quotes are in "quotation marks" including an abstract of one of his papers. Again, please cite specifically where this is not true.

                        Please cite Plantinga where anything I wrote and cited that is not true.
                        Last edited by shunyadragon; 03-18-2014, 07:46 AM.
                        Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                        Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                        But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                        go with the flow the river knows . . .

                        Frank

                        I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                          Read my posts, Plantinga's quotes are in "quotation marks" including an abstract of one of his papers. Again, please cite specifically where this is not true.

                          Please cite Plantinga where anything I wrote and cited that is not true.
                          My apologies (in part):

                          Your first post does cite Plantinga, in response to Michael Ruse saying he was an advocate of intelligent design. Plantinga says that the science alone can't tell us whether evolution was unguided or not.
                          Originally posted by Plantinga
                          But the scientific theory of evolution, sensibly enough, says nothing one way or the other about divine guidance. It doesn't say that evolution is divinely guided; it also doesn't say that it isn't.
                          Your second post contains a two sentence quote of Plantinga, the rest is from a review of a recent book he's put out. In the quote Plantinga rejects the probabilistic argument approach to recognising design.

                          Your third post contains a few fragmentary quotes, not even one whole sentence, that's all.

                          Your post #8 has no link, but appears to be someone's summary of Plantinga's thought.


                          None of the above citations give us any real handle on what Plantinga might have to say about your thesis:

                          Originally posted by shunyadragon
                          One of the keystones of Plantinga's Theory of Warrant and 'Proper Belief' is his argument for the necessity design and against Philosophical Naturalism.

                          I'm not really clear exactly what you mean by "...his argument for the necessity design..."

                          Could you cite for us "Plantinga's Theory of Warrant and Proper Belief", please?

                          {Since that is what you are arguing against, it would seem to be fairly essential that we know just what that theory is}



                          AFAIK Plantinga rejects classical foundationalism, and holds that belief in God can be for some people a properly basic belief. (see his article in Philosophy or Religion)
                          ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MaxVel View Post

                            AFAIK Plantinga rejects classical foundationalism, and holds that belief in God can be for some people a properly basic belief. (see his article in Philosophy or Religion)
                            I have a problem with this selective slippery view of how a properly basic belief applies. If Plantinga '. . . holds that belief in God belief in God can be for some people a properly basic belief,' and not for everyone. You cited a book as a reference, which is something like arguing by web link. Please give a more complete citation of Plantinga and how this fits in context of a 'properly basic belief.'

                            I will respond more, in particular from Knowledge of God By Alvin Plantinga, Michael Tooley.

                            Here is an interesting citation form a summary of Plantinga's “Religious Belief as ‘Properly Basic"

                            Originally posted by http://www.unc.edu/~theis/phil32/plantinga.html

                            Plantinga’s “Religious Belief as ‘Properly Basic” is a very rich paper. He is attempting to defend a radical position on which it can be reasonable to believe in God even in the absence of argument or evidence. But in providing this defense, Plantinga touches on a broad range of topics. As a result of this breadth, many students have a hard time understanding Plantinga. On an initial reading it can be very hard to see how the different pieces of Plantinga’s paper fit together.
                            Plantinga spends considerable time writing books, articles, interviews and debates defending his argument for which he apparently claims it is 'reasonable to believe in God even in the absence of argument or evidence, . . . I will to a certain extent focus on the slippery view Plantinga takes in his 'arguments.'
                            Last edited by shunyadragon; 03-18-2014, 05:19 PM.
                            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                            go with the flow the river knows . . .

                            Frank

                            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                              I'm not really clear exactly what you mean by "...his argument for the necessity design..."

                              Could you cite for us "Plantinga's Theory of Warrant and Proper Belief", please?

                              {Since that is what you are arguing against, it would seem to be fairly essential that we know just what that theory is}
                              Lets' start here . . . notice the emphasis on 'design.'

                              Originally posted by http://hadeelnaeem.wordpress.com/2012/12/25/warrant-and-proper-fucntion/
                              "According to the central and paradigmatic core of our notion of warrant (so I say) a belief B has warrant for you if and only if (1) the cognitive faculties involved in the production of B are functioning properly . . . (2) your cognitive environment is suciently similar to the one for which your cognitive faculties are designed; (3) . . . the design plan governing the production of the belief in question involves, as purpose or function, the production of true beliefs . . .; and (4) the design plan is a good one: that is, there is a high statistical or objective probability that a belief produced in accordance with the relevant segment of the design plan in that sort of environment is true." (Plantinga 1993)
                              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                              go with the flow the river knows . . .

                              Frank

                              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                              Comment

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