» » In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment

Download In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment fb2

by James F. Sennett,Douglas Groothuis

  • ISBN: 0830827676
  • Category: Religious books
  • Author: James F. Sennett,Douglas Groothuis
  • Subcategory: Religious Studies
  • Other formats: mobi lrf lrf doc
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (November 4, 2005)
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • FB2 size: 1952 kb
  • EPUB size: 1624 kb
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Votes: 153
Download In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment fb2

Personal Name: Sennett, James . 1955 . On this site it is impossible to download the book, read the book online or get the contents of a book

Personal Name: Sennett, James . 1955-. Personal Name: Groothuis, Douglas . 1957-. Rubrics: Natural theology Religion Philosophy. On this site it is impossible to download the book, read the book online or get the contents of a book. The administration of the site is not responsible for the content of the site. The data of catalog based on open source database. All rights are reserved by their owners.

Smith}, year {2007} }. James alexander.

In other words, it is defense of theism without recourse to purported special revelation. The book begins by laying out David Hume’s criticisms of natural theology.

The thesis of the book is this: Natural theology is alive and well in contemporary philosophy; the supposed Humean refutation of the enterprise is a myth whose exposure is long overdue. 1 A dozen philosophers contribute to the task in this substantial volume. In other words, it is defense of theism without recourse to purported special revelation.

neither does the book take seriously this critique of natural theology. Nonetheless, the book is an important.

Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005. This collection aims to defend the project of natural theology, understood. neither does the book take seriously this critique of natural theology. internal to the Christian tradition. contribution and one that both friends and critics of natural theology must. Carousel Previous Carousel Next.

The shadow of David Hume, the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher, has loomed large against all efforts to prove the existence of God from evidence in the natural world

The shadow of David Hume, the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher, has loomed large against all efforts to prove the existence of God from evidence in the natural world.

Includes an essay by Douglas Groothuis, The Metaphysical Implications of Cosmological Arguments. On Jesus (Wadsworth Philosophers Series, 2002). On Pascal (Wadsworth Philosophers Series, 2002). Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism (2000). This received the Award of Merit from Christianity Today for apologetics books published in 2000. The Soul in Cyberspace (1997)

James F. Sennet and Douglas Groothuis (InterVarsity Press: Nov 30, 2005), 336 pages.

James F. James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis have assembled a distinguished team of philosophers to engage the task: Terence Penelhum, Todd M. Furman, Keith Yandell, Garrett J. DeWeese, Joshua Rasmussen, James D. Madden, Robin Collins, Paul Copan, Victor Reppert, J. P. Moreland and R. Douglas Geivett. Together this team makes vigorous individual and cumulative arguments that set Hume’s attacks in fresh perspective and that offer new insights into the value of teleological, cosmological and ontological arguments for God’s existence.

A Post-Humean Assessment. In Defense of Natural Theology. Together this team makes vigorous individual and cumulative arguments that set Hume's attacks in fresh perspective and that offer new insights into the value of teleological, cosmological and ontological arguments for God's existence.

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

Jesus in an Age of Controversy" (Wipf & Stock, 2002).

Jesus in an Age of Controversy" (Wipf & Stock, 2002). Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (InterVarsity Press, 2011). Tal Brooke - (born as Robert Taliaferro Brooke) is the chairperson of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, a Christian countercult and apologetics organization.

The shadow of David Hume, the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher, has loomed large against all efforts to prove the existence of God from evidence in the natural world. Indeed from Hume's day to ours, the vast majority of philosophical attacks against the rationality of theism have borne an unmistakable Humean aroma. The last forty years, however, have been marked by a resurgence in Christian theism among philosophers, and the time has come for a thorough reassessment of the case for natural theology. James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis have assembled a distinguished team of philosophers to engage the task: Terence Penelhum, Todd M. Furman, Keith Yandell, Garrett J. DeWeese, Joshua Rasmussen, James D. Madden, Robin Collins, Paul Copan, Victor Reppert, J. P. Moreland and R. Douglas Geivett. Together this team makes vigorous individual and cumulative arguments that set Hume's attacks in fresh perspective and that offer new insights into the value of teleological, cosmological and ontological arguments for God's existence.
Reviews about In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (4):
Cemav
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.
Diab
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.
Mr Freeman
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." Yandell successfully argues that merely because the contrary of a claim could be imagined, this fails to establish the truth or falsity of said claim. However, refutations of the OA after Hume still stand today because while the OA is deductively valid, it is unsound. This is because the OA equivocates on imagined and real properties, and thus, the OA's form could deductively prove the existence of unicorns and other imagined entities.[1] Essentially, the argument for God under the OA reduces to absurdity not merely because one could imagine the nonexistence of God, but because the argument runs successfully for substitution instances that produce the non-existence of God.

As for the Cosmological Argument (CA), Yandell challenges Hume's skepticism of causal connections given the fact that Hume cannot establish the following claim: "the concept of necessity is a human invention and that nothing in mind-independent reality corresponds to that concept."[2] While Yandell is correct that Hume's statement here does not pass his own verification principles, however, Hume's point mentioned by Todd Furman still stands; that the theist commits the evidence error by offering evidence that is "categorically inappropriate for the desired conclusion." The move from a necessary cause to the necessary cause equating with God as the only necessary cause is a rather hasty assertion. Nevertheless, the CA does argue convincingly for a necessary cause of the universe, but the conclusion cannot specify any particular form of theism or naturalistic origin. Additional arguments would need to be employed to establish a case for a particular first event or agent. The CA does establish that something caused the universe to exist. Although, I think Yandell moves beyond what the CA supports with the assertion "generic monotheism" is the result. One reason points to his reference to Occam's Razor without mention of other candidates such as polytheism or naturalistic explanations. To employ Occam's Razor in support monotheism over polytheism remains problematic because Occam's Razor indicates that naturalism is preferable to monotheism; even more so over polytheism. Nonetheless, Yandell successfully establishes that Humean thought does not demolish the CA and I would add that vibrant philosophical discussions continue today regarding Cosmological Arguments.

Chapter five, "Hume's Stopper and the Natural Theology Project" by James F. Sennett offers a challenge to what he calls "Hume's stopper," which means that even if arguments establish a being or beings who created the world, this does not necessarily entail the God of theism (omniscient, omnipotent, all loving, ect...). A helpful footnote that includes comments from Todd Furman on the notion of "Hume's stopper" that Hume never intended to stop anything, but instead, Hume examines claims that the arguments can and cannot support. While Hume and Todd Furman are skeptical of theism, neither upholds that a defense of theism remains impossible. Sennett clarifies that natural theology is not necessarily an argument for theism; natural theology argues for a much more modest claim; "that a being (or beings) with a given characteristic exists (or has existed)."[3]

To challenge Hume's stopper, Sennett proposes two different levels of evaluation apply to arguments. One level applies how well an argument runs according to deductive and inductive logic, while on the other hand, the alethic evaluation refers to "an argument that can be evaluated as an aid in discovering truth concerning a question in focus."[4] He likens alethic reasoning to playing chess and analyzing the best possible move given the evidence at hand. In an analogous manner, when analyzing competing gods given the evidence, alethic reasoning demonstrates a potential best candidate for an explanation. However, rather than emphasizing analogous reasoning to support alethic reasoning, I think further development of abductive reasoning or inference to the best explanation would strengthen the argument. I was left wondering what qualifies as a successful alethic evaluation. Secondly, I would also recommend avoiding grand, sweeping statements that asserts theism's "long history of weathering much scrutiny" as this closely resembles the New Atheist's dogmatic claims that naturalism has endured the same test and offers the strongest evidence. However, refreshingly, Sennett is careful with alethic evaluation given the claim that other religious options or even atheism are plausible candidates. All he is illustrating here points to the fact that theism is not an irrational option, and rightfully so in my opinion.

While he offers reasons why he favors a theistic God, it is far from clear that a personal polytheistic God does not exist. While I think Sennett's mention of the design argument and arguments from W.L. Craig and J.P. Moreland regarding a personal God adds to his case for theism; although, a lot more work needs to be done to establish this project. Overall, I think Sennett offers a successful argument that supports natural theology as a reasonable explanation from logical and alethic reasoning given that the latter includes support from abductive reasoning and design arguments.

Chapter six, "Metaphysical Implications of Cosmological Arguments" by, Douglas Groothuis offers evidence in favor of a causally necessary being (CNB) who is singular and personal. He works to establish this case given the vertical and horizontal versions of the Cosmological Argument (CA). Groothuis takes issue with those who undermine what the CA rationally supports and thus, maintains the ghost of Hume's stopper.[5] The case for a singular, personal, causally necessary being begins with a critical engagement with Dallas Willard's view that the CA justifies one or more necessary beings that may or may not be personal. If one were to merely analyze the CA's form and not its soundness, than Willard's view would be correct. However, when evaluating for soundness, Groothuis' assessment provides a solid challenge to Willard's conclusions. Since I already covered the issues with utilizing Occam's Razor to establish monotheism over polytheism, I will move on to the mention of Swinburne's objection to polytheism. Swinburne asserts that the unity observed in the world, as we know it, does not seem to fit the description of many designers since multiple designers would most probably lead to more disunity. However, while this world does reflect order, given Swinburne's comments, I think a case could be made that personal polytheistic gods exist given non-optimality of design and the existence of evil.

Even if monotheism and polytheism remain inconclusive, the strongest case for a personal God occurs when considering the nature of impersonal beings. Groothuis argues that agency requires a will, understanding, and the power to bring about one's will. An impersonal being does not cohere with the design and moral arguments, which support personal agency over impersonal agency. [6] Furthermore, since a contingent universe implies a causally necessary being, a personal being provides a better explanation.[7] The rest of the chapter interacts with a case for God's omnipotence, which is well argued for. If a CNB knows how to bring the universe into existence from nothing, then it easily follows that the CNB is also omniscient.[8] While I think this chapter establishes a causally necessary being or beings that possess omniscience and omnipotence given the interaction with Stephen T. Davis, I do not think the God of standard theism necessarily follows. Even if a CNB creates ex nihilo, is omniscient and omnipotent, this does not necessarily mean that the rest of the standard theistic characteristics apply.

The last section on Divine Persistence and the Cosmological Argument addresses Dallas Willard's claim that according to the CA, it does not demonstrate that the uncaused being or beings who created the universe still exist.[9] The strongest claim offered against this concern of Willard's points to the fact that if the CNB ceased to exist, the universe would cease to exist since it perpetually remains contingent on the existence of the CNB. "The existence of the CNB and the universe are metaphysically asymmetrical. Since the contingent cosmos continues to exist, we know that the CNB continues to exist."[10] While I think that the horizontal and vertical versions of the CA may establish the existence of a CNB, I am not sure that simply because the finite world--as we know it--continues to exist, that we can necessarily infer that the CNB still exists. Arguments from non-optimality in design and evil could support the notion of a dying god or a deistic god. Overall, Groothuis' chapter bodes well for an omniscient, omnipotent, CNB. While I think objections from evil and non-optimal design keep skepticism alive, they do not cancel out the forceful arguments for natural theology.

Chapter seven, "Hume and the Kalam Cosmological Argument" by, Garrett J. DeWeese and Joshua Rasmussen discuss the Kalam (KCA), explanatory principles of causality, the principle of sufficient reason (PSR), and "Hume's stopper." To support the KCA, DeWeese and Rasmussen appeal to general relativity, big bang cosmology, and the expansion of the universe to demonstrate premise 1 that the universe began to exist. They reference Wilkinson's Microwave Anisopotropy Probe (WMAP) to assert that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, is finite, and thus, had a beginning. However, the notion that the universe is finite and had a beginning remains inconclusive. In fact, WMAP does support a spatially infinite universe.[11] General relativity allows for two types of models of space - models where space is finite in extent, and models where space is infinite in extent. The mainstream view of contemporary cosmologists is that the evidence suggests that space is infinite.[12]

DeWeese and Rasmussen offer a thorough discussion of efficient causation and touches upon A-theory and B-theory of time that leads into interaction with William Rowe's objection to the premise "whatever changes has a cause." They also interact briefly and effectively with Wes Morriston's skepticism over the claim "whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence." In addition, DeWeese and Rasmussen mention Quentin Smith, who I believe offers the most probable claim, thinks that the first state of the universe was a timeless state from which the first temporal state emerged. W.L. Craig does not think that a timeless physical cause is not sufficient for a temporal effect. However, I do not see any solid justification for this and I think the authors of this chapter needed to expand on this point to effectively counter Quentin Smith. However, DeWeese and Rasummsen do recognize the gap between a demonstration that the universe has a finite past and showing that the universe began to exist.[13] They believe the principle of sufficient reason bridges this gap, which is a plausible approach to avoiding Hume's Stopper and supports their argument that an omnipotent free agent was the first cause of the universe.

Chapter eight, "Giving The Devil His Due" by, James D. Madden offers a discussion of the classical (CO) and modern (MTA) versions of the teleological argument and concludes that the modern version (MTA) survives Hume's criticism. To defend the modern teleological argument, Madden employs modern arguments for intelligent design (ID) by Michael Behe and also interacts with the non-optimality of design objection. To answer non-optimal design objections, Madden makes sure the reader knows that the MTA is only part of the cumulative case for God and does not contribute to his omnipotence and omnipresence. However, Madden offers a challenge to the skeptic to account for how suffering in the world would be different if theism were true and concludes that it is unclear what the skeptic expects the world to look like if God existed. I think a mention of skeptical theism would prove helpful in subverting Humean objections. Simply because evil or non-optimal design exists, this does not necessarily mean that the God of theism does not exist. While this does provide justification for pause for a full endorsement of the God of theism, it does not cancel out the God of theism.

Chapter nine, "Hume, Fine-Tuning and `Who Designed the Designer?' objection" by, Robin Collins delivers thorough and convincing arguments against the common atheistic claim that theists must account for who made God. Inspired by Rudolf Carnap's "increase in firmness principle," Collins employs the "likelihood principle" or epistemic probability in conjunction with the Bayes's theorem. Given probabilistic reasoning, design arguments fair better than atheistic claims. When face with the problem of evil objection, I found Collin's response most accurate; that Fine-Tuning arguments would still be true given a morally apathetic deity. However, Collins thinks that probabilistic reasoning would produce a perfectly good being over a morally apathetic being, [14] but I do not see any justification for this claim in this chapter. As for "Who Designed the Designer?" objection, Collins does a fine job demonstrating the ad hoc nature of this inquiry. The design argument only requires that fine-tuning demonstrate more probability over atheistic claims. Even if the designer is equivalent or more complex than our world as we know it, fine-tuning would still give better reasons for theism over atheistic hypothesis.[15] Collins offers several additional reasons in favor of design and fine-tuning that are worth engaging.

The remaining chapters in the book deal with Hume's thought as it relates to the following: "Hume and The Moral Argument" by, Paul Copan; "Experiential Evidence and Belief in God" by, Keith Yandell; "The Argument from Reason and Hume's Legacy" by, Victor Reppert; "Hume and the Argument From Consciousness" by J.P. Moreland; and "Hume and A Cumulative Case Argument" by, R. Douglas Geivett. While I would not assert that this book necessarily establishes the God of theism, however, it does accomplish its main task and thesis: "natural theology is alive and well in contemporary philosophy; the supposed Humean refutation of the enterprise is a myth whose exposure is long overdue."[16] I think the rigorous critique of Humean thought in this forceful collection of arguments is accessible to those who do not possess training in philosophy. Yet, this volume will prove intellectually satisfying for the seasoned philosopher and apologist. However, some background in logic and philosophy of mind would bode well for the reader in chapters seven, eleven, and thirteen. Nevertheless, Christians and non-Christians should engage with the arguments put forth in this book as it offers the following: a fair representation of Hume's arguments, offers the limits and strengths of natural theology, and works to challenge Humean dogmatism, which dominates secular academia today.

[1] Elliot Sober. Core Questions in Philosophy: A Text with Readings 2nd ed, (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1995), 80-88. I disagree with Elliot Sober on many philosophical issues, but his criticism of the Ontological Argument is a worth noting.

[2] Hume's Treatise of Human Nature, 165 in James F. Sennett, "Hume's Stopper and the Natural Theology Project" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005).

[3] James F. Sennett, "Hume's Stopper and the Natural Theology Project" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 85

[4] James F. Sennett, "Hume's Stopper and the Natural Theology Project" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 88

[5] Douglas Groothuis, "Metaphysical Implications of Cosmological Arguments" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 89

[6] Douglas Groothuis, "Metaphysical Implications of Cosmological Arguments" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 111.

[7] Douglas Groothuis, "Metaphysical Implications of Cosmological Arguments" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 113.

[8] Douglas Groothuis, "Metaphysical Implications of Cosmological Arguments" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 118

[9] Douglas Groothuis, "Metaphysical Implications of Cosmological Arguments" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 119

[10] Douglas Groothuis, "Metaphysical Implications of Cosmological Arguments" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 121

[11] Referenced in Bradley Monton's paper, "Design Inference in an Infinite Universe," see C. L. Bennett, et al. (2003), "First-year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Preliminary Maps and Basic Results," Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 148: 1-27, and D. N. Spergel, et al. (2003), "First-year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Determination of Cosmological Parameters," Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 148: 175-94.

[12] Bradley Monton, "Design Inference in an Infinite Universe" in Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Religion Vol. 2, 2010.

[13] DeWeese and Rasmussen, , "Hume and the Kalam Cosmological Argument" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 139.

[14] Robin Collins,"Hume, Fine-Tuning and `Who Designed the Designer?' objection" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 186.

[15] Robin Collins,"Hume, Fine-Tuning and `Who Designed the Designer?' objection" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 189.

[16] James F. Sennett & Douglas Groothuis, "Hume's Legacy and Natural Theology" in James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis. In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 15.
DART-SKRIMER
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.

Related to In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment fb2 books: