Given how heavy and long some of our posts have been of late, I thought something more entertaining was in order (and because Matt has been asking me for weeks to put this up). Here is the February exchange at the APA between Alvin Plantinga and Daniel Dennett.
By way of intro, I will quote from The Prosblogion who published an admittedly biased, nevertheless entertaining, play by play of the exchange that described Plantinga as “Abraham Lincoln” and Dennett as “Santa Claus” (if you know what they look like this is very funny);
[O]n February 21st, the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association – the main professional body of American philosophers – hosted a kind of debate. I say “kind of debate” because one philosopher gave a paper, the other commented and the first philosopher replied and the floor opened for questions. But in fact the session was a debate.
The debate was between Alvin Plantinga and Daniel Dennett. Plantinga is one of the founders of the Society of Christian Philosophers and one of the fathers of the current desecularization of philosophy. He is widely regarded – even by his critics – as one of the finest epistemologists of the last fifty years and one of the finest philosophers of religion since the Medieval period. Daniel Dennett is one of the New Atheists and is a well-known proponent of atheistic Darwinism and critic of religion. He is widely regarded – even by his critics – as one of the most important early philosophers of mind that opened the field to cognitive science and evolutionary biology. He has contributed enormously to the serious study of the mind and its relationship to the brain.
This is a very good exchange that is hysterically funny in places as both Plantinga and Dennett possess great wit. It is very accessible, no PhD necessary to understand it. Those present were a veritable who’s who of US philosophy, atheist and theists alike, so watch (listen really) and enjoy.