Renowned Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga to deliver Discovery Lecture

September 15, 2014  

Alvin Plantinga

Alvin Plantinga 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Author and academician Alvin Plantinga, who has spent his career creating a place for religion in philosophy and now in science, will give a talk as part of the Discovery Lecture Series next week at Purdue University.

Dubbed "America's leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God" by Time magazine, Plantinga will deliver his argument about the unexpected common ground between religion and science at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 25, at Stewart Center's Fowler Hall.

His talk, titled "Religion, Science and Naturalism: Where the Conflict Really Lies," is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow the talk.

"In this Discovery Lecture, professor Plantinga argues that there is, at best, superficial conflict between science and religion - such as Christianity, Islam or Judaism - and, in fact, they fit together really well," said Purdue philosophy professor Michael Bergmann.

"On the other hand, taking naturalism as the idea that there is no such person as God or anything like God, he also argues that there is deep conflict between science and naturalism. If you think of naturalism as a semi-religion, there really is a science-religion conflict. But it's between naturalism and science, not between Christianity and science."

The Department of Philosophy, the Religious Studies Program, the College of Liberal Arts and Discovery Park are joining the Lilly Endowment as primary sponsors of the talk. Through a     $1 million gift to Discovery Park from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, Purdue launched the Discovery Lecture Series in 2006 to bring prominent speakers to campus.

Plantinga has written more than a dozen books, most recently "Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism." He has been a leading force in the debate of science and religion. In his Purdue lecture, he asserts that the two in fact pair fairly well, Bergmann said.

In fact, the former president of the American Philosophical Association and the Society of Christian Philosophers delivers a reasoned argument on why there is a deep conflict between science and naturalism, or atheism, Bergmann said.

Plantinga grew up as a Presbyterian who embraced the Calvinism of the Christian Reformed Church in the Midwest and was well versed in theological debate by the time he entered Harvard University as an undergraduate. He eventually gained his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Calvin College, a master's degree from the University of Michigan and his doctoral degree from Yale University.

Recently retired from full-time teaching, Plantinga is emeritus professor of philosophy at Calvin College, where he also served as the inaugural Jellema Chair in Philosophy, and at the University of Notre Dame, where he is the John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy. 

Writers: Paige Pope, 219-363-2599,

Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources: Michael Bergmann, 765-494-4584,

Alvin Plantinga, 616-526-6087,

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