Acton Institute Powerblog

Survival of the Metaphysically Fittest

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Crux Magazine, a new e-zine and sister publication of Touchstone Magazine, has an insightful analysis and summary of some of the recent trends in scientific studies of religion. In “Survival of the Metaphysically Fittest,” John D. Martin examines conclusions about religion and evolution: “To put it as bluntly as possible, non-religious persons, in purely evolutionary terms, experience a significant selection disadvantage in terms of longevity and reproductive success. The irreligious live shorter lives, less healthy lives, produce fewer offspring, and provide less stable, less healthy family environments for those offspring.”
Martin’s good article is illustrative of an approach championed by philospher Alvin Plantinga, in his famous Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN). Plantinga, called by Christianity Today “not just the best Christian philosopher of his time … (but) the most important philosopher of any stripe,” is expert at using the tools of a particular philosophical method to demolish unsubtantiated conclusions or fallacious arguments. You can read the outline of a lecture on this by Plantinga here, “An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.”

On a related note, Plantinga will be giving this year’s Gifford Lectures from April 12-May 5, on many topics related to science, philosophy, theistic belief, and materialism. More details on the Gifford Lectures are available here (Word document).

Also, Crux Magazine has posted an article by me critiquing the naturalist/materialist worldview with special reference to C.S. Lewis’ work and the Princeton-based Global Consciousness Project, “The Materialist Magician.”

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, where he also serves as executive editor the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary. He has authored articles in academic publications such as The Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, and Journal of Scholarly Publishing, and has written popular pieces for newspapers including the Detroit News, Orange County Register, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2006, Jordan was profiled in the book, The Relevant Nation: 50 Activists, Artists And Innovators Who Are Changing The World Through Faith. Jordan's scholarly interests include Reformation studies, church-state relations, theological anthropology, social ethics, theology and economics, and research methodology. Jordan is a member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), and he resides in Jenison, Michigan with his wife and three children.

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