Survival of the metaphysically fittest
Religion & Liberty Online

Survival of the metaphysically fittest

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 director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.