So I’ve discovered from Jerry Coyne that John Loftus has a new book out. This time, he’s trying to argue for why philosophy of religion should not be considered a legitimate branch of philosophy. From the blurb, the reasoning seems to be that it’s mostly used for apologetics, and philosophy should not be used for that. Since I commented on “The Outsider Test” (and found it lacking) I have purchased this book and will hopefully read and comment on it at some point in the near future. I also picked up “Christianity in the Light of Science”.
Given the blurb, I suspect that Loftus will make two big mistakes in his criticism:
1) He will assume that the field is defined by the issues that are currently in vogue — or, rather, what he tends to read in that field — rather than what the field is as a whole, and so will ignore all of the other things that philosophy of religion actually does that are merely apologetics.
2) In particular, he will ignore that the major atheistic arguments like The Problem of Evil, Euthyphro, and even the idea that there is a difference between faith-based and reason-based argument are actually philosophy of religion arguments, and thus part of the field that he wants to do away with because it’s not intellectually respectable.
Maybe he’ll surprise me. Somehow, I doubt it.