My review of Gregory Dawes’ Theism and Explanation is out in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. You can read it here.
Here’s the last paragraph of the review:
One interesting aspect to this book is that Dawes never tells us whether he is a theist or an atheist. I take it that he is a theist, but I did wonder whether that was really the case when I saw how high he was setting the bar: theistic explanations must fulfill the optimality condition to even be in the running, and they don’t fare well when measured up against some of the six explanatory virtues under consideration. It’s unfair of me to think this way though — I shouldn’t just assume that a theistic philosopher will assess the virtues of theistic explanations in a different way than an atheistic philosopher would. Instead, my default presumption should be that a good philosopher like Dawes will make fair-minded, intelligent assessments of how theistic explanations fare, regardless of his personal beliefs about whether or not there is a God. The intellectual climate around theistic explanations, especially as relating to theistic explanations for scientific phenomena, has been somewhat poisoned by all the rhetoric regarding intelligent design. While Dawes talks about intelligent design here and there in his book, he never does so in an emotive, unfair way. It’s a virtue of this book that one comes away thinking that Dawes is fair-minded and intelligent — and that this assessment will hold regardless of whether one thinks that Dawes believes in God.