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Thread: Evolutionary argument against Naturalism

  1. #1 Evolutionary argument against Naturalism 
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    Hello there!


    According to the theist philosopher Plantinga,
    If our minds arose from lesser animals via natural processes,
    then our rationality is more likely to be faillible and thus not trustworthy.

    Because it's improbable that Evolution, which is an arationnal process, could
    give rise to something well rational.

    So if one supports Evolution, one must doubt all one's ideas, even the very idea of Evolution.



    What are your opinions about his argument?
    Is Plantinga correct?


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  3. #2  
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    the argument presumes that animals are at a base level, lesser being than man. some animals besides man display an intellect that they developed through natural processes. these animals are by no means lesser beings than man. we are the dominant species but to think that we are something separate from them is ignorance.

    and it is not improbable for evolution to give rise to highly rational beings when a slight increase in rationalism gives benefits to the individual's Darwinian fitness. our research of the evolutionary history of man tells us that the development of more and more useful tools - a process caused by random increases in the intelligence of some members of the species - was one of the most useful adaptations our species had.


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  4. #3 Re: Evolutionary argument against Naturalism 
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    Quote Originally Posted by termina
    If our minds arose from lesser animals via natural processes,
    then our rationality is more likely to be faillible and thus not trustworthy
    .
    Also, our rationality is flawed to a degree, as is our perceptual systems, which is precisley why we use the scientific method.

    So i agree with you; it is right to doubt all ideas, including evolution, until they have been put to the rigors of the scientific method. As has evolution.
    The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas - Tao Te Ching

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  5. #4  
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    Thank you for your answers, saul and prometheus!

    So i agree with you; it is right to doubt all ideas, including evolution, until they have been put to the rigors of the scientific method. As has evolution.
    In fact, what Plantinga means is that one wouldn't be able to trust one's logic, moreover scientific method is directed by logic.
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  6. #5  
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    if one does not trust their own logic, what exactly is it that they can trust in? don't say god...
    physics: accurate, objective, boring
    chemistry: accurate if physics is accurate, slightly subjective, you can blow stuff up
    biology: accurate if chemistry is accurate, somewhat subjective, fascinating
    religion: accurate if people are always right, highly subjective, bewildering
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  7. #6 Re: Evolutionary argument against Naturalism 
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    Quote Originally Posted by termina
    Because it's improbable that Evolution...
    Plantinga seems to be assuming the fact of God created logic, then looking to prove it on the basis of probabilty.This is wrong for two reasons (there's probably more, but i can only spot two).

    Like saul eludes to, logic is what it is - whether it be by design or chance. We can test it and investigate and find what properties it has (after we have sufficiently defined it). Whether it is by design or chance, as it exists today, it will tell us information about the world to an accuracy we could probably measure (there are lots of logic tests we could take which show how flawed our basic logic can be). Plantinga has assumed first that logic has been created by God and such a logic would be superior to an evolved logic. (If god had made our logic then he did not do so perfectly because our logic is not perfect - just have to look at religion see how flawed human reasoning can be)

    This then misinforms his input of data into Baysian statistics. The initial assumptions he makes to calculate the probabilty are entirley arbitrary, based on no emperical observations at all. He plucked them from the air.
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  8. #7  
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    Plantinga is right that it leads us to doubt all ideas.

    But he is wrong on other issues:

    First, logic and science are separate. Logic is true by definition, to say the A is true and not true is a problem of language, if you say it you are saying nothing at all. Science deals with the 'real' world, testing are ideas about it.

    Second, the premises that an arational process cannot produce a rational process and that people are ideally rational are both bogus. Both are contradictory to science. In any case natural selection would generally favor those who really know what is going on, sometimes deceptive, and sometimes the brain power to get to the truth just isn't there. But natural selection cannot possibly deceive us too much, as God possibly could (see "God the Charlatan" in Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth Miller)

    Plantinga is also only trying to prove one desire with another. He could say that he wants God to exist, therefore he exists. Or Plantinga could do what he is doing now, which is to say he wants ideally rational humans to exist, in order for them to exist God must exist, therefore God exists. Both are logically faulty because they are based on desires, not any discernible reality.
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  9. #8 Re: Evolutionary argument against Naturalism 
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    Quote Originally Posted by termina
    According to the theist philosopher Plantinga,
    [i]If our minds arose from lesser animals via natural processes,
    then our rationality is more likely to be faillible and thus not trustworthy.
    Is there any need to go on? Since his mind did arise via the evolutionary process then according to the sage himself, he isn't really going to give us something profound.
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  10. #9 Re: Evolutionary argument against Naturalism 
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    Quote Originally Posted by termina
    According to the theist philosopher Plantinga,
    Theist philosopher; I could be wrong but that sounds oxymoron to me. In any event there really are a lot of irrational human beings and they do very much annoy those of us who are rational.
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  11. #10  
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    I would be very interested to know what is specifically meant (or implied) by "arational" which is no only ambiguous but not a real word with any established definition. Being able to establish what one is talking about would presumably be rule one for a philosopher.

    Does it mean without intelligence? Because it is a well established phenomena that usually creative processes yield results with qualities that differ from the process.

    For instance a simple and chaotic program can produce impressive order and complexity (Wolfram, 2002)


    References:

    Wolfram, Stephen: "A New Kind of Science" (2002)
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  12. #11 Re: Evolutionary argument against Naturalism 
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    Quote Originally Posted by termina
    Because it's improbable that Evolution, which is an arationnal process, could give rise to something well rational.
    Why? We see a clear and unmistakable pattern of increased problem solving ability in animals over the past 500 million years--so we know its an effective way to remain competitive and survive. Just stating it's "improbable" just sounds like a form of creationism from another angle.
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