Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Matter of Faith III

"Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F's: feeding, fleeing, fighting and reproducing. The principal chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive…. Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism's way of life and enhances the organism's chances of survival. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost." ~ "Epistemology in the Age of Neuroscience", Patricia S. Churchland (emphasis Churchland's)

I like the above statement no so much because I necessarily think that if conforms to reality, but because it is a wise statement about the implications of a naturalistic evolutionary system. What Churchland points out that I agree with is from a naturalistic perspective truth "definitely takes the hindmost," i.e. naturalistic evolution does not guarantee true beliefs only beliefs that contribute to survival. This brings up a variation on the Argument from Reason, which I have written about previously here and implicitly here. From a naturalistic perspective how can one trust one's beliefs about science or one's logical reasoning that leads to one's naturalistic point of view if the process that produced one's mind does not guarantee or even "care" about truth? If it be admitted that naturalistic evolution does not care about truth then it is a self-defeating explanation in that it cannot guarantee the reliability of the reasoning processes that leads to it.

The point of all this is not so much to make an argument against naturalistic evolution, but to point out that it takes faith to believe in the theory. It takes faith to hold that naturalism (a process that cares nothing for truth) can produce trustworthy systems such as the scientific method, assumptions about the uniformity of nature governed by laws, or abstract reasoning and the laws of logic.

Evolutionists proclaim loudly that theistic belief is bankrupt and foolish, however, it would seem the proverbial shoe is on the other foot. From a theistic perspective one can be consistent in one's beliefs and say that one trusts one's reasoning because that reasoning ability has been endowed by an intelligent designer. From an atheistic perspective one cannot be consistent in one's belief because the very reasoning processes that produce those beliefs are products of an untrustworthy process.

By His Grace,

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