Post Author: Bill Pratt
Philosopher Ken Samples, in a recent “New Reasons to Believe” (Vol 1 , No 1) publication, argues that naturalistic evolution cannot explain how human beings can have true beliefs about anything. Naturalistic evolution posits that there only exists the material, natural world around us.
Everything that exists is the result of random, material processes working over billions of years. According to naturalists, the ultimate result of those natural processes is the wonder of the human mind. So why doesn’t this theory make sense?
Samples offers three reasons. First, “Naturalism postulates a nonrational source for man’s rationality.” Naturalists believe that nonrational, impersonal, unintelligent, and purposeless processes produced rational, personal, intelligent, and purposeful human minds.
But, as Samples argues, every effect must have a cause greater than itself. This is exactly the opposite of what the naturalists would have us believe! The effect of the human mind is orders of magnitude greater than its alleged cause, the matter of which it is composed. Samples concludes that the naturalist “is assuming a trustworthy reasoning process only to conclude that his reasoning is is ultimately untrustworthy.”
Second, Samples argues that “evolution promotes a species’ survivability, not its true beliefs.” Natural selection, the primary evolutionary mechanism, only selects for survival. But having true beliefs about the world is not always required for animal survival. One can think of examples where an animal’s beliefs about its surrounding environment are irrelevant to its survival.
Human beings survived for thousands of years without knowing about the theory of relativity or quantum mechanics or the DNA double helix. Are knowledge of the laws of logic and geometric proofs necessary for humans to reproduce? Our knowledge about the world seems to be complete overkill for evolutionary survival.
Third, Samples reasons that “false beliefs illustrate evolutionary naturalism’s epistemological unreliability.” Many atheists today argue that mankind’s beliefs about God, morality, and life after death are mere evolutionary vestiges that must have served some survival purpose in the past.
It seems that almost all of humankind, through recorded history, has held that God exists. Evolutionists admit this, but answer that this belief was necessary in the past, but is no longer necessary. It is left over from man’s earlier evolutionary stages.
But that means that evolution can produce false beliefs about reality. Naturalistic evolutionists strongly urge that religious beliefs are false, but they also believe evolution produced these beliefs. Samples asks:
If evolutionary naturalism can cause a person to believe that which is false (such as religiously oriented beliefs) in order to promote survivability, then what confidence can evolutionists muster that their convictions are reliable, true beliefs? And if evolution cannot guarantee true beliefs in a person’s mind then how does one know that belief in evolutionary naturalism itself is a true belief about the world?
Maybe naturalism is just evolution’s false belief du jour. There is no way for evolutionists to know! Now that is some serious irony.
Christians, on the other hand, are able to easily explain the human mind and its ability to have true beliefs. A rational, personal, intelligent, and purposeful God is the source of our rational, personal, intelligent, and purposeful human minds.
Samples concludes, “Such conceptual realities as logic, mathematics, knowledge, and truth flow from a supremely intelligent divine mind.” In this case, the cause more than adequately explains the effect.