Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Stegocephalian on Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:55 pm

Objectivees, I'll keep this brief (or at least try to) as it's getting kinda late where I live, and I'm getting tired.

First, briefly, about the "man in the box" line of argument, I notice that in disputing my last response to you on that, you only addressed half the reason why your argument doesn't hold water. You did not address the point that IF the man in the box were to make the sort of deduction that you suggest he should be able to make, he would, by the same logic, using the second modus tollens I offered, have to conclude that the moon isn't made of atoms either.

Second, there is no rule in logic that logically valid deductive arguments have to "make sense", and indeed no reason why you couldn't make a modus tollens using synonyms.

All kittens are baby cats
Tabby is a kitten
Tabby is a baby cat

This is entirely valid.

In order to use the law of identity like you suggest, you would have to assume both that the words are not synonyms, AND that one is not made up of the other (such as IS in the case of rocks and atoms). You are simply mistaken in this, I'm afraid.


Objectivitees wrote:
So, here's the argument...

1) Evolution makes an A Priori assumption that Logic is a valid means for deriving 'Knowledge' in order to posit "True" (or rational) claims, or refute "False" (or irrational) claims about the nature of Reality.

2) Evolution is incapable of Rationally justifying or affirming the the existence of Logic from within the paradigm of it's own worldview making Evolution a rationally unsupported belief, and Arbitrary. {Arbitrary beliefs are irrational. (Premise one)}

Therefore; Evolution is an irrationally held belief.[/color]

That is a very strange argument. It is easily countered by simply pointing out that anything that evolves in an environment where events in nature obey logic, will evolve instincts that allow them to correctly anticipate events that are logical. Later, when cognition evolves, it evolves on the foundation of those instincts which tell us that the world works in a logical way. This cognition then allows us to put those rules of logic into words.

Evolution does not account for "logic" when by "logic" we mean the world acting in a logical manner (as evolution by natural selection is a theory to account for biological diversity, not the origin of the laws of nature), but it does not have to - if the world operates in a logical manner, then evolution will produce animals with minds capable of operating in an environment that exhibits that logic.

A hypothetical animal that operates under the false assumption, say, that the law of identity doesn't apply, cannot foresee it's immediate future - it has no basis of knowing that the predator that's running after it not, actually, a stationary rock, not warranting any action. It's difficult to even conceive what that sort of mind would be like, but it is not difficult to see that such a creature would become some less irrational creature's dinner very quickly.

So, no, I don't see at all how evolution would have a problem with justifying the acceptance of logic. After all, were we NOT to assume such a thing, we would be effectively claiming that creatures that operated under false assumptions about their environment, on the most fundamental level, would have been favored by natural selection over creatures that operated under correct assumptions about their environment.

I cannot see how one could sensibly argue such a position.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Aught3 on Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:06 pm

He didn't. He just claimed that a false idea about reality is just as likely to lead to your survival as a true idea. For example, you might believe that you should run away from tigers because it's a fun thing to do, rather than because they might kill you.
But that's true isn't it? If you go to the witch-doctor and you really believe he will make you better you have a better chance of survival than someone who doesn't believe - it's going to be a small difference but small differences add up. Religion is actually a really good example of people believing things for false reasons in order to get some selective advantage over another group.

But doesn't this mean that believers in the bible might equally be wrong? No, replies Plantinga, because creationists aren't claiming that evolution is true, therefore THEY are not throwing in their lot with a theory that says we can't actually know anything, whereas evolution-believers are.
Well, you're right here - especially since some parts of the Bible have been shown to be wrong.

Objectivitees,
This is not really a criticism of your argument but I'm just wondering why I couldn't sub-in something like quantum mechanics for evolution. Would that mean quantum mechanics was an irrationally held belief or is it different for some reason that I'm missing?
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Nathan Barley on Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:54 pm

"But that's true isn't it? If you go to the witch-doctor and you really believe he will make you better you have a better chance of survival than someone who doesn't believe"

I said straight out that Plantinga falls down as he doesn't account for the scientific method, which filters out false beliefs that happen to work, by rigorously testing them in repeatable experiments. Witch-doctors come under the banner of 'placebo effect'.

"Religion is actually a really good example of people believing things for false reasons in order to get some selective advantage over another group."

Yes, that's the irony of Plantinga's 'theory' - it applies far better to religious ideas than to scientific ones.

"Evolution is incapable of Rationally justifying or affirming the the existence of Logic from within the paradigm of it's own worldview "

Evolution is not a worldew that needs to justify the existence of logic. It is simply the name we give to a process, and it's a process that we can observe happening. You've said nothing to show that it doesn't happen, or to refute the observable evidence that it happens.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:24 pm

You are simply mistaken in this, I'm afraid.

Steg, let's have this discussion another time, because every time you go there, it seems you are suggesting Logic is not a means to derive knowledge, thereby denying the first premise of my argument, which then means you cannot claim to have any kind of knowledge. You need to attack the second premise of my argument to show Evolution can account for Logic's existence in reality, in order to show my conclusion is not reliable.



It is easily countered by simply pointing out that anything that evolves in an environment where events in nature obey logic, will evolve instincts that allow them to correctly anticipate events that are logical.

Actually, that will not be so easy for you to demonstrate. Logic is a valid methodology for determining the truth or falsity of an idea. (premise one) Logic is not a physical property of the universe. Events "in nature" do not "obey" logic, they obey physical laws of nature. Logic is used to rationally describe these observations we have. Logic is not a physical law of nature, it is a conceptual law of reason to allow us to claim knowledge. That's my argument. You have to show it is, (a physical law of nature) and why it is from within the boundaries of Evolutionary thought. In short, you have to show a physical correspondent to a non-physical construct.

Evolution does not account for "logic" when by "logic" we mean the world acting in a logical manner (as evolution by natural selection is a theory to account for biological diversity, not the origin of the laws of nature), but it does not have to - if the world operates in a logical manner, then evolution will produce animals with minds capable of operating in an environment that exhibits that logic.

Don't confuse a logical description of a physical aspect of reality with the non-physical actuality or 'existence' of logic. You have to demonstrate the metaphysical construct of logic, comports with (corresponds with) a physical aspect of reality.

So, no, I don't see at all how evolution would have a problem with justifying the acceptance of logic.

I'm not saying you cannot logically describe the Evolutionary worldview, I'm saying you can't use the Evolutionary worldview to justify the existence of logic, not the "acceptance" of logic. Just because you can logically describe the 'evolution' of a neural pathway that would hypothetically allow an organism to better be able to survive, according to the tenets of Evolution, does not mean you have accounted for the existence of logic. You need to 'step outside' your worldview as you did when you accepted the validity of logic as a 'means', and then utilize anything in the worldview to construct an argument that shows a real (physical) existence of logic in the worldview itself. Otherwise, Because 'logic' is assumed, everything rationalized with it is also an assumption. (Unless one can show a physical correspondent) Assumptions are arbitrary, arbitrariness in belief is by logic, irrational.

My premise number two stands, and my conclusion is therefore still 'reliable.' (Rational)


Last edited by Objectivitees on Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:57 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Emphasis on existence.)
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Nathan Barley on Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:47 pm

"I'm saying you can't use the Evolutionary worldview to justify the existence of logic"

One can't use a heliocentric worldview to justify the existence of logic. Does that mean one can't claim that the earth goes round the sun?

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Aught3 on Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:59 pm

I guess I'm a bit confused about the argument, Objectivitees. I can see why and argument for evolution would rely on logic, but I don't see why you would need evolution to justify logic. Wouldn't the three laws of logic be true, regardless of whether evolution occurred or not? In a universe where no life evolved p would still be p and not not-p.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:01 pm

Objectivitees,
This is not really a criticism of your argument but I'm just wondering why I couldn't sub-in something like quantum mechanics for evolution. Would that mean quantum mechanics was an irrationally held belief or is it different for some reason that I'm missing?

No, that wouldn't work because 'quantum mechanics' isn't a 'worldview', it is a component of one. Quantum mechanics could be a part of both an Evolutionary and Creationist paradigm. You'd be right though, if you were to 'sub-in' another worldview.

Wouldn't the three laws of logic be true, regardless of whether evolution occurred or not?

Yes. Well, they wouldn't necessarily be "true" but they necessarily exist in order to facilitate derivation of knowledge. (Or communication between us) That's why I posit Logic as an "A Priori" assumption in premise one of my argument.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Aught3 on Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:23 pm

Yes. Well, they wouldn't necessarily be "true" but they necessarily exist in order to facilitate derivation of knowledge. (Or communication between us) That's why I posit Logic as an "A Priori" assumption in premise one of my argument.
I agree that the laws of logic need to exist in order for us to gain knowledge, but I would also say that whether or not we needed them (i.e. we didn't exist) the laws of logic would still exist. Do you agree with that?
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:28 pm

Aught3 wrote:
Yes. Well, they wouldn't necessarily be "true" but they necessarily exist in order to facilitate derivation of knowledge. (Or communication between us) That's why I posit Logic as an "A Priori" assumption in premise one of my argument.
I agree that the laws of logic need to exist in order for us to gain knowledge, but I would also say that whether or not we needed them (i.e. we didn't exist) the laws of logic would still exist. Do you agree with that?

Well, from my worldview, I can make an argument the Laws of Logic are self-extant. I think the fact they are necessary for every worldview, yet stand outside the worldview itself argues their existence in reality, regardless of the form of argument from within my worldview.

But then why do you ask? It seems you are going another direction that the argument I made has taken the conversation thus far, and I don't have the ability to argue simultaneously on multiple topics. Are you just trying to get a handle on my argument?
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Aught3 on Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:58 pm

Well, from my worldview, I can make an argument the Laws of Logic are self-extant. I think the fact they are necessary for every worldview, yet stand outside the worldview itself argues their existence in reality, regardless of the form of argument from within my worldview.

But then why do you ask? It seems you are going another direction that the argument I made has taken the conversation thus far, and I don't have the ability to argue simultaneously on multiple topics. Are you just trying to get a handle on my argument?
I'm certainly trying to understand your argument as my first priority. As to the direction of the conversation it seems to be heading towards the idea that logic stands outside of our understanding of the universe. The logical laws (for example) are true whether or not evolution occurred and don't need to be justified by it.

You also say that you can show the laws of logic are self-extant but only from your worldview. If the laws of logic are indeed self-extant then their existence shouldn't depend on your worldview - they should exist regardless.

Finally, I don't think I understand your concept of evolution and creation worldviews. You don't need to accept evolution or creation to use or understand logic so I'm wondering why these 'worldviews' are so important.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:17 pm

The logical laws (for example) are true whether or not evolution occurred and don't need to be justified by it.

I'm not trying to justify logic. I am trying to show Evolution cannot justify Logic's existence from within the paradigm of it's own worldview. Premise one of my argument acknowledges logic exists and is 'valid means.' Premise two challenges the Evolutionist to account for it's existence independent of the assumption it is extant.

You also say that you can show the laws of logic are self-extant but only from your worldview.
Emphasis added.

No, what I said was all worldviews must proceed from this assumption, and that I am able from my worldview to argue it is self-extant. However, the claim logic is "self-extant" is not relevant to this discussion, as we have already agreed it exists, and is valid, which is all that is necessary for discussion to proceed. (Premise one)

Finally, I don't think I understand your concept of evolution and creation worldviews. You don't need to accept evolution or creation to use or understand logic so I'm wondering why these 'worldviews' are so important.

I never said you need to understand Evolution or Creation to use logic. (Please see premise one again) The reason they are important here is because the OP posited the opposition of the two, while excluding the possibility of a 'middle ground' between the two. This (from the OP) Is a proper use of the law of the excluded middle and allows us to have the discussion without trailing out after fallacies of irrelevant thesis.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Aught3 on Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:28 pm

Ok, I think I'm almost there understanding your argument. The last point I'm still caught up on is what exactly are the evolution and creation worldviews. I'm guessing by an evolution worldview you mean that the universe and life can into existence by natural means and by a creation viewpoint you mean that the universe and life were created by god, is that right?
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:05 pm

Aught3 wrote:Ok, I think I'm almost there understanding your argument. The last point I'm still caught up on is what exactly are the evolution and creation worldviews. I'm guessing by an evolution worldview you mean that the universe and life can into existence by natural means and by a creation viewpoint you mean that the universe and life were created by god, is that right?

I mean them in the same sense the OP did. Evolution opposes Creation as an origins story respective to their own worldview.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Stegocephalian on Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:03 am

Quite a few things here. Objectivees - I was really confused by your latest direct reply to me, but something in a later post clarified the issue somewhat. There's a fundamental (and very common, among creationists) fallacy at work here.

As for the man in the box, and what that argument shows, and what I intend with it, I'll start a new thread about it, titled "What you can, and cannot achieve with logic alone". I think it is important to hammer the subtleties down. I started doing this, and after getting about half way thorugh writing the first post, accidentally pressed "back" on my browser, and returning to the page, discovered that the site doesn't keep the text when this happens. No

I'll do it sometime later, for now let's get on with the error I see playing a big part here, the error Nathan Barley at least already pointed out: Evolution is not a world view, any more than quantum physics is, or the big bang theory is, or the germ theory is - these are all scientific theories made to deal with certain clearly delineated questions, related to specific phenomena.

The theory of evolution exclusively deals with the history of life of Earth, and how it diversified from initially simple life to the wealth of species we see today. The theory of evolution makes no effort, no comment on any questions beyond that - just like Newton's theory of gravity dealt with apples falling from trees, and why they do so, and didn't concern itself with how apples got there onto the branches in the first place, evolution deals only with the diversification and history of life on Earth - and it doesn't even care how that life got there, much less how the universe, it's laws of nature, or fundamental things like logic came about!

Evolutionary theory merely assumes that there is life to begin with - it begins it's explanatory task from the point where there exist simple life-forms capable of replicating themselves. As to how those life forms got there, if you were to believe that the Easter bunny planted them there, you would not be contradicting one iota of evolutionary theory - evolutionary theory does not care one way or the other.

Models of abiogenesis deal, from the naturalistic perspective, with the question of how life originated.

This is how science works - it provides clearly delineated theories to deal with separate questions, and it is a clear error to mistake evolution for a complete world view. It most emphatically is not that.

It is a fallacy perpetuated by creationist preachers to contrast "creationism" and "evolution" as being the same kinds of things on the opposite sides of a coin - evolution is not a complete "alternative" to creationism, as creationism IS a worldview, while evolution can only ever be a part of one.

Evolution is part of many kinds of world views, some of which include notions of the supernatural, notions of God or gods, and some of which don't.

Evolution is a component of my worldview (just like quantum physics is a component of my worldview). A more complete description of my world view would be to say that it is a fully naturalistic worldview, meaning that I do not believe in the supernatural, I do not believe in the existence of deities of any sort. I believe we live in a world that is naturalistic through and through, on every scale, from beginning to end. But even this would not be complete - it would not describe my views on morality or purpose, for example.

More completely still, I could say that I have a fully naturalistic worldview, have ethical ideas that come close to rule-utilitarianism, probably somewhat influenced by Buddhist ethics, have a humanistic outlook on life, and am fascinated with the natural world.

Almost none of that is implied in the theory of evolution, any more than it is implied by the acceptance of quantum physics or germ theory, or any scientific theory.

My sister also accepts evolution, without any problem. She would disagree with me on my worldview though - her worldview is a Buddhist one, which I find interesting, but cannot personally agree with when it comes to the metaphysics. My mother accepts evolution, quite uncontroversially, and she believes in the supernatural, and a god of some sort.

So what you are arguing against in your argument isn't "evolution", but really "the fully naturalistic world view". This is why your argument misses the mark when it comes to evolution - evolution has no obligation to account for the existence of logic, no more than quantum physics, or germ theory has.

Now I don't think your argument really works against the naturalistic world view either, but I'll leave that till later. This fallacy of "evolution is a worldview" must be dealt with first.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Stegocephalian on Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:20 am

Objectivitees wrote:
I mean them in the same sense the OP did. Evolution opposes Creation as an origins story respective to their own worldview.

Just to emphasize the point I made in the post above, no, it does not.

Evolution contradicts aspects of the Biblical creation story - namely special creation as separate life forms of all life. That's the part of the Biblical creation story that contradicts with the theory of evolution.

Everything else in it, evolution makes no comment on. Evolution is not an "origins story" in the sense that Biblical creation is - Evolution is only an origins story when it comes to the origin of biological species on Earth, given that life already exists. That's the extent of it. All the other origins (the origin of life, the origin of the elements, the origin of solar systems, the origin of the universe, the origin of the laws of physics, etc.) are dealt with in other theories, and not by evolution. The assumption that because creationists reject evolution, and evolutionists reject creationism, therefore they must be similar in explanatory scope, is false.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Nathan Barley on Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:41 am

Stego, the problem is that Objectivitee is using 'evolution' as a synonym for atheism. As you say, this is a common misconception among creationists. Most Christians understand and accept evolution. Evolution explains biodiversity. If you want to falsify evolution, you need to show that it is insufficient to explain biodiversity. Anything else that you claim it does not explain is irrelevant.

It would have made it clearer from the start if Object had instead restricted his claim to 'One cannot explain the existence of logic without a deity'.

This would have saved a lot of time, and would have allowed us to deal with the actual argument. It is sometimes summarised as TAG - the transcendental argument for God. It seems to be the new apologetic, perhaps replacing 'One cannot explain objective morality without a God'. I'd like to see the Doubtcasters address it in their counter apologetics section.

The advantage to the apologist of TAG is that they can be losing an argument on any subject at all, and then attempt to turn it around by saying 'The very fact that you're using logic in your argument against me is a tacit admission that God exists!'. You can reply that this is a complete red herring and nothing to do with the topic at hand, but they can dig their heels in and refuse to discuss anything further until you 'justify logic with your worldview'.

I encountered this most recently while discussing something with Frank Turek. It worked for him, as I cannot now remember what we'd originally been talking about, only that he managed to pull it over into a TAG argument.

For me the argument falls down in that Turek admitted that the logical absolutes COULD NOT be any other way. If that is the case, why is a God necessary to explain them? He is unnecessary to the hypothesis.

So could God do something that is logically impossible? Even apologists seem to hesitant to claim that He could. Then He cannot be the master and creator of logic. Turek's answer is that although logic couldn't be any other way, and God has no power to change it, nevertheless logic 'comes out of God's nature'.

Anyone here find that convincing?

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Ignorance is bliss

Post  exxian on Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:59 am

I think mostly it's because they are misinformed.
I know I was lied to for eighteen years about the basics of evolution in school and in church.
I don't know if you'd consider it "lying" if they don't intend to lie, but just don't understand it themselves...

The point is, I didn't learn how evolution ACTUALLY worked until college.

<So embarrassing. I had to look it up online after I made the "why are there still monkeys?" argument to a friend.>

Once I understood it, it wasn't long before I accepted it.

I think some Freethinkers make the mistake of assigning a kind of malicious character to Christians... like they're all plotting to get us and fuck everything up.
I just... I think they really do mean well most of the time. They think they're right and they're trying to save others.... most of the time.

There's a certain level of responsibility on them, of course. They should do what I did and find out for themselves! But who does that really? Most people are too busy with life in general, they can barely keep their heads above water with life's basic tribulations.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Stegocephalian on Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:22 am

Nathan Barley wrote:Stego, the problem is that Objectivitee is using 'evolution' as a synonym for atheism.

No, actually, ascribing atheism as a world view is another mistake - atheism is nothing but a one-word answer to a single question: "do you believe there exists a god or gods?". It clearly cannot be a world view - it can only be a part of one.

The fully naturalistic (or materialistic) world view is what Objectivitees seems to be what Objectivees is mistaking for evolution.

As to the TAG, I think the response you explain is a good one. I see no reason at all to think that logic could be otherwise - god or no god. Thus it doesn't really need an explanation.

I've encountered the TAG before, and my basic point on it is that logic is a property inherent in existence - if something (anything at all) exists, it exhibits, in it's existence, basic facts of logic.

The TAG doesn't really impress me, as it seems self defeating. Supposedly, if one is to believe the TAG, there are only two categories of things, either material things, or conceptual things. If logic is not material, it must be conceptual, and to have a conceptual thing, you must have a mind to conceive it, ergo, God. However, this leads to the question that if all things are either conceptual or material, which category does God fall into? Either the theist has to claim that God is a material being, or that God is merely a conception, and I don't think they are comfortable with either.

I believe the apologist Matt Slick answered by saying that God is "spiritual", but this, of course, makes the whole dichotomy fall down by bringing in a third category of things, and refuting the premise that all things are either material or conceptual.

Then we get to the point you made - could God have decided that the laws of logic are different from what they are? I don't think anyone who's familiar with the laws of logic can seriously conceive of any way which they could be different. Slick says that logic is inherent in the nature of God, but, since God is "spiritual" and not "conceptual", isn't anything inherent in God's nature "spiritual" too, and NOT conceptual, as TAG makes logic out to be?

Again you run into contradiction. And if you can avoid the problem by saying that "logic is inherent in the nature of God", then I think I can, with at least equal validity, say that "logic is inherent in the nature of existence".

I've always found these attempts to define God into existence by some back-door of wordplay very unconvincing.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Objectivitees on Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:21 pm

A more complete description of my world view would be to say that it is a fully naturalistic worldview

Awesome! I was anticipating having to tie Naturalism to Evolution at some point during this debate, but now I don't have to since you've done it for me. Evolutionism is necessarily naturalist. Even if you don't agree with that, since you claim to be "fully naturalistic", you may substitute "Naturalism" for the word "Evolution" in my argument where it appears. Since Naturalism suffers from the same problem Evolution does (It cannot justify the existence of Logic from within it's own worldview) and you have neatly tied the two together for me, my argument suffers none. Premise two still has not been shown false, and therefore my conclusion is still reliable.

However, just for the sake of ease, let's not throw in all the other "isms" and continue to focus on Evolution. However, if you want to maintain your claim Evolution is not a worldview (though it clearly is) I'll allow you to do that, and we'll switch to 'Naturalism' since you feel it is the "more complete" view from which Evolution extends, so long as you agree to focus on that without sidestepping the argument I have made, and attempt instead, to account for how Naturalism explains the existence of logic.


I've always found these attempts to define God into existence by some back-door of wordplay very unconvincing.

Please don't try to set up a straw man here to knock down. I'm not attempting to 'define God into existence". I'm trying to show you can't account for the existence of logic by your own worldview.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Aught3 on Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:20 pm

It would have made it clearer from the start if Object had instead restricted his claim to 'One cannot explain the existence of logic without a deity'.
Yeah I figured he was going for TAG to, but without a clear understanding of what am evolutionary worldview is I couldn't really go any further with it. If Stegos is right and evolutionary is equivalent to naturalistic do I think I get to side-step the argument since I'm not a metaphysical naturalist?

Then we get to the point you made - could God have decided that the laws of logic are different from what they are? I don't think anyone who's familiar with the laws of logic can seriously conceive of any way which they could be different. Slick says that logic is inherent in the nature of God, but, since God is "spiritual" and not "conceptual", isn't anything inherent in God's nature "spiritual" too, and NOT conceptual, as TAG makes logic out to be?
I can't conceive of any other way for the laws of logic to be either but isn't this a kind of argument from ignorance? Just because we cannot conceive of anything different that doesn't mean they have to be the way they are. On the other hand they are tautological so many there really is no other way that the laws of logic could be formulated. My understanding of TAG was that the laws of logic were neither conceptual nor physical, if they were conceptual then we can account for their existence because our minds also exist. I thought TAG said the laws of logic were transcendental and existed in and of themselves.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Nathan Barley on Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:00 pm

"Since Naturalism suffers from the same problem Evolution does (It cannot justify the existence of Logic from within it's own worldview) "

We have all already answered this several times. That you don't seem to realise your argument has been shot down doesn't help you or your credibility. The question of whether evolution happens/happened is completely separate from questions about logic. One could believe that God created logic, and then evolution happened. One could believe that logic is intrinsic in the universe, but that evolution did not happen.

"if you want to maintain your claim Evolution is not a worldview (though it clearly is)"

Stego clearly explained why it is not more a worldview than any other aspect of science.

"Evolutionism is necessarily naturalist."

ALL science is naturalist in that it doesn't rely on the supernatural. This is its strength, not its weakness. The point someone else made a few posts back stands - you could substitute ANY aspect of science for evolution in your argument and it would make as much sense. Soil erosion cannot justify the existence of logic from within its own worldview, neither can photosynthesis, or the earth being round. These are as much a 'worldview' as evolution is.

"I'm trying to show you can't account for the existence of logic..."

Again, we have all addressed this. Ignoring that we've answered this doesn't help you. Just because we didn't give an answer you liked, doesn't mean we didn't answer. Claiming that we haven't doesn't help your argument.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Stegocephalian on Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:53 am

Objectivitees wrote:
Please don't try to set up a straw man here to knock down. I'm not attempting to 'define God into existence". I'm trying to show you can't account for the existence of logic by your own worldview.

I won't do it, if you won't. Looks like you are doing it with the term "evolution" though, which is what we why we have to deal with this before going on; you don't get to define what "evolution" means - it is a scientific term, denoting a scientific theory regarding the history and origin of diversity of life on Earth. That's it. Nothing less, nothing more - as I explained to you in quite some detail, and I will go into more detail yet in this post.

Objectivitees wrote:
Awesome! I was anticipating having to tie Naturalism to Evolution at some point during this debate, but now I don't have to since you've done it for me. Evolutionism is necessarily naturalist.

Evolution, like all scientific theories, is tied to methodological naturalism, not philosophical naturalism. I am a philosophical naturalist - that's my world view. Methodological naturalism is not a world view - it is an epistemological view. A view of how to proceed about gaining knowledge and understanding of the world. My world view is not entailed in evolution, no more than it is entailed in quantum physics, or germ theory.

To confuse the two - philosophical and methodological naturalism - is a common error, but an error none the less.

Methodological naturalism means that science operates under the practical constraint that scientific hypothesis must be explained and tested only by reference to natural causes and events. In other words, explanations of phenomena are only useful for science when they involve the actual, tangible mechanisms involved, as opposed to appeals to miracles and indeterminate mysteries. Methodological naturalism does not make any claims on how the world IS.

Methodological naturalism does not claim that the world is fully naturalistic, and that there aren't any supernatural things - as far as methodological naturalism goes, there might be, or there might not be. The only thing methodological naturalism is concerned with is the epistemology of gaining knowledge, meaning that if there are miracles or supernatural things, they lie outside the explanatory scope of science, and cannot be appealed to in any scientific explanation. Such things could conceivably be detected by science, simply by the consistent failure to find a natural explanation to some phenomena.

Philosophical naturalism is a different beast altogether - it goes beyond epistemology, into ontology - a philosophical naturalist, like me, says that there most likely is no such thing as supernatural, that not only are naturalistic methods the way to gain knowledge of the world, but that there is no other kind of knowledge to be gained of the world.

And again, the theory of evolution, just like all of science, requires methodological naturalism, NOT philosophical naturalism, and I ask you not to conflate the two.

Philosophical naturalism is compatible with methodological naturalism, of course, but so is a wide variety of worldviews that reject philosophical naturalism! That is why science - including evolution - is compatible with a wide range of world views, if not the Biblical literalist one. In fact, most of the people on Earth who accept that life on Earth shares a common family tree, and evolved to it's current diversity over billions of years, DO believe in the suprernatural, and are not philosophical naturalists like me.

Now I'm entirely willing to discuss your objection to philosophical naturalism, but I'm not willing to erranously call philosophical naturalism "evolution", not only because that would be very misleanding and untrue, but because THAT is a way of setting up a straw man - the reason creationist sources like to conflate everything they disagree with under the term "evolution" is that that allows them to ignore the actual evidence that has convinced the scientific community of the reality of common descent, and instead concentrate on arguing against something like philosophical naturalism, with the idea that if you refute that, or at least put reasonable doubt over it's veracity, then you don't have to bother with the evidence for evolution - provided you've lumped these ideas together. Philosophical naturalism is not established as solidly as, say, common descent is - there isn't the wealth of physical evidence, the overpowering mountains of empirical data from many different sources to confirm it, like there is for common descent, and the central ideas of evolutionary theory. Thus tactically, if you are insistent on dismissing an idea supported by such a wealth of evidence, it makes sense to lump it in with something less certain, argue against that less certain thing, and then pretend that the more certain thing hangs on the veracity of the less certain one.

This is an avoidance technique, and I won't go along with it.

Objectivitees wrote:
Since Naturalism suffers from the same problem Evolution does (It cannot justify the existence of Logic from within it's own worldview) and you have neatly tied the two together for me, my argument suffers none.

I have not tied the two together, as I've explained above, and evolution does not need to justify "the existence of logic", because evolution exclusively deals with the diversification and history of life on Earth, and the mechanisms involved in that, and nothing else.

My world view (philosophical naturalism) necessarily implies evolution (or at least some such natural mechanism), but evolution does not necessarily imply philosophical naturalism. It's a one-way relationship.

All the following claims are compatible with the theory of evolution, in it's entirety:

1. The world is fully naturalistic, with no supernatural elements, no gods or spirits. (Philosophical naturalism)

2. The world operates under the law of karma, and rebirth occurs after death. The self is an illusion, and the purpose of life is to escape suffering, and help others do so, by achieving enlightenment, and escaping the cycle of rebirth. (Buddhism)

3.The world was created by a god (who created logic, and is the foundation of morals, etc.). (General theism - of any brand, except those that take a literal reading of their creation stories)

4.The world was created by the Easter Bunny, who put the first living organisms on Earth, which then evolved to the current diversity. (A silly belief I made up, but that nevertheless does not contradict with anything the theory of evolution says.)

And a vast variety of other world views, besides those examples. Again, evolution is not in conflict with any of those, it doesn't comment on them.

Here's another one that is compatible with evolution:

"Evolution is an accurate description of the history of life, but along the way, God intervened with miracles to guide evolution towards certain paths rather than others, to ensure an outcome he liked."

That would be theistic evolution, and the theory of evolution really has no comment on it, because it is an appeal to the supernatural, and unfalsifiable, which makes it outside the perview of science: this is because of the commitment to methodological naturalism.

However, just for the sake of ease, let's not throw in all the other "isms" and continue to focus on Evolution.

No, that is not acceptable. I will not use a term in a way that is grossly in error, misleading, and a part of an avoidance strategy, to enable creationists to dismiss evolution without actually discussing any of the evidence upon which the theory is founded.

However, if you want to maintain your claim Evolution is not a worldview (though it clearly is) I'll allow you to do that, and we'll switch to 'Naturalism' since you feel it is the "more complete" view from which Evolution extends, so long as you agree to focus on that without sidestepping the argument I have made.

I will not sidestep anything, and am quite happy to discuss with you any problems you might see with philosophical naturalism, but I will not do it without an explicit acknowledgement of what I've explained here. I will not do it without you seeing first that whether philosophical naturalism fails or stands has no implications at all on whether it is true that all life on Earth is related in a single family tree, and diversified through natural selection acting on variation over eons.

You cannot refute evolution, by refuting philosophical naturalism, even in principle.

This point I need you to get first. So either acknowledge it, or argue why it is not so, addressing the explanations I've made in this post, and the previous one, in detail.
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Nathan Barley on Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:18 am

"This point I need you to get first. So either acknowledge it..."

I think we all know there isn't a snowball's chance in hell of him acknowledging any such thing.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  jgrow2 on Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:48 am

Nathan Barley wrote:
Stegocephalian wrote:"This point I need you to get first. So either acknowledge it..."

I think we all know there isn't a snowball's chance in hell of him acknowledging any such thing.

I am afraid so. I didn't see where Objectivitees has really said *what* his argument is. Is he arguing for a literal interpretation of the bible? If so, that's been refuted and deprecated several times over, both by the document itself and by the findings of science. Is it a deistic argument, where god winds the clock and walks away? Or like the "personal god," perhaps he sticks around and oils every little gear obsessively?

Steg is right, this seems more about naturalism versus creationism. Natural versus supernatural. Evolution is a fact with mounds of supporting evidence, and is not a "worldview" but an observable process. It's a process that could fit in a theistic setting, but not one that bible-readers would necessarily support because it doesn't favor one book over another.

I am still interested in seeing his "profession of faith," as I called it way back. To see what his viewpoint really is. To say "Christian" is really not enough as there are so many interpretations even of that appellation.


Last edited by jgrow2 on Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:21 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : corrected manual quote tag.)
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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Nathan Barley on Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:18 am

"I didn't see where Objectivitees has really said *what* his argument is. "

He's already built up so many strawmen and false premises, I don't think it really matters what his argument is - it's based on false ideas about what evolution is (even though this has been pointed out to him several times). No matter what kind of house he builds on these dodgy foundations, it's going to fall down. And we've got nowhere near any refutation of the overwhelming evidence for evolution - the fossil record, DNA evidence, shared traits etc.

So I'm not surprised he doesn't acknowledge any points - his argument would fall down if he did. Like that Manic Street Preachers song title: "IfwhiteAmericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwould fallapart" (sic)

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