Plantinga and EAAGA
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21-06-2011, 10:51 AM
Plantinga and EAAGA
Alvin Plantinga is a very well regarded philosopher who defends the Ontological Argument and has presented a new argument against naturalism. Roughly Formulated:

1. Evolution affects the formation of our neurological pathways.
2. Naturalism posits that our minds are emergent and dependent upon the formation of the Brain
3. Evolution isn't concerned with "Truth" but only Survivability
4. Since Evolution Affects the formation of our minds we have evolved toward survivability, not truth.
5. Therefore, on Naturalism, we cnanot trust our minds and our faculties to give us truth.

What do you guys think of this Argument? Good? Bad? Any responses? Any Defenses?

"Do what though wilt shall be the whole of the Law." - The Book of the Law
"There is no God but man" - Liber OZ

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21-06-2011, 02:18 PM
RE: Plantinga and EAAGA
(21-06-2011 10:51 AM)Robertus_ Wrote:  Alvin Plantinga is a very well regarded philosopher who defends the Ontological Argument and has presented a new argument against naturalism. Roughly Formulated:

1. Evolution affects the formation of our neurological pathways.
2. Naturalism posits that our minds are emergent and dependent upon the formation of the Brain
3. Evolution isn't concerned with "Truth" but only Survivability
4. Since Evolution Affects the formation of our minds we have evolved toward survivability, not truth.
5. Therefore, on Naturalism, we cnanot trust our minds and our faculties to give us truth.

What do you guys think of this Argument? Good? Bad? Any responses? Any Defenses?

The response is that no, we can't, in fact, trust our thoughts to be "Truth". For the longest time, our brains told us that the sun went around the earth. We had to collect accurate data to realize that our minds were deceiving us. Quantum Physics is an even more obvious example in which our brain is actually not wired to understand quantum events, like particles existing in all their possible states at once, particle-wave duality, etc. Moreover pretty much everybody should know that what we know are only provisional truths, always subject to review whenever new data comes along. Each scientific theory is just the best we can do with the data at hand. What the theories do is make predictions, and then we compare actual data and observations, and see how closely they match the predictions. Newtonian physics matched observations very closely, but it was only an approximation. General Relativity is a much better approximation, but most scientists admit that the fact it doesn't mesh with quantum mechanics probably means it's not the full story. Most people are perfectly fine with the idea of not knowing (drum roll) "The Truth". Usually we are humble enough to acknowledge our limitations and be happy with "good enough".

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21-06-2011, 03:49 PM
RE: Plantinga and EAAGA
While what you're saying is true I don't think that it's a strong enough response.


I would ask: If we have evolved in the direction of Survivability, wouldn't false information not lead to survival?

The whole Argument pre-supposes that we just get false information from our minds just because it's subject to evolution.

But good response, your answer is very true.

"Do what though wilt shall be the whole of the Law." - The Book of the Law
"There is no God but man" - Liber OZ

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21-06-2011, 03:57 PM
RE: Plantinga and EAAGA
well I would point out that viewing a situation based on the most accurate outlook is beneficial and ties into survivability.
If you are an early human with the rest of your tribe and you think you hear a lion, its beneficial for you and your tribe if you think about it and decide "yes, that is definitely the sound a lion makes".

Hey brother christian, with your high and mighty errand, your actions speak so loud, I can't hear a word you're saying.

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21-06-2011, 04:06 PM
RE: Plantinga and EAAGA
(21-06-2011 03:49 PM)Robertus_ Wrote:  I would ask: If we have evolved in the direction of Survivability, wouldn't false information not lead to survival?

Excellent point, although if by "Truth" we mean "completeness" then our senses don't give us complete information, just enough to get by. For example, there are plenty of frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum we don't see, which is fine because we can go about successfully without seeing them. The problem I see is with the definition of "Truth". We could in fact argue on the line of Kant and say we don't actually know what's there, but only what our senses relay to our brain. But as you said, the 2 (what we see and what's there) must correlate closely or there would be no point in having sight to begin with.

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21-06-2011, 08:53 PM (This post was last modified: 22-06-2011 06:35 AM by Lilith Pride.)
RE: Plantinga and EAAGA
I would simply suggest that his argument denies god instead of evolution. People decide to believe in god through a personal choice of faith. They agree with evolution through evidence. Evolution is a theory with evidence to back it up and make it more than human (not just a single book written by Darwin). Each religion though has no outside sources beyond the human. A book is still a human invention and plagued by this failure to reach truth.

If humans desire falsities then look to what is most emotionally sound. Skepticism is not just being wary, skepticism can mean not believing in your own senses. This is what makes science different than religion. Science allows us to get answers that are not only beyond ourselves, but also beyond our peers. Scientific evidence is not a human creation, but a human observance.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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22-06-2011, 02:54 AM
RE: Plantinga and EAAGA
Plantinga is well regarded for someone with such pitiful arguments.

He begins to fall apart at premise 3, and is well and truly derailed at premise 4.
"Evolution isn't concerned with "Truth" but only Survivability." This presumes that truth is not advantageous with regards to natural selection. Truth, that is, a clear perception of reality, is very much useful and would definitely be selected for, in middle world at least. (That is the reason why we don't understand quantum mechanics very well, and why we can hardly grasp the infinite or infinitesimal.)

Premise 4: "Since Evolution Affects the formation of our minds we have evolved toward survivability, not truth."
Whilst premise 3 is vague, and can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, premise 4 is very much to the point. It is directly equating survivability to falsehood, making a dichotomy between truth and survivability. As said before, and by the previous posters, a clear perception of reality is advantageous to our survival in middle world. What I want to know is, why doesn't he think we can corroberate and test our collective perceptions of reality to become more confident that we are correct?

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

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22-06-2011, 08:08 AM
RE: Plantinga and EAAGA
I think it's true... Survival is always foremost on our mind, truth or reality isn't. A nice example is Stockholm syndrome or images like this one. Your brain does not automatically compute what it IS but what it NEEDS to survive. A serious byproduct is e.g. irrational fear for even the smallest spiders. In that sense, this argument is a great way to debunk a deity (I like the word deity more then the hijacked word "God"). A concept of a deity is simply a survival method not a truth.

/*slightly off topic/
Humanity has evolved over the last 150 years to a state where there is more information in one's life than you can process. I'm pretty sure that the brain will evolve accordingly but not at the same pace. As you study time lines you can see that there is stability for a long time and then it takes a relatively short amount of time for changes to occur. IMO we are midst one of those changes. If the meme theory is correct we should see change in human memes rather quickly. (and i think the religious meme is one of them Smile)
/slightly off topic*/

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Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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