3 Reasons NOT to Believe in Natural Selection

Reason 1:

Various people have pointed out an epistemological problem with natural selection (I.E.: C.S. Lewis, and Alvin Plantinga). Supposing God uses natural selection to bring about states of affairs, then man’s thoughts are brought about by natural forces in accordance with survivability, and not in accordance with truth. It could always be arbitrarily asserted that God uses natural forces to bring about true beliefs, but this cannot be known with any certainty given the truth of the Natural Selection model. This is a problem for the secularist as well…especially since he cannot allude to God to try and escape the dilemma. Everything we know could simply be false beliefs that have helped select us for survival.

Reason 2:

Natural selection is completely trivial. Dr. Bahnsen points this out in his critique of Darwinism (during his lectures on the history of western philosophy). If all X’s are Y’s by definition, then we are forced to make the facts fit into the pattern. Dr. Bahnsen uses this illustration: If all cooks are also basketball players…then there can be no such thing as a cook who is NOT a basketball player. So, if one day, someone drags some guy up to us and says, “here is a great cook,” then we automatically have to assume he is a basketball player as well! But, this is trivial…and ultimately worthless bias: All animals that survive have been naturally selected. All X’s are Y’s by definition! This is nothing more than trivial bias…and the fact that it convinces people en mass is sad. It certainly can’t be called “Science.” (No one can empirically verify that all animals that survive are naturally selected…it’s an arbitrary belief.)

Reason 3:

In short: If God uses natural selection to bring about states of affairs, then mankind is no longer the responsible causal agent in nature…natural forces are. God would no longer be able to consistently punish man! Here is an illustration: no one drags bullets to court and tries them for murder, even though in reality, the bullets are ultimately responsible for the victim’s death. We could take it a step further and say that the bullets aren’t responsible either, but rather, the sudden appearance of holes and fissures within the victim’s vital organs, caused them to shut down. But, the organs are never blamed. Nor are the bullets…nor (usually) is the gun. Given natural selection…the man shouldn’t be to blame either…but rather the natural forces that brought the man to use the gun to fire the bullet that pierced the organs!

There is a hierarchy in nature such that man is sovereign over nature (not the other way around) making us the responsible causal agents within nature. That’s why Christ died for us! Natural selection destroys Christianity by making the death of Christ absurd.

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20 Responses to 3 Reasons NOT to Believe in Natural Selection

  1. Boris says:

    Why does every Christian college and university in the world that has a science department teach evolution, common descent, Big Bang cosmology, old earth geology, oceanography that debunks the biblical flood myth and the rest of the science creationists deny and fight against? When have scientists ever had to revise a theory in the face of never ending centuries long claims, threats of violence or other harassment from Bible believers? Bible believers have been on the wrong side of every scientific discovery and theory ever made ever since the Bible has existed, even those made by other Christians. No Protestant denomination even accepted the findings of Galileo or Copernicus until well into the 19th century. If this was only 200 years ago Shotgun would be telling is all that the earth was flat, never moved, was supported by pillars and orbited by the sun just like the Bible clearly says it is. But as we know it is always the Bible believers who have to move the goalposts back and then make the absurd claims that the Bible never really disagreed with science. Sure. Then why did so many scientists suffer persecution, violence and death at the hands of angry Christians whenever their findings further disproved their ridiculous claims about the Bible?

  2. Boris says:

    Reasons Not to Believe Christian science deniers:

    Various people have pointed out an epistemological problem with natural selection (I.E.: C.S. Lewis, and Alvin Plantinga).

    Boris says: Alvin Plantinga claims that the combination of naturalism and evolutionary theory is epistemologically self-defeating. Plantinga’s argument only applies to a “generically Cartesian” picture of the mind, not to a “generically pragmatist” view of mind. What Plantinga has actually shown to be self-defeating is the generically Cartesian view of our minds. Generic Cartesianism generates the problem of knowledge of the external world but the generically pragmatist view of mind dissolves it.

    Supposing God uses natural selection to bring about states of affairs, then man’s thoughts are brought about by natural forces in accordance with survivability, and not in accordance with truth.

    Boris says: Why would we suppose God would use a method of creation that makes it appear that he doesn’t exist? No reason to even consider God and natural selection together which is why the creationists are forced to deny the facts of natural selection and common descent.

    It could always be arbitrarily asserted that God uses natural forces to bring about true beliefs, but this cannot be known with any certainty given the truth of the Natural Selection model.

    Boris says: If this is true then there would be overwhelming evidence for a particular God’s existence.

    This is a problem for the secularist as well…especially since he cannot allude to God to try and escape the dilemma. Everything we know could simply be false beliefs that have helped select us for survival.

    Boris says. You mean like how Christianity had selected false beliefs necessary for its survival?

    Natural selection is completely trivial.

    Boris says: What is theology if it isn’t trivial? Theology is the study of nothing.

    Dr. Bahnsen points this out in his critique of Darwinism (during his lectures on the history of western philosophy).

    Boris says: There’s no such thing as Darwinism and people who use this term expose their scientific imbecility as well as their Christian fundamentalist fanaticism.

    If all X’s are Y’s by definition, then we are forced to make the facts fit into the pattern. Dr. Bahnsen uses this illustration: If all cooks are also basketball players…then there can be no such thing as a cook who is NOT a basketball player. So, if one day, someone drags some guy up to us and says, “here is a great cook,” then we automatically have to assume he is a basketball player as well! But, this is trivial…and ultimately worthless bias: All animals that survive have been naturally selected. All X’s are Y’s by definition! This is nothing more than trivial bias…and the fact that it convinces people en mass is sad. It certainly can’t be called “Science.” (No one can empirically verify that all animals that survive are naturally selected…it’s an arbitrary belief.)

    Boris says: That is a sublime combination of scientific ignorance, non-sequiturs, anti-logic and mindless yammering. Where is the proof that verifies the absurd claim all animals are NOT naturally selected? There isn’t any of course.

    In short: If God uses natural selection to bring about states of affairs, then mankind is no longer the responsible causal agent in nature…natural forces are.

    Boris says: So this means humans are responsible for global warming then? I mean the creationist just claimed humans are the causal agent in nature. Look around – nature for most intents and purposes doesn’t exist anymore. Who put all the carbon in the air that is heating up the planet?

    God would no longer be able to consistently punish man!

    Boris says: Translated: I would no longer be able to threaten people with the wrath of God for not accepting my particular views about him. Heaven forbid!

    Here is an illustration: no one drags bullets to court and tries them for murder, even though in reality, the bullets are ultimately responsible for the victim’s death. We could take it a step further and say that the bullets aren’t responsible either, but rather, the sudden appearance of holes and fissures within the victim’s vital organs, caused them to shut down. But, the organs are never blamed. Nor are the bullets…nor (usually) is the gun. Given natural selection…the man shouldn’t be to blame either…but rather the natural forces that brought the man to use the gun to fire the bullet that pierced the organs!

    Boris says: God’s don’t kill people either. People WITH Gods kill people.

    There is a hierarchy in nature such that man is sovereign over nature (not the other way around) making us the responsible causal agents within nature.

    Boris says: Man is a product of nature, part of the environment. Our “purpose” is simply to move heat.

    That’s why Christ died for us!

    Boris says: Before you make the claim this person died, could you please give us some evidence that he actually lived first?

    Natural selection destroys Christianity by making the death of Christ absurd.

    Boris says: The only accurate statement in the entire post.

  3. Shotgun says:

    Boris,

    The readers of my blog are intelligent enough to see that in all of your responses thus far, you’ve failed to offer a single rebuttal to any of the arguments I’ve made.

    Don’t post here again unless it’s coherent and relevant.

    Cavalier saber-rattling is unimpressive.

  4. Boris says:

    Oh please. If you could refute anything I’ve posted you would. Simply saying I didn’t rebut what you posted just won’t do and you know it. Plus you’ve conveniently ignored the questions I asked, not to mention all the questions in my first post. This is very interesting since the only reason I posted them is because on another blog you offered to respond to them if I asked them in a more appropriate venue. Well here, on your own personal blog where you are obviously determined to continue the 2000 year long Christan war on science seems about as appropriate a place for these questions as we can get. If you’d rather not let your flock know you have no answers you could try to contact me via Email and none will be the wiser. If you were just blowing smoke I’m fine with that too. I’m used to it.

  5. Shotgun says:

    Boris,

    I do love Christian apologetics. I love silencing the foolish (and for the most part, incoherent) arguments of people just like you.

    However, over the years I’ve learned to narrow the focus of discussions to preserve coherency and relevancy.

    If you construct my arguments in this post in the form of syllogisms, and examine the conclusions I draw, then post your counters in a similar manner, you’ll see that the conclusions you draw have no baring on the cases I’ve provided, nor do they speak to the issues I’ve raised.

    For example: Your first post here is in the form of an ad populum fallacy. Even if every person in the world taught something entirely different than what I’m arguing, that in and of itself doesn’t negate my argument. Hence, I ask you to make that case in a more relevant place.

    By way of another example: You discuss what Alvin Plantinga’s argument may or may not speak to. (Your comments about Planting tell me that perhaps you’ve googled a quick response, and then pasted it here in your own words as if that refutes my argument.) But, suppose your version of “generic pragmatism” really DOES liberate your view of natural selection from my critique? If it does, then you need to explain how. Be patient. Take the time to write it out. Discuss, step by step, why my argument fails in the face of your cognitive pragmatism.

    I’d love to hear it…and if you respond on that level, I’ll gladly interact with your case.

    As it stands, you’ve done nothing but assert that Plantinga’s critique fails to defeat “generic pragmatism.”

    The same can be said of the rest of your statements and responses.

    Make a relevant critique in your next post, or I’m deleting it.

  6. Anon says:

    You sir, are an uneducated fool. Natural Selection is as real as the air you breathe. Your heavy Christianity has polluted your mind, I’m believing to think

  7. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Be careful that you observe the rules for posting here Mr. Anon.

    That said,

    I’ve given 3 reasons not to believe in Natural Selection.

    If it is as real as the air I breathe, then you shouldn’t have any problems coming up with an answer for the critiques I’ve raised.

  8. Ben says:

    I have a question for you Scott (if you don’t mind me calling you Scott). If someone could prove that evolution worked (or that your reasons for objecting here were not valid), what impact do you think that would have on the more philosophical aspects of your Christian worldview?

    Ben

  9. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Hey Ben…welcome to my blog.

    It’s hard to answer your questions because of the inherent ambiguities involved.

    “If someone proved evolution worked”

    By this, do you mean: “If someone demonstrates that the facts of human experience justifiably and necessarily must be interpreted through the conceptual scheme of a given evolutionist” ?

    If so, then that would be a profound proof…one that would demand a shift in paradigms.

    You also ask what would happen if someone proved that my objections were not valid.

    Well, that depends on which objection was answered and how they were answered. (Notice I’ve roughly provided three sorts of objections. 1. An epistemological. 2. A Logical. 3. A theological.)

    Given the majority of hypothetical “answers” I can imagine off the top of my head, I don’t see that I would immediantly have to give up my Chrisitan worldview in light of any of them.

    I could always examine how my objections were answered and reformulate, or re-evaluate them…perhaps come up with new objections or counter the offered rebuttal. (I only listed 3 objections here due to the posting restrictions in the AV forums where I was originally posting.)

    Those are the most direct answers I can give to your questions.

  10. Ben says:

    Hey Scott,

    I guess I was just curious how interrelated anti-evolution and pro-presuppostionalism are in your mind. I’m not sure that they are necessarily incompatible, but I’m not a reformed theologian, so I thought I would see what you might say. I’m assuming there are theistic evolutionists of the presuppositionalist variety, right? I’m assuming you’d take them up on number 3, right?

    Ben

  11. Shotgun says:

    The Christian who tries to think presuppositionally (in the Van Tillian sense) is not necessarily forced into any Young Earth position.

    Thinking presuppositionally does, however, allow one to more consistently and self-consciously evaluate the underlying assumptions that go into accepting various models. Because of this, I’ve come to reject many popular young Earth paradigms.

    Furthermore, as a result of self-consciously reflecting on my own presuppositions, I cannot accept many old-Earth models either…specifically ones that would require nature to be in a hierarchical order over man.

  12. Ben says:

    Alright, fair enough.

    Reason one supposes that survivability and truth are mutually exclusive categories. Why? I’ve seen Plantinga come up with some examples of how fiction might work out, but he fails to address what a more robust selective process might do to mental sensibilities over time. He also seems to disregard the fact we know our brains take all sorts of short-cuts and are full of biases and don’t compute the truth 100% anyway. Does that falsify the immaterial mind hypothesis? Or no?

    Reason two doesn’t even appear to properly represent what young earth creationists believe about reproduction. It appears to pretend like offspring are exact replicas of their parents. The point of the process of natural selection (what makes it natural and meaningful) is that some descendants incidentally are born genetically varied into a better fit with their environment than their ancestors and competitors. If your portrayal was accurate, you’d be entirely right. Natural selection would be meaningless. Incidentally if your portrayal was accurate we’d all know exactly what Adam and Eve looked like. Since we’d all look exactly like them.

    Reason three is a fallacy of composition. Man is made up of natural forces and yet what we call a person is the most convenient *frame of reference* for pointing blame given what that special arrangement of natural forces is capable of doing in response to social pressure. We *could* logically blame the big bang for absolutely everything, but I highly doubt doing so would promote any meaningful social change. What is good for morally responsible materialists seems just as good for Jesus if incidentally you are just wrong about the whole soul thing.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on your reasons to doubt evolution.

    Ben

  13. Shotgun says:

    Ben;

    (1): I suppose I could just take your word that there may be some “robust selective process” that necessarily produces true beliefs. It is in no way obvious that true beliefs and beliefs that promote survival are related. Also, it’s not obvious why an infallible brain is relevant to my objection. Your phrase “the immaterial mind hypothesis” is ambiguous…it could apply to any number of positions. Even if man were a unified whole (as orthodox protestant theology teaches) my objection would still be relevant. You’re going to have clarify yourself here.

    (2): I think you’ve misunderstood what I’m saying in objection two. Let me clarify. We CANNOT logically come to conclusions about what may have happened in the past, or what may happen in the future based on present observations. Given the way nature works…anything at all could happen. We can’t even legitimately speak in terms of trends. When people who hold to the Natural Selection paradigm try to do so, they end up being completely trivial.

    (3): “Most Convenient” is an arbitrary class…sorry. This is an especially irrelevent observation given Christian theology (the conceptual scheme in which this objection is offered.) Christ cannot die for natural forces and the legal causal chain must stop on the free agent in the situation. If nature is in a hierarchical order over man, then man (as a sack of atoms) is not the final link in the legal chain, but rather whatever natural force that affected the man would be. The death of Christ would be meaningless.

  14. Ben says:

    (1) The “robust selection process” is just the same process that even folks like Plantinga are talking about, but on a longer time line. A false belief may produce survival in one circumstance, but what about over time in *many* circumstances? And what about in competition for resources with other minds who might be more prone to error than others? Are you really saying you don’t see the plausible effectiveness of even a *degree* of accuracy in mental processing? And if there ever is an advantage, that can be built upon if that theme continues to be an advantage in survival.

    We can address whatever your perspective is on mind/body dualism later, if you don’t mind.

    (2) Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems as though you are changing issues here on number 2. Are we talking about properly representing the mechanism of natural selection or are we? Because if you are now talking about the problem of induction, then this really isn’t even an issue particular to evolution. So that’s a little confusing. Because in that event you aren’t just doubting evolution, you’re doubting the conception mechanism of your own parents since you weren’t there to see it yourself.

    If you want to go there, that’s fine, but I’d like to see how you think Christian theism solves the problem of induction without just making more assumptions about other unknowns and never really solving the original problem.

    (3) Well the entire enterprise of being a human being is an arbitrary class to begin with. So from the inherited incidental basis of being that arbitrary frame of reference, it makes a lot of sense to recognize the frame of reference of other persons for a very long list of practical reasons I’d wager you are quite familiar with. Presumably you believe Jesus as the eternal pre-incarnate son of god is somehow not an arbitrary class of existence. I don’t see how that’s a defensible position, but regardless, the common ground is that regardless of whether Jesus actually is the archetype for humanity, there is a match to match correspondence between his pattern and the human pattern frame of reference as far as moral responsibility goes. I’m sure there are Christians who could easily adopt a position similar to this without undermining the atonement.

    Ben

  15. shotgunwildatheart says:

    As for (1): There is only one belief that is true. But, there are many more (for any given scenerio) that are false, and yet could lead to survival. So, the likelyhood of a true belief being churned out of the process decreases with time.

    I’m sorry, but I just can’t see how you can get around this particular objection.

    (2): I’m not doubting physical processes here, nor am I questioning empirical epistemology (in terms of bringing up the problem of induction.) I’m taking Natural Selection on its own, and seeing that it is a trivial principle. Additionally, if you’re familiar with Van Til then you should know the direction I take in discussing the problem of induction. (See James Anderson’s article: “Secular Responses to the Problem of Induction” for a start.)

    We simply cannot extrapolate to the past or into the future based on what animals are seen right now. For instance…EVEN IF we can scientifically verify that animal A has traits that would help him survive in a given situation…that doesn’t mean that animal B (who does not have those traits) will not survive to reproduce. Animal A could fall off a cliff or get struck by lightening! No one can predict what may happen to him…and no one can document the chain of events that brought current animals into being. You can’t even speculate about what LIKELY happened. Natural Selection is a trivial standard…useless for providing any information. It certainly isn’t “science.”

    (3): You’re approaching this from the standpoint of a non-Christian materialist. I hadn’t considered this objection…but from a Christian perspective I can’t see how my objection would not be applicable. No matter what frame of reference the human investigates the situation from, God would be unjust in punishing non-moral agents. From a Christian perspective, this is a savage critique (in my mind.)

    I’ve heard another objection: God ultimately causes all things. But, in traditional Reformed theology, God utilizes second causes to carry out His will…with Humans being responsible moral agents in this causal chain.

    So, if you run accross a Christian that wants to argue for some form of theistic evolution, you could use this argument on them and show that…given natural selection, man would no longer be the moral agent in nature which would make Christ’s death absurd.

  16. Ben says:

    1: In a sense you are correct. Evolution doesn’t stumble upon a truth detecting mechanism every day. The vast majority of species (5 of the 6 kingdoms of biology) don’t have anything even remotely akin to a fact checking mechanism. And of the animal kingdom only one species really managed to “go all the way” and attain the ability to recognize what it is even doing (self awareness, although I think there may be other species that semi-qualify). So that means that 99.99% of the time, you are correct. But evolution is a big numbers game where pretty much anything goes. Just about everything will be tried out at some point as long as the process continues. It just depends on the particular selective pressures and what evolution had to work with at the time in a given context.

    And so to say that evolution could NEVER develop a mostly reliable truth recognizing mechanism (the human brain) really means that evolution could never do anything consistent or persistent at all. Anything (literally, millions and billions of “engineering” principles have been stumbled upon in the biological world in the process) could be taken down by the same argument. Granted, presumably you are okay with that from the standpoint of a young earth creationist perspective. I just think it’s instructive to realize the full implications of the criticism you are making. There’s just nothing particularly special about singling out the evolution of the brain and its truth accuracy from say, the evolution of any other organ that has a specific job to do for the rest of the body. But if someone thinks evolution is capable of sequestering and developing certain traits over time (if evolution can do anything constructive at all), then there’s no reason it couldn’t do so in at least one instance for the sake of a biological truth finding system.

    Make sense? Or no?

    2: I understood from the beginning the idea that you think natural selection is an impotent observation. But we have to go through the many stages of chasing down just what exactly the root criticism is. Hopefully you don’t mind that process. :)

    Anyway, you are correct again in a sense. The vast majority of trial and error of natural selection ends in error. It is easier to mutate into something that doesn’t work than it is to do something constructive (as we might see it). And as I understand it, 98% of the species that have ever lived are actually extinct. So your sensibilities have much merit. They just don’t represent the entire landscape of evolution. According to the tale of evolution life was stuck in the single cellular world (or something very close to it) for 3/4ths of the time that life was on earth before anything interesting was able to take the next step. So that’s a lot of time just to get the basics of replication right in a robust kind of way.

    The reason our innate sensibilities are defied is that we aren’t used to dealing with the consequences of extremely large numbers in play. Have you ever heard of the thought experiment where someone gives you a penny on the first day of the month, and then doubles your money every day till the end of the month? The students are then asked how much money they approximately might have at the end. And they grossly underestimate the sum. They may say a hundred dollars when really it’s in the millions (as I recall). Other similar scenarios illustrate the same point.

    It seems the same is true with self replicators when left to their own devices. Literally so MANY replicators are generated via a similar principle that enough instances happen where something works. And something eventually happens to work just a little bit better. We don’t expect this because we assume things will degenerate based on our limited experience. But as I’ve explained we are incredibly poor judges of predicting this based on what we might see as “common sense.”

    3: God would not be punishing non-moral agents. Again, as I said, this is a fallacy of composition. Your error is that you think moral agents cannot be constructed out of all non-moral parts. Or in this case non-moral physical forces. However, we can say the same thing about airplane parts. Every airplane is made from all non-flying parts. But that doesn’t mean the special arrangement of parts can’t constitute a flying machine any more than the special arrangement of the non-moral atoms in our brains can’t constitute a moral machine. There is an unjustified presupposition that says there can be no emergent moral agent from non-moral forces. And I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t born with the inherent notion one way or the other about whether or not the moral patterns I detect at the personal level simply HAD to be irreducible. That’s just something people invent.

    Ben

  17. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Concerning (1):

    We need to be careful and not critique an argument that isn’t being made. I’m not discussing IF evolution could or could not produce a “truth-recognizing mechanism.” Given the almost God-like status attributed to the process by naturalists (and theistic evolutionists) it would be naive of me to deny that natural selection (or evolution as it were) could churn out anything it wanted. (For example: It would be like the naive atheist telling me that an all powerful God somehow couldn’t allow a snake to talk in the garden of Eden.)

    Objection 1 is an epistemological objection. EVEN IF natural selection could churn out a truth producing mechanism…you would never be able to know that it had.

    As for (2):

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at here. A description of how Natural Selection may work in theory is irrelevant to the objection I’m making.

    I’m saying that it is a trivial principle.

    Scientifically, (for example), the Russian is much bigger than Rocky. He’s been culled to perfection. His genetics have been painstakingly manipulated to create this monster of a man.

    According to the trivial principle of Natural Selection then…the Russian should win the fight.

    But…of course…he doesn’t.

    You cannot look at some animal in the present and judge how that animal may survive or reproduce in the future. Nor can you legitimately discern how his ancestors may have fared in the past! (To do so, you need omniscience…which no adherent of Natural Selection has.) It is a trivial principle. (It certainly can’t be called science.)

    As for (3):

    I let this slip before, but you keep insisting that I am committing the composition fallacy.

    As a Christian, I certainly do believe that “moral agents are constructed out of non-moral parts.” I’m not arguing that it cannot be so.

    I’m certainly not concluding anything about the entire class of humanity based on observations about the parts of humans (or individual humans.)

    I realize that this fallacy may be committed by various Christians who critique materialist ethics, (and so you may be used to recognizing it) but that’s not what is happening here.

    In your own terms then: we need to think about this from God’s “frame of reference.” God, (to the orthodox Christian) utilizes a series of second causes to bring about His desired will. But within the matrix of these second causes, some causes are in a hierarchical order over other causes. (For instance, wind is in a hierarchical order over waves and has the power to move waves around. Thus God uses the wind to move the waves.)

    God has placed man (supposedly) in a hierarchical order over nature such that man’s actions are not determined by nature, but are rather determinative OF nature! This is necessarily so for Christian theology in various ways, and is especially evidenced by the fact that Christ died for man.

    However, theistic evolution necessarily implies that God has placed NATURE in a hierarchical order OVER man!

    We simply cannot maintain this belief simultaneously with belief in orthodox protestant theology.

    (By the way…if you want to insist on calling this a fallacy of composition, you have to demonstrate in some non-arbitrary way that humans indeed ARE moral agents in a material world of changing particular objects. Just arbitrarily saying it is so doesn’t make it so. You could always say that God just arbitrarily decides to blame certain causes for sin (humans in this case) but that would make Christian theology incoherent.)

  18. Ben says:

    1: “EVEN IF natural selection could churn out a truth producing mechanism…you would never be able to know that it had.”

    Why doesn’t that sound self refuting to you? Why is there a disconnect between truth finding and knowing? You are aware of course that physical computers can store information and then access it again, right? We even build robots (since the 70’s) that are able to map out and navigate new terrain. The basic process of sensing data, storing it, and using it, can be entirely physical.

    2: “You cannot look at some animal in the present and judge how that animal may survive or reproduce in the future.”

    You are absolutely right again, but in a trivial sense. Being able to specifically know whatever may produce survival best in a given species isn’t as important as the idea that something will given enough offspring. Just like the water that flows anywhere it happens to flow…evolution is just as unpredictable because nothing is guiding the process. It is all the incidence of accidental success.

    3: “As a Christian, I certainly do believe that “moral agents are constructed out of non-moral parts.” I’m not arguing that it cannot be so.”

    Perhaps I do not know where you stand on the mind/body problem. What is your view?

    Ben

  19. Shotgun says:

    (1): There is a difference between describing how something works, and discussing its truth. (Remember the genetic fallacy?) Even if our sense faculties are working correctly, you are still left with the question of how to verify the truth claims of the content delivered. (Keep in mind; I’m not claiming that you’ve commited the “genetic fallacy” I’m just pointing to it as an example of the distinction that is drawn between origins of beliefs and their actual truth.)

    2: This is my critique. Natural Selection itself lacks any explanatory power. It’s essentially just a statement of bias.

    As I expound on this particular objection in various forums (and with you here) I’m finding that this observation isn’t necessarily controversial. Many people are willing to agree that N.S. IS a trivial principle. It’s a principle they hold to on other grounds, and N.S. (they argue) is more of a description of certain aspects of their worldview, rather than an attempt at producing an explanatory mechanism.

    If they want to argue that way, then fine. I can concede on that ground. My objection 2 would be renedered irrelevent when someone argues that way…however, they cannot turn around and allude to N.S. as an explanatory mechanism then.

    (By the way…this is what Answers In Genesis tries to do. This popular young Earth creation apologetics organization strongly depends on some form of Natural selection for many of their pop-models to work…and so in the article: “Arguments Creationists Should NOT Use” they list this objection (the objection to N.S. because it is trivial)…and respond similarly.

    Basically they say: “Well, ok. Even though it’s trivial, we hold to all sorts of trivial truths in science.”

    Thus, they ultimately accept N.S. based on other grounds…(other bias, I would argue.)

    At anyrate…they provide an analogy in their article that I find false, and address in the American vision forums. If you read their article and wish to discuss their arguments further, then we can…but if not, that’s fine as well.

    (3): As for the mind / body distinction, I agree with orthodox protestant theologians like Bavinck, Hodge, Van Til, and B.B. Warfield. (Greg Bahnsen has written a wonderful, and succinct argument promoting this position as well. The article can be found on the Covenant Media foundation website.)

    As men, we are natural beings…part of the created realm, subject to its whims, laws, and consequences to the degree that we are part of nature. But, God has given us (as unified wholes) a certain dignity that other natural objects (like rocks) do not have.

    So, we’re not “dualists” in the classic sense, and those Christians who are, (in my opinion) are unduly influenced by Greek (and other pagan) thought.

    Man is not a “tripartate” as some claim; consisting of a soul, spirit, and mind. (Dr. Bahnsen discusses the exegetical issues concerning “soul” and “spirit” in his article.)

    In the final analysis, Man, while being fully predestined by God and all of his actions foreordained, is NOT predestined by nature…even while existing within a natural context. (Gravity, for instance, controls our bodies, as does the 2nd law of Thermodynamics…but they are not in a hierarchical order over us, producing our thoughts or emotions.)

    Nature, to the Christian, is like one big, intricate domino pattern that God has knocked down and constantly maintains…utilizing a very complex set of “second causes” to carry out His will. Thus, He gives dignity to whom He gives dignity, and He makes impotent those objects He wishes to be inanimate.

  20. holyspirithelp says:

    well one thing about reading your blog it gets me to look up many words…keep up the great work for Him!

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