On Thursday, February 15, I’ll be hosting a new live discussion between Wade Tisthammer and Spencer Hawkins on The Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN). More info on my guests can be found below. We’ve covered this topic in the past, but this time we’re featuring new guests (and we’re getting a bit more organized). The EAAN has two major theses that need defending: (i) the probability thesis and (ii) the defeater thesis.
The discussion goes live at 8pm Central (6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern) on Thursday, February 15, 2018. Here’s the link to view live (and watch later):
Wade Tisthammer (Christian) graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in computer science and a minor in mathematics. He currently works as a software developer and is a philosophy student at the University of New Orleans. He blogs regularly at www.maverick-christian.org.
Alvin Plantinga has famously argued that the probability that our evolved brains (given Naturalism) would produce mostly true beliefs is low. But notice, we normally take for granted that our brains are producing mostly true beliefs (e.g.: my belief that I have two hands, that I had Starbucks this morning, that Austin is the capital of Texas, and so on). However, if, on Naturalism, our evolved brains aren’t reliable, that is, they don’t produce mostly true beliefs, then we’ve got a defeater for all the beliefs produced by our brains, including belief in (the conjunction of) Naturalism and Evolution. It follows from this that we ought to give up belief in either Naturalism or Evolution (or both). That’s the basic argument.
Here it is in premise/conclusion form. N&E is shorthand for the claim that Naturalism & Evolution is true. R is shorthand for the claim that our cognitive faculties produce mostly true beliefs:
(2) Anyone who accepts (believes) N&E and sees that (1) is true has a defeater for R.
(3) Anyone who has a defeater for R has a defeater for any other belief she thinks she has, including N&E itself.
(4) If one who accepts N&E thereby acquires a defeater for N&E, N&E is self-defeating and can’t be rationally accepted.
Premise (1) above is what’s called the “Probability Thesis” and (2) the “Defeater Thesis.” It is Wade’s contention that (1) and (2) are true, while Spencer has objections to both.