Archive for the ‘Daniel Dennett’ Category

But if reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for national selection?

December 16, 2009

…Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, points out the flaw in the clue-killer argument in his review of Dennett’s book Breaking the Spell:

 [Dennett] portrays reason in service to natural selection, and as a product of natural selection. But if reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for national selection? The power of reason is owed to the independence of reason, and to nothing else… Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power reason even as it destroys it.

Source: Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism (Hodder & Stoughton, 2008), p. 139.

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Everything we value — from sugar and sex and money to music and love and religion — we value for reasons

December 16, 2009

Everything we value — from sugar and sex and money to music and love and religion — we value for reasons. Lying behind, and distinct from, our reasons are evolutionary reasons, free-floating rationales that have been endorsed by natural selection.

Daniel Dennett

In other words, all beliefs are held because they have, or had, survival value. Well, not ALL beliefs of course, because, strange to say, Dennett will ensure his beliefs (about beliefs) are safe from this reductionist critique. That is to say if I asked him of his beliefs about evolution are not true but merely enabled our ancestors to survive he would grant immunity for this privileged belief.

If the idea of evolution is another of those ‘evolutionary reasons’ – then why believe it?