Archive for the ‘faith in evolution’ Category

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence

December 28, 2009

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

Richard Dawkins,

From speech at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, April 15, 1992.

Would that include faith in induction, scientism, Naturalism, atheistic morality, macro-evolution…?

Just because we can successfully survive and reproduce in no way ensures that our minds as a whole tell us the truth about anything

December 16, 2009

Though some cognitive scientists assume that because our brains and their functions have been ‘designed’ by natural selection we can trust them to tell us the truth, such an assumption is epistemologically dubious. Just because we can successfully survive and reproduce in no way ensures that our minds as a whole tell us the truth about anything-especially when it comes to sophisticated thinking…what a completely naturalistic view of the human mind may safely embrace is that our minds were good for survival in the past.

Justin Barrett, Why would anyone believe in God?

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?

Our number came up in the Monte Carlo game

September 8, 2009

We would like to think of ourselves as necessary, inevitable, ordained from all eternity. All religions, nearly all philosophies, and even a part of science testify to the unwearying, heroic effort of mankind desperately denying his own contingency. …The universe was not pregnant with life nor the biosphere with man. Our number came up in the Monte Carlo game. Is it any wonder if, like the person who has just made a million at the casino, we feel strange and a little unreal?… then man must at last wake out of his millenary dream; and in doing so wake to his total solitude, his fundamental isolation. Now does he at last realize that, like a gypsy, he lives at the boundary of an alien world. A world that is deaf to his music, just as indifferent to his hopes as to his suffering or his crimes… If it is true, as I believe, that the fear of solitude and the need for a complete and binding explanation are inborn—that this heritage from the remote past is not only cultural but probably genetic too—can one imagine such an ethics as this, austere, abstract, proud, calming that fear, satisfying that need? I do not know.

The ancient covenant is in pieces; man knows at last that he is alone in the universe’s unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor his duty.

Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity, 1971

We are survival machines

September 7, 2009

‘We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules (of DNA) known as genes.’

This is gene selectionism rigorously applied to define man. It is laudable of Dawkins that he is consistent.

The only purpose of life is DNA survival: a person is nothing more than than DNA’s way of making more DNA like itself.

In brief, gene selection theory posits that particular types of genes improve their own chances for survival by making, or improving, organisms that are themselves good at surviving and reproducing. Natural Selection ensures that the world will be determined by those types of genes that happen to be good at making plants and animals that are good at passing their genes on to descendents.

Philip Johnson, Testing Darwinism, IVP, 1997, p.69-70

Faith in Evolution despite a lack of evidence

August 16, 2009

When Wiliam Bateson gave his famous address on ‘Evolutionary Faith and Modern Doubts,’ in which he boldly asserted that the origin of species is a question about which science knows nothing as yet, he guarded himself against any victory that the believers in special creation might draw from such a confession by saying, ‘When such confessions are made the enemies of science see their chance. If we cannot declare here and now how species arose, they will obligingly offer us the solutions with which obscurantism is satisified. Let us then proclaim in precise and unmistakable language that our faith in evolution is unshaken.”

Cornelius Van Til, Eternal Life: The Full-Orbed Life, in Foundations of Christian Education, P & R, p.124, ed. Dennis Johnson.

Van Til was referring to: Bateson W., “Evolutionary Faith and Modern Doubts.” Address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 28 December, 1921, Science, vol. 55, p.55.