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An evolved mind is fallible, its conclusions untrustworthy (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (An evolved mind is fallible, its conclusions untrustworthy (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CA120:

If our minds arose from lesser animals via natural processes, then our minds may be fallible. Then the conclusions that we come up with are subject to doubt, including the conclusion of evolution itself.

Darwin (1881) wrote in a letter, "With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or are at all trustworthy."

Source: Plantinga, A. 1991. An evolutionary argument against naturalism. Logos 12: 27-49.


CreationWiki response:

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)


The fallibility of our minds argues more against creationism. Nobody can be certain of it either, and minds as imperfect as ours argue against their being divinely created.

This shows the author's inability to escape his atheistic mindset and get a complete idea of what creationists believe. The human mind became imperfect because of the Fall of Man. God created a world that was very good (Genesis 1:31), but the Fall introduced all sorts of imperfections into the world, mainly death and sin. Before he fell, Adam even had enough knowledge to name all of the animals and understand the creation of woman (Genesis 2:18-23).

Indeed, this claim by Talk.Origins grossly misunderstands a fundamental difference between the Creation and Evolution paradigms. The starting point of Creation Theory is perfection (including perfection of the created mind) borne of the Creator's supreme logic and rationality. The starting point of Evolutionary Theory is purposelessness borne of chaos and randomness. These 'starting points' are polar opposites and lead to radically different consequences for any 'philosophy of mind'

In The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis draws Darwinism to its logical and devastating conclusion concerning rationality

If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts—i.e. of materialism and astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.
(C.S. Lewis, The Business of Heaven, Fount Paperbacks, U.K., p. 97, 1984.)

Creation Theory accounts for both the inherent rationality and the imperfection of the human mind. Darwinism, on the other hand, can offer no such coherent account of the mind, much less why it should offer us any reliable connection to the real world.

Darwin only applied this argument to questions beyond the scope of science. He thought science was well within the scope of a modified monkey brain.

Who says evolution is within the scope of science? To form his theory, Darwin had to assume that there was no God who specially created and that everything happened completely naturally. Are these scientific assumptions? Further, by what logic did Darwin justify this arbitrary line between that which is within the scope of science and that which is beyond? Would not Darwin's observation here cast doubt on the ability of the human mind to make such a distinction? Indeed, does not the very question fall outside the scope of science?

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