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The Non-Existence of God 9: Naturalism, Evolution, and Rationality

10/11/2011

Everitt addresses Plantinga’s argument that naturalism is self-refuting. Good responses. I’ll quote the salient points here.

Although it seems obvious to commonsense that our beliefs do affect our actions, and that the effect is essentially determined by the content of the beliefs, it turns out to be very hard to explain in detail how this can be so. But to say that there is a puzzle about how is it possible for something to occur is by itself a weak ground for saying that it (probably) does not occur at all. The fact that there is no philosophical consensus on the explanation of how the content of our beliefs influences our actions is a weak ground for saying that the Normal view is probably wrong. It is hence a weak ground for saying that the Abnormal view is probably right, and hence a weak ground for saying that given naturalism, our cognitive faculties are probably unreliable. (185)

Second, the problem of how beliefs and actions can be linked is not one which naturalism in particular gives rise to: it is just as acute if one is a nonnaturalist. (185)

Third, the problem of how minds affect the material universe is if anything even more acute for theism than for naturalism. (186)

So basically, Plantinga’s assertions don’t give a reason to think theism is better than naturalism in making us think our faculties are reliable.

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