|Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism|
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The evolutionary argument against naturalism goes like this:
- Pr(R|N&E) is low
- The person who belives N&E (naturalism and evolution) and sees that Pr(R|N&E) is low has a defeater for R.
- Anyone who has a defeater for R has a defeater for pretty much any other belief she has, including (if she believed it) N&E.
- Therefore, the devotee of N&E (at least such a devotee who is aware of the truth of premise 1) has a self-defeating belief.
Because of such causal irrelevancy, on N&E the electrochemical reactions that cause our behavior could generate any semantic content at all (e.g. 2 + 2 = 1 or Grass is air) without that content affecting behavior. The semantic content could even be “garbage” beliefs unrelated to the external environment, as in dreams, and it still wouldn’t affect behavior. It would still be possible that the electrochemical reactions that produce advantageous behavior also generate mostly true beliefs, but it would seem to the most serendipitous of coincidences if that were to occur, given the causal irrelevance of a belief’s semantic content. Thus, Pr(R|N&E) is low.
The argument for the Defeater Thesis (premise 2) is that if R is defeated in (S1), then it is defeated in (S2), and if R defeated in (S3), then it is defeated in (S4), and so forth, where (S6) is the scenario of a person who accepts both N&E and the Probability Thesis. The general idea is that the effect of an evolutionary naturalist believing Pr(R|N&E) to be low is akin to believing that drug XX has been put into one’s body (where drug XX destroys the cognitive reliability of most who take it).
The upshot of all this is that there is a serious conflict between science and naturalism, because the conjunction of naturalism and evolution is in an interesting way self-defeating.
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