Naturalistic Evolution is Self-Referentially Incoherent

Naturalistic Evolution is self-referentially incoherent. It is self-defeating.

A couple of Premises:

First, naturalistic evolution is not merely belief in evolution, but specifically the belief in evolution as a purely unguided process; unguided by any form of intelligence especially from the ‘outside’. Second, naturalistic evolution is a belief, held by humans, that claims to be true.

Separately: What I am going to dispute is that human beings’ rational faculties are unreliable when their aim is the formation of true beliefs, if it is given that naturalistic evolution (NE) is true. So, concisely: The reliability of our rational faculties (call this R) is undermined by the belief in NE; specifically when the aim of R is true beliefs.

(Clarification) I am not saying: if given NE, our rational faculties are unreliable when forming beliefs which are aimed at enhancing survival, or the propagation of our species; only, I say again, only, that our rational faculties are unreliable when their aim is actually true beliefs.

Let me explain briefly:

According to NE, religious beliefs are the result of evolution. Societies with religious beliefs, according to NE, enjoyed a higher survival and reproduction rate, because those societies, created a more stable environment for human flourishing and therefore human survival; specifically where regard for fellow humans existed. In this way, religious beliefs came to be a widespread phenomenon across all cultures because those cultures survived precisely because of their religious beliefs and their entailments.

Now, according to modern proponents of NE, religious beliefs successfully accomplished their intended purpose (from the evolutionary perspective). These beliefs did increase the rate of survival (which is why all modern cultures have religious beliefs); and hence, in terms of NE, R (our rational faculties) fulfilled its purpose. Our epistemic (belief-forming) faculties fulfilled their evolutionary purpose in producing beliefs that enhanced survival.

Here is the kicker: the beliefs which NE produced were FALSE, according to modern proponents of NE. Every proponent of NE claims that the religious beliefs that enabled the survival of our species were false, untrue; but, these beliefs nevertheless fulfilled their intended purpose. In other words, as long as R produces beliefs that are beneficial for survival and advantageous for the propagation of our DNA, then, regardless of whether or not those beliefs are true, R successfully fulfilled its purpose.

This is a problem. NE can, in a way, provide a sensible way of accounting for R, if the aim of R is survival, and not truth. But when it comes to R as functioning to produce true beliefs, NE has no way of accounting for it. All NE is concerned with is survival. If NE was concerned with the formation of true beliefs, or if NE believed that it is only true beliefs and not false ones which accomplish this intended purpose, then according to NE, we should have never formed religious beliefs to begin with. Or, those false beliefs should not have enhanced our rate of survival. But, on the testimony of NE, the formation of false religious beliefs were actually successful, because they enhanced human survival. In this way, we see that NE’s goal for our rational faculties is the production of beliefs that influence our behaviors in ways to enhance survival, and that the question of truth is irrelevant for NE. If false beliefs enhance survival, then NE will move us in that direction.

Argument: However, the belief in NE itself, is a belief that NE is TRUE, and not merely advantageous for survival. Modern proponents of NE, then, use their rational faculties to produce beliefs that they claim to be true; even though, belief in NE undermines the reliability of the very faculties that they are employing.

So, proponents of NE, assume the reliability of R in producing true beliefs when forming their belief in NE; but the belief in NE undermines the reliability of the very faculty that led them to such a belief.

If you believe in naturalistic evolution, then you shouldn’t believe in R (in the relevant sense). But your R, is what produced belief in NE, and therefore, your belief in NE is itself unreliable. This is a classic case of sawing off the limb upon which you are sitting. Specifically you are sawing the limb that is holding up your weight and enabling you to do the sawing; once you succeed the result is hard fall.

Therefore, a proponent of NE, should be hesitant to employ his rational faculties to produce true beliefs, because, such functions were not, and are not, the aim of NE. The specific belief in question is the belief in NE itself. If you believe in NE, then you should doubt the reliability of R. But if you doubt the reliability of R, then you should doubt the belief in NE that is produced by R.

Simply: Given naturalistic evolution, your rational faculties are unreliable when forming beliefs that are aimed at truth. Naturalistic evolution is a belief that is aimed at truth, and therefore it is incompatible with R given NE. This is why Naturalistic Evolution is self-referentially incoherent and self-defeating.

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