Everybody knows there are certain words that we just shouldn’t use. They are filled with hateful connotations and histories that simply cause far too much offense at their mere utterance. One of these, of course, is the “L-word.” What’s that you say? What is the “L-word?” Why, “lifestyle,” of course. According to same-sex marriage advocate and blogger Kimberly Knight, when someone says they are opposed to the “homosexual lifestyle,” they are committing a highly offensive act. In fact, they are really saying far more than that they simply disagree with the practice of engaging in same-sex intercourse or sexual activity. Apparently all of us who thought this is what we were saying were mistaken. Ms. Knight has looked into our minds and generously told us what we really mean:
I was recently reading a discussion on Facebook about the various passages in the Bible that are used by atheists to claim that the God of the Bible is immoral. All sorts of claims swirled around. Jesus commanded us to murder children. God was a premeditated murderer. For the most part, it was a group of atheists ganging up on one or two theists, and unfortunately the only type of “argument” taking place was more of the ad hominem variety than any reasoned intellectual discussion.
Given the tone the discussion had taken on, I decided to ask a simple question. I wanted to know if any of the atheists on that board could articulate even one reason a Christian has given in response to their claims of divine immorality. After all, plenty has been written on the subject, including Paul Copan’s 2011 book “Is God a Moral Monster?,” David Lamb’s “God Behaving Badly,” and William Lane Craig’s and Chad Meister’s “God is Great, God is Good,” just to name a few. The results were pretty astonishing. I honestly expected at least one person to be aware of the distinction between the ceremonial and moral laws, to understand the Christian position on the special place held by the Jewish people, etc. I was not asking them to agree with those rebuttals, just for some reassurance that they had at least investigated them, even if they found them wanting.
Instead, I got a song and dance, a fanciful bob and weave of avoidance. A couple of people articulated something, although the rebuttals they gave were more the type we find on the internet and not in any scholarly work. For the most part the response I got was along the lines of “I don’t need to articulate how a Christian would respond to my objections.” Most commenters claimed to have fully investigated any rebuttals, but consistently refused to articulate a single one. Keep in mind, all that would have been necessary to meet my challenge would have been to summarize some argument advanced by Copan or any other apologist. But instead I was confronted by a militant refusal to respond, all the while expecting me to accept that they really knew the answer. They just did not want to tell me. I guess I was supposed to take their knowledge on faith. Needless to say, I do not believe the people on this page were very good ambassadors for their worldview.
This is Part 3 in a 3 part series on evolutionary theories of cognition. This part discusses Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. Part 1 examined C.S. Lewis’ Argument from Reason and part 2 covered Plantinga’s Argument from Proper Function. See Part 1 of this article here and Part 2 here.
Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism
Plantinga also formulated an “Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism” as follows:
(15) If both naturalism and evolution are true, then human cognitive faculties are the result of blind mechanisms such as natural selection.44
(16) Natural selection selects for survival-related behaviors, not necessarily true beliefs (except to the extent belief is “appropriately related to behavior”).45
(17) If evolutionary naturalism is true, then the primary function of human cognitive abilities is to promote survival-related behaviors, not necessarily the production of true beliefs.46
(18) Given that it is not natural selection’s primary function, the probability of evolutionary naturalism producing cognitive faculties that lead to true beliefs is low or inscrutable.47
(19) One of the allegedly true beliefs held by the naturalist is a belief in metaphysical naturalism itself.48
(20) Therefore, “the devotee of [evolutionary naturalism] has a defeater for any belief he holds, and a stronger defeater for [evolutionary naturalism] itself.”49
This is Part 2 in a 3 part series on evolutionary theories of cognition. This part discusses Alvin Plantinga’s Argument from Proper Function. Part 1 examined C.S. Lewis’ Argument from Reason and part 3 will cover Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. See Part 1 of this article here.
Alvin Plantinga advances two separate arguments against Naturalism that bear some resemblance to Lewis’. Like Lewis, Plantinga’s argument from proper function begins with a necessary assumption about cognitive abilities. Whereas Lewis assumes the reliability of rationality, Plantinga presupposes a standard of “proper functioning.”
Not all beliefs can be logically proven. Any syllogism must begin with premises. If a skeptic questions the truth of a premise, a new syllogism may be formulated to support it. But the premises of this new syllogism may be similarly challenged, as could those of any subsequent argument, ad infinitum. Eventually, some premise (or premises) must be presupposed in order for logical reasoning to begin.
While on Facebook recently, I came across a picture that claimed to be outlining the differences between “Linear Thinking” (also known as “dualistic logic”) and “Systems Thinking (aka “holistic logic”).
It was presented from the perspective of approaches to teaching. The overall message of this particular Facebook page was that our educational systems should take a holistic approach and that the dualistic manner in which students are currently taught is deficient. Specifically, “Christopher” who posted the picture said:
This is a handout I made for a conference presentation entitled “New Paradigms in Education,” in 1997. I’d like to update it, maybe simplify and change some of the descriptions. Your feedback on what should be edited and what seems most interesting and important would be greatly appreciated.1
Upon reading through the “handout,” it became abundantly clear that it was really more of an advocacy piece than anything educational. The way it described “dualistic logic” used very negative terminology whereas “holistic logic” was presented in a positive, favorable manner.