Re: [asa] NY Times: Darwin's God

From: PvM <>
Date: Wed Mar 07 2007 - 13:13:40 EST

The article does not discuss whether or not there was a purpose behind
the evolution of faith. I hope that one realizes that a natural origin
of faith is in no way contradictory with or supportive of the
existence of a God(s). As to the nature of free will, that by itself
is an interesting concept worth exploring.

Methodological naturalism of course has its limits as it cannot and
does not address whether or not the belief in a God reflects the
absence or presence of such a God.

If a belief in God is indeed an innate tendency that evolved, I see
little reason why this should conflict with the existence of a God.

On 3/7/07, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
> Interesting article. It raises for me questions about the limits of
> methodological naturalism. For example, the article states the following:
> What [scientists] disagree about is why a tendency to believe evolved,
> whether it was because belief itself was adaptive or because it was just an
> evolutionary byproduct, a mere consequence of some other adaptation in the
> evolution of the human brain.
> Why are these the only two possibilities? Perhaps there is a tendency to
> believe because there really is a God, with whom we really have an innate
> spiritual connection, from whom we really are alienated, and who really has
> broken into history to reveal himself to us and redeem us. The article
> seems to present evolutionary explanations for a predisposition to believe
> in God as ultimate explanations, without any possibility that such belief
> actually relates to any external reality. (And the evolutionary
> explanations it presents seem like the worst kinds of just-so stories).
> When I see an Aquafina bottle on my desk, I tend to believe there is water
> available for refreshment. In some very broad way, I suppose, my perceptual
> facilities and pattern recognition abilities reflect evolutionary pathways
> that enabled my ancestors to find water and food. But I don't believe there
> is water in the Aquafina bottle merely because of how those pathways
> evolved. My belief that there's water in the bottle is connected to the
> ontological reality that there really is water in the bottle. It seems
> silly to me to try to explain my present belief that there is water in the
> bottle by first assuming that there really is no water there.
> Put another way, from a Christian perspective, is it justifiable to
> presuppose that belief in God can be explained at any level with reference
> only to secondary causes? I don't think so.
> Actually, from any sort of non-deterministic perspective, it seems
> impossible to me to explain any belief adequately in terms of secondary
> causes, because all beliefs by definition involve some act of free will, and
> free will implies intentional downward causation. (I would not consider a
> thought held unintentionally a "belief".) IOW, if humans really have any
> free will, it seems problematic to me to define human intentionality simply
> as an ordinary secondary cause.
> On 3/7/07, PvM <> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > A good article on the evolutionary foundations of religious beliefs.
> >
> > Pim
> >
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Received on Wed Mar 7 13:14:16 2007

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