Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is God Deceiving Us? Evolution and Sound Decision-Making

Alvin Plantinga asks how we can have confidence in our conclusions if we reach them via a brain that is hardwired not for truth, but for survival purposes.

However, if our brains are not hardwired for truth, then what are they hardwired for? Are they hardwired for deception?

Humans are notoriously susceptible to both optical illusions and hypnosis.

If Plantinga is willing to admit that our brains are not hardwired for truth, then what is he acknowledging about the feasibility of a designer? Were our brains purposely set in motion to be deceived?

What is the best explanation? Would a benevolent god really have hardwired our brains for survival but not truth -- deception but not reality?

The god of the Bible may want our attention, our loyalty, our love, and our devotion, but such a god does not want us to perceive it clearly, if Christian and other theistic claims are to be accepted.

This would imply that any such god is either indifferent or malevolent.

If human beings are not wired for sound decision-making, then who could blame Adam or Eve for their transgresion in the Genesis story? Who could blame Lot's wife for looking back at the burning city? If human beings were intentionally wired for deception, then we are really the victims of the divine, if the apologists' claims are to be accepted.

A God who does not want human beings to see the truth is the inevitable result of this line of reasoning, and clearly possesses unacceptable consequences for many commonly-held religious beliefs.

Under this scenario, the Biblical god would be every bit as guilty of deception as Satan himself.

1 comment:

Pither said...

Not that I agree with Plantinga at all, but I think his point is that *if evolution is true* then humans are hard-wired for survival, not truth. But *if theism is true* then God would hard-wire humans for discovering his truth. It's basically a shell game, IMO.

Loved your comments over at Quintessence of Dust. But I cannot believe how the discussions there degrade into the typical ad hoc dry-humping to preserve the veracity of the sacred text. Matheson is an interesting character. But I've never gotten a straight answer out of him on how he reconciles his theism with the orthodoxy of his employer, Calvin College. Given what I know about the place, he's wise to be cagey.