Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Williston Herald, located in Williston, North Dakota. It’s titled Common sense proves there is a God, not evolution. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Because we don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians or otherwise in the public eye), we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Okay, here we go:
Aikido is a form of Japanese self-defense where one uses the momentum from their opponent and reverses it against them. In Aikido, you don’t use brute force against brute force. Instead, you redirect the momentum from the opponent with different types of swift moves, making them immobile.
We can use this same technique when someone brings up evolution as a case against God. This isn’t some type of trick or mind game type move. It’s reasoning.
This is what we’re always looking for in these letters — an original approach to the subject. The letter-writer then gives a reasonable definition of evolution, but then he says:
Naturalism is the view that there is no God or anything like a god. At first glance, it may seem that naturalism and evolution go hand in hand. But after delving deeper into the issue, you find that it’s just superficial and there appears to be deep conflict.
We’ve seen that erroneous entanglement of science and Philosophical naturalism before. We did a decent job of dis-entangling them in Discoveroids’ Straw Man: Naturalism, so we won’t bother to go through that again. Well, briefly, methodological materialism is a procedure (not a philosophy) which is inherent in the scientific method. It’s an operational constraint of science, not a philosophical attack on theism.
Skipping some irrelevant material, the letter-writer starts to get to the point:
Using Holy Scripture as brute force against the atheists assertion of evolution’s truth is not the way to have a meaningful discussion. Let’s use momentum that evolution gives us. There are several issues that can be brought up when evolution is used as evidence against God, but I will only show one.
Here comes the momentum method of defeating evolution:
For the sake of argument, let’s grant that it’s true we are a product of unguided evolution. This means humans have evolved for survivability. Everything about humans is a product of evolution, including our minds. This follows that our mind has adapted for survivability. All our beliefs we hold are ultimately there to help us survive.
All our beliefs? Aaaargh!! No, not necessarily all of them. It’s true that the brain evolved, but it can be led astray. The letter continues:
Many atheists are very quick to affirm that the belief in God rose as a result to help us survive. It’s a false belief we gained for survival.
Is that what “many atheists” say? We wouldn’t know. The survival value of theism seems debatable, given that atheists seem able to survive without it. Here’s more:
Now, just think about that for a second. Why doesn’t this strike the atheist as disturbing? Evolution has infected a false belief in roughly 80 percent of all human beings. Naturalistic evolution doesn’t care if the belief we obtain is true, as long as it helps us survive we will believe it. If evolution has brain-washed 80 percent of the human race about a single false belief, how can we trust our convictions of truth for anything? This provides a huge defeater for every single one of our beliefs.
Whoa! How can we trust our thinking about anything? Considering that we don’t accept the letter-writer’s premise about the evolution of beliefs, we’ve not particularly impressed by his conclusion. Besides, science isn’t a mere belief. Scientists routinely test their ideas to be assured of their reliability, whereas religious beliefs are inherently untestable. Anyway, he then says:
All of science falls apart. Ultimately, unguided evolution is self-defeating. We cannot know if it’s true. If naturalism is true, then we can’t know anything. But, if we can know something, then naturalism is false. The two cannot go hand in hand.
Huh? How did he get there? Maybe the letter-writer’s martial arts technique is too quick for us, and we’ve been tossed flat on our back without even realizing it. Now, while we’re dazed and don’t even know what happened, he moves in for the kill:
Charles Darwin saw this problem. He didn’t know if he should trust his mind’s convictions since it arose from lesser animals.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He doesn’t bother to provide the mined quote, but we know what he’s talking about. In a letter, Darwin mentioned “the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.” We’ve debunked it several times before — most recently in Discoveroids: You Can’t Trust Your Thinking. Now that we think about it, the letter-writer’s entire argument may have been lifted from the Discoveroid post we wrote about there. Anyway, here’s the rest of today’s letter:
The coherence of evolution on theism stands supreme over naturalism. If God guided evolution, we can rest assured that our convictions of truth are true. If evolution turns out to be the truth of how we came about as a species, this wouldn’t come close to ruling out the existence of God or the authority of the Bible.
So there you are, dear reader. Is your head spinning? That’s because the martial artist has used your strength against you. Admit it — you’ve been defeated.
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