We’ve previously written about what we think of as the creationists’ war on reason. If you need a reminder, here are a few old posts about it: Jason Lisle: The Logic of Faith, and that links to a few others — See Jason Lisle: Faith vs. Reason, and before that Jason Lisle Tells Us How To Think, and we’ll never forget this one — Mathematics is Creationist. And see also Creationism and Logic, and AIG’s Logic: Prepare To Lose Your Mind.
The Discovery Institute is now joining in that campaign against reason. Look at what we found today at their creationist blog: Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself. It was written by Nancy Pearcey, a new Discoveroid “fellow,” whom they introduce like this:
ENV is pleased to share the following excerpt from Nancy Pearcey’s new book, Finding Truth: Five Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes. A Fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, Pearcey is a professor and scholar-in-residence at Houston Baptist University and editor-at-large of The Pearcey Report.
In other words, Nancy teaches at a bible college. The Discoveroid post is a long one, and it’s painful to read, so we’ll give you only a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself.
No problem so far. Let’s read on:
An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.
Aaaargh!! Before proceeding further into the Discoveroid darkness, we note that Wikipedia has a writeup on Evolutionary epistemology. They say it:
refers to three distinct topics: (1) the biological evolution of cognitive mechanisms in animals and humans, (2) a theory that knowledge itself evolves by natural selection, and (3) the study of the historical discovery of new abstract entities such as abstract number or abstract value that necessarily precede the individual acquisition and usage of such abstractions.
The first of those seems unobjectionable. If our senses didn’t provide sufficiently accurate perceptions to assure our survival, we wouldn’t be here. We see that Nancy is combining that with the second meaning, to say that “the ideas in our minds” are the result of natural selection. She’s confusing perceptions with ideas. Nancy continues:
But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.
Aaaargh!! Do we need to go on with this mess? No, not really, but we’ll scan ahead to see if there are any spectacularly absurd parts we can excerpt. Ah, how about this (the ellipsis is in the Discoveroid post):
Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true, … the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?
We haven’t verified that quote, but we don’t see any contradiction in it. There’s obviously no guarantee that every idea ever conceived will be true. There are lots of bad ideas out there, so we’ve had to develop the scientific method to test our ideas. But look at what Nancy does with Gray’s statement:
Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.
Aaaargh!! Later she quote-mines Darwin’s “horrid doubt” letter, so beloved by creationists. We debunked it here: A Preacher Quote-Mines Darwin. Nancy, however, good creationist that she is, goes all the way with the thing:
Surprisingly, however, Darwin never confronted this internal contradiction in this theory. Why not? Because he expressed his “horrid doubt” selectively — only when considering the case for a Creator.
Aaaargh!! Here’s more:
Applied consistently, Darwinism undercuts not only itself but also the entire scientific enterprise.
Aaaargh!! We won’t go on any longer. If you’re interested, click over there and read Nancy’s entire post. We don’t know what you’ll get out of it, except that it’s probably a good indication of what goes on in bible colleges — and, of course, in the Discoveroids’ “think tank.”
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