Showing posts with label Our Brains Deceive Us. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Our Brains Deceive Us. Show all posts

Turning the Argument from Reason On its Head

I was asked to comment on CS Lewis:

We can trust of the conclusions of our brains precisely because we evolved. The fact that we can think correctly means we had the survival skills that got us here. Other species died out because they didn't think correctly. Evolution has the unintended consequence that it weeds out species whose thinking skills didn't allow them to survive.

Since evolution is continuing we're far from having the precise logical thinking skills of someone like Spock in Star Trek though. Compared to Spock we are but babes. For our brains lie to us in favor of comfortable truths that help keep us within the safety net of our social tribes. The list of cognitive biases that hinder our brains from knowing the truth is very real, very long, and they affect us all, all the time, especially on matters we are passionate about. So our brains are not that reliable as good guides to the truth, apart from demanding hard sufficient objective corroborating evidence for truths about the nature of nature, its workings and origins. That our brains are flawed is the reason why people still believe in supernatural entities likes gods, goddesses, ghosts and ghouls without sufficient objective evidence. It's also the reason why those of us who understand the flawed nature of our brains look for science to circumvent the biases of our brains. There is no higher authority than having an overwhelming consensus of scientists working in a field. There is no lower authority than people who rely on subjective feelings for the truth.

The Brain of the Believer Is Deceiving Its Host. Why It Does It. And What It Takes To Be An Honest Seeker Of Truth.


This time, boys and girls, I want to highlight what we see over and over and over again from Christian apologists and wannabe apologists alike without exception. Every single analogy offered in defense of a crucial tenet of faith is disanalogous to the very point being defended. Every. Single. One. Without. Exception. I could write a booklet highlighting them. When seen for the false analogies they really are, all they got is special pleading. So combining a whole lot of false analogies disguised as analogies gets them nothing.

Harold Newman asked Don Camp how we go about verifying his "personal experience with God" claim? "This one is especially puzzling to me because we haven't established that God exists, and you cannot have experiences with something that doesn't exist."

Don Camp:
We can establish that God exists in the very same way that we can be reasonably sure that there was a mouse in my kitchen. But, as you say, not 100%.

If we add the reasonableness of God's existence to the subjective experience of him, I who have that subjective experience can be more than intellectually convinced convinced of the probability; I can be personally convinced.

That is like my experience with the mouse. My report is reasonable based on the investigation and reasoning done. It is probable there was a mouse. My experience seeing the mouse makes it a personal reality.

And I can be reasonably sure that I did not hallucinate the mouse. If I alone had the experience of seeing the mouse, that might still be a possibility. But If others, many others, also see the mouse in my kitchen, the likelihood that we all are hallucinating is minimal.
The DC commenters have already taken Camp to task on this, but let me highlight what's wrong with it. First off mice exist. We have seen plenty of them to know. We can verify the existence of this mouse with objective evidence that would convince everyone; mouse droppings, eaten food, noises in the walls, and/or with our eyes. Again, we can verify the existence of this mouse with objective evidence that would convince everyone. There is no such evidence that convinces everyone Don Camp's sect specific god exists. That's because there is no observable god, unlike mice. Point. Get. The. The proper analogy is not a verifiable mouse. The proper analogy is to substitute Hobbits, Goblins, Unicorns, or gods like Zeus, Thor, Ra or Odin. Those invisible non-verifiable concepts do not admit of evidence that would convince every reasonable person. Let's compare comparables if we want to be honest with the available facts.