Yesterday I had an exchange with Seversky that illustrates something I have observed countless times over the years. Materialists have a blind spot regarding how their own arguments undermine, well, their own arguments. Here is the exchange:
The reason for this is the precise theorem that Hoffman states – in evolutionary competition, fitness beats truth.
To which Sev responded:
Unless fitness is truth in which case there is no competition. How does Hoffman – or Plantinga – distinguish between “fitness” and “truth”? Are they comparing like with like?
But Sev, you know for a certain fact that according to your own premises fitness and truth are not the same. For 99% of human existence, 99% of humans have believed in a God or gods. Your premises compel you to say that evolutionary forces caused that state of affairs (for the simple reason that, under your premises, there are no other alternatives). You also say that a belief in a God or gods is a false belief. Therefore, simple logic applied to your own factual premises demands the conclusion that evolutionary forces selected for a false belief.
I agree that evolution can select for false beliefs, religion being a possible example, but not that it mostly or always does. Human beings survive better in groups than on their own. Religious belief, even if false, can help to bind such groups together more tightly and make them more resilient in face of challenges. At that level, it is advantageous in terms of survival. On the other hand, believing that tigers are big, cuddly pets who just want to play is probably not going to be so advantageous and, over time, those holding such beliefs are less likely to survive and pass on that belief.
“I agree that evolution can select for false beliefs . . .” Then you have given away the store. If evolution can select for false beliefs, who is to say when it has selected for a false belief as opposed to a true one. You advance a candidate for what you believe to be a true belief (human beings survive better in groups). Yet, you admit that evolution may have caused you to believe that even though it is false.
It never ceases to astound me that seemingly intelligent people (and I count Sev among such), can’t seem to grasp the glaringly obvious end of the logic. If our beliefs are the product of blind material forces, we can NEVER know whether we believe them because they are actually true or because those blind material forces caused us to believe them even though they are false.