Does the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism Defeat God’s Beliefs?

Sophia 59 (3):489-499 (2020)

Abstract

Alvin Plantinga has famously argued that the naturalist who accepts evolutionary theory has a defeater for all of her beliefs, including her belief in naturalism and evolution. Hence, he says, naturalism, when conjoined with evolution, is self defeating and cannot be rationally accepted. This is known as the evolutionary argument against naturalism (EAAN). However, Tyler Wunder (Religious Studies 51:391– 399, 2015) has recently shown that if the EAAN is framed in terms of objective probability and theism is assumed to be non-contingent, then either theism is necessarily false or the EAAN is unsound. Neither option is attractive to the proponent of the EAAN. Perry Hendricks (Religious Studies 1–5, 2018) has responded to Wunder’s criticism, showing that the EAAN can be salvaged and, indeed, strengthened, by framing it in terms not of naturalism (N), but of a proposition that is entailed by N that is also consistent with theism. We will show that once Hendricks’ solution to Wunder’s objection is accepted, a puzzle ensues: if the EAAN provides the naturalist with a defeater for all of her beliefs, then an extension of it appears to provide God with a defeater for all of his beliefs. After bringing out this puzzle, we suggest several ways in which the proponent of the EAAN might solve it, but also show some potential weaknesses in these purported solutions. Whether the solutions to the puzzle that we consider ultimately succeed is unclear to us. (Translation: the authors disagree. One author thinks that the solutions (or,at least, some of them) that we consider do solve the puzzle while the other author does not.) However, it is clear to us that this is an issue that proponents of the EAAN need to address.

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Author's Profile

Perry Hendricks
Purdue University

References found in this work

Warrant and Proper Function.Alvin Plantinga - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Warranted Christian Belief.Alvin Plantinga - 2000 - Oxford University Press USA.
Warranted Christian Belief.Alvin Plantinga - 2000 - Philosophia Christi 3 (2):327-328.
Epistemic Circularity.William P. Alston - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (1):1-30.

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