Thursday, July 10, 2008

Can a creationist trust his own thoughts?

Created and Rational has called my attention to yet another issue that needs to be addressed:

"[O]ne of [Answers in Genesis'] most recent articles Are we missing something? in which they attempt to say nature's record is unreliable since Man is fallen."

[The AiG article states:]
"When people look to nature to reveal truth, they are falling into the same speculation trap as in describing the house in the field. No matter how imaginative or intelligent they are, they can never know exactly what happened in history without trustworthy eyewitness accounts.Those who promote nature as a missing aspect of God’s revelation (the so-called “67th book of the Bible”) need to understand two crucial fallacies with this idea: first, nature is cursed; second, our observations of nature are not independent from our presuppositions. When we examine these problems, we see that nature should neverbe put on the same level as the Bible."

Here is the reaction I posted on his blog:

"Another problem with creationists' standpoint (You can't know the truth without eyewitnesses) is: How do you know the eyewitnesses were correct? Excluding lying, there are plenty of things which could make eyewitness testimony unreliable:

Being honestly mistaken about the situation
Being Deluded (On "GhostHunters" a chemical leak in the home was causing a man to hallucinate demons)

And so on and so on...

Eyewitness testimony, when present, should be taken into account, but it is by no means an infallible thing. One more thing: I heard one creationist tell me that if creationism wasn't true and God didn't exist, he couldn't trust his own thoughts. Yet this article proclaims that one must not trust their own thoughts in order to be a Christian/Creationist!"

By the way, Theistic Evolutionist Glenn Morton wrote a short article called Morton's Demon which ties right into this. The idea is similar to Descartes' demon: Rene Descartes imagined a demon who was powerful enough to fool all of Descartes' senses. It was a demon which conjured illusions of everything Descartes saw, heard, and felt. The Demon was absolutely indetectable, so how was Descartes to know that he was deluded? He couldn't! Without a reasonable amount of trust in logical methods that have shown themselves to work, and a reasonable amount of trust that what you are seeing must be real, you cannot believe anything! Creationists may as well just believe that they live inside a Matrix-esque world where nothing is real!!

1 comment:

Brian said...

What the discovery institute is promoting is just as deluded and just as dangerous as when the muslim philosopher Mohammed Al-Ghazzali postulated that the principle of cause-and-effect was incorrect. He believed, literally, that when you hold a flame to a piece of cotton, the cotton burns because God wishes it to burn, not because of being introduced to the flame.

To say that material evidence is inferior to eyewitness accounts is a fallacy of the same order. Essentially, they're saying that we should believe what everyone tells us and never verify what they said with evidence. It's not just science this attitude would undermine, but our legal system as well.

I'm reminded of a Kids in the Hall skit that was set in the court room. When the judge asked the accused how he pleaded, the accused said "not guilty." The judge said "alright then, you're free to go!" After a protest by the district attorney, the judge pushed back, saying "Did you even bother to ask any of these people if they were guilty?" He then proclaimed the entire courtroom innocent.

An eyewitness account is useful for explaining the evidence, but if the two are in conflict, it is basic common sense that the evidence should be more heavily weighed. The evidence directly contradicts the Genesis story, and denying that means one is either ignoring the evidence, or is being delusional.