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Can evolution produce rational senses that we can trust? Dr. Jason Lisle, AiG–U.S., examines this claim and more.
I read the feedback that Jason Lisle, Ph.D. wrote in response to the feedback concerning the article “Does Logic Supersede the Bible?” The quote I found to be absurd was, “However, if evolution were true, if our brain and sensory organs are simply accidents of nature and if nature itself is merely an accident of a big bang, then there would be no reason to trust that our senses and memory are reliable or that there should be any order in the universe to study.” Jason Lisle. Natural selection is not an accident, it is a process. Also, why should we not trust our senses? Regardless of how they came into existence, they are still there, and working. This website is a mockery of science. You Mr. Lisle, say that if our senses came into existence via natural forces that they should not be trusted. You do not explain why, you do not have a reason other than, GOD DID IT. I want to know why. Why is it that I should not trust my senses because, they were created by nature. Why? For what reason?
Praise the Lord! I have been standing with you in prayer for your trip to India, praying very specific requests, and your last two [blog updates] were such a praise! I laughed when you stated you could’ve stayed there all night answering people’s questions—I could tell it was such a delight to you—that also is an answer to prayer, as I have been praying for strength and joy to be yours and your staff’s as they minister. May the fruit and harvest that will result from this conference multiply over and over! Thank you for your willingness to send out master copies and have them copied for free. Bless you! May the Lord reward you for your generosity. Honesty I can’t wait until heaven to see all that will come from AiG’s dedication and generosity. I’m glad to call you my brother!
Let us know what you think.
I read the feedback that Jason Lisle, Ph.D. wrote in response to the feedback concerning the article “Does Logic Supersede the Bible?” The quote I found to be absurd was, “However, if evolution were true, if our brain and sensory organs are simply accidents of nature and if nature itself is merely an accident of a big bang, then there would be no reason to trust that our senses and memory are reliable or that there should be any order in the universe to study.” Jason Lisle.
Since God designed the human mind and our senses, we would expect them to be able to function properly. So, in the Christian worldview, it makes sense that our senses would reliably perceive the environment and that our mind would have the ability to be rational. But in the evolutionary worldview, the sensory organs and the brain are just chemical accidents that happened to convey survival value. Therefore, there is no logical reason to think that they should be reliable.
Natural selection is not an accident, it is a process.
First, you have committed the logical fallacy of equivocation in confusing natural selection with particles to people evolution. The article I had written was not about natural selection; it was about evolution. The former removes (or is, at best, neutral with respect to) creative information in the genome; whereas, the latter would necessarily increase it. They are opposites in terms of information gain/loss.
Natural selection is the name we give to the fact that those organisms most fit to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce. Natural selection is tautologically true. However, evolution in the particles-to-people sense is not true and would violate the laws of information science.
Second, if the senses and mind are the result of evolution, then they are indeed accidents—by definition. An accident is “any event that happens unexpectedly, without a deliberate plan or cause.” Evolution is supposed to be without a deliberate plan and is essentially non-predictable, so it falls under this definition.
Also, why should we not trust our senses?
If you are going to be rational, then you need to have a good reason for what you believe. But an evolutionist does not have a logical reason to trust his senses within his own worldview. Consider the following analogy. Suppose someone was trying to solve an arithmetic problem, but rather than using a calculator or doing the arithmetic by hand, this person decided to simply throw a pair of dice instead. Whatever numbers are displayed on the dice, the person accepts as the answer to the math problem. Would this be rational?
Clearly, a person that accepted the results of a roll of dice as the answer to a math problem is not thinking rationally. Why should he trust a non-deliberate “chance” process to come up with a rational answer to anything? Likewise, if our brain is nothing more than chemistry, why trust its conclusions? If our sensory organs and brain are simply accidents that have been preserved because they had some sort of survival value, why should we think that they are truthful? Survival value does not equate to truth.
Regardless of how they came into existence, they are still there, and working.
No one is denying that the senses are reliable. The point is that if evolution were true, there would be no reason to think that the senses are reliable. Therefore, those people who believe in both (1) the reliability of the senses and (2) evolution are being inconsistent. They are believing in something that has no rational foundation within their own worldview.
This website is a mockery of science.
Actually, science requires a biblical worldview in order to be possible as shown here: Evolution: The Anti-science. You seem to embrace science while rejecting its foundation (the biblical worldview). That is irrational.
You Mr. Lisle,
I don’t really mind whether people call me “Doctor” or not, and this may be an innocent mistake. But I wanted to point this out because sometimes evolutionists use an ad hominem fallacy (attacking the person rather than the argument) when they cannot refute the argument. For example, they sometimes attempt to belittle the credentials of the creationist. We have a number of qualified Ph.D. scientists here at Answers in Genesis. Ultimately, however, an argument really should be evaluated on its own merit.
say that if our senses came into existence via natural forces that they should not be trusted.
A rational person must have a reason for what he or she believes. If our senses and brain are just non-designed chemical reactions, then there is no reason to trust that they are logically reliable.
You do not explain why, you do not have a reason other than, GOD DID IT.
It makes sense in the Christian worldview that our senses would be basically reliable. An all-knowing God designed and created both the universe and our senses, so it makes sense that those two things would “go together”—that our senses can reliably probe the universe. So, I have a very good reason to be able to trust my senses. You want to reject my reason, but unfortunately, you don’t have a good reason to reject my reason, and you have no alternative. The evolutionist has no rational reason to trust his senses based on his professed worldview. Evolutionists believe things with absolutely no good reason. In other words, they have a blind faith—which is irrational.
I want to know why. Why is it that I should not trust my senses because, they were created by nature.
Trusting in your senses without having a good reason is not rational. To trust in something that is just a chance result of natural forces is no different than trusting a roll of dice to solve an arithmetic problem as pointed out above.
You have also committed the fallacy of reification—(“created by nature”). Nature cannot literally create anything, as if it were a person with a mind and volition. Nature cannot design; it cannot plan; it cannot create. “Nature” is simply the word we give to the sum total of sequence of events in the universe. But the fact that you have committed this fallacy is very revealing. It shows that in your heart of hearts you do know the God who created and sustains all things. But, instead, you are trying to attribute to nature the power of creation that only God possesses. This can only result in absurdity as Romans 1:18–23 describes.
Why? For what reason?
This is a very ironic question. Here you are insisting that I must have a reason for my claim (which of course I do, and have shown). But, ironically, you have not been able to provide a cogent reason to trust your senses. This is the fallacy of special pleading—applying a different standard to yourself than you apply to others. If it is okay for you to be arbitrary, then why criticize others for (allegedly) being arbitrary?
I have a reason to trust my senses—it makes sense in the Christian worldview. But the evolutionist has no logical reason. The reliability of senses does not comport with an evolutionary worldview. Once again, I am reminded of Proverbs 1:7—knowledge begins with submission to God and the instruction of His Word; arguments that reject God’s revelation are ultimately reduced to absurdity.
I hope this clears up any confusion on the issue.
Dr. Jason Lisle
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.