Let’s suppose that neo-Darwinian evolution is the best explanation of life and that there have been no non-physical forces (such as a supernatural god) involved in the historical biological development of humanity. The human species as it stands is simply the current product of a long series of random genetic changes, some that were destined to the dustpan of history and some that improved human survival odds. Under these assumptions, the brain waves that purportedly give us our thoughts about the world are also the result of random genetic changes that on average have helped the human species survive. In other words, the thoughts we have today came about because they enhanced our survival value and may or may not have any connection to objective truth. As Francis Crick has expressed, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But if this is the case, then any thoughts one has about neo-Darwinian evolution or any other matter cannot be trusted because there is no way to know if those thoughts carry any objective truth value in addition to survival value. Given this understanding, the thoughts of the one who demands that naturalism’s evolutionary story is objective truth that cannot be denied, can be summarily doubted on its own terms.
C.S. Lewis provides lucid prose to this same point:
Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. (The Case for Christianity, 32)
To this Lewis then adds, “Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.” A heady thought indeed.
John likes to help people wrestle with the big questions of life in his work with Search Ministries. He served as a pastor in Houston for 16 years, earned his doctorate at Biola University, and is a contributing author of Reasons to Believe: Thoughtful Responses to Life’s Toughest Questions.