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Archive October 2012

Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life. Episode 3: Meaning Ken Perrott Oct 30

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This is the third and last video in the series Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life. It’s about “meaning.”

Richard Dawkins sets out to answer the question he often gets asked - “How do you get up in the morning?”

Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life Episode 3.

Another laid-back coverage by Dawkins. He gives plenty of space to the religious attempts to find meaning but is personally not convinced. I find his own description of meaning in understanding and observing reality, experiencing human art and culture, and appreciating the awe provided by our surroundings, far more attractive.

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Who are these “credible experts”? Ken Perrott Oct 29

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There is a nice article over at A Few Things Ill Considered about climate change denial. And I thank Grant, from the Code for Life blog, for bringing it to my attention.

The image I have of local climate change denial activists

Climate Trolls – An Illustrated Bestiary produces an illustrated list of the different types of personality among climate change denial activists, and the websites or blogs they tend to congregate around.

There is ,The Galileo Gambiter, The Auditor, The Sanctity of Science concern troll, The Faux Skeptic, The Uncertainty Monster monster, The Avenger, The Gish Galloper, Hockey Goon, The Conspiracy Theorist, The Right Wing Ideologue and Breakthrough Boys. Each with photos illustrating how they see themselves, and how the public see them.

It’s quite an entertaining read.

This one - The Not the IPCCer – struck close to home. It seems to describe the group that gathers around the NZ denier blog sites Climate Conversation Group. And the picture of “How the world sees them” coincides with my image of people who find it impossible to get a life and instead spend all their time attached top their computer passing on links to anything they can interpret to fit their world view.

Here’s how coby at A Few Things Ill Considered describes this subspecies:

The Not the IPCCer – whatever was said on whatever topic by any of the IPCC reports, the opposite must be true.  Indeed there has never been a single correct statement made or paper published by any member of mainstream climate science. This conviction extends to even the most non-controversial and well supported contentions found in the literature and is accompanied by complete ignorance of what is found in the literature.

How they see themselves

How the world sees them

Favorite blog:     Watts Up With That
Special attack:    Peer review really means “Pal review” and Michael Mann and Phil Jones control all the major journals and all the world’s science institutions.
Favorite Topic:   Whatever the latest typo found in the latest IPCC report is.
Best counter:      Light.  The copious self-contradictions permeating their minds thrives only in darkness.

These local activists have been very vocal (at their own watering hole, anyway) since their defeat in the recent high court action they took against NIWA scientists. They have resorted to everything to justify their stance, avoid paying the NIWA  costs awarded by the courts and claim the real climate expertise rests with them, rather than New Zealand’s climate scientists.

Currently one of the most central figures in this little band is Manfred Otto Dedekind (See Shy climate denier in “science team” reveals himself for details). Manfred (who goes by the alias Bob D) on the internet was the “anonymous science team” behind the infamous attack on NZ scientists “Are we getting warmer yet?” The document which claimed that the evidence showed that no adjustments of NZ temperature data was necessary to accommodate site changes and that NIWA used such adjustments to invent an increase in temperatures.

He then did an about turn (without acknowledging that huge error) by agreeing that adjustments are necessary, doing his own manipulations of the data and telling NIWA his adjustments were the only correct ones. That NIWA had purposely got it all wrong. He and his mates used his “analysis” as their evidence in the High Court case (see High Court ruled on integrity – not science). Quite rightly, the court refused to accept that he was the climate expert he claimed to be (he has no publications at all in the area, 4 [very old] scientific publications in total – only two of which he is the senior author. I can see why his group initially wished to keep him anonymous).

But this hasn’t stopped these characters from getting behind Manfred and promoting him as an Über climate expert. One of their sister denier blogs Tallbloke’s Talkshop describes Manfred as an “expert” and a “statistician!”  (see How NIWA added lots of warming in New Zealand – and got away with it – so far). And Watts Up With That, a prominent denial blog, is describing him as a credible expert!

These guys live in a world of their own. No wonder they find trouble in getting a life.

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The mini-iPad and original sin Ken Perrott Oct 25

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Ever thought about the religious significance, or imagined significance, of trade mark logos?

I was reminded of this recently when I saw the above image on Facebook (Thanks to Atheists of New Zealand). It brought to mind a recent article about controversy in Russia with the current move to strengthen anti-blasphemy legislation. Titled Russian Christians boosted by Pussy Riot law spank ‘sinful’ Apple logo, it had the subtitle Nuts replace fruit with crosses.

“Apparently some “Russian Orthodox Christians have defaced the logos on Apple products because they consider the bitten Apple to be anti-Christian, says Russian news agency Interfax (in Russian).”

These characters choose to see the Apple logo as promoting original sin.

“The radical Christians have replaced the Apple logo with a cross, claiming that the current Apple logo – well-known around the world and often voted one of the world’s most popular logos – symbolises the original sin of Adam and Eve and is generally insulting to the Christian faith.”

The work of the devil, and it’s not just fandroids who think so

The article, in The Register, suggests that although this could be “an unusual example of grassroots marketing by a rival mobile-marker, it seems to be a genuine concern for these believers, who according to the reports include members of the Orthodox clergy.”

And it suggests there could be commercial impact, even a sales ban, if Apple fell on the wrong side of the new anti-blasphemy law.

Apparently Apple is a little unsure of how to respond. The Register’s article finishes with:

“We’ve asked Apple if it considers its logo to be promoting original sin, but it has declined to reply.”

Death – part 2 of a series Ken Perrott Oct 24

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Here’s the second episode in the series Sex, Death and the Meaning of life – fronted by “everyone’s favourite Strident Atheist.” See Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life – Sin for Part 1

It’s another laid back, non-threatening presentation of an important issue. A chance to consider different religious/philosophical approaches and to also learn some science.

Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life Episode 2.

For such an evil atheist Dawkins seems to spend a lot of time in cemeteries and churches. Seems quite at home there.

The 3rd and final episode on The Meaning of Life screens in the UK next week.

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Beer, anxiety and depression – their origins Ken Perrott Oct 23

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Book review: Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression by Jeffrey P. Kahn


Price: US$27.97, NZ$49.99
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (October 22, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0199796440
ISBN-13: 978-0199796441

I can see this book appealing to beer lovers. Or at least beer lovers with an interest in evolutionary science and psychology.

As the author tells it:

“Alcohol came along early on, and it may have been with us for as long as 100,000 years. The prevailing theory is that humans domesticated grain for food, and then discovered that stored grain can become beer. According to a more recent theory, we first domesticated grain for alcohol, and bread was only an afterthought. At a human archaeological site some 11,500 years old, there is evidence of a society that farmed, despite a diet that contained little grain (and our Neanderthal cousins were pretty much pure carnivores). All that hard work planting, harvesting and preparing grain makes far more sense for a cold one than for mere bread, especially if fruit and game are plentiful.
Beer humor aside, why would beer be worth so much effort? Maybe ancient man found that alcohol calmed his (and her) instinctual angst, and, thus, allowed more freedom from social instinct. By allowing transcendence of biological angst, it played a role in allowing the development of civilization. Alcohol enabled us to dampen painful social instincts as we tried to follow rational thoughts about social roles. That would make it the first widely used psychopharmacological medication.”

So, studies suggest, Beer Lubricated the Rise of Civilization. And, Jeffrey Kahn suggests in this book, it did so by calming our angst. An angst which is instinctual and has deep evolutionary origins. These evolutionary origins (and not the origins of beer) are the main message of this book. And that’s an eye-opener for those of us who have assumed that anxiety and depression are modern ailments. Arising from the stress of our modern society. Or from our species’ ability to ruminating, reflect on, and be obsessed by, our thoughts.

Those evolutionary origins really are deep:

“the social instincts of our primeval ancestors evolved so that they could all live more effectively in ancient communities, and so that they could more successfully pass on their DNA. Life back then was about harmonious collaboration for communal living and basic survival.  . . . . our ancestors evolved biologically from solitary survival to group living some 52 million years ago, and then on to pair living (or male-led harems) some 16 million years ago. Most primate groups are similar even today, but modern human social groups have been enhanced by our more recent developments of Consciousness and civilization.”

So it’s not just a matter of hominids or primates. It goes right back.

Instinctual basis of today’s angst

The book covers five common subtypes of anxiety and depression – Panic Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Atypical Depression and Melancholic Depression. The author devotes some time to more accurately defining these and describing their symptoms. He also provides a useful appendix of diagnostic criteria. But the book mainly argues that these types of anxiety and depression arise from our instincts which had their evolutionary origin long ago in maintaining the social behaviour of our ancient ancestors.

Panic Anxiety: derived from instincts that prevented us straying to far from the home or group. Survival depended on us finding our way back to the group – safe from predators and other catastrophes.

Social Anxiety: based on those instincts that kept us in line in our tribal social hierarchies to keep the peace at home. Order maintained by shame and embarrassment produced by not knowing your primeval rank.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: arising from our instincts to clean, arrange, save and behave for a sure and tidy nest. To do the things which enabled people to live together safely.

Atypical Depression: coming from our instincts to avoid rejection, remorse and exile from the group. Instincts necessary to keep us well-enough behaved for a cooperative society.

Melancholic Depression: Based on the instinct encouraging us to “take one for the team” if you are too old or too ill. This helped to reduce pressure on scarce resources when we were no longer useful to the group.

Kahn adds a sixth evolutionary derived instinct which is not necessary behind recognised mental illnesses but has been important to our social evolution

Consciousness: the instinct to thoughtfully consider others and understand problems. This helped us be responsive to our companions and environment.

Civilization and instincts

Our instincts did not disappear with our civilisation. On the one hand their role sometimes has to be reduced or suppressed. On the other hand civilisation often enables freer hand to “anti-social,” behaviour.

“As human civilization developed over the last 10,000–100,000 years (give or take), there was less reliance on the instinctual social roles essential to primeval tribes, and there was greater opportunity and need for independent thought and behavior. Civilization brought more social opportunity to Everyman. An everyday member of the tribe could decide to play a more prominent or successful role—that is if he or she was willing to tolerate a bit of angst. Real civilization takes more than a village—it needs free-thinking individuals. As we will see, the most free thinking of all are oft en troubled by anxiety and depression.”

And, beer jokes aside, civilisation provides other ways of overcoming or reducing the negative role these instincts may play on human behaviour.

“Civilization has its discontents, perhaps because our inbuilt social instincts are still there. So, civilization has developed correctives such as government, laws, democracy, religion, beer, and healers to help us.”

Practical advice for the reader?

These days we are more honest about mental illness than we were in even the recent past. We recognise that many people are prone to anxiety or depressive disorder and are far less judgemental about this than we used to be. Just as well:

“The commonplace anxiety and depressive disorders are very commonplace indeed. They are mostly chronic, and they affect at least 20% of the United States at any one time. That’s about 60 million people. So why is that? Nobody likes anxiety and depression, but we end up with them anyway, and it’s probably always been that way. If they are so common, they must have served some kind of purpose for us in our evolutionary past.”

Recognition of the deep evolutionary origins of the intuitions leading to these disorders should encourage this rejection of judgemental approaches. It should encourage sufferers, with the support of their families and friends, to seek the medical and psychological help that is available today.

Kahn draws from his experience as a clinical practitioner and mentions both therapeutic and pharmaceutical treatments used for each condition he discusses. Both of these have their supporters and detractors and some readers may be disappointed that he gives the most detailed consideration to pharmaceutical treatments. Maybe that reflects his particular interests. Or maybe it reflects the fact that he gives little consideration to the way that human self-awareness and our ability to reflect on our thoughts, re-live our memories and obsess about both, contributes to metal illness. And the possibilities that reflection and self-awareness can be used, through therapy, to aid recovery.

So, personally I would have preferred a bit more detail about the different forms of psychotherapy used and their efficacy.

However, the main message – that our psychological problems have deep evolutionary causes in the intuitions animals required for their interaction with each other and to live in groups, is convincingly presented. Many readers will find this idea new and will appreciate the lesson.

This is not a self-help book. Readers who recognise any disorders in their own behaviour are of course advised to consult their own doctor or medical expert who can recommend the most suitable treatment. And recognition of the deep evolutionary origins of their problem may make this easier for them.

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Why (some) Christians support discrimination Ken Perrott Oct 21

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Here’s a speech by a Christian pastor which is actually worth watching. However, it requires a bit of patience as you must watch it through to the end to get the twist.

Mind you, it’s only 3 min long – what have you got to lose?

Missouri Pastor Gives a Speech Against Gay Rights… With a Twist Ending

It’s from hearings by the Springfield City Council in Missouri. Regarding their intention to include gay people in their list of minorities protected from discrimination. If you want a sample of the arguments presented by opponents of this change have a look at the longer (47 min) video below.

Plenty of claims that removal of discrimination violates principles of religious freedom. Even that provision of exemptions for religious organisations is “forcing Christians back into their churches.” Removing them from the public square!

Craziest speeches of Springfield city council public forum on gay non-discrimination amendment

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Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life – Sin Ken Perrott Oct 19

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Sex, Death and The Meaning of Life is a new series of TV documentaries fronted by Richard Dawkins. I welcome this – partly because Dawkins is an excellent communicator. But also because it’s about time some of the current ideas in the science of morality and ethics were more widely known.

The first programme in the series, SIN,  was screened last Monday, on Channel 4 in the UK. I have embedded it below. It’s very informative.

There’s even a bit of humour – look out for the David Attenborough moment where Dawkins gives a description of evolution social customs around animal mating while watching humans performing on a dance floor

Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life Episode 1.

There are at least two other programmes in the series. LIFE AFTER DEATH and MEANING OF LIFE.

See Death – part 2 of a series for the second episode.

See also:
Clear Story – Sex, death and the Meaning of Life
Channel 4 – SIN
Channel 4 – LIFE AFTER DEATH
Channel 4 – THE MEANING OF LIFE
British Atheist Richard Dawkins Explores Sin and Morality in New TV Series

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Moving Naturalism Forward Ken Perrott Oct 18

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Click to enlarge. Credit: XKCD

If you are interested in the philosophy of science here’s something to look forward to. At the end of next week, October 25 – 29 a workshop – Moving Naturalism Forward – will occur in  Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

What’s more, for us so far away, the workshop will be videoed and videos will be on-line as soon as possible after the workshop finishes. They are bound to be fascinating as the questions covered will possibly include:

  • Free will. If people are collections of atoms obeying the laws of physics, is it sensible to say that they make choices?
  • Morality. What is the origin of right and wrong? Are there objective standards?
  • Meaning. Why live? Is there a rational justification for finding meaning in human existence?
  • Purpose. Do teleological concepts play a useful role in our description of natural phenomena?
  • Epistemology. Is science unique as a method for discovering true knowledge?
  • Emergence. Does reductionism provide the best path to understanding complex systems, or do different levels of description have autonomous existence?
  • Consciousness. How do the phenomena of consciousness arise from the collective behavior of inanimate matter?
  • Evolution. Can the ideas of natural selection be usefully extended to areas outside of biology, or can evolution be subsumed within a more general theory of complex systems?
  • Determinism. To what extent is the future determined given quantum uncertainty and chaos theory, and does it matter?

Here’s a list of the participants, together with field. Have a look art the list of participants for more information on affiliation, books and websites.

It’s an impressive list and  I know there are some differences – so look forward to lively debates.

It’s about time somebody sensible discussed what is meant by “naturalism” and how it relates to science.

(No. Alvin Plantinga hasn’t been invited).

Sean Carroll, Physics
Hilary Bok, Philosophy
Patricia Churchland, Neuroscience/Philosophy
Jerry Coyne, Biology
Richard Dawkins, Biology
Terrence Deacon, Anthropology
Simon DeDeo, Complex Systems
Daniel Dennett, Philosophy
Owen Flanagan, Philosophy
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Philosophy/Literature
Janna Levin, Physics/Literature
Massimo Pigliucci, Philosophy
David Poeppel, Neuroscience
Lisa Randall, Physics
Alex Rosenberg, Philosophy
Don Ross, Economics
Steven Weinberg, Physics

A concise summary of climate change – science and politics Ken Perrott Oct 16

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Here’s a relatively short (26 min) video of a lecture by Michael Mann. I think it gives a very concise and accurate picture of the current science of climate change and the political attacks on climate scientists (Mann calls this the scientization of politics).

via The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars – Michael Mann Speaks at SOS 2012 on Vimeo.

From the video description:

Michael E. Mann- Director of the Earth System Science Center gives a very eye-opening presentation at the 2012 Sustainable Operations Summit. Mann’s presentation highlighted themes from his most recent book: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. In his talk, Mann discussed the “Hockey Stick,” a graph he created with his colleagues to depict changes in Earth’s temperature dating back to 1000 AD. The graph was featured in the Summary for Policy Makers portion of the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and became an icon in the debate over human-caused climate change. Mann told the story behind the Hockey Stick, using it as a vehicle for exploring broader issues regarding the role of skepticism in science and the relationship between science and politics.

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From evolution to belief Ken Perrott Oct 14

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How reliable do you think your cognitive facilities are? Your eyes, ears, etc? Your brain,  memory and mental processes? According to philosopher of religion Alvin Plantinga, not very good. He asserts any belief you form using these facilities is as likely to be untrue as it is to be true. “A probability of 0.5″ he says – like a magician pulling a rabbit out of hat.

But it gets worse. For some reason he thinks your beliefs are formed randomly – so “If I have one thousand independent beliefs, for example, the probability (under these conditions) that three quarters or more of these beliefs are true will be less than 10–58.” When he considers only 100 independent beliefs “the probability that three-quarters of them are true, given that the probability of any one’s being true is one half, is very low, something like .000001.”

So, you wonder – how the hell do you get by? You are in the middle of the road, a bus is speeding towards you, but the chance of your cognitive facilities leading you to believe you are in danger is minuscule. You are just as likely to belief you are having a pleasant bath – or a gazillion other things.

Guided evolution

That doesn’t sound right, does it? Something is fishy here. Surely natural selection will have weeded out organisms which had such poor cognitive facilities millions of years ago. Well, according to Plantinga, no! Unless evolution was guided by his god! He just thinks that unguided evolution is incapable of producing reliable cognitive facilities. In fact, he claims evolutionary science supports him saying: “The scientific theory of evolution just as such is entirely compatible with the thought that God has guided and orchestrated the course of evolution, planned and directed it, in such a way as to achieve the ends he intends.”

He argues that unguided evolution is “prohibitively improbable.” Not surprising to see that he has a soft spot for Michael Behe‘s irreducible complexity argument against evolutionary science (and for “intelligent design”). Plantinga’s recent book ( Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism) is full of theological pretzel twisting, motivated logic, unsupported logical possibilities, probability assumptions, cherry-picked quotations, and bald statements supporting his claims. But, unhappily for many of this theological supporters, he is also very careful to include qualifications for almost all his claims and arguments. This gives him deniability, wriggle room, but makes it difficult for his supporters to find supporting evidence for his claims.

Here I will deal with just his claim that evolution via inherited variation and natural section is incapable of producing reliable cognitive facilities. Even here he claims he is not arguing: “that unguided evolution could not produce creatures with reliable belief-producing faculties; I very much doubt that it could, but that it couldn’t is neither a premise nor the conclusion of my argument.”

Still, that is exactly what he does argue. He says “it is improbable, given naturalism and evolution, that our cognitive faculties are reliable.” That his god “could have brought it about that our cognitive faculties evolve by natural selection, and evolve in such a way that it is natural for us to form beliefs about the supernatural in general and God himself in particular.” “that God has created us in such a way that we come to know him; and the function of the cognitive processes, whatever they are, that ordinarily produce belief in God in us is to provide us with true belief.” And “According to John Calvin, God has created us with a “sensus divinitatis,” a natural tendency to form belief in God.”

So you can see where he is going with this. Belief in a god seems to be an indicator that your cognitive system is working well, whereas non-belief shows its not! You atheists have something missing from your brain.

Naive survival argument

Plantinga’s argument centres on a naive interpretation of natural selection:

“We might think that our evolutionary origin guarantees or strongly supports the thought that our basic cognitive faculties are reliable: if they weren’t, how could we have survived and reproduced? But this is clearly an error,  . . . . . Natural selection is interested in adaptive behavior, behavior that conduces to survival and reproduction; it has no interest in our having true beliefs.”

And his followers see that as a key premise in his argument.

However, if a particular inheritable variation is selected because it aids survival or increases number of offspring this does not prevent that particular variation contributing to the life of the organism in other ways.  A cat’s paw enables it to move, to pursue prey and avoid predators but this in no way prevent cats from using their paws in grooming.

We can understand how selected variations in our ancestors perception organs, brains, and the rest of their body, would have had survival and reproduction values.  Tool-making abilities, a thickened pre-frontal cortex, language abilities, self-reflection and recall of memories would have contributed greatly to the natural selection of our ancestors.

But once selected, not only did our ancestors become more social, more able to communicate and more able to change their environment with the tools they created. They also were able to use their perception and cognitive faculties in a more advanced way. To formulate more detailed pictures of their environment and to check out the accuracy of those ideas or beliefs. And to pass on this knowledge to their offspring.

It is just overwhelmingly naive not to recognise the wider implications of variations selected by the evolutionary process beyond survival and reproduction. And it is dishonest to cherry-pick, as Plantinga does, quotes from evolutionary scientists and philosophers which stress the role of survival and reproduction in natural selection as if there were no other consequences for the evolution of the selected organisms.

Why is it so hard to see the natural selection of intelligence in our ancestors has lead to huge technological and cultural changes quite above and beyond its value for survival and reproduction? Why should Plantinga accept that unguided evolution can lead to intelligence for its value in survival and reproduction but drag in the concept of guided evolution by his god to explain the resulting cultural, technological and social changes?

Reliability of cognitive facilities – something more than chance.

I find weird Plantinga’s idea that guidance of evolution by his god is necessary for our cognitive faculties to produce reliable results. Even weirder that in the absence of such guidance natural selection would produce cognitive faculties which caused us to adopt beliefs completely randomly. Surely such faulty cognitive faculties would have been selected against? And those organisms whose cognitive faculties produced a sufficiently reliable picture of reality (or belief) to enable survival and reproduction would have been selected for.

Plantinga confuses his argument by steadfastly referring to “belief” and “true belief” whereas the day-to-day life of an organism requires (usually unconscious) perception or knowledge of its environment and reaction to what it perceives. In effect, the organism, and particularly a species like humans, is continually forming a mental image or model of its environment. The accuracy of this model relies on the abilities of the perception organs, the unconscious aggregation of perceptions and memories to form a mental image and the amount of conscious deliberation. We can be sure that this knowledge never amounts to a completely accurate model of reality. All sorts of practical assumptions are made for the sake of efficiency. And animals like us are just not able to perceive bacteria and molecules, let alone atoms or subatomic particles.

So our mental model of reality will always be imperfect. It can never be identified with Plantinga’s “true belief.” But it is good enough for what we are doing – surviving, reproducing, making tools, telling stories, formulating theories, etc. And we quite naturally pay special attention when we need to fill out details. Or we can resort to tools and instruments which aid our perceptions.

If natural selection working on genetic variation has produced animals capable of surviving and reproducing by using their perception organs, intelligence, memory and imagination why should it be impossible (as Plantinga claims) for such animals to form “belief”, or knowledge about reality, which, for all practical purposes, can be considered “true?” Why does he claim guidance by his god is necessary?

Theistic evolution?

When I hear this term “theistic evolution” used I never know what is intended. At one end it could just be that a person who claims to believe in theistic evolution is only saying they accept evolutionary science, while at the same time they are a Christian. Perhaps its just a way of avoiding criticism from their fellow church members. An assurance that their acceptance of evolutionary science does not signal rejection of their faith.

The adjective “theistic” is actually unnecessary – except for social purposes. One could equally say they believed in “theistic gravity,” “theistic chemical reactions,” etc. Sounds silly – but I guess social pressure produces silly conventions and scientifically meaningless terms.

At the other end of the spectrum I think the person is actually claiming a belief similar to Plantinga’s. That evolution is actually impossible without divine interference, specifically guidance from their god. They may imagine that their god actually fiddles with the atoms in an organism’s DNA, or aids selection with a flood, collision of an asteroid or a volcanic eruption or two. Even, as some of these people claim, the divine injection of determinism into quantum indeterminacy

Of course, people who claim such guidance is required for evolution to work just don’t accept the current scientific understanding of the evolutionary process which is very much unguided (except through the natural selection process). If adherents of “theistic evolution” mean this, something like Plantinga’s “evolution” then they don’t accept evolutionary science.

And that’s why I just don’t like the term “theistic evolution” and am always suspicious of people who describe themselves that way.

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