C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy - Lesson 15

Miracles (Part 3)

What’s important to Lewis is freedom of rational thinking, free from physical causes. Naturalism undercuts the power of reason because everything is determined by physical causes. If evolutionary naturalism is true, then the probability of our cognitive faculties being reliable for truth is low.

Michael L. Peterson
C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy
Lesson 15
Watching Now
Miracles (Part 3)

I. Defining leadership

A. Difficulties in defining leadership

B. Three basic components of leadership

1. Someone people follow

2. Someone who has influence

3. Someone who mobilizes toward a common goal

C. Comments and questions

  • The purpose of the class is to directly engage Lewis’s philosophy and theology. He brings a Christian worldview to engage intellectual movements of his day. The trinity created us to bring us into the fellowship that has been going on with God forever. 

  • The mind is the organ of reason, imagination is the organ of understanding. To understand what real truth is, the imagination needs to be a part of that. We are created in the image of God and are immortal beings. Ordinary people are extraordinary. The Christian life is most deeply about being transformed resulting in participation in the divine life. It's more than just having one’s legal status changed. There should be transformation in the culture as well as personal. God is in the process of redeeming a wounded universe, including the whole of knowledge and truth in all subjects. 

  • There is a sacred quality to ordinary activities as well as symbolic religious rituals. Whatever is true in any field of study is God’s truth. The world is essentially good, but it’s been damaged. God has taken a great risk in allowing people free choice for good or evil. Evil has become present in many forms in the world and it is anti-creational and anti-human. We are not broken, but we are bent. God’s nature is relational because of the nature of the Trinity, so it makes sense that he would make a universe that is relational. We dwell in God and he dwells in us. As disciples of Christ we all share the single vocation of loving God and others.

  • Lewis wants to parlay theological doctrines into dynamic insights and track out their implications for intellectual engagement. He does is with a background of philosophical skill and theological understanding of historic orthodoxy. Instead of arguing about preferences, we need to focus on articulating the doctrines that are universal. Lewis’s ideas are expressed so they can be understood by people not formally trained in philosophy or theology but they have merit in the marketplace of ideas. 

  • The probability of morality as we know it in the human community, given that theism is true, is more probable than morality given any other worldview. Morality at the human (finite) level is anchored in morality at the infinite level. Morality has its most natural fitting worldview home in theism. In using the analogy of light shining through boards in a tool shed, Lewis says, “I believe in Christianity, not because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.” 

  • In Hinduism, Brahman, the hidden inner essence of everything, is beyond human categories of good and evil. Brahman is the only reality. Everything we see is an illusion. The fundamental human problem is ignorance, not sin. Dualism is the idea that there is good and evil at war in the universe. Explaining morality in a dualistic framework is difficult. Dualism assumes good and evil are equal, so you would need a third element to adjudicate which one to choose, and that would be a higher standard. Otherwise you wouldn’t know which one to choose. Naturalism/materialism says there is no ultimate moral nature to the universe. 

  • Lewis begins by discussing our common moral experience as a triggering point to reason toward theism. Then he reasons for a deity that’s interested in morality that’s also a supreme power. With naturalism, we come from a source that is non-rational, non-moral and non-personal, so it’s difficult to understand how you get beings that are rational, moral and personal.

  • Theism is intellectually at least on par, if not superior to, other conceptions of reality like dualism, pantheism and naturalism. If there is a God that theism describes, only one deity of the living theistic religions said that this God invaded our existence. The question is that in comparison to other alternatives, what is emerging as a reasonable explanation of the reality we face?

  • Our rationality being reliable assumes that we can produce a large preponderance of true beliefs over false ones by using rational faculties like memory, abstract reasoning, perception and the testimony of others. The role of philosophy is to analyze and explain the common sense beliefs of the human race about morality and the external world. 

  • The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind. Lewis thinks that we now do not have broad social consensus of Christian truth. He challenges individuals to have a more positive affirming attitude toward intellect and academics. In his view, Christians are ambivalent about the value of the life of the mind and using the gift of our intellect to serve him.

  • Premise one: every natural desire corresponds to one real object. Premise two: There exists in us a desire that nothing in the temporal world can satisfy. Conclusion is that there must be more than time, earth and creatures that can satisfy this desire.

  • The Supreme Being, behind the universe as we know it, is a personal being, eternal and the model for how we are to understand our personhood. We can’t understand our own personhood fully, the way it’s supposed to operate, unless we understand what God is, as a personal being. We are not projecting our understanding on God but learning about ourselves by finding out about God. 

  • This is ultimately a book about a clash of worldviews. A worldview offers an explanation of the important features/phenomena of life and the world. In the West, the atheist worldview is often expressed in naturalism. Lewis argues for theism based on what is true internally of us, rather than argument from design. Discussion is not whether a particular miracle has occurred, but in principle, is it a possibility.

  • There is a supernatural power or being that is ontologically distinct from nature (transcendent). It is self-existent. Every world view must propose what is fundamentally real. For the naturalist, it is the physical world. For the theist, it’s a transcendent deity. Everything that is not God is dependent/contingent on God for its being. The theist says that the deity can bring about events that would not have happened by the regular operation of nature. 

  • What’s important to Lewis is freedom of rational thinking, free from physical causes. Naturalism undercuts the power of reason because everything is determined by physical causes. If evolutionary naturalism is true, then the probability of our cognitive faculties being reliable for truth is low.

  • If you believe in naturalism as a worldview, miracles are impossible. Since a naturalist worldview says everything is determined and thought is only adaptive, the ability to have free rational thought to logically evaluate naturalism undercuts the naturalist position.

  • Rational thought and moral consciousness are points of entry of the supernatural into the realm of the natural. It involves both. It’s not a dichotomy. Naturalists believe that the nature of human persons is limited to material processes. Substance dualists believe that mind and brain are two separate substances that are mixed for now, but at death one will cease to exist and the other will continue to exist. Emergentist sees the animal form taken to another degree of complexity by the natural realm getting increasingly complex and dualist in function as opposed to substance.

  • Scientific law is economical summary of what experience always reports: regular cause and effect. Laws are regularity based on coincidences. Causality is the basis of law. Hume says that laws are regularities based on coincidences. Hume says that you can only know regularity because that’s all the human mind is capable of. Peterson’s view is that a miracle is not changing a law of nature, it’s changing with the “ceteris paribus” clause – preventing all things from being equal and changing the nature of the item. 

  • There is nothing about nature that makes miracles impossible. The naturalist can’t see nature accurately as a creature, not just an independent fact but it can’t stand or explain itself. The cosmological principle is that only concrete beings, not general things, have causal power. Causal laws don’t make things happen, only the beings acting within the laws.

  • If God is in fact a living determinate being, and is outside the natural system, he might insert events into the natural system. The laws that we observe in the natural system may be a subset of higher laws that govern the universe. What criteria do you use to determine if a miracle has taken place? Evidence plus intrinsic probability. Whether or not an event is a miracle is also part of the discussion of the problem of evil. Why would God intervene in some circumstances but not others? 

  • In philosophy, it’s referred to as the problem of evil. Given a certain understanding of God and a certain understanding of evil, there is a tension explaining why evil exists in the world.

  • If God chooses to create a nature, this signifies a physical system which indicates a relatively independent nature independent from himself, it would make a lot of sense to say he is frequently intervening.  The same laws that make nature a stable environment in which rational soulish life can emerge, are also the same laws that make us vulnerable. Pain is God’s megaphone to arouse a deaf world. He might whisper to us in our pleasures, but he shouts to us in our pain. Question about whether God initiates the pain or he set up a system which results in pain because of the way it’s structured.

  • Lewis describes the story of the Fall as a narrative that has symbolic elements that convey significant truth. The truth in the first couple chapters of Genesis is that we were created by God, sovereign and loving creator, and that our only fulfillment as humans is to center our lives on God. Our proper role as a creature is to rely on God, so when we ignore that and rely on ourselves, our relationship with God is broken. 

  • God is his creation set forth the problem of expressing his goodness through the total drama of a world containing free agents in spite of, and even by means of, their rebellion against him. The risk is for the possibility of relationship. 

  • Aristotle would say that as a rational, moral being you build your character based on the hierarchy of good traits.  From a Christian perspective, our natural destiny should be on the same trajectory as our eternal destiny. The spiritual and theological virtues are faith, hope and love.

  • As long as God chooses a stable physical order, that physical order will run by its own laws. Any system with  have the possibility of pain. Created nature with natural laws provide a framework/structure in which souls can meet. Some pain is produced by the natural system without regard to the desires of the beings. That humans can inflict pain on other humans is a reflection of the permission by God that he permits this. The wide range of freedom makes it possible for great good or terrible evil. 

  • Lewis thinks that God needs to pierce the shield of our ego and we are embodied creatures so pain is what does it by getting our attention by highlighting how frail and in need we are. 

  • For Lewis, heaven is the unending joyous life of God, the life of the Trinity. The only way I can be fulfilled is to find its proper purpose and relation with God. Heaven is the restoration of created personhood, what it was always meant to be. When we are on the trajectory, we begin experiencing it now. Hell is the lack of fulfillment for which we were made. 

  • Discussion of the movie Shadowlands. Discussion of the nature of relationships. Pain and happiness are not necessarily mutually exclusive.                                        

  • Lewis expresses anger toward God as part of his process of grief. Orthodox Christianity denies materialism which believes that your physical body is all you are, but it doesn’t require body-soul dualism where the soul is the real person that inhabits a shell. Whatever damage death completes in the reign of sin in this world will be undone and swallowed up by the resurrection. The restoration of human personhood will come after death. 

  • Heaven and hell are dichotomous. Whether life is heaven or hell depends on your future trajectory. God is true reality, fixed and can’t be altered. In GD, true reality is God. The descriptions are not meant to be literal. Heaven is the Trinitarian life of God. It’s not a place, it’s a state of being in proper relation to the love and joy of the Trinitarian relations. Lewis describes it as a great dance. 

  • Final comments about themes in The Great Divorce.

C. S. Lewis is an extremely good theologian who does his work for the thoughtful lay person.  But his writings reflect his erudite understanding of the great classics of literature, historical theology, philosophy, and other disciplines.  Lewis says in Mere Christianity that theology is like a map.  We may get where we’re going without it, but it is much easier to use the map.  The map of Christian theology is drawn over the early centuries of the church as the believing community interprets the Bible and its experience of God.  

Of course, the ultimate goal of theology, according to Lewis, is practical:  to draw us into the life of God, or St. Gregory of Nazianzus ((329-374 AD), called it, “the Great Dance.”  I know no theme deeper or more pervasive in Lewis than our need to get the steps right, to join the dance once again.  

In “Meditations in a Tool Shed,” Lewis says that there is a distinction between looking at a beam of light and looking along the beam of light.  He is speaking of looking at reason or using reason—a passage that forms part of his great case that presence of rationality argues for the truth of theism.  We will be doing a lot of looking in this course, largely, “looking at” Lewis himself.  But let us also try to “look along” the same line of sight as Lewis, to see things—God, humanity, spiritual life, and a host of other things—as Lewis saw them.  This means attempting to step inside Lewis’s worldview and learning to interpret fundamental realities the way he did and to deploy his distinctive strategies for engaging other worldviews.  In effect, we will learn to think Christianly by learning to think along Christianly with Lewis.

In 2020, Dr. Peterson published the book, C. S. Lewis and the Christian WorldviewIt is essentially his course lectures in written book form--covering Lewis on all key worldview issues--reality, knowledge, creation, trinity, christology, as well as issues of evil, religious pluralism, and the impact of science on faith. You will also see it listed in the Recommended Reading section. 

Dr. Michael Peterson
C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy
Miracles (Part 3)
Lesson Transcript


What did I say before break? That we talk a little bit more about the reasons and causes thing just a little bit. That distinction, as it was talked about in the middle of the last century, the distinction between reasons and causes. People could line up on different sides of the issue, even though Lewis didn't use this vocabulary. He was lining up on the idea that reason rationality cannot be part of the interlocking causal system. Others have other points of view that maybe you have a kind of a Kantian point of view where reasons and causes are not incompatible. Using this language, they are incompatible. For Lewis, that's what gave us that vicious loop. Comic Con agrees because he thinks Newton was just fantastic. Colin agrees that the world has to be understood as an interlocking system. The Newtonian machine was the great Immanuel Kant, and yet he also agrees that we have to think of ourselves as rational and free. But he saw no incompatibility. He's a compatible ist. So all things are caused and humans are free. I won't mean that in any greater depth. Michael Rousseau and I are debate. He's a compatible too, and he takes the comedy in line. I do not. And I'm much more kind of in line with Lewis now. I think Lewis lacked the philosophical research, maybe at his point in time to say what I'm going to say briefly, and that is I'm totally good with saying the total physical package that a human being represents. We know so much more now than Lewis knew. We knew it. We know so many things about human behavior have at least causal antecedents. Including evolutionary antecedents of our deep instincts and impulses. And so what is mind or what we would call self? Or even soul.


And so I'm not a materialist. Most naturalists are materialists about the human person. Nothing but right. Mind, brain identity. But on the on a spectrum, kind of the opposite end of the spectrum is is substance dualism. No, no, no. There's not just one substance. Material. Substance. There are two is Cartesian. So material substance and mental substance. And a human being is a composite of the two. Don't think Lewis ever takes a real definitive stand on this. I'm good with that. You mean you still create the image of God, even though we can still debate the technicalities of how we're put together on logically? But I think I think the wisdom now is neither materialist nor dualist. Be that substance, dualism, two different kinds of things assembled into what we call the human person. I think it's fair to say that there's so many core layers of causal. Activity that underlie everything we know about being human. And science continues to tell us lots of new stuff. We'll get in. We get into that. Guess in what course in term three. Okay. But so I can't get into it. But I think I think that because we're talking about is freedom compatible with determinism, causal determinism being caused or must must free, rational thought beyond cost? I think there's something to be said for the idea that certain physical structures and processes when they become complex enough. Sophisticated enough generate mind. The mind emerges. It's not it's not the brain. It's not to be quite it's not mind brain identity. It's an emergent reality. And the story of evolution is one sort of a gloss on evolution from the big bang to the present is that it's about emerging realities from the Big Bang, smaller than the head of a pin where all the matter and energy of the universe was condensed into this infinitesimally small point you get from that cosmic structuring.


You get ultimately cooling and coagulation of planets on one planet that we know of Earth. The conditions of temperature and chemical availability were such that we could actually get life. And so you talk about a reality that in so many ways suggests emergence. I don't think it's off the wall to talk about mind or rationality or what we call self as somehow emergence. So we're intimately related to matter, no question and matter runs by material processes. We're dust the walks upright. So I know I'm not a materialism. I do. I'm no substance doers. But so that accounts for and appreciates our causal history as well as the causal operations that are going on every moment of our existence of our bodily temporal existence. And yet, when mind emerges or self emerges, it has causal powers of its own. And what's often being talked about in the literature is top down causality. So we who we are as a self or agent, we're built upon so many layers of causal activity, subhuman, you might say, but we get to the point of of mind emerging. Then it has the ability to exert top down causality and to choose to do things that are not that never would have occurred had mindless nature continued to operate. You know, so I'm trying to come up with a view that's called emergent dualism. It's not substance to two independent things, totally separate where theoretically the body can die in the mind, in the self will just continue without, you know, any any lack. It will have its full integrity. It strikes me as strange. And certainly orthodoxy doesn't come at me to that. But Orthodox orthodoxy commits me to being appreciative of the material basis of our life and still saying there's something special.


And so causal activity seems to be a necessary condition along so many lines of bring about what we are as human selves or agents, and yet it's not a sufficient condition. There's a use that word again emerging. Something's emerging here that's new on the face of the universe. But there were other things that were that were emerging as well in the whole sweep of almost 14 billion years. It's just that this thing that emerged, we say, reflects the image of God, rational, moral of what's true, concerned with what's right. It's relational and it has the capacity to relate to God. But so something along those lines, I would articulate it. So the reasons causes thing. I would kind of get into that way. I appreciate the causal basis of so much, but mind, which has the ability to reason, can decide things apart from being caused physically. Because it's got is this new emergent reality that's not completely determined by the underlying levels of physical causality upon which it is dependent. Becky says it's a mouthful. I know it's a mouthful. Sounds a lot like the movie I wrote about working with Will Smith, where the rubber just becomes so complex that we think it starts to dream and they decide for themselves. Yeah, to evade the law or not to obey the laws that he was created by. So. But what happens is the mind emerges because this is so complex. Yes. Or there are some really interesting issues here I can't I can't get off into. But you're exactly right. It's sort of primordial between a priori. Good point. Yeah. I mean, the priority in the sense that what emerges has a higher priority or value, which I think it's probably right personal be that whatever emerges has a lower priority.


Oh, no, no, no. I think you're thinking of a phenomenal ism. Like if I start my lawnmower at home and it wouldn't be bad for some of your grades, if you know what I mean. If you would come and move my lawn. So would I have to do it. Okay. I pull I pull the the cord and it starts running and there's a home. So an EP, a phenomenal view of mind is that it's just a by product of brain and but the brain is driving the train and when I. You know, so. You'd think it'd have a phenomenal ism. Brain has priority, the physical and this other is just a byproduct follows it around. But that's different from saying the emergent reality now has new powers and new capabilities that are not describable at lower levels out of which it emerges. So each level of causal activity, you take whatever slice of reality we're talking about, it's the atomic level. If it's the biological, you know, whatever, you have the appropriate categories and causal connections you're making. But out of that, what is sufficiently complex and arranged in a certain way, the human brain, largely the most complex object in the universe, widely known, widely recognized as that that what emerges now is of higher priority. And it can direct with top down causality, can direct the behavior of of the total package. So I would say for this view, mind has higher priority. There was a time in which the image reality did not exist. I guess I didn't quite understand that. But there was a time when the emergent reality of mind did not exist. Or it's possible since it is. Yeah. Yeah, I think that questionable. Yeah, I think there was a time when that emergent reality that exist like the Big Bang or billions of years of cosmic formation or the early earth.


We're saying the earth is about four and a half billion years, but we're seeing the first self-replicating molecule we think is about 4 billion. So it didn't take long. And but so there's emergence and there's emerges from non-living nonorganic to self-replication. Is that point. A Darwinian world is born. It's an evolutionary world. But if Darwinism is natural selection, there's that point when also there's competition for resources for self-replication, as you know. So is your point one that does not exist? Sees me. Yeah, that's right. And the whole Oh yeah it's so it's not it's but it's not substance dualism so it has its own ontological priority mind is not some is not matter it's an emergent reality that's dependent on causal activity and configuration of material elements. But it's not reducible, it's not nothing but that now something with at any other level, however you slice and dice the human physical package, there are appropriate causal laws at work that describe that level. But when you get to the emergent mind, I think you'd have to say it's I don't get what that is, but it's built upon it's as far as saying this is boring, move on is built upon these but not identical with them or reducible to them. It now as powers that you can't describe at lower levels choice, rational belief, relational capacities with other similar selves, that there's no way you could you could even cut apart brain tissue. And find those powers. You know, you'd find electrical impulses. Certain chemicals. Look at all you want. You'll never find powers of agency, rational belief formation, you know, without the power to value things. So that's an amazing new reality, which happens to be so, so linked to previous and lower realities.


Again, giving credence to my use of the language emergent. One of the debates I'm in with Michael Ruiz is whether the universe has directionality and whether increasing complexity is also a sign of directionality. He wants to say no, and I want to say, Yeah, there's something to it. But it does look like the universe does have a kind of a to me. And that is like it's like Julius Weinberg was certainly not a friend to theism but is well-known physicist, has said somehow the universe knew we were coming. It looks like it was. It was all along. You look back. Levels of emergence to this. And it's not the only kind of emergence, but it's the emergence that now is is able to talk about relationship to God. So on my point and I did have one about the Lewis Hanscom exchange at the Socratic club is that he just had categories to make reasons and causes miles apart, sort of a classical view. She, being largely a linguistic philosopher under the influence of literary fiction on the later career of Viking style, earlier in later careers, was trying to do something else with the language and saying that our thought process can be explained both ways. We give reasons or we can give the causes. And he just heard that as saying, Well, it can't be. Both is either reasons or causes. So there's a little bit of Kantian compatibility compatible ism. But behind what Anscombe was doing a little bit, even though linguistic philosophy is its own animal. L I'm saying is I see something in the middle to give tremendous appreciation for the causal layers upon which our existence is built in various layers of physical reality with their causal operation, and then see mind bands as emerging out of that and able to override, so to speak, and not be totally determined by the lower levels out of which it comes.


But that's the story of the whole universe, the emergence, the increasing complexity. Okay. Maybe Lewis would not like to have me present at the time. I don't know. Yeah, but that's. That's. That's what I'm trying to say. Questions? Comments? Yes. Um, we talked about the idea of what was on the mind, and I read somewhere I was in logical concept of there being a distinction between groups. I don't know if those were my brain, but the heart of it was maybe some soul. Having thought it was so distinct from the more typical process of refrain from that point that the reason those not of. Yeah, I'm not there. And I think that most most would say whether you'd like to use the term self. Or soul or mind. We're getting at the same thing. The totality of of whatever it is that makes us that new emergent level that has values and choices and rational beliefs. Whether you call it the soul. So what people call heart and try to drive a wedge between heart and mind, they're usually just talking about different aspects of the self. The rational, more logical thought verses are more affective or emotional. And that kind of dichotomy I don't accept we're a total package with various powers and capacities. Much better to go there. So even even biblical language, better to see it not as pieces parts. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, all those different parts. They're not different parts. It's saying love God with all that you are. I wouldn't think of it as being a synthesis, but what about any aspect of brokenness or perhaps like dementia? Oh, yeah. Where there's a disconnect. Good point. Functions and the memories that the soul or the self might have but can no longer be communicated through the heart.


Those are very difficult cases. What those cases show, though, is exactly what I was saying, and that is the intimate connection between all the underlying causal layers of our physical makeup and the what in a normal functioning adult would be a selfhood, mind rational agency, whatever you want to call it, which has new powers that weren't present at any lower level. But they've got to be functioning the way they're supposed to to get that proper emergence when they're not functioning. You can have problems in having a properly functioning emerge self. That makes sense. I mean, so chemical imbalance, brain damage. There ain't no guarantees in a fragile world, but it still goes to show that intimacy and whether the soul is having thoughts that can't get through, I have the foggiest idea, but probably not. All we know is how we're communicated with and you can't equate what's going on inside a person with all the signals they give. They may not be able to give the right signals any more. There may be more to them, but I don't know how to settle that one because. Good question. I mean, but but, but none of that for me argues for substance dualism, like, well, the soul is its own substance. It's just the shell it's been called a body is just not functioning for a longer. I think that's probably not right. Not correct. Even in those cases, the sort of values human beings know. But there's been damage. There's been dysfunction in a frail and fragile world. Well, moving on just a little bit here, I thought I would I'd make the point. Louis doesn't need to say what he says in a couple of places, but he does in order to make his his point that we've been discussing.


And did you notice this, this comment he makes for my email on my book? It's page 20, but it wouldn't match any of your books. He says this. It's clear that everything we know is either our own sensations or inferred from those sensations. Now, that's a classically empiricist thing to say. Talking about letting him set the agenda for for, you know, give some of the categories and distinctions that play out in the book. I see no reason to commit to that, that nothing is knowledge unless it's first in the senses or it's an inference, a rational, logical inference from sense experience. There's a lot more stuff we know than what that can capture. That's a human kind of that's it's an empiricist thing. And there's no reason for him to say that. But what he's trying to do is to say this means that the power of inference is so important. And what is the power of the power of reasoning, the power of thinking logically and freely and not being determined to think what we think. So it's just a way of getting to his other point that we have to preserve and protect the freedom of rationality from any view that would make it determined by physical causes. And he sees the naturalist position as as with my little loop I had on the board coming back around to my I stick person. He sees the natural position once you embrace it as ultimately undercutting itself. Because it's undercutting the power of reason, which is the power of inference. So that's just the way he sets it up. I don't know if you're aware of the way this is labeled out there in the literature on Lewis, but we have the moral argument in Christianity with the argument from desire in mere Christianity.


This is often called Lewis's argument from reason. And one person who's kind of made a bit of a career on on this is Victor Reppert, and I don't know much about Victor Reppert. I think he's like an independent philosopher. I don't know that he's employed anywhere full time. I just am not sure. But I've observed his career at times when he wasn't. But he's got a book called Lewis and the Argument from Reason. And so that might be interesting to you if you're interested in this whole discussion. And he really is pretty good philosopher and looks at some arguments against Lewis on this point and deflects those and but his name is Viktor Reppert, r e r p e r t and so is the Lewis argument from Reason a person more recently who's kind of taken inspiration from Lewis on this point is Al Plantinga. And I'm guessing that a fair number of you here have heard the name of Alvin Plantinga. I would say he's one of a handful of people who really got the Renaissance or in religious terms, revival of Christian philosophy going in the late seventies. It's been quite powerful. But he's made a little bit of of the Lewis type argument in engaging naturalism. So he is a theist and a Christian theist is like we all are intellectually trying to show why naturalism is not rationally acceptable. Theistic thought is rationally superior, so on. But he's almost taken a cue from Lewis on his argument, from his arguments. Against naturalism. But he sees in our day something that Lewis saw. But Lewis didn't put it together quite this way. He sees philosophical naturalism connected with evolution to make a total worldview package. Now, naturalism is a total world view.


What evolution would do would be supply some themes or some mechanical explanations of things. But still, there are a lot of people out there the new atheists, for example, who think that the increasing confirmation. In the scientific community of evolution, so many levels just bolsters the natural case. It just increases the Nationals case and. It's like Richard Dawkins says in the words. They say this The God delusion. If my memory is correct, it's in the God delusion. Dawkins says We've known since David HUME that atheism is the logical position, the correct position. But he says it was not until Darwin that we could be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. So we know in principle atheism, in naturalism, anti theism is correct. We just know that. But with the coming of Darwin, Darwin probably die. Or you guess he did die. He prayed. Die if you heard himself use this word. But any right with the coming of Darwin and the the detection of natural selection as the mechanism whereby we get organized complexity, he says Now we have a complete explanation. We marry philosophical naturalism, which we are. We marry that with evolutionary science and we get a much more detailed explanation of why we have biological complexity. So in general, we thought nationalism was true atheist and was correct biological complexity. You know, there voices out there saying that naturalism couldn't explain it. Biological complexity was a counterexample, so to speak, to a naturalist atheist worldview. But now with with Darwin and Natural Selection, we can explain it. The things that aren't organized quite right with adaptive characteristics are going to die off and they can't reproduce. And what those remain was going to look designed. It's going to look like it's organized. And so it's de facto what survives is better organize and fit.


So planning is playing with that kind of idea. And he's been doing this for a couple of decades, actually working on his he calls it the evolutionary argument against naturalism. It's kind of clever with my research here. So just like Lewis was wanting to kind of turn naturalism on itself. Well, Plantinga is doing. Is saying, Oh, really? You've got naturalism. And now you want to marry it to evolution. And really, it's not just evolution in general. Like there's been progress in common ancestry and all it's the mechanism is natural selection that makes it Darwinian. Okay. So planning is going to call his argument an evolutionary argument. I guess not. So while the Dawkins of this world and Daniel Dennett's of this world, one have a total worldview explanation that incorporates very intimately explanations from evolutionary science, he's saying, I think I can come up with an evolutionary argument against naturalism. I just think it's really interesting. And what he wants to say is it's just a little more scientifically up to date than what Lewis is saying about if they're causes for why we think what we think, then we can't believe what we think is rational in the classic sense, or that we're rationally warranted. We're just caused by brain activity. Maybe certain impulses in the brain may just have the certain belief. So. If adaptive fitness is the goal of evolution of Darwinian evolution, then. He says that there are a lot of things planning, a lot of things that evolution will bring about in us that. Enhance adaptive fitness of the species. Less it less fits. Members will drop out of the species and you know, that's how it goes. But evolution is not a concern for what's true. I know if a rabbit's eating my roses and I walk out the door and scare it, it just thinks it doesn't think, it just reacts.


So evolution has built in a survival mechanism that doesn't really run through the hole. What if it's true that there's a man who might So adaptive fitness and truth planning who wants to say are very different goals. You can you can hear the kind of approach Lewis is using. You kind of hear it with different terminology. So nobody nobody is denying that evolution works by enhancing adaptive fitness. But, well, planning wants to make sure we see is it doesn't it doesn't care about truth. And the interesting concept of mind and rationality we have is that it's concerned about truth. And when I believe something, I want to think it's rational. I've looked at evidence, logic, so on, and I've come to a rational belief. So we're planning wants to say, is there anybody who sees this that if if evolutionary naturalism is true, I need more room if evolutionary naturalism is true. Then the probability and I'll just use are the probability of our cognitive faculties being reliable of naturalism in evolution. So given naturalism revolution, what's the probability that our calling the fact is are reliable for truth? Well, the probabilities low. Who wants to assign point to or whatever? Probably a lot less than that. So his point is, anybody who sees that, that the combination, the conjunction of naturalism and evolution, assuming that that the probability that that the cognitive faculties we have are reliable for grasping truth is low. If you see that you have a defeat or actually an undercutting. Defeat her. And for what? For any belief at all, including the belief that naturalism is true. You have no rational warrant to think that your belief producing faculties are aimed at truth when you're committed to a worldview that.


Oh, excuse me, that only has them produced by adaptive considerations. So naturalism and evolution as a package self-defeating, self undercutting. And he goes ahead to say, Of course, evolution is a mainstay of science. There's you can't say anything in science was evolution's true. This is the adoption of Zelinski, the great Russian Orthodox biologist. Very famous famous quote Nothing in biology makes sense apart from evolution. So planet knows this. So he says, Well, if if you've got naturalism and evolution and they both can't be that that can't be true or you've got to reject it because of this, this package has to be rejected or that package is equivalent to this either and or a well. It's not in. Therefore, you can go ahead and accept evolution. But you have to think it's guided so that there's an additional element gods wanting beings to emerge that have reliable, rational faculties like his own. And so that's fine. The quarrel was never with evolution. It was with naturalism, because naturalism implies all the things that gave the trouble appear. Because if it's looking at natural selection as its only explanation of why we have mental functioning that we do because it can't accept that there's a God who might also have an additional interest besides purely adaptive biological fitness might have an interest in producing beings that think about truth so that something like this theism and evolution doesn't doesn't have that problem. But naturalism combined with evolution has that problem. So I wrote all that up and put it in the notes as a little bit of an update on the same kind of argument that Louis is using by one of the foremost philosophers living. And I'll play Mingo no more time. Let's pick it up here next time and go further.