- We humans are not rational about anything, let alone religion.
- Certainty is a feeling, not proof of knowing. It can fail to materialize even when evidence is enormous, and can manifest itself independently of any real knowledge.
- The structure of thought itself predisposes us to religious thinking. Given how our minds work, certain kinds of religious beliefs are likely and others are impossible.
- The "born again" experience is a natural phenomenon. It is triggered by specific social and emotional factors, which can occur in both religious and secular settings (p. 48).
I'll take a brief look at each of these bulleted points one-by-one.
We humans are not rational about anything, let alone religion.Well now, if we can't be rational about anything, then we can't be rational about that proposition either; thus, a self-referentially incoherent statement. This is easily reversible to, "We humans are not rational about anything let alone atheism."
Nevertheless, if naturalism and evolution were true, and given the conjunction between them, Tarico's comment about rationality would seem to hold since our cognitive faculties would be unreliable. As physicalist philosopher of mind Patricia Churchland has said in her oft quoted paragraph:
Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in . . . feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle [sic] chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism’s way of life and enhances the organism’s chances for survival. Truth, whatever that is, takes the hindmost. [Patricia S. Churchland, “Epistemology in the Age of Neuroscience,” Journal of Philosophy 84 (October 1987): 548.]This is exactly what Alvin Plantinga was getting at when he proffered his argument known as the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. In other words, if naturalism is true, then we can't trust the deliverance of our cognitive faculties. Given this hypothetical problem for the naturalist, not only can we not be rational about atheism, but we can't be rational about anything. This is because given the conjunction between evolutionary processes and naturalism, rationality is not what is important, behaviors that produce survival value is; and the behaviors that bring about survival value aren't necessarily concerned about truth and rationality.
Certainty is a feeling, not proof of knowing. It can fail to materialize even when evidence is enormous, and can manifest itself independently of any real knowledge.Really? Has Tarico ever heard of apodictic certainty, a logical demonstration of certainty wherein the premises are framed in such a way that the conclusion must follow? It also seems that she is totally unfamiliar with concepts like warrant and defeaters. Nevertheless, if we can't be certain of anything because certainty is based upon feeling, then we can reject everything she says since we can't be certain of any of her statements. This is another self-referentially incoherent statement.
The structure of thought itself predisposes us to religious thinking. Given how our minds work, certain kinds of religious beliefs are likely and others are impossible.Richard Dawkins agrees with this statement in The God Delusion on pp 180-181 by quoting others who say that we have "a natural predisposition to embrace religious ideas", that "[C]hildren are native teleologists", "native dualists", and "many never grow out of it"; thus suggesting that we are naturally theistic. Of course, Dawkins intimates that this occurred as a result of evolutionary development occurring in a part of the human brain that produced these false beliefs via natural selection because they promoted survival value. However, this is just another example of the atheologians trying to suppress the truth a la Romans 1:18 by denying the truth of Romans 1:19-21.
I wonder if Dr. Tarico also thinks, like Dawkins, that religious belief is a sort of "mind virus"? (The God Delusion, 188) If so, then she believes that humans are inherently religious because our brains evolved to be that way because such false beliefs produced accompanied behaviors that promoted survival value. But because such beliefs are useless in our modern enlightened society, the vestigial mental faculty that once promoted survival value has now been reduced to a "mind virus".
However, why the push to get rid of the religious "mind virus" via rational dialogue since given the naturalist assumptions it was selected for to promote survival value? I mean, how do we know that such things won't promote survival value in our modern society? For example, a religion that encouraged its adherents to have loads of children "works" pretty well to promote survival value if most of the non-religious in the population either doesn't choose to have children, decides to abort them, or doesn't meet the replacement rate. That would qualify pretty well as religious beliefs producing survival value in the modern world. Second, since our minds are naturally wired to believe such supposed nonsense via the very evolutionary processes that gave them to us, why chide theists for what she admits is natural?
Third, why write a book exposing the so-called irrationality of Christian theism since we can't be certain of anything? If we can't be certain of anything, and Dr. Tarico is part of the "we", then she can't be certain of anything either, so why should we listen to her?
The "born again" experience is a natural phenomenon. It is triggered by specific social and emotional factors, which can occur in both religious and secular settings (p. 48).Dr. Tarico just told us that we can't be certain of anything, but she seems pretty certain of this naturalistic explanation of regeneration. She goes on to further explain per apostate Ken Pulliam,
Cognitive research does offer what is rapidly becoming a sufficient explanation for belief. More and more, we can explain Christian belief with the same set of principles that explains supernaturalism generally. This is a serious blow to orthodoxy--to a religion based on right belief. In the past, one of the arguments put forward by believers was that there simply was no explanation for the "born again" experience, the healing power of Christianity, the vast agreement among believers, or the joy and wonder of mysticism, save that these came from God Himself. We now know this not to be the case. Humans are capable of having transcendent, transformative experiences in the absence of any given dogma. We are capable of sustaining elaborate systems of false belief and transmitting them to our children. We are capable of feeling so certain about our false beliefs that we are willing to kill or die for them (pp. 62-63). [bold mine for emphasis - DSS]Remember that Dr. Tarico has said,
- "We humans are not rational about anything, let alone religion."
- "Certainty is a feeling, not proof of knowing . . . ."
Dr. Tarico says she knows that these religious experiences are not what they claim to be. In other words, she claims to have psychological certainty of this. But she contradicted herself earlier since she says that certainty is only a subjective mental state, not proof that something is actually veridical. Hence, consider the following syllogisms,
P1 - Dr. Tarico knows that religious experiences have naturalistic explanations.Or let's consider this syllogism in light of her statement that we aren't rational about anything:
P2 - To know something is to have a high degree of psychological certainty about it.
P3 - Dr. Tarico is psychologically certain that religious experiences have naturalistic explanations.
P4 - Dr. Tarico equates certainty with feeling, not proof of knowing. C - Therefore, since Dr. Tarico equates certainty with feeling, not proof of knowing, then she can't know that religious experiences have only naturalistic explanations.
P1 - Dr. Tarico says she knows via rational inquiry that religious experiences have naturalistic explanations.So please tell me again why I should believe in atheism?
P2 - Claiming to have knowledge about religious experiences is a religious proposition.
P3 - Dr. Tarico says that we can't be rational about anything, including religious propositions. C - Therefore, Dr. Tarico can't be rational about her religious propositions.