Evidence for the Existence of God -Truth

25 04 2009

Here is an interesting argument that philosopher Peter Kreeft puts forth that ties into our discussion of the existence of the mind and truth. Kreeft derives this argument from Augustine and puts it this way,

1. Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being.
2. Truth properly resides in a mind.
3. But the human mind is not eternal.
4. Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside.

Kreeft explains that this argument appeals to those who hold to a Platonic view of knowledge based on his use of forms. Forms are abstract entities or ideas that exist independently of us. Ideas like truth, perfection, equal, etc. are concepts that we understand even though we may never have seen them in their completion. An example given would be two things that appear equal; however, if we were to examine them more closely and precisely, we would find differences in them. Yet, we still understand the concept of equal. Kreeft explains that this view holds that there are “are Eternal Intelligible Forms which are present to the mind in every act of knowledge.[1] If these concepts are within our finite minds, Kreeft argues that it is a short step to conclude that they reside within an eternal mind beyond ours. He basically leaves the argument there as it is much too detailed to get into it in anything less than a full length book.

Professor Angus Menuge cites Harvard professor of psychology, Steven Pinker who wrote, “our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth.”[2] Menuge goes on to summarize Pinker’s idea by saying, “our cognitive capacities, including reason, are there because they are useful in the Darwinian sense of promoting the flourishing of our “selfish” genes.” The bottom line is that, according to a naturalist/evolutionary model, our brains aren’t wired so much for truth as they are for survival. Truth is not necessary as long as what we know and believe leads us to make decisions that promote survival.

Menuge goes on to say that evolution simply tests us for our behavior and that false believes are as good as true ones as long as the right behavior is produced, that is, behavior that leads to survival. He quotes from Lewis Wolpert’s book, Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, where he states, “our brains contain a belief generating machine, an engine that can produce beliefs with little relation to what is actually true.”[3]

Even the scientific method, the core of truth claims for a materialist, is based upon core truth claims that cannot be scientifically verified in and of themselves. These include the principle of causality, uniformity, and others.

So, for these and other reasons we are led to understand that truth exists and that it is not simply an outworking of an evolutionary framework, but is required to understand any scientific framework. If truth exists, then it is a short step to believe that an eternal and objective source of truth exists – God. I will write more on this later as I am reading some interesting work on how truth and beauty point us toward an ultimate designer.

[1] Peter Kreeft, “Twenty Arguments For The Existence Of God”; available from http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm

[2] ” Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works, New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1999, 305. As found in Angus Menuge, “Truth and Usefulness”; available from http://www.epsociety.org/blog/2008/11/truth-and-usefulness.asp.

[3] Lewis Wolpert, Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief, New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1977, 140. Ibid.

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1 08 2009
Truth, a What and a Who « Thinking Eternally

[…] a What and a Who By veritasnetwork I have written on the concept of truth in previous posts (April 2009); however, it is an important topic and I would like to address it from a different direction in […]

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