I wanted to throw up a quick post about an idea I have to try and refute Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. This isn’t intended as a full rebuttal, but more of an idea for an approach to refute it.
I’m actually looking for feedback on whether or not this approach works or is fundamentally flawed.
The thrust of his argument is that since evolution only selects based on adaptability we can't necessarily trust the reliability of our cognitive faculties on naturalism (the assumption that there is no god).
An example he uses is that of a human and a lion, the truth value of a human's belief's about lions is separate from whether or not those beliefs produce adaptable behavior. On naturalism we have no reason to suppose our beliefs about a lion being dangerous and wanting to eat us, therefore we should run and hide from it.
We similarly could have evolved the belief that we should run from the tiger because in order to make tigers happy you should run and hide from them. The thought is that through the eyes of evolution, both sets of beliefs produce equivalent adaptability and so either could have been selected for.
A Potential Defeater
The main idea I have is to accept that for many areas of belief our cognitive faculties could very well be unreliable given naturalism, however this does not mean that all beliefs we have would be unreliable.
My theory is that there would be a small set of beliefs that would necessarily have to be true in order for them to be adaptive. Good examples of this would be the belief that I am hungry or not hungry; cold or not cold. Basically any binary proposition that directly impacts our survival would necessarily have to be true in order for it to be adaptive.
This is basically the law of identity, from which we could get the three basic laws of logic. I take it that Plantinga's argument doesn't argue against the reliability of the senses, so we'd have that level of reliability. I think that once we're able to combine the basic laws of logic with the senses evolution can eventually come up with a cognitive process that is reliable in modelling the world as we perceive it through the senses. We would at least start by differentiating between different kinds of things, say the difference between self and other. It would be adaptive at least to differentiate between say lions and people, and identifying things like cause and effect through binary mechanisms.
The goal is to see if in principle we can get from that to identifying something akin to science, or some other reliable method that we can use to identify whether our beliefs are true by subjecting those beliefs to whether or not they correspond to what our senses tell us the world is like.
That's the quick and dirty idea of it anyway. Start small and establish some beliefs like logic, self and other, which when combined with our reliable 5 senses to arrive at something true.