Tag Archives: epistemology

From Jon

There’s an interesting post up over at Slate. The author, Jesse Bering, makes the now trending suggestion that God is some sort of psychological phenomenon, an evolutionary side effect. I’ve got a couple of comments here.

First, if it is the case that belief in God is an illusion generated as a side effect of evolution, then what other beliefs do we hold that might be illusory? How can we trust any of our beliefs at all to be formed correctly? Evolution, after all, is certainly not a process aimed at helping us humans form true beliefs.  It seems if you’re able to dismiss belief in God this way, you’ve dismissed much more than you’ve bargained for. Like a workable epistemology.

Secondly, this article does not even approach the evidences for God’s existence (for example, even if beleifs formed by perception are unreliable, this does nothing to a priori arguments for God’s existence) . Instead, Bering dismisses God as illusion with some frighteningly bad argumentation which turns on this assertation:

After all, once we scrub away all the theological bric-a-brac and pluck the exotic cross-cultural plumage of religious beliefs from all over the world, once we get under God’s skin, isn’t He really just another mind—one with emotions, beliefs, knowledge, understanding, and, perhaps above all else, intentions?

Perhaps our tendency to beg the question is a by-product of evolution as well? You can read the post here.