There isn’t a typo in the title but rather a genuine question that is often ignored. It is simply taken at face value by theist and skeptics alike that evolutionary theory and naturalism go hand-in-hand. However, what if they didn’t? What if they were more like strangers than friends? Even worse, what if evolutionary theory undercuts the belief in naturalism?
Before moving forward, we need to define evolution and naturalism. By “evolution” I mean that the best explanation for the existence of life is decent with modification over time with natural selection operating on genetic variation. By “naturalism” I mean that all that we observe or experience is the product of physical properties and causes. Absent, is the spiritual or supernatural. Notice that one (evolution) is a scientific theory, and the other (naturalism) is a philosophical commitment. Together, they form the belief known as evolutionary naturalism. However,t hese beliefs together put the proponents of both in a peculiar spot, namely, having no justification for believing anything they believe is true.
According to evolutionary theory, common descent and genetic variation via natural selection over time have produced the current state and features of the human species. Included in this would be our cognitive faculties which take place in our brains. In turn, what goes on in our brains influences our beliefs, which influences our behavior. All of this is to the benefit the overall fitness of our species to ensure survival. Now keep in mind, the person who places confidence in evolution and naturalism not only believes the ladder statement but also believes that all there is in the world are physical properties. There is no God who has fashioned humanity in His image and therefore, the divine plays no part in endowing humankind with cognitive faculties.
So what is the evolutionary naturalist left with? Well, it seems they’re in a pretty precarious spot! For, if all there is are physical processes, then the physical processes which take place in our brain are driven by fitness and survival, it doesn’t seem to matter whether or not a belief is true or false. For example, Lets says you were camping in the woods, and you woke up to find a bear sleeping next to the campfire. Whether you believe truly that “poking the bear” will get you mauled or if you believe falsely that “poking the bear” will get you abducted by unicorns and aliens, doesn’t matter. The fact is either belief will produce a similar result, preventative measures which ensure survival.
Furthermore, why think any of the ways in which we come to form beliefs are reliable? For instance, some ways we form beliefs are through memories, reason, perceptions, intuition, etc. However, we could have these beliefs, not because they are true but because they enable us to survive, therefore they could either be an illusion of our cognitive faculties or false beliefs which serve a purpose, survival. It seems then; we would have good reasons for doubting the reliability of all the ways in which we come to our beliefs, including naturalism. For, naturalism is a philosophical commitment which is a product of our reasoning, but our reasoning goes on our brains, and our brains are merely physical objects subject to the physical processes aimed at our survival, not truth. Thus, why believe that naturalism, is correct?
Ironically, evolutionary naturalism itself is a self-defeating proposition. Thus, the evolutionary naturalist should drop the self-defeating position and embrace Christianity.