Does Evolution Tell the Truth or Not?

Attempts to formulate a naturalistic epistemology are often anchored by the notion that undirected evolution would lead us naturally to have accurate beliefs. Some people have doubted this approach works, but let's say it does. It basically says that we perceive, say, tigers and lions as a threat to us because, well, they are a threat to us, and heights make us cautious because falling from a great height will kill us, we think sex is good because sex propagates the species, we seek out food because we really do need food, and so on.

Isn't it odd, then, that went evidence turns up for an evolutionary basis for religion, this approach is thrown right out the window, and the ubiquity of religion in human societies is explained by everything other than evolution leading us to accurately perceive a spiritual dimension to life? It is almost as though these researchers had had their minds made up about religion in advance!


  1. Could be, but not to a specific religion, just as language but not a specific one. Cultural multiplicity in the face of elemental commonality.

  2. Your point that assumptions like this get smuggled into scientists' discourse is well said.

    Note that we could also consider the possibility that many of the things we believe in with our evolution-created brains are not true, not just religious ideas. Maybe nothing we perceive is true? Although you can't go very far down this road without running into phenomenon vs. noumenon questions that look tricky. In other words, I'm not sure that "nothing we perceive is accurate" is a cogent idea.

    This fellow thinks it is, though:


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