A brief critique of Plantinga's EAAN from Clayton Littlejohn
I found this in the combox of a very old post of mine, from 2005. I would like to see some discussion of it, pro and con. I am linking back to the initial post.
CL: In some discussions (I believe Plantinga's, but I don't have a text at hand), it is said that the probability that we would have reliable faculties given evolutionary theory and naturalism is either low or inscrutible. The argument for this is that selection pressures don't favor such faculties.
I think this overlooks something important--selection pressures operate on populations where organisms have various traits already. So while selection pressures might not favor certain things across the board (except perhaps things that confer survival value), selection pressure might favor reliability for certain creatures with certain features under specified conditions. We might argue that the probability of organism having reliable faculties (R) is low given evolution (E) and naturalism (N) but as we fill in further details of that organism, their continued survival may in fact show the conditional probability of R and this extra information on E and N is quite high.
So while we might be able to conceive of creatures who can survive without reliable ways of informing themselves about their surroundings, that is very very different from imagining how we might fluorish given our equipment, needs, and surroundings without reliable faculties.