USING THE SUPERNATURAL AS  A CRUTCH TO DECLARE REASON RELIABLE IS SELF-DEFEATING NONSENSE

IS IT REASONABLE TO BELIEVE IN THE SUPERNATURAL?

CS Lewis was one person who argued that if we are programmed by natural causes then we cannot know if our reason is any good. He said that to assume there is nothing only material things means that as our thoughts are caused by irrational forces and things our thoughts must be irrational.  He means that blind forces cannot program reliably or be trusted. If you are ultimately a pile of atoms, because atoms don't reason that means that because you depend on them you don't really reason either but you only imagine you do.

This is the fallacy of composition. Just because a loaf is made up of atoms that are not flour in themselves it does not mean that there is no flour used. Just because no part of the clock is no good on its own does not mean that the different parts cannot compose a working clock.

Lewis thinks that it is not enough to say that reason is useful because it is. Reason is best seen as a sense. He wants you to say reason is useful ONLY for some other reason perhaps because a trustworthy God set it up. But to argue that it works because you have figured out that God is to be trusted means you are still saying reason is useful just because it is useful. You assume reason works before you use it with God. The logic is, "Reason is useful just because it is useful and after that it is useful for telling me God can be trusted." The biggest believer in reason just senses that it works. If you need God as a crutch to believe in reason then you are not much of a believer in it or yourself.

Suppose Lewis had a point. Then perhaps 2 and 2 = 5 not 4. Perhaps evil disproves God though some philosophical reasoning says no. But the answer to that is simple. Reason is all we have got. We are at the centre not God even if there is a God. Reason presupposes that we gauge things on the human level and ignore claims of divine revelation for they claim we should suspend judgement and just trust. Even if our reason is wrong and badly programmed let us have the arrogance to embrace it as it is all we have. Any god we worship will simply be our own creation for we follow our reason how it turns out. If we think our way to God we make God.

Elizabeth Anscome told Lewis that he was wrong to make out that if we came from material forces that they would be irrational meaning we would be irrational too.  Her point was that the forces would be non-rational not anti-rational or irrational. This allows us to be rational and trust our thoughts if naturalism is true. It allows us to trust our minds.