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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
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Claim CA120:

If our minds arose from lesser animals via natural processes, then our minds may be fallible. Then the conclusions that we come up with are subject to doubt, including the conclusion of evolution itself.

Darwin (1881) wrote in a letter, "With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or are at all trustworthy."


Plantinga, A. 1991. An evolutionary argument against naturalism. Logos 12: 27-49.


  1. It is well established that the mind is fallible. Ordinary memory and reasoning are mistaken surprisingly often (Gilovich 1991; Schacter 2001). Pathologies add further complications (Sacks 1970). This fallibility exists whatever the source of our minds may be.

    Doubt exists in all areas of life. Nothing can be proven absolutely. However, many things are certain enough that we call them facts and do not worry about the possibility that they are wrong until we see actual evidence that they are wrong. Without such an attitude, we would never be able to get on with our lives.

  2. The fallibility of our minds argues more against creationism. Nobody can be certain of it either, and minds as imperfect as ours argue against their being divinely created.

  3. Darwin only applied this argument to questions beyond the scope of science. He thought science was well within the scope of a modified monkey brain.


  1. Darwin, C. 1881. Letter to W. Graham. In F. Darwin, ed., The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin. New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1905.
  2. Gilovich, Thomas. 1991. How We Know What Isn't So, New York: Free Press.
  3. Sacks, Oliver. 1970. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, New York: HarperCollins.
  4. Schacter, Daniel L. 2001. The Seven Sins of Memory, New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Further Reading:

The books listed above (Gilovich; Sacks; and Schacter) are all excellent popular accounts.

Ruse, Michael. 2001. Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?, Cambridge University Press, pp. 106-110.
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created 2003-5-13, modified 2003-9-1