An evolutionary explanation of the belief in God and the (supposed) genetic fallacy

Philosophy of Religion blog

We’ve all had our views or arguments misrepresented at some point. Typically, if you (mis)represent your opponent as giving a deductive argument, then you can easily find a fallacy. Conversely, when certain arguments are, for example, properly represented as abductive arguments, some of those same fallacies just don’t apply.

One argument against the existence of God has to do with the evolutionary origin of belief in God. If one interprets an atheist here as presenting a deductive argument, then one can see how an atheist is committing a genetic fallacy. However, we should always be charitable when interpreting someone’s argument; get into the habit of steal-manning your opponent’s argument instead of attacking strawmen.

Here’s how the argument actually goes:

It is a known fact that belief in God is (in part) the product of evolutionary mechanisms. This fact is not surprising on the hypothesis of metaphysical naturalism. That’s because the range of…

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