Reason v. intuition

I was recently reading an article from the website Reasons to Believe. It was about people’s intuitive feelings, specifically regarding Darwin’s theory of biological evolution. It turns out that most people have an innate, intuitive, or “gut,” feeling that this theory is not sufficient to explain the existence, diversity, and complexity of life on earth. However, we are often told to “logic away” these feelings, because we’re taught that conclusions derived from intuitive feelings are inferior to conclusions derived from what we’d like to think is reason, and/or logic.

In part one of this series of articles, the author, Roger Bennet, explains that 124 students in biology-teacher preparation programs at two universities in Korea were interviewed. It turns out that, after being asked pertinent questions, the biggest resistance to biological evolution came from a “gut feeling.” Despite being educated on the subject of evolution and being prepared to teach it, these students had a purely intuitive gut feeling that it was not an adequate explanation. But you’d never hear that taught in school, would you? In fact, these students were even set up with courses in which they were basically taught to “reason” away these gut feelings, because reason is superior to gut instincts. All of this despite the fact that (also according to Roger Bennett’s article), our acceptance of things that we learn is based on both reason and whether or not the information “feels” correct. As stated by Dr. Fazale Rana:

“Within neuroscience, there is this recognition that . . . there are two components to understanding a phenomenon. One is knowledge and the other is an intuitive feeling of certainty as to whether or not that knowledge is indeed correct.”

So we’re using intuition to arrive at conclusions every time we take in new information. And yet we’re told that intuition is inferior, and that we should not use it to make decisions, that we should suppress it because reason is better. Hmm…does that feel correct?

Furthermore, what we promote as “logic” in our culture really isn’t true logic at all. It’s actually more along the lines of selectively accepting or rejecting things that, respectively, support or do not support our preconceived beliefs. People are unwilling to come to a conclusion that they did not form on their own. People reject proof of any other viewpoint, or simply don’t bother to look for it, and then assume that it doesn’t exist or that those other views belong only to simple-minded or ignorant people because there is “no proof.” How ironic.

Did you know that small children “generate intuitive creationist beliefs about origins?” Well they do. Why don’t we hear about children who generate intuitive naturalistic or even evolutionary beliefs? I agree with Roger Bennett when he states, ” I submit that they don’t because they (and all of us) possess the image of God and because they’ve not yet been taught to rationalize away creation’s testimony.” 

In part two of Mr. Bennett’s series, he discusses where he believes this resistance comes from: the image of God in humanity. Imago Dei (Genesis 1:26–27). During the Fall of man, this image was broken and distorted, but it was not lost completely. “His image or likeness in man enables us to be receptive to the ‘testimony’ of His existence through creation, which we see in Psalm 19:1–4, Isaiah 40:26, Romans 1:18–20, and in a number of other verses as well.”

For those of us who are saved, no evidence is needed. For those who are perishing, no evidence is possible.


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