Cogito ergo I am right #10: Naturalism, Science, and Religion

By Amateur Philosopher Penny Ham

Hello, you philosophically-minded fuckers out there! I want to talk to you about naturalism today.

Naturalism has something going for it when compared to non-naturalism: predictive power and rightness! Naturalism implicitly assumes there are only natural causes in the world and so sets up the entire possibility of science because science can only give us testable predictions when steered by this implicit assumption. Naturalism is itself unfalsiable but naturalism makes up for this by setting up an entire enterprise that holds that each naturalistic statement, individually, is falsifiable. Man, that just makes naturalism uber-badass!

Thinking in terms of non-naturalistic terms, the proposition “God did it” or “God made it” has no predictive power. It can’t be incorporated into science. Naturalism is the necessary condition of science and not the other way around. You have to think of it this way – if you have a science, that is, an enterprise that bases all of its findings on the empirical realm and makes predictions, then you have naturalism, a belief that everything can be understood in terms of natural efficient causation. It’s that simple!

“God did it” explanations must remain outside of science simply because the essence of science is predictive power and this only implies naturalism and not both naturalism and non-naturalism. Sorry intelligent designerists, your theory is non-naturalistic and so it sucks!

If you guys want “God did it” explanations, just stick with theology. As a matter of fact, theology is where “God did it” explanations should be anyway. Unfortunately in the history of evolution and creation debates, people got all confused and presupposed that science had won the battle over theology and so that meant they could and should modify their faith with science. Religious dolts out there, don’t modify your faith with science! You’ll only undermine your own faith by requiring it to have a burden of scientific testability!

What “God did it” people don’t realize is that by making their faith rest on science, they are severely setting themselves up for total destruction of their own faith or some kind of silly denial or overt form of mental gymnastics (throwing out assumptions that scientists are all liars or that fossils were created by Satan, for instance).

What non-naturalists and religionists should do is think, “maybe science didn’t win against theology since science is just a different interpretation of the world than theology.” Maybe, as Nietzsche said, science is just one interpretation of many. Science is a damn good interpretation but just one out of the many. So maybe theology still has something to it. Theology has its own perspective and science has its own. Nietzsche, the guy who said that God is dead might be the last best hope for religious people. What an interesting concept. Actually, it’s not really that interesting. Boring!

The great thing about science is that it is definitely open to the possibility of implying, if given sufficient reason, a worldview of non-naturalism. It’s just that it never has arrived at a situation where non-naturalism has served the simplicity and the predictive power of science. So currently, science only implies a naturalistic worldview. Although this isn’t necessarily a necessary implication, now is it?

Currently as standing. (The arrows stands for implication.)

Science —> explanation —-> predictive power —-> naturalism

Non-naturalism —> lack of predictive power —> lack of explanation —> pseudo science.

Non-naturalism + naturalism —> lacking in the predictive area —-> barely an explanation —> pretty pseudo scientific.

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3 thoughts on “Cogito ergo I am right #10: Naturalism, Science, and Religion

  1. What makes naturalism stand out is that it is verifiable and falsifiable. No other ‘world view’ can be demonstrated to be anything other than made-up crap. Not all ‘world views’ are equal. Nietzsche was a putz.

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