Friday, July 30, 2010

Fighting with both hands tied

Naturalism is the philosophical belief that the universe is the product of a purely naturalistic accident and that everything should be explained by naturalistic means. Naturalist would discount any Supernatural explanation. If a scientist has a naturalistic view, then all explanations are explained without reference to Supernaturalism. Carl Sagan once stated, "the Cosmos is all that was, is, or ever will be."[1] Nature is all there is on a naturalistic worldview.

What would happen if the Supernatural realm exist? Well, for starters, truth cannot be obtained if one holds a naturalistic viewpoint. Philosopher of science Del Ratzsch said, "If part of reality lies beyond the natural realm, then science cannot get at the truth without abandoning the naturalism it presently follows as a methodological rule of thumb." In other words, truth can never be obtained because naturalism can only answer so much. The truth of the matter is, naturalism is a religion in and of itself, for it makes statements of how we should perceive reality.

In 1912, Charles Darwin discovered a so called missing link between man and apes called "Piltdown man." It was discovered some 40 years later that the cranial bones were stained with a red dye to give the appearance of age, and the jaw bone was actually from an orangutan, with a cranium that was human. Now, this is not to say that science does not contribute greatly to our understanding of the world, but the point is, as Darwin was trying to manipulate the evidence for a preconceived purpose or idea, likewise, naturalism also has a preconceived idea that prevents the faith of naturalism from gathering all the evidence of truth. Journal editor, Alexander Kohn rightly stated, " Scientists, contrary to lay belief, do not work by collecting only hard facts and fitting together information based on them. Scientific investigation is also motivated by pursuit of recognition and fame, by hope and prejudice. Dubious evidence is strengthened by strong hope: anomalies are fitted into a coherent picture with the help of cultural bias."

Again, science has offered much and continues to do so, but a purely naturalist view mixed with a preconceived scientific view can only partially answer the big questions of life. Naturalism is a religious view that is akin to a boxer fighting with both hands tied behind his back. If truth is important, then we should consider the evidence wherever it leads irregardless of the positions we hold so dear.

[1] Sagan, Carl, Cosmos

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