Philosophical Flaws of the Science God

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | Labels: , , , | |

Naturalism is a philosophy that adheres to the scientific method as being the only test of reality. Philosophy often uses science to partially justify itself, but science's role was ultimately not to answer philosophical questions. The majority of individuals tend to decide on their philosophy and observe scientific evidences through the lens of their own philosophies.

It is important to first briefly differentiate between science and philosophy, many individuals are mistaken to believe that they are one in the same. Philosophy addresses a combination of four different realms of questions (

1. Ethics, what is right and wrong conduct.
2. Metaphysics, investigates principles transcending any particular science, what is the essential nature and being of the world.
3. Epistemology, what counts as genuine knowledge.
4. Logic, principles of reasoning.

Science is a subset used to examine and explain the following(

1. Observable occurrences.
2. Acquisition, correction and integration of knowledge.

As one can see, science on it's own deals only with epistemology and logic. When one uses science beyond these to explain metaphysics or ethics they transcend the role of science, this is where the naturalist tends to reach a dilemma. Metaphysics and science are not the same thing. Metaphysics transcends science to attempt to answer questions beyond science.

Where is Naturalism in the Purpose of Life?

Science on it's own cannot answer the question, so the naturalist tends to argue one of two things, either the question is unimportant or irrelevant (and if they do, then they face an utter disaster in the realm of metaphysics) or that life has no purpose.

When asked what man's purpose is, the naturalist can not give a coherent answer without stepping on the toes of another naturalist, and cannot justify their purpose to life without scientific evidences and science cannot transcend itself as metaphysics demands. Therefore, naturalists offer no answers to metaphysical questions because by their very nature, they argue metaphysical questions of origins and purpose to life are invalid and unnecessary questions. There is no purpose to life, because this purpose must be scientifically justified, which it cannot.

For the naturalist who is going to argue with this argument I ask this one question. What is the purpose of life, and how is your purpose to life scientifically justified as naturalism demands?

Where is Naturalism in the Hope amidst Despair?

We have already established that purposes and why's of the world through naturalism cannot be answered coherently, because to establish a coherent argument it must be scientifically justified. Next we move onto those who are in suffering and the suffering of the world. If an individual is dying of cancer the naturalist must have only one explanation to the individual and that is that they are unlucky and it's unfortunate that when one dies, that is the end of all things.

There can be no hope or purpose in pain, Christian philosophy often takes individuals who are suffering and use that suffering to bring about a wondrous transformation in an individuals life - and with few years left to live give them the wondrous knowledge of this life not being the end. This, in and of itself, makes the naturalist argue that when an individual is in unlivable circumstances by their standards that they would be better off dead than alive - it offers no transformation of hopeless pain to hope, which would only be expected to exist if a God existed.

For the naturalist who will argue this is a wonderful fairy tale and crutch for those who are in suffering, but at least we deal with reality I have one question. If God were to exist in reality, does it not make perfect sense that he would deliver the suffering from their despair amidst their suffering?

Where is Naturalism with Tolerance?

To avoid length this will be the last topic discussed. Naturalist who embrace the scientific method as the only test of reality are forced to adhere to an intolerant philosophy. You see when individuals embrace a philosophy that exacts that it is the only test of reality it must eventually come up with a framework of right and wrong that everyone should agree too. These ideas of right and wrong must be filtered through the tests of reality (or the scientific method in this case).

So when a naturalist argues that everyone should be tolerant of other's viewpoints they are either ill-informed of their own philosophy or lying. This is why the comment made that "We don't mind religion as long as they don't get their so called truths involved in government" is a truly naturalist statement. It filters through the lens of the scientific method what 'truth' is in regard to morality and ethics. There has yet to be an ethical framework that can be coherent through science and separated from an absolute. Yet, the naturalist is closer to adhering to an absolute than they might realize, to embrace science as the only test of reality is to embrace an absolute method to determine right and wrong. Just as embracing a Deity as a test of right and wrong. It does not mean right and wrong are simple black and white, but it means right and wrong must be filtered through an absolute test of reality.

For the naturalist who will accuse the religious of adhering to an intolerant philosophy I have one comment. Although Christianity in particular is an absolute, therefore making it "intolerant" to other viewpoints, its followers do not embrace (as naturalists often do) a relative morality. Naturalists attempt to argue in one hand every person can determine what is right and wrong but in the other they demand in the public forum that right and wrong be filtered through their philosophy. The naturalist often preaches tolerance when the philosophy itself is just as intolerant as the religious viewpoints. This is meant as a clarifying point.

Craig Chamberlin