Materialism, Atheism & Naturalism – The M.A.N. Made World

Naturalist will often argue that the theory of Intelligent Design (ID) isn’t verifiable because we can not “put God under the microscope,” thus they conveniently erect the self-serving impasse that if God can’t be put into a test tube then He must not exist, or simply doesn’t deserve any significant consideration. So If God were alive how does the naturalist presume one might conclude his existence? Its important to distinguish that advocates for ID do not claim to have God in a test-tube, they are simply arguing that ID is in inference to the best explanation.

Naturalism has befuddled itself with the materialistic concept of reality while dismissing the more important concept of actuality, what the naturalist have managed to do is to create a system or rhetoric which precludes their acknowledgment of Gods existence regardless if He actually does or doesn’t exist. It appears as if the naturalist are not concerned in discovering reality as much as they are seeking to preserve a materialistic ideology. It’s followers seem more predicated on defending the walls of their skepticism than expanding their horizons.

Our inability to falsify God hardly disqualifies Him from being true, if one wants  to assume that reality ends where the material stops, then by all means one is welcome to stay in it’s naturalistic conclave. Sir Arthur Eddington, an astrophysicist from the early 1900’s  exemplified this type of argument from incredulity when he said “Philosophically the notion of a beginning of the present order is repugnant to me. I should like to find a genuine loophole. I simply don’t believe the present order of things started off with a bang.. its preposterous.. it leaves me cold.”

The idea behind scientific theories is not to formulate a hypothesis which best conforms to our world view, but to see which explanation can best track the footprints of life back to its origins, technically speaking we will never be able to determine who or what actually caused those prints i.e. the existence of God or an unguided natural process, but we can most certainly tell which foot best fits the shoe.

The poster-boys for the ‘new atheist’ such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens hold the idea of an intelligent designer as superfluous in understanding how the universe began, thus the idea of God is nothing more than a delusion – or a disease as the more militant atheist would argue. However, the concept of design was actually the foundation for early modern scientist such as Kepler, Boyle, Galileo, Copernicus & Newton. The motto of such early scientist was intelligibility; they believed that they could study nature and make sense of it all – Why? because they believed science was intelligible to the human mind in that it was designed by a rational intellect.

Don’t doubt the Creator, because it is inconceivable that accidents alone could be the controller of this universe.” – Isaac Newton

The concept behind materialism is that matter and energy are the entities from which everything arises. Essentially there’s nothing beyond the physical world that exists; ultimately life evolved from non-living particles, thus there is no God and ultimately no purpose – only electrically charged signals blasting through our material brains. Proponents of such naturalistic and atheistic ideologies usually appeal to reason and science while arrogating to themselves the “high-ground” in the debate. Early evolutionary scientist didn’t have any problem with the idea of materialism because they assumed the world was infinite, that the origins of life and the solar system could simply be explained through a seamless materialistic account – Human life, simpler life, chemical life, elementary particles from eternities past. However, several scientific discoveries in the 20th century have brought this materialist thesis toppling down.

In 1935, Astronomer Edwin Hubble headed a startling breakthrough in the field of Cosmology; the great dome telescopes revealed to us that the universe was not eternal like scientist had once thought. Hubble discovered that not only were we just one out of an innumerable number of galaxies, but even more significant was that the light coming from these galaxies was being shifted in the magnetic spectrum, indicating that the light was coming from objects that were receding, revealing that the universe was expanding. This led cosmologist to contemplate, what happens if we begin to wind the clock backwards? if you go back a million years, a hundred-million years, etc. With each step backwards the universe would get smaller and smaller until eventually all matter was locked in a finite beginning; this discovery directly contradicted the materialistic view point that the universe is eternal and self-existent. After looking into Hubble’s telescope for the first time Albert Einstein famously stated

einstein

“I now see the necessity of a beginning”

Edwin Hubble’s discovery of the expanding universe had remarkable theistic implications in the field of astronomy and cosmology. Renown American astronomer, Allan Sandage reluctantly stated “Here is evidence for what can only be described as a supernatural event. There is no way that this could have been predicted within the realm of physics as we know it” Furthermore, leading NASA scientist and astronomer, Robert Jastrow famously said “This is an exceeding strange development unexpected by all but the theologians who have accepted the word of the Bible. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conqueror the highest peak, as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been siting there for centuries.”  

In 1968 Stephen Hawking solved Albert Einstein’s field equations of general relativity and further cemented Hubble’s discovery of a finite beginning. Hawking proved that if you go back in time you eventually reach a point where the curvature of spacetime becomes so tight that it becomes infinitely tight, a circle so tight that it has no volume. Thus we come to the question asked by Stephen Meyer “how much stuff, can you fit in zero space?” obviously no stuff goes into no space, Thus we can see how the ‘big-bang’ theory coupled with general relativity describes both a beginning in time and a beginning in space and matter.

“Hubble’s discovery on the expansion of the universe was one of the most important intellectual discoveries of the 20th century, or of any century. It transformed the debate about whether the universe had a beginning. If galaxies are moving apart, they must have been closer together in the past.. Many scientist were still unhappy with the universe having a beginning because it seemed to imply that physics broke down. One would have to invoke an outside agency, for convenience sake, one can call God.” – Stephen Hawking

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7 thoughts on “Materialism, Atheism & Naturalism – The M.A.N. Made World

  1. I think you misunderstand the naturalist and materialist claim. They don’t claim there is no God because they can’t prove his non-existence. This logical positivist stance of verifiability and falsifiability is largely discarded now by most. Instead, they claim that there is no need for them to believe in God. There is after all, a deductive leap from saying we don’t know how the universe began, to saying it must mean a creative intelligence is the origin. In regards to ID, what most materialists now argue is that looking at planet Earth and the rest of the universe, it seems quite clear that it either hasn’t been designed, or the designer is shoddy. The large amount of collapsing stars and solar systems, black holes; we live on a tiny planet in the corner of the universe where tectonic plates that don’t properly fit together, where 3/4 of the planet are unfit for human habitation, and those that are fit only became recently so. The existence of diseases like AIDS, EBOLA etc, none of this points to a competent creator does it?

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    • So one of my key points in this argument was that we shouldn’t formulate a hypothesis based on our world-view. We shouldn’t find selective examples that prove what we think is true based on our perception of the world. Could an intelligent designer have created a world with black holes, shifting tectonic plates, and deadly diseases? Yes of course he could, such examples do nothing in scientifically disproving ID, these are simply arguments from incredulity. Could a materialistic world-view explain an expanding universe with a finite beginning? absolutely not.

      Though you will never hear it from the liberal media or the school systems, the reality is that since the mid 20th century ID has become the overwhelming conclusion within real peer-reviewed scientific studies, you will be hard pressed to find many intelligible arguments that come close to refuting ID. The discovery of the expanding universe alone is enough to end the debate like Stephen Hawking explains in the quote i provided.

      T

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      • Thanks for your reply and willingness to engage. I’d say that the onus isn’t on the materialist to disprove the ID theory, it is on the theist to defend – for they are the ones making the claim after all. The materialist is simply saying the universe holds all the traits of a random existence. It seems more likely, given the evidence of randomness, that there is no intelligent designer. Of course a designer could have created black holes and useless organs and other imperfections, but does this not point to an imperfect designer? Or, alternatively, there is no designer. In regards to a materialistic world view explaining the origin of the universe – well the answer is, we’re working on it. We couldn’t explain the origin of life 200 years ago, now we can. The theistic/deistic point of view is certainly an explanation – but because you’re conclusion doesn’t necessarily follow on from the premise, there are also many other wacky explanations. Why take the leap of believing that because it seems designed, then therefore there must be some divine force that created it all specifically for humans, has personal relationships with us and wishes us to eat bread and wine every Sunday in an old building? This is quite a leap to make.
        You’re claim about intelligent design being the overwhelmingly accepted stance within physics seems strange to me, I haven’t seen any evidence of the sort. Could you point me to some of these studies? in fact it seems to me that most physicists feel the universe has a natural beginning due to the seeming randomness one observes throughout the universe. In regards to the universe having a beginning, this hardly proves the theistic point of view as stated above. It is just another conundrum science must uncover, just like the previous conundrums it has discovered in the past.
        Look forward to hearing your thoughts on this, thanks, OT.

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    • I would say that both parties respectfully have a burden of proof, the theist in regard to ID, and the materialist in regard to a natural unguided process.

      Richard Dawkin’s was quoted saying “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed with a purpose.”

      I would certainly have to agree with him, the world does not appear random as you say it does, but rather inexplicably fine-tuned, I feel the necessity of explaining away the appearance of design is the onus of the atheist.

      You say that we have discovered the origins of life? please explain further, as far as I’m aware chemical evolution has been a dead-end for decades now.

      If your looking for some good peer-reviewed studies try looking up Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, or Richard Sternberg. they are all at the top of their fields when it comes to ID.

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  2. Well I’ll have to disagree with you on the first point. If the onus is on the theist to prove ID, then why should there be any onus on the materialist to prove it was an unguided process? The idea the universe is unguided, or at least, the idea that we should withhold judgement on whether the universe is the product of a designer, is the natural position to take – the claim that anything exists beyond our experience is the one that needs defending. Besides, I feel the materialist can successfully show how the universe is unguided.
    For instance, you give that Dawkins quote, but he then goes onto say how the universe shows traits that you’d expect if it popped up randomly. For instance, he says that the human eye on the face of it, seems so complicated that it would suggest a designer. However, if you study it in more detail, one can see curious imperfections. For instance, our eyes have a significant blind spots. Everybody’s. We all have a pancreas which have seemingly no purpose. If we were designed, why would we have a useless organ that can cause us so much pain?
    As for the fine tuning argument, in regards to the idea that if the earth was a tiny bit different we wouldn’t be here – well, the whole point of evolution is that we have evolved to fit the conditions, so if conditions were different it could be that we simply evolve in a different way to fit those different conditions. In regards to my comment about the origin of life, what I meant was that we now know all the essential building blocks for life that would have had to have been present. Whereas 200 years ago, Christians would have been saying that God made us exactly how we are. What’s to say in 200 years time we have an explanation of the origin of the universe? Science is working on it, and materialists simply state there is no need to posit a God hypothesis – one could explain the universe with Zeus, or Babylonian Thibut. These are both explanations, it doesn’t make them any more likely.
    By the way, thanks for the studies, I’ll be sure to have a look.

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    • There is still a shoulder of burden on the materialist because the idea of a world of living organism arising from non-living particles is mathematically improbable. Scientist have been seeking to understand how this could of happened for decades now and have had very little success, I would suggest researching chemical evolution. Dean Kenyon famously converted to ID and Christianity after being the leading forerunner in chemical evolutionary theories, he even wrote the text-books used in all the universities such as Cambridge, Oxford, and Yale. He converted because he said it’s impossible for amino acids to organize themselves into proteins without a PRE-EXISTING set of genetic instructions, he said the huge problem that was neglected was the origin of genetic information itself. The cell, much like a computer is run on information, thus an explosion of fundamentally new forms arising such as in the Cambrian explosion, would also require a genetic pulse of new-information arising, but where did all this new information come from?? The deeper you press into the research the harder it comes to reconcile a natural unguided process with life as we know it. Dean Kenyon said its only after an extensive encounter with the evidence that we begin to see through the fog into the reality of creationism, the further and further you get into the deep research then the more obvious it becomes that randomness simply can not explain the world.

      The seeming imperfection in the eye is not the point, the point is that eye first occurs in the trilobite, yet the trilobite first arise in the Cambrian explosion without a precursor in the fossil record, this was Darwin’s big Doubt. he assumed that all life steadily progressed from a very simple life form, yet we see new life forms coming into existence already in advanced stages, Louis Agassiz was the one who first brought this problem up to Darwin and Darwin fully acknowledged that such problems were indeed a significant argument against his theory.

      Again I must reiterate as well, the discovery of the expanding universe discovered by Edwin Hubble in 1935 clearly proves that a materialistic world-view isn’t compatible with how the universe began. We can not simply look past these facts, the materialist hardly has the luxury of leaning back comfortably free from any burden of proof, the carpet has been ripped out from underneath them and they have been left completely bewildered by such discoveries. Albert Einstein the greatest mind of the 20th Century merged his studies with Edwin Hubble’s discovery and concurred that indeed the world once had a finite beginning, and the expansion of the universe is defying physics as we know it. I would strongly suggest doing some further research into these topics and let the research speak for it self.

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