MATERIAL NATURALISM Mary Poplin Presbyterian Church of the Master 2 of 4 April 2015 FOUR GLOBAL WORLDVIEWS Material Naturalism ** Secular Humanism
Pantheism Monotheism (Judeo-Christianity) MATERIAL NATURALISM Not Science but Scientism In the beginning the universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. Douglas Adams The Restaurant at the End of the Universe FAITH OF MATERIAL NATURALISM Everything is ultimately only Matter
Energy Laws Including human consciousness, love, conscience, and religious belief (e.g., moral molecule) Trying to discover why we believe is more intriguing than the debate over whether anyone is up there looking
down. David Sloan Wilson SCIENTISM: SCIENCE IS THE ONLY TRUTH There is simply no way for science to prove that all that exists is material
The methodology of science begins only after the identification of material Thus can only state facts about material All else is outside of science Suppose you think that there is no such person as God, and that we have been cobbled together by natural selection.
Can you then sensibly think that our cognitive faculties are for the most part reliable? . . . There is no particular reason to think they would be: natural selection is interested but in appropriate behavior, not in truth. Alvin Plantinga
SCIENCE VS. RELIGION? SCIENCE VS. SCIENTISM Modern Western science originated and flourished in the bosom of Christian theism and originated nowhere elseThe fact is it was Christian Europe that fostered, promoted, and nourished modern sciencemodern science is a legacy of
Christianity. Alvin Plantinga NON-OVERLAPPING MAGISTERIA (NOMA) Goulds proposal to reconcile science and religion
LAW GOVERNED UNIVERSE Physical Laws physics, chemistry and astronomy Natural Laws biology, botany, zoology Laws of Human Flourishing psychology, medicine Laws of Social Flourishing ethics, policy/law/govt, sociology, history, anthropology Spiritual Laws spiritual transactions
UNIVERSE EMERGES FROM NOTHING Stephen Hawking Because there are laws of gravity the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. John Lennox Clearly Hawking assumes that gravity exists. That is not nothing.If I say x creates x this presupposes the existence of x in the first placeThe world of strict naturalism in which clever mathematical laws all by themselves bring the universe and life into existence
is pure (science) fiction. Materialist Controversy THEORIES OF ORIGINS Many were increasingly of the opinion that theyd all made a big mistake in coming down
from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy FIVE DISTINCT VIEWS OF ORIGINS 1. Neo-Darwinian Evolution (atheist) 2. Theistic evolution
3. Intelligent design 4. Old-earth special creation 5. Young-earth special creation ALL FIVE BELIEVEMICRO EVOLUTION Within a species, over time, there is a change in genetic material to adjust to conditions White moths turned black around industry
Beaks of finches on Galapagos Island Bacteria become drug resistant THREE NOTE THESE ARE SAME FINCHES MOTHS AND BACTERIA Intelligent Design Old Earth Creation Young Earth Creation
ALL EXCEPT YOUNG EARTH BELIEVE The universe is approximately 14 billion years old The earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old 1. ATHEIST EVOLUTION ACROSS SPECIES Universe begins big bang (origin unknown)
Non-living material appears (origin unknown) Single cell living organisms appear (origin unknown) Single cell living organisms increase in complexity through the undirected processes of genetic mutation, drift, natural selection - producing survival advantages 2. THEIST EVOLUTION ACROSS SPECIES Universe begins big bang (God causes)
Non-living material appears (God causes) Single cell living organisms appear (God causes) Single cell living organisms increase in complexity through the GOD undirected processes of genetic mutation, drift & natural selection producing survival advantages Biologos Institute Theistic Evolution Francis Collins, NT Wright, Tim Keller, Ard Louis, Darrel Falk
Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religiona full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still
today. . . . Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity. Michael Ruse PROBLEMS OF EVOLUTION ACROSS SPECIES Missing Transitional Beings
Cambrian Explosion Irreducible Complexity Mutations Common Design NOT Descent Gould said there are no transitional fossils. You say that I should at least show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived. I will lay it on the linethere is not one such fossil for which
one could make a watertight argument. -Colin Patterson, British Museum of History 3. INTELLIGENT DESIGN A PARADIGM SHIFT Rather than material as the prime cause of the universe First cause is intelligence
Intelligence has designer Designers communicate Discovery Institute Steven Meyer, William Dembski, Michael Behe, Michael Denton, Jonathan Wells, Guillermo Gonzalez 4. OLD-EARTH SPECIAL CREATION Demonstrate that scientific evidence never erodes belief in Bible or transcendent God
A model of biblical creation that squares with science and is testable, falsifiable and predictive. Reasons to Believe Institute Hugh Ross, Fazale Raza, Ken Samples, Jeff Zweerink 5. YOUNG-EARTH SPECIAL CREATION
Argue from Bible to science Flood account important, age of earth Six 24 hour creation days (Days in Hebrew) Inherit the Wind movie (McCarthy) Institute for Creation Research - Carl Baugh, Duane Gish, Ken Ham (Gerald Schroeder Jewish) FIVE DISTINCT VIEWS OF ORIGINS
1. Neo-Darwinian Evolution (atheist) 2. Theistic evolution 3. Intelligent design 4. Old-earth special creation 5. Young-earth special creation DO YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ONE OF THESE TO BE A SCIENTIST?
PRACTICE OF EVERYDAY SCIENCE Variety of Origins Beliefs All five depend on faith None inhibit scientific inquiry or discovery They all encourage science Judeo-Christian science with a moral tether
SCIENTISM ALLOWS NO MIRACLES Craig Keeners book Candy Gunther Brown Heidi and Roland Baker Heaven is for Real example There is not to be found in all history, any miracle
attested by a sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned good sense, education and learning, as to secure us against all delusion in themselves. David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature. Augustine
Craig Keener notes, If even a handful of miracle claims prove more probable than not, Humes argument fails, removing the initial default setting against miracles. PLANTINGA CHALLENGES THE NOTION THAT IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED THAT THE UNIVERSE IS A CLOSED
SYSTEM HTTP://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=YUUYZBU1OLC COMPLEXITY OF THE CELL With music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKW4F0Nu-UY With narration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzcTgrxMzZk
MOST CONTESTED MIRACLE THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST Most probably Jesus did die, and his physical body rotted in the tomb. But the disciples felt his presence. By rights they should have been depressed and downtrodden. The very contrary was the case. They felt a surge of comfort and power. They knew that Jesus death had not been in vain. He had conquered death in the only sense that was needed. They were thus
emboldened to go forth and to preach the gospel. This is what happened and was all that needed to happen. That there may be a naturalistic explanation for all this, something in terms of group psychology, is absolutely irrelevant. It is what you would expect. It was the meaning of it all that made for the miracle. Michael Ruse LESSLIE NEWBIGIN PLAUSIBILITY STRUCTURES
The difference between the two plausibility structures is seen most sharply at the point where we have to come to terms with the Christian tradition about the resurrection of Jesus. The community of faith makes the confession that God raised Jesus from the dead and that the tomb was empty thereafter.
LESSLIE NEWBIGIN PLAUSIBILITY STRUCTURES Within the plausibility structure of the modern world, this will become something like the following: The disciples had a series of experiences that led them to the belief that, in some sense, Jesus was still alive and therefore to interpret the Cross as victory and not defeat...
LESSLIE NEWBIGIN PLAUSIBILITY STRUCTURES This experience can be accepted as a fact. People do have such psychological experiences. If this is what is meant by the Easter event it qualifies for admission into the world of fact.
LESSLIE NEWBIGIN PLAUSIBILITY STRUCTURES The former statement (i.e., that the tomb was empty) can be accepted as a fact only if the whole plausibility structure of contemporary Western culture [secular] is called into question.
NO NATURAL ETHIC IN MATERIAL NATURALISM Strong overcome the weak We know no scientific justification can be given for moral beliefs. There is no metaethical foundation to be found in nature. -Michael Ruse
DEFINING DEVIANCE DOWN Importance and role of changing language Defining Deviancy Down Daniel Moynihan, sociologist and senator, 1993 FREE WILL OR BIOLOGICAL DESTINY? The more the physical processes of consciousness have been defined by scientific research, the less has been left
to any phenomenon that can be intuitively labeled as free will. We are free as independent beings, but our decisions are not free of all organic processes that created our personal brains and minds. Free will therefore appears to be ultimately biological. Edward O. Wilson FREE WILL OR BIOLOGICAL DESTINY?
If we came to believe that our capacity for objective theory [true beliefs] were the product of natural selection, that would warrant skepticism about its results . . . [and] would provide absolutely no confirmation of its capacity to get at the truth. Thomas Nagel It is idle to talk of any final victory over materialism.
The critique of every experience from below, the voluntary ignoring of meaning and concentration on fact, will always have the same plausibility. There will always be evidence, and every month fresh evidence, to show that religion is only psychological, justice only self-protection, politics only economics, love only lust, and thought itself only cerebral biochemistry.
C S Lewis SUMMARY MATERIAL NATURALISM Only material No consciousness, love, conscience, spirit No miracles No material ethics
No free will Its all chemistry COUNTERING GOD AS CREATOR AND REVEALER OF MORAL LAW Material Naturalism
PRINCIPLES OF ALL FOUR WORLDVIEWS Faith All begin with metaphysical statement Some overlap with Judeo-Christianity Some principles lie outside Judeo-Christianity Judeo-Christian principles transcend other worldviews
People poorly educated, 95% world believes No longer free, open marketplace of ideas Denial of central value of diversity and pluralism Reduction of speech by secularization and ideology Silencing of religious voices, ideas, issues SECULARISM CONSEQUENCES UNIVERSITY AND CULTURE
Is reality secular? Is adequate knowledge secular? And is that something that has been established as a fact by thorough and unbiased inquiry? Is this something that todays secular universities thoroughly and freely discuss in a disciplined way? Certainly not! Nowhere does that happen. It is now simply assumed that every field of knowledge or practice is perfectly complete without any reference to God. It
may be logically possible that this assumption is true, but is it true? Dallas Willard
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