The Self-Destructing Nature of Philosophical Naturalism in Fewer Than a Thousand Words

by / November 1, 2015

What is Naturalism? The #2 definition for Naturalism as given in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary is “a theory denying that an event or object has a supernatural significance; specifically : the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena.” This is also known as philosophical Naturalism, proper.
A natural correlary to philosophical Naturalism is the theory of evolution. It is Naturalism’s only game in town as far as a theory for the origin of complex life goes. For those who refuse to allow God into His own universe, they really have no choice but to believe that everything literally made itself.

Now a key point about Naturalism is that it is the belief that science can account for everything. Everything including the idea that science can account for the consciousness. One’s consciousness is the same as one’s mind and their patterns of thought. By virtue of their belief in Naturalism Naturalists must also believe that our consciousness (our mind and thoughts) are reducible to scientific laws, that it is just a big fancy extra complicated chemical reaction and nothing more.

But can a chemical reaction really think? What is the difference between a thinking chemical reaction and a nonthinking one? A more important question would be about what connection exists between a chemical reaction and knowledge or truth?

What I am asking is, if our thoughts are just the result of a fancy chemical reaction, how can one’s thoughts be said to be true or right? Our thoughts would become meaningless. Our thought process would just be like one overly complicated Rube-Goldberg machine. Our “beliefs” would be inescapably programmed by the history of whatever random chemical reactions happened to happen in our heads. Truth would therefore be illusory. Thoughts would be meaningless. Beliefs would be aimless.

Even the belief in Naturalism!

You might be wondering how I can make the jump that thoughts are meaningless if they are the result of physical processes.

This is why:

According to the theory of evolution, our brains (and minds according to the Naturalists) are the result of history ONLY for the reason that having a brain (mind) came with it some sort of edge for survivability and that having a smarter brain brought to the organism even more survivability. Now, a significant conclusion to be drawn from this is that they (naturalistic evolutionists) would have you believe that your brain did not evolve because it could discern “truth” (whatever that is in this Post-Modern age) but merely because it helps organisms to live a little longer and have a few more offspring in their lifetimes.

This means that they would have you believe that your thought processes and beliefs ultimately exists for one purpose and one purpose only, that is, (they would have you believe) that the purpose of everything your brain does is to assure  that organisms have as much sex as possible for any organisms lifetime, (excuse me for being a little crass… ). That is, simply put, your mind evolved for survival and NOT for the purpose of ascertaining and utilizing truth. There is no reason why a brain that evolved merely for that purpose should be capable of properly manipulating knowledge! The Naturalists are then forced to conclude that they believe in naturalism not because it is true but because it helped their stone age gramps with the ladies!

This illustrates how philosophical Naturalism self-destructs. Its own presuppositions cave in on themselves. This is one more example how the philosophies of man are vain.

Truly, the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD! We believe that we are created in the Image of God, that on account of that fact we have been vested with innate dignity, the capacity to love, and the ability to manipulated knowledge and reason. We were created to discover the wonders of creation (illustrated by Adam’s naming of the animals) and to use that knowledge to the world’s advantage (illustrated by God having created mankind to tend the garden). Reason belongs to the children of God! And through the proper use of it, we offer God great worship! (“You shall love the LORD your God with all your… mind…).

Always and in All Things, Let God Be Glorified!

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Dante Duran

Dante Duran

I love math, science and Christian Apologetics but even more the Eternal Infallible Word of the Living God. I am working towards my Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from John Brown University. In my spare time, I debate evolutionists, Atheistic and Theistic, on Khan Academy by the pseudonym "Calculaeus."

One Comment

  1. Hi Mr. Duran!

    A few questions and points.

    Your claim that if the brain is the result of physical processes that therefore thoughts are meaningless does not make any sense. Your explanation is unsatisfactory and based off of straw men.

    Going categorically by claim:

    1. Our “beliefs” would be inescapably programmed by the history of whatever random chemical reactions happened to happen in our heads. Truth would therefore be illusory
    – Let me just first say that chemical reactions are in no way ‘random.’ They operate consistently in accordance with the principals of chemistry and physics. That aside, the notion that everything we think and believe are determined by brain chemistry has NOTHING to do with what is true. For example the claim that Carbon has 6 electrons is objectively true regardless of one’s neurochemistry.

    2. Now, a significant conclusion to be drawn from this is that they (naturalistic evolutionists) would have you believe that your brain did not evolve because it could discern “truth,” but merely because it helps organisms to live a little longer and have a few more offspring in their lifetimes.
    – You are correct that our brains did not evolve to know that Carbon has 6 electrons, but here you draw a false conclusion: We evolved not to understand the nature of our world, (the truth) but rather to reproduce and survive. What you have done is wrongly divorce these two ideas. Understanding our world HELPS to survive and procreate. For example, realizing that eating poison hemlock kills you is BOTH understanding truth and helping with survival.

    3. This means that they would have you believe that your thought processes and beliefs ultimately exists for one purpose and one purpose only, that is, (they would have you believe) that the purpose of everything your brain does is to assure that organisms have as much sex as possible for any organisms lifetime.
    – No naturalistic evolutionist says that your thoughts and beliefs exist for the purposes of procreation and survival. Your brain evolved reasonable and logical thinking because it helps with survival and procreation, but here’s where humans are unique: We can apply reasoning abilities to situations beyond survival and procreation. By the standards of natural selection this has worked out well, hasn’t it? Life expectancy goes up as we learn more and more about science, death at childbirth has gone down for the same reasons. Human life has been greatly improved by our ability to apply reason to other areas.

    3. That is, simply put, your mind evolved for survival and NOT for the purpose of ascertaining and utilizing truth. There is no reason why a brain that evolved merely for that purpose should be capable of properly manipulating knowledge!
    – First of all, the truth of the natural world can be experienced by senses. Even bacteria have rudimentary senses, so ascertaining knowledge is in no way unique to humans, or even creatures with brains. To expand more on the above, there is plenty of reason a brain evolving for survivability should be capable of manipulating knowledge. We ascertain knowledge by using our faculties; we utilize what we see, feel, hear, taste, and smell. We then alter our behavior as a result of what our senses tell us. This is called logic and reason. For example, if a creature with a primitive brain sees a member of his species get burned from going into a hot spring, they might know not to go in. Perhaps still not satisfied, he sticks his finger in and gets burned. Maybe before that he can smell and taste the sulfur in the air and finds it unpleasant and leaves. In each of these scenarios the creature is using his senses to ascertain knowledge (the truth) and the using his brain to change behavior for the purposes of surviving and procreating, thus he has manipulated knowledge.
    ——

    You have said nothing on why thoughts are meaningless. Evolution doesn’t say much about the meaningfulness of thoughts. It merely asserts that natural selection shows how brains evolve. Meaning is given by the thinker.

    Where am I going wrong?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

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