As we know, atheists and agnostics have been smuggling metaphysical truth claims into the study of nature for a long time. Materialism is their God and Darwin is their prophet. Accordingly, they distort the evidence so they can lead it in the direction of the desired outcome—and when it resists—they drag it in kicking and screaming. There can be no question that this is an ethical breach. Injecting world-view commitments into the investigative process violates the integrity of science, just as prohibiting alternative world views violates the dignity of the human person.
The two points are connected. If Materialistic Darwinism was a sensible idea, Western institutions wouldn’t place a politically-correct shield around it to protect it from rational scrutiny. In the final analysis, materialist ideologues are religious fanatics. Those who say “Comply with my ideology or I will ‘expel’ you” are reminiscent of those who say “convert to my religion or I will kill you.” It is a difference only in degree, not in kind.
Still, to indicate that a given world view is nonscientific or inhumane does not necessarily prove that it is patent nonsense. To be sure, ID science has made its mark and the evidence does show that materialism is wildly implausible and highly improbable. This is a good start, but we must keep one thing in mind: In large measure, we are dealing with the so-called mind/body “problem.” Materialistic ideology is a metaphysical dragon. We may snare it with a scientific net, but we must slay it with a metaphysical sword. I submit that the following argument can serve as the final coup de gras:
Conceptual thought is possible only if an immaterial faculty of mind is involved. Under the circumstances, materialism cannot possibly be true. We can show why this must be the case by using a few concrete examples:
When I refer to an animal as a “dog,” I am conceptualizing or abstracting “what” it is, namely, an animal that has traits (and a nature) in common with all other members of its class. It is the universality or the sameness of those traits that defines the concept. I may experience this spotted terrier or that white poodle through my senses, but I can only conceptualize the what (the sameness) of each dog. So it is with the concept of a human being, or pyramid, or any other concept.
Conversely, nothing that exists as matter can be a universal (or a concept); it is always a particular, a singular thing in a class of many (a fact of human experience). I can, for example, perceive (sense, imagine, or remember) a particular triangle as a percussive musical instrument, and I can, in the same way, perceive another particular triangle as a yield traffic sign, but I cannot conceive either of them or their individual proportions. I can only conceive or understand “triangularity” or the universal
Our concepts, because they are universals, cannot be material. If they came from a material brain, they would have to be material, which means that they could not be concepts. Since we do, indeed, have the power of conceptual thought, it is clear that this power must be immaterial, which means that it cannot originate from a bodily organ. The act of the brain, therefore, though it may be necessary for producing conceptual thought, is not sufficient.
If concepts were material, they would also have to be subjective or peculiar to each individual. They could not be shared or generalized because each concept would be embodied in the matter of the person who held it and could not, therefore, also be embodied in another person’s matter. Yet we all share the concept of what a dog is. Thus, conceptual knowledge is, and must be, immaterial, objective, generalizable, and shared.
When we grasp the nature of a thing, that is, when we conceptualize it, the form that exists in our mind is exactly the same form that exists in the thing itself. (We conceptualize “dogness” as we observe Fido [the particular], and Fido really is a dog [the universal]. We are, in fact, thinking about that thing and what it is. If the intellect was my brain or part of my brain, and if the concept in the intellect was also a material thing, then that every time I conceptualize “dog,” my brain would become a dog.
So, we return to the opening question. Materialist ideology: Is it patent nonsense? Clearly, the answer is yes. Conceptual thought is possible only if an immaterial faculty of mind is involved. Atheists and agnostics need to face the facts. They must also guard against “chronological snobbery.” The latest is not always the best. As one philosopher put it, “There is really no mind-body problem. There’s a bad philosophy problem, self-inflicted.”