Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Michael Egnor: Materialism is easily falsifiable by science


Neurologist Steven Novella is sure that materialism is not falsifiable by science. Egnor responds:

Novella notes that supernaturalism is incompatible with his (tautological) materialism/naturalism. He then asserts:

A truly supernatural event, however, would produce a forever enduring anomaly—one that never yields to scientific research using methodological naturalism. Again, we run into a logical problem—for never never comes. So we cannot say ever that an anomaly will never yield to research, only that it so far has not. Therefore, declaring an enduring anomaly supernatural is still outside the realm of science and requires a leap of faith, and such an anomaly would not falsify naturalism.


As it turns out, there are many such “enduring” supernatural anomalies. I won’t here discuss the mind, quantum mechanics, or the cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments for God’s existence, among countless other “enduring anomalies” in the natural world. The real world is saturated with enduring anomalies. I will discuss a particularly obvious supernatural anomaly in materialism/naturalism: cosmological singularities.

Cosmological singularities, such as black holes and the singularity from which our universe arose, are wholly supernatural. That is, they are undefined in any materialist/naturalist framework. They are literally undefined—that is, a singularity is a solution to Einstein’s field equations of general relativity which entails division by zero. As you’ll recall, division by zero is undefined in mathematics. A singularity is, in that sense, not a part of mathematics or nature, at least not in the materialist/naturalist sense that can be studied by physical science…

Michael Egnor, “Is materialism falsifiable? Yes, easily.” at Mind Matters News

See also:

Gödel and God: A surprising history A thought-provoking account of master logician Gödel’s largely unknown proof of the existence of God.

God’s existence is proven by science: Arguments for God’s existence can be demonstrated by the ordinary method of scientific inference.


Tales of the Mind:A neuroscientist encounters the house of mirrors Materialism is an intellectual trap, out of which neuroscience needs to climb.

Smells like a straw man from novella Pretty sure any type of supernatural events will have a timeframe of its own, whether it would last forever or whether in would last an instant and gone Novella wouldn’t know the length of time for any type of supernatural event and should not dictate the length of time for such events as he would not know. He has never encountered anything that would be regarded as supernatural. But just to be coy ghosts fit his bill Secondly The quote that technology is indistinguishable from magic is a load of crap That tired old comment was significant back then it’s not significant now If there was any form of magic it would be entirely distinguishable from any form of advanced technology we could create because it wouldn’t play by the rules of physics All forms of technology play by the rules of physics, magic does not and if we ever encountered magic I am most certain we wouldn’t eventually know it was magic And it would be very distinguishable AaronS1978

Leave a Reply