Intelligent Design Naturalism

Robert J. Marks: How materialism proves unbounded scientific ignorance

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Engineering prof Marks reminds us, there is an infinite number of things that are true that we cannot prove scientifically and never will:

The final conclusion of scientific materialism, also known as scientism, is nicely captured in a question chemist Peter Atkins asked philosopher William Lane Craig in a debate: “Do you deny that science can account for everything?”

Robert J. Marks, “How materialism proves unbounded scientific ignorance” at Mind Matters News

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Scientism’s assumption that science can establish everything is self-refuting. Careful analysis shows that there is an infinite number of things that are true that we cannot prove scientifically and never will.

Stephen Hawking saw the tip of the iceberg of this truth when he said, “Up to now, most people have implicitly assumed that there is an ultimate theory, that we will eventually discover.” This Theory of Everything, as it is often called, would link together all physical aspects of the universe under one vast umbrella theory. Some are still searching. But Hawking abandoned the search. In defending his switch of position, Hawking invoked Kurt Gödel (1906–1978):

Some people will be very disappointed if there is not an ultimate theory, that can be formulated as a finite number of principles. I used to belong to that camp, but I have changed my mind. I’m now glad that our search for understanding will never come to an end, and that we will always have the challenge of new discovery. Without it, we would stagnate. Gödel’s theorem ensured there would always be a job for mathematicians.

STEPHEN HAWKING, “GÖDEL AND THE END OF PHYSICS” AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY (PUBLIC LECTURE, MARCH 8, 2002)


Takehome: Mathematician Kurt Gödel showed that there is an infinite number of truths that are provably unprovable. That’s bad news for scientism, though not for science.

You may also wish to read: Gregory Chaitin’s “almost” meeting with Kurt Gödel. This hard-to-find anecdote gives some sense of the encouraging but eccentric math genius.

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