Naturalism Philosophy Religion

Philosopher on what is wrong with naturalism

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The Philosophy of History: Naturalism and Religion by [Stroud, James] A friend writes to draw our attention to this 2014 book: by James Stroud, The Philosophy of History: Naturalism and Religion:

What is philosophy? What is history? Is much of what we have been taught false concerning these two? Author James Stroud not only breaks down the often neglected field of philosophy of history but shows why much of what we have taken for granted in the subject of “”Origins”” belongs just as much in the field of history as it does in science. Supporting an open-philosophy of history versus the current closed-philosophy in place, Stroud systematically shows why the paradigm of Naturalism is most likely false and should therefore not influence the way the historian is forced to interpret the data.
More.

The Kindle is a bargain at US$2.11.

The problem with naturalism is not that it is wrong but that it is a form of suicide for our culture. For example, it forces us to conclude not only that there is no free will but that we cannot even trust the results of reason. All government then becomes totalitarianism. Doubtless, there are those who benefit from that. Most human beings will not.

See also: The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide

and

Can the rot of naturalism be stopped? Relating information to matter and energy might help

11 Replies to “Philosopher on what is wrong with naturalism

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    The problem with naturalism is not that it is wrong but that it is a form of suicide for our culture.

    Need I provide a list of all the medical, scientific and technological advances that we all take for granted but which are founded on a naturalistic model of the world?

    For example, it forces us to conclude not only that there is no free will but that we cannot even trust the results of reason.

    That depends on what you actually mean by “free will”. Do you deny that we are, to some extent, influenced by past events, by what we inherit from our parents, that we cannot divorce ourselves from those influences? Could you become an atheist/materialist – and I mean actually believe in that view – by an effort of will?

    Need I also point out again that the existence of an omniscient God with a demonstrated foreknowledge of future events precludes the possibility of free will. As evidence I offer the Biblical account of Peter’s triple denial of Christ. And that was even after he had been warned that he would do this. He couldn’t do other. By that account there is no free will.

    All government then becomes totalitarianism. Doubtless, there are those who benefit from that. Most human beings will not.

    Totalitarianism arises not from doubt but from the unwarranted belief of being in possession of some absolute truth – be it religious or political – which justifies imposing it on others regardless of what they believe or feel.

    Our best defense is being honest about our own fallibility, ignorance and uncertainty which can make us prey to false promises of certainty.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    Need I provide a list of all the medical, scientific and technological advances that we all take for granted but which are founded on a naturalistic model of the world?

    Question-begging. Name one such advance predicated on living organisms arising from matter, energy and what emerges from their interactions or any other naturalistic processes?

    Name one advance predicated on humans and chimps sharing a common ancestor?

    Do you deny that we are, to some extent, influenced by past events, by what we inherit from our parents, that we cannot divorce ourselves from those influences?

    Yes, we use prior/ existing knowledge to help guide our choices. We can definitely divorce ourselves from our parents actions and behaviors.

    Need I also point out again that the existence of an omniscient God with a demonstrated foreknowledge of future events precludes the possibility of free will.

    Care to explain that one? How does someone or God knowing what will happen remove free will from the scenario?

    Totalitarianism arises not from doubt but from the unwarranted belief of being in possession of some absolute truth – be it religious or political – which justifies imposing it on others regardless of what they believe or feel.

    Enter scientism which is supported by evolutionism…

  3. 3
    groovamos says:

    Seversky: Need I provide a list of all the medical, scientific and technological advances that we all take for granted but which are founded on a naturalistic model of the world?

    Don’t bother because nothing is predicated on an exclusivity of naturalism. Your list would be all of the successes of reductionism. Vastly many categories of scientific endeavor yield very nicely to reductionism.

    Now here is my list of the failures of science actually based on a strict adherence to naturalism:

    1. Naturalistic science has been useless as a tool for elucidating the questions of mental health and mental illness, and has never described a method for alleviating mental illness, addiction or garden variety emotional difficulty. This leads to the following related argument.

    2. Naturalistic science has tried and failed to prove that consciousness requires a physical substrate. Non-reductionist studies have proven otherwise, e.g. studies of non-ordinary states of consciousness which have been described in written and oral form since the beginning of history by all cultures and which have been confirmed by near-death studies and psychedelic studies.

    3. Naturalistic science has not demonstrated absolute statistical independence among so-called random mutations which give rise to novel form or function, and likely will never devise a way to do so. The best that science can do here is to presume the ‘null hypothesis’ that such are presumed random until proven otherwise. This relegates Darwinian theory to having hypothetical basis instead of being a profound “advance”.

    4. Naturalistic science has not and will never be able to show that nature created itself, in a manner that manifests any measure of consensus. There is no conceivable empirical way through this one.

    5. Naturalistic science has been a profound failure and turned up nothing in origin of life research.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    OK so much for “a list of all the medical, scientific and technological advances that we all take for granted but which are founded on a naturalistic model of the world”.

  5. 5
    tribune7 says:

    –Need I provide a list of all the medical, scientific and technological advances that we all take for granted but which are founded on a naturalistic model of the world?–

    The list of problems created by worshipping a naturalistic model of the world would be more significant.

    Natural science, the endeavor to reveal the consistences of nature which would by definition be predicated on the absence of divine intervention, is wonderful providing it is not considered to be the arbiter of all truth.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    groovamos @ 3

    Seversky: Need I provide a list of all the medical, scientific and technological advances that we all take for granted but which are founded on a naturalistic model of the world?

    Don’t bother because nothing is predicated on an exclusivity of naturalism. Your list would be all of the successes of reductionism. Vastly many categories of scientific endeavor yield very nicely to reductionism.

    In what way is reductionism not naturalistic?

    1. Naturalistic science has been useless as a tool for elucidating the questions of mental health and mental illness, and has never described a method for alleviating mental illness, addiction or garden variety emotional difficulty. This leads to the following related argument.

    The brain has been described as the most complex object in the known Universe. Naturalistic science has only been trying to unravel its mysteries for a couple of hundred years so it’s hardly surprising it hasn’t cracked it completely yet. Even so, depression is now treatable with antidepressants and psychotherapy. Epileptic seizures are now know to be a manifestation of abnormal nerve cell activity in the brain rather than demonic possession which has lead to treatment with anticonvulsants. There’s a long way still to go but naturalism is easily the most effective approach we have.

    2. Naturalistic science has tried and failed to prove that consciousness requires a physical substrate. Non-reductionist studies have proven otherwise, e.g. studies of non-ordinary states of consciousness which have been described in written and oral form since the beginning of history by all cultures and which have been confirmed by near-death studies and psychedelic studies.

    Consciousness is hard problem but there are some things we know with reasonable certainty. There are no known instances of consciousness being observed apart from a physical substrate. Damage to the physical brain can result in alterations to the individuals personality or loss of consciousness associated with it. Destruction of the physical brain results in the permanent loss of the consciousness associated with the organ. Those alone are good reasons for assuming a naturalistic and physicalist basis of consciousness.

    4. Naturalistic science has not and will never be able to show that nature created itself, in a manner that manifests any measure of consensus. There is no conceivable empirical way through this one.

    No one – repeat no one – knows how the Universe came into existence. We can argue that you cannot get something from nothing, which implies that something must have existed before this Universe but that’s about as far as we can go. We don’t know if naturalistic science will ever be able to provide an answer but equally we can’t say that it never will. We just don’t know at the moment.

    5. Naturalistic science has been a profound failure and turned up nothing in origin of life research.

    Naturalistic science has easily been the most effective approach to understanding the Universe. The evidence is all around us in the technology that we take for granted. Has it solved all the mysteries of the Universe? No, far from it. Does it mean we should give up on an approach that has served us so well thus far? No, only an idiot would do that.

  7. 7

    Sev: Need I provide a list of all the medical, scientific and technological advances that we all take for granted but which are founded on a naturalistic model of the world?

    groov: Don’t bother because nothing is predicated on an exclusivity of naturalism.

    lol. exactly.

    Sev, life is based on the semantic closure of a symbolic code. Hello?

    What do you have on that front?

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    Naturalistic science has easily been the most effective approach to understanding the Universe.

    Special pleading and question begging. Newton and Kepler didn’t need naturalistic science and look what they accomplished. All other discoveries came from theirs.

  9. 9
    eddieunmuzzled says:

    Seversky, you wrote:

    “Need I provide a list of all the medical, scientific and technological advances that we all take for granted but which are founded on a naturalistic model of the world?”

    By “the naturalistic model of the world”, do you mean the model bequeathed to us by Newton, Boyle, etc. — the model in which the world is seen as infused by natural laws which proceed from the mind of God? The model which inspired medieval and early modern Christians to look for regular order in nature in order to think the thoughts of God after him? The model which in fact was born in Christian Europe and arose in no other culture in the history of the world?

    “Need I also point out again that the existence of an omniscient God with a demonstrated foreknowledge of future events precludes the possibility of free will.”

    I gather that philosophy and theology are not your strong suits, since you seem unaware of the distinction between foreknowledge and foredetermination. Would it be too much to ask you to read some actual primary texts, instead of relying upon Wikipedia and other internet sources for your notions of theology and philosophy? Would it be too much, for example, to ask you to actually read the work of Boethius? You might be less inclined to facile answers to complex questions if you got into the habit of reading difficult 300-page books on subtle metaphysical topics before offering your snap judgments based on superficial acquaintance with the arguments.

    “As evidence I offer the Biblical account of Peter’s triple denial of Christ. And that was even after he had been warned that he would do this. He couldn’t do other. By that account there is no free will.”

    The text never says that Peter couldn’t have done otherwise. Its wording is completely compatible with the fact that he could have done otherwise but was a coward. Why did he weep afterward? If his decision was determined, the tears would be inappropriate, since the outcome would be God’s fault. Anger at God for controlling his will, rather than tears, would have been the appropriate reaction. The tears, however, would be quite appropriate if he knew that in the end his cowardly decision was his own fault. So I wouldn’t say the reading of literary texts was your strong suit, either.

  10. 10
    groovamos says:

    Seversky: In what way is reductionism not naturalistic?

    Very simply – a person can employ reductionism without the exclusive adherence to naturalism as I do in my work and in writing a Ph.D thesis. Any mathematical endeavor depends upon reductionism such as in electrical engineering, my field. However my use of reductionism does not depend on my rejection of non-reductionist or non-natural science e.g. as in the application of psychedelics as a tool for consciousness research of which apparently people like you are deathly afraid pun intended.

    Even so, depression is now treatable with antidepressants and psychotherapy.

    I can scarcely hide the ridicule I want to toss out. You think psychotherapy is reductionist? It may be naturalistic but it surely isn’t reductionist and it surely isn’t empirical or repeatable. There are few indications that psychotherapy without employing altered states of consciousness does anything to engender curative results. The same thing with ant-depressants with their awful behavioral side effects. If they do anything to relieve depression, take them away and depression returns. This last part is reductionism actually manifesting failure of the naturalistic approach and I know this from experience.

    BTW Seversky I notice that you didn’t want to touch my example of so-called random mutations which have never been proved to have stochastic basis.

  11. 11
    Nonlin.org says:

    The preliminary questions is what does “naturalism” even mean? Who’s to say what’s natural and what is not?

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