Intelligent Design Philosophy Science

Philosophers: Must science be materialist? Vickers: Yes Kastrup: No

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Philosopher and computer scientist Bernardo Kastrup has been engaged in a debate with “science first” philosopher Peter Vickers. Vickers has said:

“On the face of it, both science and philosophy search for truth: scientists ask ‘big’ questions such as “Where did human beings ultimately come from?”, and philosophers similarly ask ‘big’ questions such as “What is the relationship between the mind and the brain?”. But whereas scientists sometimes actually reach truth (human beings evolved from more primitive mammals, which themselves evolved from amphibians, etc.), philosophers seemingly never do, and are doomed to forever go round in circles.”

Well, wait. Is it as simple as that? Can the human mind really be explained that way? Kastrup thinks the truth is more complex:

News, “Must science be materialist?” at Mind Matters News

Kastrup isn’t having it.

Anyway, to claim that science must oppose non-materialist ideas is to make it into an ideology. We know little about some aspects of our universe.

You may also enjoy: Bernardo Kastrup argues for a universal mind as a reasonable idea.

9 Replies to “Philosophers: Must science be materialist? Vickers: Yes Kastrup: No

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    We’re gonna need some serious proof on immaterial reality to break this delusion of materialism

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Science can only proceed from what can be observed and requires explanation. The truth value of any explanation can only be found by comparing it with the observations it purports to explain. What alternative does Kastrup have to offer?

  3. 3
    Belfast says:

    In all scientific experiments the material explanation is the default. If the result is truly unexpected it is because the experimenter predicted a result based on a paradigm he/she believed in or worked under.
    Miracles are rare, it is absurd to think they occur in everyday human activities.
    The one exception to this occurs when vote counting is done.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    Life is observed and requires an explanation. And there isn’t any materialistic explanation for life. Nice own goal, seversky.

  5. 5
    BobRyan says:


    In previous posts, you have admitted that free will exists. In this thread you speak of science being based on what is observed. In previous posts, you have admitted that evolution has never been observed. Free will and the lack of observation of evolution, by your own comments, means you cannot be a Darwinist.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    as to the question in the OP, “Must Science Be Materialist? Vickers: Yes Kastrup: No”

    Many scientists, including many scientists who personally believe in God, erroneously believe that methodological naturalism, which is the belief that only natural and/or material causes may be invoked to explain any given effect in science, is the required assumption for doing science properly:

    Methodological naturalism
    Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.

    In fact, the judge in the Dover case, who ruled in favor of Darwinian evolution, and against Intelligent Design, being taught in the public schools of Pennsylvania, stated that one of his primary reasons for excluding Intelligent Design from the public school classrooms in Pennsylvania was that “Methodological naturalism is a ‘ground rule’ of science today”

    Methodological naturalism
    Excerpt: Pennock’s testimony as an expert witness[21] at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial was cited by the Judge in his Memorandum Opinion concluding that “Methodological naturalism is a ‘ground rule’ of science today”:[22]

    Yet, “Methodological naturalism” never has been, nor is it now, the supposed ‘ground rule’ for doing science.

    In so far as science can even be said to follow some sort of ‘one size fits all’ strict ground rule in the first place, then that strict ground rule would most likely be something along the lines of Popper’s criteria of falsification.

    As Karl Popper stated, “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    In fact, Karl Popper explicitly rejected methodological naturalism precisely because it was a convention that was liable to turn into an unfalsifiable dogma.

    The Logic of Scientific Discovery – Karl Popper – page 49
    Excerpt: “I reject the naturalistic view: It is uncritical. Its upholders fail to notice that whenever they believe to have discovered a fact, they have only proposed a convention. Hence the convention is liable to turn into a dogma.”

    And when one applies Popper’s criteria of falsification to the naturalistic theory of Darwinian evolution to see if Darwin’s theory, as Popper put, ‘speaks about reality’, then one quickly finds that Darwinian evolution itself does not ‘speak about reality’ and therefore Darwinian evolution itself fails to qualify as a true science.

    And it is not that Darwin’s theory can not be falsified. Far from it. It is that Darwinists simply refuse to accept any empirical and logical falsifications of their theory.

    Here are a few falsifications of Darwinian evolution that Darwinists simply refuse to ever accept as falsifications of their theory:

    Darwin’s theory holds mutations to the genome to be random. The vast majority of mutations to the genome are not random but are now found to be ‘directed’.

    Darwin’s theory holds that Natural Selection is the ‘designer substitute’ that produces the ‘appearance’ and/or illusion of design. Natural Selection, especially for multicellular organisms, is found to grossly inadequate as the ‘designer substitute.

    Darwin’s theory holds that mutations to DNA will eventually change the basic biological form of any given species into a new form of a brand new species. Yet, biological form is found to be irreducible to mutations to DNA, nor is biological form reducible to any other material particulars in biology one may wish to invoke.

    Darwin’s theory holds there to be an extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever.

    Charles Darwin himself held that the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Yet, from the Cambrian Explosion onward, the fossil record is consistently characterized by the sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. Moreover, Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late).

    Darwin’s theory, due to the randomness postulate, holds that patterns will not repeat themselves in supposedly widely divergent species. Yet thousands of instances of what is ironically called ‘convergent evolution’, on both the morphological and genetic level, falsifies the Darwinian belief that patterns will not repeat themselves in widely divergent species.

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Yet as Doug Axe pointed out, “Basically every gene and every new protein fold, there is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in that gradualistic way. It’s all a mirage. None of it happens that way.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Yet as Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig pointed out, “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as modern versions of it.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that, ““The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God. Yet ‘our conscious selves’ are certainly not explainable by ‘chance’ (nor is consciousness explainable by any possible reductive materialistic explanation in general), i.e. ‘the hard problem of consciousness’.

    Besides the mathematics of probability consistently showing that Darwinian evolution is impossible, the mathematics of population genetics itself has now shown Darwinian evolution to be impossible. Moreover, ‘immaterial’ mathematics itself, which undergirds all of science, engineering and technology, is held by most mathematicians to exist in some timeless, unchanging, immaterial, Platonic realm. Yet, the reductive materialism that Darwinian theory is based upon denies the existence of the immaterial realm that mathematics exists in. i.e. Darwinian evolution actually denies the objective reality of the one thing, i.e. mathematics, that it most needs in order to be considered scientific in the first place!

    Donald Hoffman has, via population genetics, shown that if Darwin’s materialistic theory were true then all our observations of reality would be illusory. Yet the scientific method itself is based on reliable observation. Moreover, Quantum Mechanics itself has now shown that conscious observation must come before material reality, i.e. falsification of ‘realism’ proves that our conscious observations are reliable!.

    The reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought holds that immaterial information is merely ’emergent’ from a material basis. Yet immaterial Information, via experimental realization of the “Maxwell’s Demon” thought experiment, is now found to be its own distinctive physical entity that, although it can interact in a ‘top down’ manner with matter and energy, is separate from matter and energy.

    Darwinists hold that Darwin’s theory is true. Yet ‘Truth’ itself is an abstract property of an immaterial mind that is irreducible to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution. i.e. Assuming reductive materialism and/or Naturalism as the starting philosophical position of science actually precludes ‘the truth’ from ever being reached by science!

    Darwinists, due to their underlying naturalistic philosophy, insist that teleology (i.e. goal directed purpose) does not exist. Yet it is impossible for Biologists to do biological research without constantly invoking words that directly imply teleology. i.e. The very words that Biologists themselves use when they are doing their research falsifies Darwinian evolution.


    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    Test all things; hold fast what is good.

    Besides Darwinists refusing to adhere to the criteria of falsification for their supposed scientific theory, by any other reasonable measure that one may wish to judge whether Darwinian evolution even qualifies as a science, as is shown in the following video, Darwinian evolution fails to meet those criteria as well:

    “There are five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis. Has anyone observed the phenomenon — in this case, Evolution — as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” tests)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution… well… no… no… no… no… and no.”
    – Tom Wolfe – The Kingdom of Speech – page 17
    Darwinian Evolution Fails the Five Standard Tests of a Scientific Hypothesis – video

    Simply put, Darwinian evolution simply fails to qualify as a rigorous and testable science by any reasonable measure one may wish to invoke and is therefore more properly classified as a pseudoscience, even as a religion for atheists, rather than being classified as a real and testable science.

    Moreover, contrary to what many people have been falsely led to believe by Darwinian atheists about Intelligent Design supposedly being a pseudo-science, the fact of the matter is that all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.

    From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (namely that the universe is rational and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can dare understand that rationality), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results, from top to bottom science itself is certainly not ‘natural’.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever just found laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analysed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.

    Moreover, since science itself is ultimately suppose to be about a search for ‘the truth’, and yet since ‘truth’ itself turns out to be a abstract property of the immaterial mind, (i.e. truth is immaterial, i.e. how much does truth weigh?, is truth faster or slower than the speed of light?, is truth closer to the North Pole or to the South Pole?),,, since truth itself is an abstract property of the immaterial mind, then assuming methodological naturalism as the supposed ground rule for science actually precludes abstract and immaterial property of ‘the truth’ from ever being reached by science.

    Twenty Arguments For The Existence Of God – Peter Kreeft
    11. The Argument from Truth
    This argument is closely related to the argument from consciousness. It comes mainly from Augustine.
    1. Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being.
    2. Truth properly resides in a mind.
    3. But the human mind is not eternal.
    4. Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside.

    Moreover, If science is artificially forced into this materialistic straightjacket of methodological naturalism, where, prior to investigation, all answers must ultimately reduce to some sort of materialistic, natural, and/or physical explanation, then this artificial assumption that is forced onto science prior to investigation drives science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian materialism to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions and/or ‘observations’ about reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,

    Darwinian Materialism and/or Methodological Naturalism vs. Reality – video

    Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist may firmly believe that he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    One final note, since Seversky brought up ‘observation’ as being a cornerstone of science, (and indeed ‘reliable’ observation’ is a very important cornerstone of the scientific method), I will reiterate the fact that if Darwinian evolution were actually true, then all of our perceptions and/or ‘observations’ about reality would become illusory

    Why Atheism is Nonsense Pt.5 – “Naturalism is a Self-defeating Idea – video
    Excerpt: “Since we are creatures of natural selection, we cannot totally trust our senses. Evolution only passes on traits that help a species survive, and not concerned with preserving traits that tell a species what is actually true about life.”
    Richard Dawkins – quoted from “The God Delusion”

    “the illusion that our brains evolved to have, a very compelling and persistent illusion – namely that the reality we perceive is real, rather than a constructed representation.”
    – Steven Novella – academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine

    Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark
    Quote: “fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction (those organisms) that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?”

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
    The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
    Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”

    Moreover, far from ‘observation’ being illusory, it turns out, via recent advances in quantum mechanics, that observation is found to be far more integral to reality, and therefore far more reliable of reality, than is presupposed, and found, within Darwinian evolution.

    As the following experiment found, “reality does not exist when we’re not observing it.”

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell’s inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell’s inequality does not tell specifically which assumption – realism, locality or both – is discordant with quantum mechanics.
    Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.
    They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”

    And as the following experiment found, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

    Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness – May 27, 2015
    Excerpt: The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.
    Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks – at which point does the object decide?
    Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, which,, has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips.
    The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler’s original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light.
    “Quantum physics’ predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness,” said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering.

    In other words, it turns out that, in quantum mechanics, ‘observation’ is a prerequisite for material reality even existing, and therefore observation cannot possibly be the result of material reality pre-existing observation. i.e. ‘observation’ itself demands a non-materialistic explanation!

    Supplemental quotes,

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

  8. 8
    groovamos says:

    Postulate: Science can only proceed from what can be observed and requires explanation.

    Ex. A: That people suffer from cluster headaches can be observed. Science requires an explanation. According to science, there is no consensus explanation. Science has not proceeded for hundreds of years. Science violates its own requirement.

    Ex B: That insects cluster around artificial lighting at night can be observed. Science requires an explanation. Science provides many conflicting explanations, does not proceed. Science violates its own requirement.

    Ex. C: Many people suffer from schizophrenia and the signs can be observed. Science demands an explanation. Science offers many, sometimes conflicting, explanations. Science does proceed in such. Science violates its own requirement for an explanation.

    Ex. D: Babies cry and can be observed producing tears. Science demands an explanation for what function those tears perform. Science provides no explanation, does not proceed, and so violates its own requirements.

    Not looking good for the postulate.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Science must be one thing- the search for the truth. The truth is whatever the reality is behind whatever is being investigated. As in what is really there, how does in really work, how did it really come to be this way. Reality- science should only care about reality. If not then why even bother?

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