If Naturalism Can Explain Religion, Why Does It Get So Many Basic Facts Wrong?
Naturalism, the idea that nature is all there is, has no shortage of theories seeking to explain religion. However, I would like to observe a simple fact: Most of what naturalism tells us about the practical effects of those religions most studied today is wrong, at least with respect to science.
This should come as no great surprise. In cosmology, naturalism ends in a campaign against falsifiability. In studies of the origin of life, it ends in “if only” chemistry that ignores the huge information component of life. In human evolution, it ends with far more pop science than important fossils. In discussions of the human mind it ends in nonsense, for example, efforts to pretend that consciousness is a physical thing.
“Consciousness is a physical thing” ?!?
Time for a major digression!
Those who hate God not only love death…
But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death. — Proverbs 8:36
…but, once confirmed in their wickedness and their refusal to repent, are only given a spirit of delusion and lies, which leads them to destruction, failure, disgrace, and in time hell and the lake of fire.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
— II Thessalonians 2:7-12
People who rebel against God’s Anointed, Jesus Christ, and His Law-Word, but still desire the Gifts of wealth, security, science, logic, compassion, happy families, and peace… will not be allowed to keep those gifts.
Instead, as they have chosen to follow the prince of lies, they will be fed lies, and so receive the fitting wages of their work.
Do not imitate them.
(And that seductive, smooth-talking, serpentine mystery of iniquity is worth nothing at all. Better to ditch it, and instead pursure the mystery of godliness…
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.– I Timothy 3:16
…or the mystery of the Kingdom of God…
And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. — Mark 4:10-12
…or even simply, wisely, nobly give thanks to God, and continue in good words and good work, as Paul directly recommends in the Thessalonian passage:
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. — II Thessalonians 2:13-17
OK, now that we understand the depths of the lunacy of the materialist position, the reasons behind it, and how a God-fearing man can avoid that filthy dark ditch of madness — we can return to the main article:
Let’s consider some front-runner naturalist theories about religion in general, but before we do, we might look at claims about traditionally religious people in the much-studied Western world. For example, we are often told that people of this sort are “anti-science.” But discussing Gordon Gauchat’s study of liberals, moderates, and conservatives on science, analyst Lawrence Solomon observes a little-noticed trajectory:
In 1974, the starting point for the study, all political groups that he considered — liberals, moderates and conservatives — held science in high esteem, with conservatives the most enamoured of science of the three, followed closely by liberals and then moderates. It was the moderates, not the conservatives, who first became disillusioned with the scientific establishment, and the moderates remain relatively disillusioned today. After the moderates began their disillusionment, conservatives, too, began to question the science that the establishment was purveying. Today the conservatives are more disillusioned than even the moderates, but only by a small margin. … The liberals, on the other hand, never stopped being enamoured by the scientific establishment, never took seriously the complaints of establishment critics, never themselves questioned the science that the establishment produced.
Today, liberals of all education levels “more resemble the uneducated conservatives and moderates in his study cohort, who have also been relatively resistant to change.” These results make sense if we consider that educated people probably know more about the significant recent increase in science-related scandals than others do. But because suspect or exploded studies often support liberal beliefs, liberals might keep the faith anyway.
The Compassionate Ones care not if it is true or false, so long as a Priest of the White Robes said something politically useful, two decades ago.
Similarly, sociologist John H. Evans found conservative Protestants “equally likely to understand scientific methods, to know scientific facts and to claim knowledge of science. They are as likely as the nonreligious to have majored in science or to have a scientific occupation.”
Don’t expect this to get into the Mainstream Media anytime this week… or this decade… or for as long as it retains any sigificance. “We can’t broadcast that: it goes against the Narrative!”
In any event, religious affiliation tends to grow, not shrink, with education level.
Joel Slotkin notes, “A new University of Nebraska study finds that with each additional year of education, the odds of attending religious services increased by 15%.” This finding accords with Charles Murray’s review of research in Coming Apart (2012).1 Despite well-publicized claims, there is no significant relationship between religion and the likelihood of ignorance of or indifference to science.
Another claim we hear, from celebrity skeptic Michael Shermer for example, is that science — and he of course includes Darwinian mechanisms for evolution in that category — is objective knowledge that will save us from superstition. But in the United States, a 2007-2008 Baylor University survey reported that
traditional Christian religion greatly decreases credulity, as measured by beliefs in such things as dreams, Bigfoot, UFOs, haunted houses, communicating with the dead and astrology (Ch. 15, “Credulity: Who Believes in Bigfoot”).
They found that self-identified theological liberals and irreligious people were far more likely to believe in such things than other Americans. In other surveys, non-religious people are more likely to see UFOs2 and religious liberals are more likely to believe in astrology. In short, religion as such may not suppress superstition but orthodoxy clearly does.
For the continued advance of scientific research — and so, expanding the Dominion Mandate — we need more Christians in science, just as we need more Christians in businesses in the cities (here, continued here) and find – and work on! – our unique calling, strength, and purpose in the Kingdom of God.
If faith is declining, as some say, the future may look worse for science: A study by the astronomy department at the University of Arizona reported (2011) on a survey of nearly ten thousand undergraduates over two decades, and found that “a large majority of students (78%) considered astrology ‘very’ or ‘sort of’ scientific. Only 52% of science majors said that astrology is ‘not at all’ scientific.” The conclusion the researchers drew was ominous: “belief in astrology is likely not a valid indicator of scientific illiteracy.”
I much prefer my scientists to believe that there is a Lawful, Gracious Master Designer, whose excellent work they are unveiling and illuminating, than believe that spooky ghosts, dead ancestors, or a bunch of rocks and balls of hot air govern their destiny.
(And no, Islam doesn’t cut it. The deity they worship can never have any contact with the creation, can never be understood, and cannot communicate with us… except by an Angel of Light, that calls himself Gabriel, but fits the description of II Corinthians 11:13-14
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. — II Corinthians 11:13-14
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. — Galatians 1:8-9
Mohammed had no interest in the warnings of Paul… but you had better take heed.)
So, to continue:
One wonders, somewhat impatiently, then what is a valid indicator of scientific illiteracy? Questioning vast, poorly sourced claims for Darwinian evolution? Doubting vast claims for habitable planets, space aliens, origin of life soup recipes, or material components to consciousness?
Unfortunately, if naturalism is science, then our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth, and we are allowed whatever science theory we fancy as long as it has not been forbidden for political reasons.
** Rolls Eyes **
Oh, and did you notice that the number and scope of political reasons are always multiplying, and always expanding?
** Rolls Eyes, Again **
A quote from that article:
Contrary to what one might glean from popular science news, traditionally religious people in North America are less likely, not more likely, to believe in superstitions. That is possibly because widely held religious views in North America tend to emphasize law-based explanations for events rather than chance-based ones. They are more likely to credit rational than irrational factors.
Our Compassionate Friends have no interest in truth as it actually exists: only in Narratives that gives them power and control.
Law-based or rational explanations do not exclude miracles by definition. Miracles, if they occur, can be accommodated as interruptions of an established order. A playwright might come on stage to talk to the audience at a given point in the performance of her play. Especially if she fears the police will shortly break in to arrest everyone present (in some places, that could happen). In nature, a medical patient might start to improve in a way not clearly accounted for by the causes with which we are familiar.
It’s worth recalling that the placebo effect is one of the best attested effects in medicine. We start to get over an illness just because we sense we will.
But this is precisely where the naturalist and the non-naturalist (for example, the informational realist) part company. The naturalist holds as an axiom that no event can occur that is not accounted for by the blind laws of nature. Thus, there is no “outside” the play, no playwright, and no audience. The play accidentally wrote itself.
The informational realist doubts that account, and looks for more information.
Nature will not speak up to tell us which account is true. We must look to evidence interpreted by intelligence for that. If there are different layers of reality, we cannot rule out in principle events governed by a higher order, in the same way that a play cannot rule out — in principle — an interruption where the playwright walks on stage.
Bows to Jesus Christ, in worship and adoration.