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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

An atheist philosopher concludes that materialism or naturalism doesn't explain everything, and can't

A splendid article (i. e., one that agrees with many of my biases), by one Andrew Ferguson, has been published in The Weekly Standard. The article is about a book by Thomas Nagel, prominent philosopher, and, by his own testimony, an atheist, who believes in the importance of natural selection, and an old earth. (The writer of the article agrees with Nagel on these points.) But the book's title is Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. (If you need a refresher on materialism, here is the Wikipedia article on that subject.)

What the article in The Weekly Standard says that Nagel has done is to resurrect common sense. Here are two examples, quoted from Ferguson:
"Materialism . . . is a premise of science, not a finding."

"Reductive materialism doesn’t account for the 'brute facts' of existence—it doesn’t explain, for example, why the world exists at all, or how life arose from nonlife. Closer to home, it doesn't plausibly explain the fundamental beliefs we rely on as we go about our everyday business: the truth of our subjective experience, our ability to reason, our capacity to recognize that some acts are virtuous and others aren't. These failures, Nagel says, aren't just temporary gaps in our knowledge, waiting to be filled in by new discoveries in science. On its own terms, materialism cannot account for brute facts. Brute facts are irreducible, and materialism, which operates by breaking things down to their physical components, stands useless before them. 'There is little or no possibility,' he writes, 'that these facts depend on nothing but the laws of physics.'" [emphasis in original]

Science has not, and cannot, disprove the existence of a Creator.

Thanks for reading. Read Ferguson!

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