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Browsing Posts tagged naturalism

It occurred to me today that any naturalistic argument against supernatural beliefs is inherently flawed from an angle I hadn’t considered before.  I came to this conclusion while listening to some Christmas music and reflecting on the beauty of the seasons and how well they meet the human desire for variety and our appreciation for both cold and warm weather activities.  I was thinking about how awesome it is that God designed the earth’s precessional rotation in this way so that nature could undergo its seasonal changes and so humans could enjoy them.  But as I often do when considering supernatural ideas, I also thought of what other explanations there may be for this wonderful pairing of nature and human pleasure.  As I considered that natural selection could have tuned our minds to appreciate this cyclical pattern much as the plant and animal kingdoms do, I began thinking of other places this line of thinking can lead.

This led me to consider the idea that religion, too, is the product of natural selection.  This isn’t a novel idea, but I thought about what it means for naturalists who like to argue against religion on the grounds that it has caused a great deal of harm to humanity throughout history.  If there is nothing but the natural, as they purport to believe, then religion too must have been naturally selected.  But if religion is as harmful to humanity’s development and progress as naturalists claim, then why hasn’t it been naturally deselected by now?  Certain religions have fallen by the way-side, yes, but humanity’s collective choice to embrace the idea of a supernatural has hardly diminished throughout our short history.  In fact, it is alive and well now as ever, despite the best efforts of naturalists to fight it.

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As an engineer, I work with a lot of smart people who are logically- and scientifically-minded.  I share this perspective, so it makes for a comfortable and enjoyable environment for me.  However, many at my workplace and in the larger scientific community hold to a naturalistic worldview akin to that espoused by its more vocal proselyte, Richard Dawkins.  While I do not intend in this post to present a complete rebuttal to this perspective, I do want to explain how I, a self-considered “reasonable” man, can be both a devout Christian and an honest lover of science.  I’ve already presented much of this in a video series that I’m almost done uploading (ran into a snag with Blip.tv and I’m migrating to Vimeo), so feel free to check it out.  But I thought it’d be valuable to give a more succinct summary in writing.  I considered writing an original post, but then read through an exchange I had with an atheist friend of mine a while back, and thought I’d just post it.  I’ve paraphrased his comments so as not to reprint them without permission.

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