Sunday, May 9, 2010

Scientific Naturalism Defined

At the theologian John Haught defines "scientific naturalism" like this:

1. Apart from nature, which includes human beings and our cultural creations, there is nothing. There is no God, no soul, and no life beyond death.

2. Nature is self-originating, not the creation of God.

3. The universe has no overall point or purpose, although individual human lives can be lived purposefully.

4. Since God does not exist, all explanations and all causes are purely natural and can be understood only by science.

5. All the various features of living beings, including human intelligence and behavior, can be explained ultimately in purely natural terms, and today this usually means in evolutionary, specifically Darwinian, terms.

I doubt that many people, on either side of the issue, would disagree with these.

Victor Stengler, a physicist, philosopher and atheist adds two more that are bound to be a bit more controversial.

6. Faith in God is the cause of innumerable evils and should be rejected on moral grounds.

7. Morality does not require belief in God and people behave better without faith than with it.

Stengler adds these last two tenets requirements which, he says, reflect the views of the so-called "New Atheists".

Along with Stengler, that group includes Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christoper Hitchins.

I personally agree with those last two tenets (as well as the others).

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