A Simple Test

Let’s put naturalism and theism to the “background test” by asking: Which worldview best explains various features of the universe and human experience phenomena? Is naturalism or theism the least surprising context given these features? We can go down a fairly hefty checklist and say, “God … God … God.” The origin and fine-tuning of the universe, the emergence of first-life and of consciousness, the existence of human rights/dignity, objective moral values, free will, rationality, beauty, and even the existence of evil, the existence of a powerful, intelligent, good Creator makes the best sense.

Ask: which scenario is more plausible — that consciousness came from nonconscious matter or from a supremely self-aware Being? Or that personhood emerged through impersonal processes or by way of a personal Creator? Or that free will emerged from deterministic processes or from a Being who freely chose to create? Or that a finite time ago the universe just popped into existence, uncaused out of nothing or that a powerful Being brought it into existence? Naturalism does not really help us here. At least we can say that “something’s out there,” a reality beyond nature — something we ought to explore seriously.

This is an excerpt from a good artcle by Paul Copan at the enrichmentjournal.org website. It’s titled: Is Naturalism a Simpler Explanation Than Theism? and it has an excellent chart about half-way through that goes further with his “which scenario is more plausible” question. You should definitely check it out.

Salvo‘s own Regis Nicoll adressed this very thing in an article he wrote for the Spring ’08 issue. His article was titled Sci-fi Apologetics: Who’s Really Brighter: the Naturalist or the Supernaturalist and he lists a number of explanations of naturalism that must simply be assumed.

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2 thoughts on “A Simple Test

  1. That wasn’t a very convincing article. His whole argument seems to boil down to “theism makes the best sense of my beliefs about the world”. Saying, ‘god is the one convenient signifier into which I pour my understanding of things’ isn’t good apologetics. He even says that’s what he’s doing at the top of the page, “go[ing] down a fairly hefty checklist and say[ing], ‘God … God … God.'”
    He sort of provides a little bit of an equivocation in talking about “Phenomena We Observe, Assume, or Recognize”, but the majority of the things he claims we “Observe, Assume, or Recognize” were things that I neither recognise nor assume about the world.
    I observe very plainly that he believes these things to be aspects of the world as he understands it, but a lot of them don’t even strictly make sense to me. He holds them to be fairly self-evident, but self-evidence of something is only that of Self. He believes life has purpose, he believes the universe began a finite time ago without anything before, he believes objective moral values exist, and so on and so on.
    It would have been more interesting to have discussed ‘what’ these things are, in the context of naturalism and in the context of theism. They certainly aren’t bare facts about the world as it is, whatever that is.

  2. “It would have been more interesting to have discussed ‘what’ these things are, in the context of naturalism and in the context of theism. They certainly aren’t bare facts about the world as it is, whatever that is.”
    Answer: Everything on that list is simply the result of physics and chemistry. And it’s all for propagating the species. The fact that people see “God” in these things is silly and unfortunate–even though that too is a trait that evolved in humans.

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