I’m an Anaturalist

How many of us have heard the claim from naturalists: “Science says that all of reality can be accounted for by natural explanations” ?

Besides that fact that their claim is the fallacy of reification, I’m skeptical. Actually, I’m more than skeptical; I’m an anaturalist

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

An anaturalist doesn’t make any positive claims; we simply lack a believe that natural forces can account for purpose, space, time, matter, logic, math, beauty, truth, induction, information, magnetism, nuclear forces, reason, stars, planets, comets, water, life, DNA code, biological sex, biological reproduction, consciousness, minds, morality, justice, hope, love, altruism or the scientific method.

Less broadly, anaturalism is a rejection of the belief that “nature-done-it”. Those who have faith that nature can generate, produce, cause-to-emerge, and substantiate foundational elements of reality can do that if they want, but let’s be honest…don’t call it science. It’s the religion of naturalism and lacks evidence

An anaturalist simply recognizes the utter lack of evidence that nature produced everything. It’s been said that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence“, so if you’ve got an extraordinary demonstration that nature can produce:

…then feel free to present it. Until then, anaturalism is the only rational position. For those naturalists and God-deniers who claim that “nature has no need of the Christian God to explain all of reality”, then the burden of proof lies not on the anaturalist to disprove the power of nature but on the naturalist to provide a rationale for naturalism.

Even worse for the naturalist and God-denier, there is strong empirical support for anaturalism

Worldview Consistency Flowchart

I’ve struggled with how to communicate the inherent contradictions of worldviews that do not start with the unchanging, unbound, transcendent Creator revealed in creation, the Bible, and in Jesus.

This is not the perfect communication medium, but if a picture is worth 1000 words, it assists with pointing out the inconsistency when naturalists assume certain aspects of reality. Based on their assumptions, to give a proper satisfactory explanation (justification) for the following components of reality, they must borrow from the Christian Worldview.

  • Truth – how it can be known for certain
  • Absolute Laws – math, physics, chemistry, laws of logic, thermodynamics
  • Inherent Human Value
  • Consciousness
  • Uniformity of Nature
  • Morality (Justice, Right, Evil…)

Consistency matters! God is worthy of all praise!

consistency

It is Irrational to Demand Evidence For God

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Have you ever heard someone say:

  • “There is absolutely no evidence for God.”
  • “If there were evidence for God, I would believe.”
  • “If God were real, he would show me evidence of his existence”

I disagree with all of these statements for multiple reasons that I will point out below, but as often as they come up, I think it’s worth a little push-back to see if the claims can withstand a little scrutiny. Let’s address the claims to see why it is a category error to demand evidence for God.

  1. To evaluate evidence one must be able to account for the preconditions necessary for evaluation. Only the Christian worldview provides these necessary preconditions. Without being able to justify the following 4 absolutes within your worldview, it is a category error to make one of the above claims.
    1. Absolute Truth – If one hopes to evaluate evidence, they must be able to compare it to what is actually true. If there is not a truth anchor, one’s arbitrary truth claims will ultimately lead to an infinite regress or be internally inconsistent (Self-defeating).
    2. Laws of Logic – Evaluating evidence requires the existence of invariant, universal, abstract absolutes. Since God is unchanging, rational, and transcendent, He provides the necessary foundation for laws of logic.
    3. Morality – To honestly transmit observed results, one has to assume invariable honest transmission. At the very least you have to have faith in those transmitting conclusions that the empiricist is unbiased.
    4. Uniformity of nature – To expect nature to be consistent requires assumptions that are inconsistent with a universe that is in a constant state of flux. Justification for unchanging natural laws that bind nature to uniformity requires abstract assumptions that can only be justified by the Absolute Source of uniformity upholding his creation.
  2. Everyone interprets evidence according to their worldview or epistemology. So, it logically follows that evidence cannot sway someone from changing worldviews from say naturalism to Christianity. Imagine an enlightened character in a video game saying, “There’s no game designer or there would be evidence. Game designer theory is a crutch for simple-minded bots who can’t grasp the reality that we are alone on this server. Their pre-Y2K thinking might be good for classic games like Galaga, but today’s games are driven by real scientific thinking not mysterious game-designers in some paradise-like Silicon Valley.” Any effort (short of actually entering the game Himself) by an external game designer to input new elements into the game, the ‘enlightened’ character could say that is part of the game and no game designer is needed to explain it.
  3. Asking for natural evidence of the supernatural is irrational. This is related to item 2 above, because no matter what supernatural evidence is presented, someone who maintains a naturalistic worldview will always exclude supernatural causes. The excuse could be as simple as hallucination from bad mushroom pizza or as complicated as master-level illusion (David Blaine, David Copperfield…) In a recent debate, I asked my opponent what evidence could convince them of the supernatural, and he said, “Well, if someone were dead for a few days and then came back to life, I’d have to believe.” To which I responded, you mean like what Jesus did? My opponent remains unconvinced by the evidence.
  4. Most of the time, a person who claims that there is no evidence for God is a naturalist. The high priests of the naturalists claim “We are literally star dust on a speck of a speck of a speck in a blind, pitiless, indifferent universe.” What does a speck of stardust care about evidence/truth/ANYTHING?
  5. This point refers specifically to the 3rd claim from above “If God were real, he would show me evidence of his existence”. It is deplorable hubris of infinite proportion for any created being to expect the Almighty Creator to be subject to their petty whims. For a person to cry out, “I don’t like the revelations and confirmations that God has given. I want Him to do what I want…right now!” is dangerous audacity. It would be similar to a drug dealer in Sri Lanka shrieking “If The Pope doesn’t come sing at my birthday party, he’s not really the Bishop of Rome.” The Pope’s authority and office are not in question because of the insignificant droning of a foreign criminal.

For all of those reasons and probably many more, the person who claims that there is no evidence for God is making a category error.

So, what is the evidence for God? Everything! I covered the evidence for God in a previous post.

God revealed Himself in his creation, in his Word, and by becoming a man: Jesus!

Jesus claimed that extraordinary evidence (even someone rising from the dead) is insufficient to convince someone of God’s existence (See Luke 16 below). If you do not start with the Creator (because of his revelation through creation/Bible/Jesus) you will not be convinced by evidence.

[Luk 16:19-31 ESV] 19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house– 28 for I have five brothers–so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’

Praise God that by His Amazing Grace, we can know forgiveness for our rebellion!!!

Does Christianity or Naturalism Better Account For Reality?

This is my first “formal” debate. An agnostic challenged me via Twitter to defend my position on Christianity. Any constructive criticism is appreciated.

We agreed beforehand to answer the question:

Does Christianity or Naturalism Better Account For Reality?

But right from the start, my opponent waffled on defending the position in an attempt not to be cornered. But as you can see, he really didn’t arrive with any position or defense.

The format of the debate was to have a 5 minute closing, but since there was a debate scheduled right after ours, the moderator chose to end our debate prematurely. This was my prepared closing:

“As we have heard hear tonight, naturalism is unable to account for reality. Because we have heard no consistent justification for the 8 necessities for explaining reality, it is a worldview that is insufficient for determining truth.

But my purpose for being involved in this debate is to share the gospel of Jesus the Messiah. All of mankind has rebelled against God’s holiness. God’s perfect creation is perverted by sin. We see the effects of the curse of sin all around us: Lying, stealing, adultery, murder are not just pragmatically wrong, socially wrong, or wrong because they cause harm…although they do harm. They are ultimately wrong because they lie about the character of Almighty God. God, who revealed himself through creation, the Bible, and in Jesus is truthful, content, faithful, and kind. His judgment for rebellion is based on righteousness. But God made a plan to redeem those who would repent of their rebellion. In fulfillment of prophecy God became man as Jesus and took on the punishment for sin that each one of us deserve. By his grace, those who repent of their rebellion, will be forgiven and live the abundant life that Jesus promised. He is worthy of all praise.”

Life is tough for Astrobiologists

It’s got to be tough dealing with failure after abject failure to conjure up evidence for life beyond our planet. Some of the most expensive tax-payer funded equipment and space missions have yielded abundant scientific information but nothing regarding extra-terrestrial life. So, life is tough for astrobiologists. But at least they are an optimistic lot.

Wookie

Even Wookies get frustrated when evidence for extra-terrestrials is fabricated

They even have their own government-funded website. In their article on Jan 15th, they describe all of the reasons they have for hope in someday having their first success.

In a response to this article, the scientists at the Discovery Institute review the rules for astrobiologists, so that they don’t get caught up in too much optimism as to fabricate evidence for life having evolved somewhere in the universe.

  1. “Nature” to a materialist has no spirit, imagination, or goal.
  2. Inanimate matter has no “desire” to become animate; vitalism is out.
  3. “Building blocks of life” have no obligation or desire to assemble into a living thing.
  4. A lucky accident in one part of the origin-of-life scenario has no obligation or desire to join forces with another lucky accident somewhere else.
  5. A random chain of building blocks is not “information” in a biological sense, nor is a “pattern” of building blocks, nor are copies of a random chain or a pattern.
  6. Investigators are not allowed to interfere with natural processes in origin-of-life scenarios, because this sneaks information into the system.
  7. Wishful thinking is not science. One needs evidence. Putting the evidence into the future, “i.e., further research is needed,” is a cop-out.
  8. The complex functions of living cells cannot be used to infer origins in inanimate matter without begging the question raised by Rules 2 and 3.

Unfortunately, the writers of the astrobiology article break the rules over and over. Fortunately, the writers at Discovery Institute are there to referee the persistent fouls by the evolutionists:

  • “Life’s origins are a mystery, but every year scientists get a little bit closer to understanding what made life possible on Earth, and possibly on other planets or moons.” [Violates Rules 1, 4 and 7]
  • “We only have one known case study of life so far, on our own planet, but microbial life is considered possible in many other areas around the Solar System, such as on Mars, Jupiter’s icy Europa, and on Enceladus, a moon of Saturn that erupts water as geysers.” [Violates Rule 7]
  • “One large wish of scientists these days is to create artificial cells that closely mimic what biological ones do so that it would be easy to create laboratory conditions to test out how they evolve.” [Violates Rules 2, 6, 7, and 8]
  • “Researchers would be happy to create an artificial protocell, but that’s far from easy. Figuring out how inheritance work [sic] — how traits of a parent protocell are passed on to the next generation — is one of the largest problems facing scientists today.” [Violates Rules 6, 7, and 8]
  • “The researchers brought in a hypothesis from three decades ago that assumed that any sequence of polymers (chain of small molecules) can encode information, and can becopied from one polymer strand to another using a process called template directed replication.” [Violates Rules 5 and 7]
  • “When simulating information strings in the computer simulation, the researchers came up with a surprising discovery. Replication occurred as expected, with information strings duplicating themselves, but the scientists were surprised to see shorter and longer strings being created in strikingly regular patterns.” [Violates Rules 3, 4, 5 and 6]
  • “Over time, the simulation showed the information strings were occurring in equal proportions of long and short lengths in predictable patterns. While the scientists can’t say for sure that this was a step along the road to life, they said it bears further investigation as they work to create artificial protocells.” [Violates Rules 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8]

When evolutionists get too excited in their hopes for finding meaning and purpose in evolution or life on other planets, it’s beneficial to reel them back into reality.

The problem for astrobiologists is not their enthusiasm for finding life in the universe. The problem is their starting point…their foundation in naturalism. Naturalism does not have any possibility of being true, but they’ve built an entire belief system on the shaky foundation.