November 29, 2013

Your Brain on Naturalism

Okay, in this post, I would like to illustrate one problem I've heard with the worldview/philosophical point of view called "naturalism", also known as "philosophical or metaphysical" Naturalism to distinguish it from other forms, such as methodological naturalism. (the form used by many scientists, for example)

Philosophical naturalism is basically the point of view that, in the totality of existence, only the universe itself exists. Only physical objects exist, and anything that we think isn't can be explained away as being caused by something, or being something, physically existing somewhere in the Universe. Obviously, under such a system, nothing Supernatural can possibly exist.
As (I think it was Carl Sagan) said, "The Universe is all there is, was, or ever will be"

Note: It's quite common for atheists to follow this sort of system, however if it's by no means necessary that they do so. In other words, many Atheists are (Philosophical) Naturalists, however, not all Atheists are Naturalists. (And vice vesa, all Naturalists are and must necessarily be Atheists)

Here's the the problem: (and this came to my attention via a CS Lewis writing, so it's not like this some original argument I came up with, just FYI [I don't intend to be a plagiarist!!])

According to Naturalism, everything (and I do mean everything, from your dog to your shoes to your grandmother, to the planets, on and on) came about totally randomly, by chance, from natural processes. In fact, those natural processes themselves came about by random chance in the Big Bang. (along with everything else in the Universe) So, this means that my thoughts, and everyone else's thoughts, are all the result of random, irrational, illogical, chemical and electrical firings in my brain, which in turn evolved randomly from an ape-like ancestors lesser developed brain, which in turn evolved from some ape's brain, which in turn...well, you get the picture.

The problem? If my thoughts (and everyone else's as well, for that matter) are simply the result of totally random, chaotic, irrational chance events, then why on earth should I believe that those thoughts are in any sense rational, or true? Think about it, not only is that a problem for rational thought in general, it also means that the theory of Naturalism itself is irrational, for it is, itself,  (according to it's own, fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality) only the product of irrational, random chance.  Do we have any reason at all to presume that something that's the product of irrational chance (many times over) should be, itself, rational and logical?

To me, that just seems highly improbable, and highly irrational, to assume that Rationality, Logic, Order, Functionality, can arise form Random, Chaotic, Irrational, Chance.

*Editor's Note: I'll be adding quotes from Sagan and Lewis later. :D

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