Naturalism: Science or Science Fiction?

Want an explanation for the universe and all that’s in it? Naturalists have one. They tell us that the universe happened to form as it did by chance. Chance after chance after chance just accidentally made life on this earth possible. Again by chance the right assortment of chemicals came together somewhere and life began. And over a long period of time, just by accident, some of those life forms developed into things that could walk upright, think, and speak.

The naturalist thinks that the universe runs by impersonal laws and everything – you, I, the world, and the whole universe just happened by pure dumb luck. They take a sort of “what you see is what you get” attitude. If you can see, hear, touch, taste or smell it, it’s there. Naturalists also include reason as a basis for reality. Consequently, they see such things as mathematical laws as undeniable truths. But, on the other hand, if you can’t sense it, or reason it, or if science can’t analyze it, then it’s probably not there.

That sounds like a hardheaded, practical way of looking at things. If we accept it, we can rule out a conscious God with purposes. There is no need for him. What about life beyond the physical body? You can’t sense it, and you can’t deduce it by reason. It’s probably not there either.

Naturalism sounds like a reasonable position with scientific backing, at least on the surface. Much of it is taught in our schools as a series of facts. But it has a few problems too.

First Law of Thermodynamics

One major problem for the naturalists is their theory runs counter to basic laws of physics. The first law of thermodynamics, also called the law of conservation, says that while energy and matter can change from one form to another, neither can be created or destroyed. Logically it follows, nothing in nature can account for its own origin. In other words the universe did not make itself.

Second Law of Thermodynamics

The second law of thermodynamics, also called the law of entropy, states that everything in nature eventually runs down unless some external source of energy rejuvenates it. From that we can conclude, the cosmos is not infinitely old; otherwise, it would already have run down. Taking it a step further, there must also have been a beginning. In fact, modern scientists claim they can trace the universe back to a point of origin in the 慴ig bang?

We know that nothing can come into existence unless something causes it. The only reasonable explanation for the ‘big bang’ is something outside of and apart from the universe made it happen. The religious side claims the name of that “something” is God.

Inherent Contradiction

C.S. Lewis points out the self-contradiction inherent in the naturalist theory. Obviously human knowledge depends entirely on the validity of our reasoning. Suppose naturalists are right, he says. Suppose nature is all that exists. Nothing has ever existed or ever will exist except a meaningless play of atoms in space and time. Then, by a very long series of chances it has produced things like ourselves – conscious beings whose thoughts are nothing more than an accidental result of the whole meaningless process and is therefore meaningless itself.

Consequently, the arguments of the naturalist are no more valid than the ravings of a maniac if both are the product of the irrational. Naturalism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out it has no meaning.

Human Longings

Human longings present another problem for naturalists. Desires are made to be filled. We feel hunger, well, there is such a thing as food. We thirst, well there is such a thing as water. We feel sexual desires, well, there is such a thing as sex.

But if we long for true justice, perfect peace, total acceptance, and unconditional love, which no experience in this world can satisfy, then we were probably made for another world. None of this would make sense, if we are just a series of random accidents.

Finely Tuned Universe

Physicists tell us that the cosmos is custom-made for life and consciousness. If the constants of nature — unchanging numbers like the strength of gravity, the charge of an electron and the mass of a proton — were the least bit different, then atoms would not hold together, stars would not burn and life would never have happened.

“When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but there must be a purpose behind it,” says John Polkinghorne, former physicist at Cambridge University.

Requirements for Livable Planet

What’s the most logical explanation for our planet, solar system and universe? Science reveals a whole series of items which are crucial for making earth a livable planet. A. Cressy Morrison, former President of the New York Academy of Sciences, offers his scientific evaluation in the book: Seven Reasons Why a Scientist Believes in God:

“So many exacting conditions are necessary for life on the earth that they could not possibly exist in proper relationship by chance. The earth rotates on its axis 1000 miles an hour at the equator; if it turned at 100 miles an hour, our days and nights would be ten times as long as now, and the hot sun would likely burn up our vegetation each long day while in the long night any surviving sprout might well freeze.

“Again the sun, source of our life, has a surface temperature of 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and our earth is just far enough away so that this “eternal life” warms us just enough and not too much. If the sun gave off only one half its present radiation, we would freeze, and if it gave as much more, we would roast.

“The slant of the earth, tilted at an angle of 23 degrees, gives us our seasons; if the earth had not been so tilted, vapors from the ocean would move north and south, piling up for us continents of ice.

” If our moon were, say, only 50,000 miles away instead of its actual distance, our tides might be so enormous that twice a day all continents would be submerged; even the mountains could soon be eroded away. If the crust of the earth had only been ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, without which animal life must die.

“Had the ocean been a few feet deeper, carbon dioxide and oxygen would have been absorbed and no vegetable life could exist. ”

Had any read more one of those factors been missing or even slightly different, life as we know it would not be possible. The most likely explanation is that this planet was purposely designed for habitation.

Archaeologists agree. When an archaeologist digs up an arrowhead, do you think the one who makes the discovery says, “Oh, look what nature has done. Environmental forces must have combined by random chance after chance after chance to form this perfect arrowhead.” No? Certainly not. The archaeologist would say, “This is undeniable evidence of human presence!”

Isn’t an enormously complex planet combining just the right features in just the right proportions to make life possible, a more impressive artifact than an arrowhead?

Those who espouse naturalism start with the premise that everything can be accounted for by natural forces. But they run headlong into the first and second laws of thermodynamics which flatly contradict their theory. Nothing in nature creates energy nor matter. And the universe had a starting date.

Moreover, Naturalism is logically inept as well as scientifically unsound. If everything, including our own ability to reason, originated from a random meaningless meeting of atoms, then we have no credible basis for trusting our own logic. Our words, our thoughts, and our theories including Naturalism are all meaningless as well.

Yet another fly in the ointment for Naturalists is human nature itself. An accidental accumulation of atoms is an inadequate explanation for the origin of human longings such as: true justice, perfect peace, total acceptance, and unconditional love.

The naturalist view is far too simple. A series of chances is insufficient to account for the orderly precision of the universe, the essential harmony of so many elements composing this world, and the ability of creatures like you and me to comprehend it.

Where there is a pattern, it is reasonable to assume there is intelligence behind it. Where there is a design, it is logical to assume there is a Designer.

Quote of the Day: “The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the Universe in some way must have known we were coming.” Freeman Dyson, physicist at Princeton University
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