AuthorTopic: Philosophical naturalism  (Read 264 times)

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Philosophical naturalism
« on: August 29, 2020, 09:16:30 AM »
Philosophical naturalism asserts that the natural world, as perceived by the five senses of mankind, is all there is (see also: Atheism and naturalism). It is also called metaphysical naturalism and ontological naturalism. It is a logical result (but not a necessary result[2][3]) of methodological naturalism, the doctrine which assumes a priori[4] ("from the first" or "from the beginning") that there is no way to contact, detect, or otherwise empirically observe the supernatural. While most philosophers of science adhere strictly to this view and positively deny that any supernatural or miraculous effects or forces are possible, a small minority of them also believe that the reality of existence includes invisible, supernatural and immaterial reality or realities and that there are other ways of knowing the supernatural besides empirical observation.

Believers in philosophical naturalism assume that man has evolved to perceive all that exists, although there is no empirical or logical basis for this belief. Indeed, physicists generally believe in the existence of some kind of "dark matter" beyond perception.

Philosophical naturalists go one step beyond methodological naturalism and reject the existence of the supernatural altogether, citing "an utter lack of empirical evidence." They maintain that only natural forces can affect things natural and make changes in nature, and only according to the laws of nature, "the laws of nature" being both those laws discovered by science to be operating in nature and those laws not yet discovered but which will be discovered in the future. Philosophical naturalism is therefore a philosophy of acquiring knowledge. Because of their insistence that there is an utter lack of scientific (empirical) evidence to support religion, most philosophical naturalists are also atheists.


Philosophical prejudice
A modern prejudice drawn from philosophical naturalism holds that "if it's not scientific, it's not a fact, and has no reality; and if it's not a part of nature, it doesn't exist". This belief is held by many ordinary persons who with simple unquestioning faith believe in the reliability of the scientific method as the sole means of establishing truth. They dismiss all supernatural interventions in human history, and the possibility of divine revelation and miracles, by categorizing these phenomena as having only a psychological genesis (wishful thinking). And from this assumption all reports of them, as being phenomena directly caused by supernatural agency,[5] are represented as being ipso facto [19] (by that very fact alone) solely a record of the product of ignorance and primitive thinking, misinterpretations of natural phenomena, superstition and delusion, "which any rational person of intelligence can safely dismiss as entirely unreliable nonsense, since all the available empirical evidence acceptable to legitimate and impartial researchers proves scientifically beyond any reasonable doubt that the supernatural cannot possibly exist."

See Logical fallacy, Circular reasoning, Tautology, No true Scotsman, "Your theory does not work under my theory, so your theory must be wrong", Intellectual dishonesty, Invincible ignorance, the Fallacy of invincible ignorance and Bigotry.

Responses to philosophical naturalism
Critics of philosophical naturalism are able to respond by analogy that there are forces and objects in nature not perceptible to human senses and not observable by ordinary instrumentality which do in fact exist. For example, sound frequencies, lightwaves and radiation not perceptible to human senses but which require highly specialized equipment to detect, which only specially trained and highly qualified individuals can interpret correctly; fundamental subatomic particles for which there is no certain proof but only "suggestive indications"; mathematical relationships and theorems incomprehensible to the average person which may or may not yet (but still might) be proven; concepts of love, loyalty, patriotism, truth, scientific elegance, known, discussed and (not fully) understood but fundamentally non-quantifiable. The power of an invisible magnetic field, which is not matter, to move some physical material objects, which are matter, cannot be explained by the doctrine that only material objects exist and that only a material object can impact or move another material object. Some general studies in Physics such as mechanics and thermodynamics do not advert to the theories and methodology of Quantum mechanics because it has no direct bearing on those researches, but the whole realm of scientific study is incomplete without it. Philosophical naturalism is an inadequate, even inappropriate, approach to the study of the whole of reality, as a thermometer is an inappropriate instrument for measuring the strength of the sun's gravitational force in the solar system or the density of planetary mass. Some aspects of human behavior and human psychology are still acknowledged by scientists to be "not (yet) predictable", and suggestive of free will, but which for now are assessed according to the theories of "behaviorism", and these are known from their evident effects to be part of existence and therefore within nature (natural). From this may be offered extrapolated support for the reasonable possibility of invisible beings and intelligences who act with free will, and are powerfully able to interact with and intervene in nature and in human affairs: spirits, angels, demons, God.

If "Nature" is defined as existence and reality and whatever exists is real and natural, whether it is uncreated or created, then logically God as the natural (existent) uncreated cause and sustainer of all natural creation is the meta-natural or preternatural[6] ground of existence, and it is from this that the existence of God is natural and God is a natural Being who cannot be classified as a super-natural being who exists outside of existence and reality, which therefore would be an absolute contradiction. And it is in the sense that nature is existence and existence is natural, and in the sense that the laws of physics solely limited to a spaciotemporal universe do not exhaust all the possible laws of existence, of nature, that the naturalists are correct in rejecting the supernatural as a possibility existing outside of nature (existence). According to theism, the natural (physical) has been generated by the supernatural (spiritual) and thus there is no illogic or inherent impossibility or contradiction in the assertion that the spiritual realm of existence (nature) can supervene in the physical realm of existence (nature). Both theists and philosophical naturalists hold that there is only one unified reality of existence. But philosophical naturalism dogmatically excludes a priori a major aspect of reality as a nonexistent unreality (the Fallacy of exclusion), and sees the whole of creation (the universe) as the whole of existence. See Essay: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?.

There are also documented cases of former nonbelievers and well-known militant atheists such as Will Durant, [20] Antony Flew and Mortimer Adler who testify to the compelling reasonableness of the evidence for the existence of God, and others who have publicly presented written testimony to their unexpected experiences of first-hand, personal encounters with the presence of God and in consequence have renounced their prior unbelief, which can be lawfully substantiated as being admissible reports of what in jurisprudence are called "anecdotal evidence" of "reliable witnesses", reports (depositions) which would be entirely acceptable or admissible as lawful testimony in a Court of Law (see Swinburne's argument from religious experience). And there are those rigorously attested and documented occurrences of miracles of healing and physical intervention not explainable by recourse to the normal physical laws of science and medicine, even by nonbelievers, for example those at Lourdes in France, and those supporting the canonization of saints in the Catholic Church.

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."
Arthur Conan Doyle[21]
All of these arguments in favor of the supernatural against the doctrine of philosophical naturalism are dismissed by philosophical naturalists as having no validity because of their insistence a priori that the natural world is all there is and that the supernatural cannot exist but is a product of the human imagination. However, instantly rejecting a (supernaturalist) theory merely because it infers [22] from the available evidence things that a conflicting (naturalist) theory would not infer is not logical and is not good science, because the rejection is based on a prejudice which precludes objective and dispassionate examination of all the evidence with resultant neutral interpretation of facts (objectivity).
NECROCAPITALISM at ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)


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