Testing worldviews: what the “experts” have to say about naturalismMay 18, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
We come now to the third and final test proposed by schooloffish in his post “DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST?“, at least as far as naturalism is concerned.
What do expects say about this world view? Many of the experts that reject naturalism from within the scientific community are blacklisted so scientific experts are hard to find, but they do exist. In addition to this, the actions of the experts within the field speak volumes. It seems interesting to me that science has started looking at other planets for life. The naturalist knows that life simply could not have happened in such a short span of time here on earth, so they are looking at other planets for evidence that itoccurred elsewhere and was deposited here. This is a silent admission that evolution is in trouble.
Let’s start with the first claim, that scientific “experts” who reject naturalism are “blacklisted.” This is the propaganda that the Expelled folks would like to have us believe, but a moment’s thought will reveal this absurd paranoia for the falsehood it really is. First of all, creationists have more money than most biologists do. For example, a biologist like PZ Myers typically can only dream of having the kind of budget that Expelled had to play around with. The fact that believers consider their money better spent on shoddy propaganda than on serious research tells us two things: 1) even they know that genuine science isn’t going to back up their preconceived conclusions and 2) they don’t care. Science is of no interest to them, because it brings them no closer to God (and in fact tends to the opposite direction).
Secondly, if we’re going to be testing worldviews based on what the experts say, why in heaven’s name are we only listening to that tiny minority of experts who, for personal religious reasons, choose to reject naturalism? Schooloffish is clearly stacking the deck here, because if we listened to the vast majority of people with the training and experience needed to evaluate the evidence, we’d find overwhelming support for the idea that science is indeed producing consistent, reliable, productive results. Far from discrediting naturalism, science has become the authority everyone wants to claim as their own. Why? Because science delivers the goods. Naturalistic science works: predictably, reliably, consistently.
Not surprisingly, the cranks and crackpots who reject naturalistic science are also the ones that never produce any substantial contributions to science. You can’t shoot your horse and ride it too. Some few continue to participate in the scientific process in some small way, but only by swallowing their religious objections long enough to get some real science done. Creationism and other forms of denial simply don’t work well enough to allow genuine progress to be made. Success, for the creationist, consists of merely unmaking someone else’s work. Small wonder, then, that they would attempt to blame their lack of results on some kind of imaginary martyrdom.
As for looking for life on other planets, I think I’ll pass on that particular red herring. There has been plenty of time for life to arise naturally here on this earth, as best science has been able to determine. It’s significant that none of the objections to evolution come from the evidence itself: Jonathan West, Michael Behe, Guillermo Gonzalez and so on all started from a preconceived idea that God had to be the Creator, and looked for some bit of science they could exploit to build a claim against evolution. Those who openmindedly consider the evidence, however (including a number of faithful Christians like Dr. Ken Miller) find that the actual facts overwhelmingly support evolution.
That ought to be a good thing for believers, because if evolution were in trouble, then evolution’s Designer would be in trouble as well. He would be guilty of building an inferior system, or worse, a deliberately crippled one designed to be less innovative, less sophisticated, and less robust than it would have been if He’d just let evolution take its natural course. Darwin would turn out to be a more intelligent and caring designer than God, proposing a system (using only 19th century science!) that far out-performs and out-engineers the clumsy version God referred to as “very good.” No evolutionist damns God with such faint “praise” as creationists give Him!
That’s the problem with believing in Creation, you see. Naturalists believe in the real world, the world that God allegedly ought to have created. Since the object of their belief is the same as what God is supposed to have built, by His great Wisdom and Power, the only way you can call it flawed and inconsistent is if God did a bad job of creating. And that’s an inconsistency in the religious worldview. Set out to disprove naturalism if you must, but poetic justice will be served. The only way you can “succeed” is by disproving your own worldview.