Wikinotes Naturalism

Naturalism

nat·u·ral·ism [ˈnaCHərəˌlizəm/]

noun

1.      (in art and literature) a style and theory of representation based on the accurate depiction of detail. 2.      a philosophical viewpoint according to which everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted.

Theism: God is the infinite, personal Creator of the cosmos

Deism: “God is reduced; he begins to lose his personality, though he remains Creator and (by  implication) sustainer of the cosmos.”

Naturalism: God does not exist. Deism claims that God has always existed as a brute fact. Naturalism realizes that if that can be true, then it is equally valid to claim the physical world has always existed in the same way.

Famous Naturalists include: John Bachman, Steve Irwin, Charles Darwin (Alyssa Geertsen)

Propositions of Naturalism:

1. Matter exists eternally and is all there is. God does not exist. (pg. 61)

“In the whole universe there is but a single substance with various modifications.”

2. The cosmos exists as a uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system. (pg. 62)

The universe is not open to reordering by either… (Joe Krahn) … a transcendent Being (because no such being exists) … or autonomous human beings because they are a part of the uniformity Because humans do not exist outside of the continuity of cause and effect, their decisions are not ultimately theirs – meaning most naturalists are philosophical determinists 3. Human beings are complex “machines”; personality is an interrelation of chemical and physical properties we do not yet fully understand. (pg. 64)

Most naturalists view “mind” as subordinate to “machine,” in contrast to Descartes’ claim that mind and matter were separate yet equal substances (Joe Krahn) Naturalist still believe humans are unique for the following reasons (Annika): Capable of conceptual thought Employ speech Possess a cumulative tradition (culture) Unique method of evolution – technology is incorporated (Joe Krahn) Moral capacity “Let us conclude boldly then that man is a machine, and that in the whole universe there is but a single substance with various modifications.”

4. Death is extinction of personality and individuality. (pg. 67)

“When the matter that goes to make      up an individual is disorganized at death, that that person disappears”      (67). “Human destiny is an episode      between two oblivions” (67). “Pigeon Feathers” by John Updike—> life after death means that your life’s effects can have an influence on future generations (ex: Abe Lincoln)

5. History is a linear stream of events linked by cause and effect but without an overarching purpose. (pg. 68)

In a naturalist framework, there      is no goal for evolution.

6. Ethics is related only to human beings. (pg. 72) (Heidi Dart)

7. Man certainly was not the goal of evolution, which evidently had no goal. (Naturalism Mini Notes – Riley Smith)

Naturalism in Practice Secular Humanism (Derived from the Humanist Manifesto II – 1973):

Humans are special just because – No god (Riley Smith) God is a symbol of who humans      strive to be.

Marxism: Ideas and beliefs of Karl Marx (someone else add details) (Riley Smith)

Marx believed that history was going somewhere, heading towards utopia. Communal living on a large scale. Control the means of production (bourgeoise)–> exploit proliteriat Division of labor—> social classes (bourgeoise & proliteriat)

BELOW IS COPIED ABOVE

Propositions of naturalism:

“Let us conclude boldly then that man is a machine, and that in the whole universe there is but a single substance with various modifications.” (Heidi Dart) Very very good H-Dog Naturalist still believe humans are unique for the following reasons: Capable of conceptual thought Employ speech Possess a cumulative tradition (culture) Unique method of evolution Moral capacity

Death is extinction of personality and individuality. “When the matter that goes to make up an individual is disorganized at death, that that person disappears” (67). “Human destiny is an episode between two oblivions” (67). “Pigeon Feathers” by John Updike—> life after death means that your life’s effects can have an influence on future generations (ex: Abe Lincoln)

According to Naturalism.org, naturalism believes that intelligent design cannot exist because there is no scientific merit for it. Not every naturalist scientist believes that there is no supernatural. The main thing that you need to know about naturalists is that they do not believe in intelligent design.  (Ian “big boy” Strommen)

History is a linear stream of events linked by cause and effect but without an overarching purpose.

Ethics is related only to human beings. (pg. 72) (Heidi Dart)

Man certainly was not the goal of evolution, which evidently had no goal. (Naturalism Mini Notes – Riley Smith)

Naturalism in Practice:

Secular Humanism– Humanist Manifesto II God is a symbol of who humans strive to be.

Marxism Marx believed that history was going somewhere, heading towards utopia. Communal living on a large scale. Control the means of production (bourgeoise)–> exploit proliteriat Division of labor—> social classes (bourgeoise & proliteriat) (Annika van Oosbree)————————————

(Deism:

God created an orderly world to operate on its own.

Deists proceed from the assumption that an orderly universe exists. They see its First Cause as a Creator who does not guide its movements, intervene in human affairs, or answer prayers. Their pursuit of what is real comes through reason and sound inquiry. They do not take seriously any revelation that portrays the miraculous. Their reality is limited to nature.

Deists believe that man is a personal being who is part of the “clockwork universe.” He is not abnormal or fallen but is as he is supposed to be. Freedom to explore nature will lead to self-knowledge and understanding of the impersonal God who set up the universe.)

(Drew Kleinschmidt)

(Naturalism

Matter is all that exists and is best understood through science.

The naturalist assumes that all that really exists can best be investigated through the scientific method. Certainly matter and energy are the only realities that can be understood in this way. Unlike deism, it does not hold to God as a First Cause for the universe.

Naturalists view humans as highly developed animals who possess self-consciousness, reason, and conscience. They believe that humans are highly complex biological “machines” who have physical and mental capabilities not yet fully)

http://www.biblecultureit.com/text/worldview/worldview_comparison_chart.pdf

(Drew Kleinschmidt)

 

Aside

 

Deism [dee-iz-uh m] 
noun 

 

1. belief in the existence of a God on the evidence of reason and nature only, with rejection of supernatural revelation (distinguished from theism).

 

2. belief in a God who created the world but has since remained indifferent to it.

 

The Universe Next Door: Chapter 3 “Deism”

 

Part 1 (p. 45-50)

 

What is the first possible reason for the development of Deism that the author gives? {It was a way to unify the constantly fighting religious sects of the day -Joe Krahn}

Another factor in the shift from theism to deism was the belief that knowledge of the Divine is rooted not in special revelation but in {reason. –Regina Mott}

What did Plato believe about the nature of reality (matter , spirit) and how did Platonic theory of knowledge influence thought and scientific study in the Middle Ages?

Why is this error in study and thought not really a Biblical perspective?

Do you agree or disagree that God “is a rational God”? {Why? I believe that God is rational in the sense that He often/usually acts in ways which make sense (appear “rational”) to us. However, this certainly does not mean that God is incapable of acting “irrationally” from our perspective: He may defy His own laws of physics, do something the purpose of which we as humans cannot fathom, etc. So in that sense, He is not entirely “rational,” because any way you slice it, God’s ways are usually beyond our logic and understanding! -Allison Deckert}  {In addition, I believe that the idea of God is irrational- because of the entirety of the faith concept- However, God is rational, because who are we to define what is rational and what isn’t? Even if we think His acts are irrational, we cannot fathom, as humans, the purpose of what He is doing or the reasons behind it (like Allison said above). –Emily Hunt}

Coming out of the Middle Ages, there were those like Isaac Newton who thought that God’s universe was orderly, knowable, rational and worth exploration. What kind of picture of God’s world did scientists like Newton begin to paint?

This time period and pursuit of knowledge about the universe and reality began the modern study of what subject?

Peter Medewar argued that the 17th century’s doctrine of the necessity of reason paved the way for what belief?

How did deists come to the conclusion of God as a “giant clockmaker”?

What would be the main difference about the belief in what/how one can have knowledge of God between theists and deists?

Give a couple examples of how basic deism was not a united school of thought:

How would a deist define God as “Prime Mover”?

(Deists define God as a “Prime Mover” because he set all of creation up. He put everything into place, but is not directly involved in it. As the book states, he is merely a “force of energy”. He just “moved” things, but had no personal influence on them.) -Drew Kleinschmidt

In what ways is the universe “closed” to a deist? {Not only is it outside God’s active interference, but it is also outside our ability as humans to control its laws and events. In one sense, as we talked about, the universe is like a large, intricate clock: fully complete, ticking endlessly on and on, independent of our control and God’s intervention. -Allison Deckert}

How does this eliminate the possibility of miracles? {In this view a miracle cannot happen because God is not able to interfere or else it would appear to be tampering with the universe; therefore it would look like God was making a mistake. –Regina Mott}

How do deists deny the real possibility of free will in humans and what is their reasoning for doing so?

Deists believe human beings “are what we are”, humans are not able to “reverse the order” or “act significantly”.  Deists believe all humans are created with intelligence, morality, desire for community, and creativity however “humans are what they are, they have little hope of becoming anything different or anything more”. (p.50) (Paige Berge)

Facts/Notes on Deism Part 2 (p. 51-58)

 

What do deists believe about the state of the universe?

Deists believe that the universe is “essentially as God created it”. The universe has not fallen and has not differed from creation. The universe is unchanged. Deists believe that because the universe is unchanged, we can then learn about God through nature and “the study of His universe” (p.51) (Paige Berge)

Deists believe that God created the world. However, once God created the world, they believe that he left it alone. (Erik Schultz)

What inconsistencies do deists face about the knowledge of God by eliminating the possibility of “revelation”?

On the topic of “Everything that is, is right” and the dilemma that it creates with ethics. {If whatever exists is right, then wrong/evil do not exist. Only what is right exists. Pain and sin are obvious in our nature, so evil must exist. But if whatever “is” is good, then evil does not exist. You can’t hold to ”whatever is is right” and still have morals in a world full of evil. The two concepts are contradictory. -Molly Matuszak}

How did some deists view Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount?

What might some deists believe about history and how would this differ from a Biblical perspective? ( A deists perspective on history would be that it is generally not important. Deists would believe that every single moment is a part of the clockwork, so they are insignificant. Specific acts from the past are indifferent. As Christians, we can see divine law in action. We can see humans past mistakes and learn from them.) -Drew Kleinschmidt

Deism was most popular in France and England in the 17th Century. (Nick Wilson)

Deism could not survive as a worldview. {People were left with a relativity of knowledge that they found hard to accept. -Emily Hunt}

On the topic of human significance in Deism{If everything is determined and set in stone, then nothing humans say or do has any impact on any other human or situation which eliminates all significance of what we choose to spend our time doing because it is all meaningless. If we have no choice, we have no significance within ourselves. -Molly Matuszak}  {A human cannot have significance if the universe cannot be reordered -Emily Hunt}

Deism is seen as a transitional viewpoint, meaning that it was derived from a viewpoint and has somehow evolved into the thing that it is today. In the case of deism, it has evolved or was derived from a form of theism, and in some way it is leading then to naturalism.

Give me some examples of a kind of practical deism found in some scientists:

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