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Reason and Revelation Volume 32 #5

The Atheistic Naturalist's Self-Contradiction

When thoroughly scrutinized, error always exposes itself through some kind of self-contradiction. Truth alone stands the test of scrutiny. One such example is highlighted when considering a fundamental plank of the atheistic naturalist’s position.

The atheist says, “I refuse to consider believing in anything that isn’t natural—whose explanation cannot be found in nature. Everything must and can be explained through natural processes.” So, according to the atheist, the existence of everything in the Universe must be explainable by natural means—nothing unnatural (e.g., a supernatural Being) can be considered in the equation. Evolutionary geologist Robert Hazen, who received a Ph.D. in Earth Science from Harvard, is a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory and a professor of Earth Science at George Mason University. In his lecture series, Origins of Life, Hazen said:

In this lecture series I make a basic assumption that life emerged by some kind of natural process. I propose that life arose by a sequence of events that are completely consistent with the natural laws of chemistry and physics. In this assumption I am like most other scientists. I believe in a universe that is ordered by these natural laws. Like other scientists, I rely on the power of observations and experiments and theoretical reasoning to understand how the cosmos came to be the way it is (2005, emp. added).

The problem is that in holding this position, the naturalist quickly runs into walls of scientific fact that contradict it. The laws of science are formal declarations of what have been proven, time and again through science, to occur in nature without exception. The naturalist cannot hold a view that contradicts the laws of nature and not simultaneously contradict himself. But this is precisely the position that the naturalist is in. He must allege an explanation not in keeping with nature for many things we find in the Universe. For example, the naturalist’s explanation of the origin of matter and energy (i.e., spontaneous generation or eternal existence) is unnatural (i.e., in contradiction to the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics; see Miller, 2007). The naturalist must further contradict himself by alleging an unnatural explanation for the origin of life (i.e., abiogenesis, in contradiction to the Law of Biogenesis; see Miller, 2012). And what’s more, the naturalist must contradict himself by alleging that various kinds of living creatures can give rise to other kinds of living creatures through macroevolution—a contention which, unlike microevolution, has never been observed to occur in nature (see Thompson, 2002). Abiogenesis, spontaneous energy generation, the eternality of matter, and macroevolution are all unnatural suggestions since they have never been observed to occur in nature, and yet they are fundamental to the naturalist’s unnatural view. Simply put, the atheistic naturalist’s position is self-contradictory.

The worldview that is in keeping with the evidence—that is not self-contradictory—is the Christian faith as described on the pages of the Bible. The naturalist cannot explain the Universe without relying on unnatural means. The creationist has no problem with unnatural explanations, since the Bible clearly states that God—a supernatural Being—created the Universe and life. Truth is never self-contradictory. When scrutinized, it always comes out on top. When a person chooses to fight it, he will inevitably get hurt in the end. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 53:1).

REFERENCES

Hazen, Robert (2005), Origins of Life, audio-taped lecture (Chantilly, VA: The Teaching Company).

Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.

Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis [Parts I & II],” Reason & Revelation, 32[1/2]:1-11,13-22, January-February, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4165&topic=93.

Thompson, Bert (2002), The Scientific Case for Creation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).



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