Can Scientists Trust Their Brains If Atheism is True?
by Saints and Sceptics
Modern atheism has been sustained by the world-view of scientific naturalism. This worldview has two notable elements – scientism and materialism. Scientism is the belief that the scientific method is the only way we can discover the truth about whatever is real. The arts may make life bearable, but if we want to know the truth about the universe we need to use the scientific method. Everything that exists will ultimately be described in the language of biology, physics and mathematics. A “Theory of Everything” will explain why the universe exists with just the laws that it has. Consciousness and moral values will turn out to be events in, or functions of, the human brain.
Of course, if you only ask certain kinds of question you’ll only receive certain types of answer. If someone insists that scientific questions are the only questions worth asking they are determining, in advance, the types of answer that they will receive. Scientific answers are tied to the language of mathematics, and tend to avoid the language of purpose, meaning and value. If you will only listen to scientific answers then you will inevitably conclude that the universe lacks purpose meaning and value.
Materialism is the belief that there is no non-physical reality. Everything is composed of objects that could, one day, be quantified, measured, and described by physicists. Whatever cannot be described by science is not real. So you do not have a soul, your mind is nothing other than your brain in action, and no divine power governs this universe. Whatever thoughts and feelings turn out to be they will be entirely determined by the physical facts – facts about the environment, our nervous systems and how they interact…
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