Have you all heard of Phillip E. Johnson, the UC Berkeley professor who is the father of the intelligent design movement?
Here is a lecture by Phil in which he explains the relationship with materialist philosophy and the practice of science.
The MP3 file for lecture is here. There is some Q&A at the end.
- Can the diversity of life be explained by purposeless material processes?
- What can changes over time have scientists actually observed?
- What is the difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution?
- Has macro-evolution ever been observed?
- Can observations of micro-evolution be extrapolated to prove unobserved macro-evolution?
- What causes people to doubt that material processes can account for all of life?
- Is evolution compatible with Judeo-Christian monotheism?
- How do scientists respond when you ask them for evidence of macro-evolution?
- Are observable mutations generally helpful or harmful?
- How do scientists who pre-suppose materialism deal with dissenting scientists?
- Why was the theory of Darwinian evolution accepted by early scientists?
Highly recommended. Phil is one of my favorite authors.
The one point you need to take away from this lecture is that if a scientist assumes a philosophy of materialism, then they will never be able to find evidence of intelligent causation in nature. They can look at all the evidence they want, or no evidence at all, and the answer will always be “no-God did it”.
So, consider the Big Bang. No-God did it. The fine-tuning? No-God did it. The origin of life? No-God did it. Molecular machines? No-God did it. Cambrian explosion. No-God did it. Origin of consciousness? No-God did it. Origin of free will? No-God did it. Origin of human rights? No-God did it. Origin of objective morality? No-God did it. Bodily resurrection? No-God did it. Galactic fine-tuning? No-God did it. Planetary fine-tuning? No-God did it. And so on. What else could have done it, once you assume matter is all there is?
The thing to do is to ask them what reasons they have for believing that this pre-supposition of materialism is absolute and undeniable. What is the evidence for it, that does not already assume it?
But many people change their pre-suppositions as evidence piles up that they are wrong. A combined approach is best. Surface their pre-suppositions and make them defend them. Then, stack up evidence against the pre-suppositions, e.g. – how can matter be all there is if science shows us that the entire physical universe came into being out of nothing in the Big Bang?