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Arguments Concerning Naturalism

by Dan Synnestvedt
     Bryn Athyn College.

Extracted (pp.459-487) from his article in The New Philosophy, Vol. CXI, 415-514 (July-Sept 2008).

In general, philosophy concerns itself with reason and the giving of reasons for one’s positions and beliefs, or adopting the most reasonable of them. To philosophers, the person with the best arguments wins the contest of ideas. This means that even an argument that is very technical and contains little or no rhetorical devices, is very exciting because arguments are at the center of action. Also, in a broadly democratic culture, or one that aspires thereto, engaging in reasoned debate rather than violence to persuade others to adopt a policy or course of action is essential. So it is important to be familiar with the reasons and arguments both for and against naturalism. This is not an exhaustive treatment of all the arguments for and against naturalism, but I think there are enough to show what philosophers take to be the strengths and weaknesses of naturalism. While there is some overlap between arguments for and against naturalism and arguments supporting theism, we will not be reviewing arguments that attempt to prove the existence of God and objections to these. This is apologetics and there are very helpful books one can consult regarding this.107

In the next two large sections of the paper I quote philosophers at length. The reason for this practice is that when professional philosophers write for one another, their arguments are frequently complex and very carefully worded so as to avoid becoming easy prey to objections. This makes summarization not only difficult, but can also lead to inaccuracies and misunderstanding. Reading these arguments may not be easy, but it does give the reader an accurate idea of the work that goes on in philosophy while advancing one’s understanding of the intricacies of the issue. Depending upon one’s cast of mind, the thrill of tracking the jousting motions of the different camps through the twists and turns of the debate may be experienced.

Arguments For Naturalism

We will begin with arguments from Sidney Hook (1902–89), a professor of philosophy at New York University, student of John Dewey, and an advocate of pragmatism, naturalism, and socialism. Hook characterizes the use of any other method of knowing besides science as a “failure of nerve.”108 In the quotations that follow, note well Hook’s emphasis upon the commitment to methodological naturalism, particularly through his use of the word “evidence.”

The intelligent demand for evidence need not paralyze the pioneers of truth who catch glimpses of what may until then be undreamed of. For the sciences themselves do not demand complete or exact confirmation of an hypothesis to begin with, but only enough to institute further inquiries; and the history of science is sufficient evidence that the discipline of its method, far from being a bar against the discovery of new truths, is a positive aid in acquiring them. As for decreeing what does or can exist, there is nothing in scientific method that forbids anything to exist. It concerns itself only with the responsibility of the assertions that proclaim the existence of anything. It does not jeer at the mystical swoon of rapture; it only denies the mystic’s retrospective cognitive claims for which no evidence is offered except the fact of the trance.

Scientific method does not entail any metaphysical theory of existence and certainly not metaphysical materialism.109

Naturalism is opposed to all known forms of supernaturalism, not because it rules out a priori what may or may not exist, but because no plausible evidence has been found to warrant belief in the entities and powers to which supernatural status has been attributed. The existence of God, immortality, disembodied spirits, cosmic purpose and design, as these have been customarily interpreted by the great institutional religions, are denied by naturalists for the same generic reasons that they deny the existence of fairies, elves, and leprechauns. There are other conceptions of God, to be sure, and provided they are not self-contradictory in meaning, the naturalist is prepared in principle to consider their claims to validity. All he asks is that the conception be sufficiently definite to make possible specific inferences of the determinate conditions— the how, when, and where of His operation.

So long as no self-contradictory notions are advanced, he will not rule out the abstract logical possibility that angelic creatures push the planets any more than that there exists a gingerbread castle on the other side of the moon. All he demands is the presence of sufficient precision of meaning to make it possible to test, let us say…the existence of extrasensory perception. The possibility of extrasensory perception cannot be ruled out a priori. Here, as elsewhere, the naturalist must follow the preponderance of scientific evidence. He therefore welcomes those who talk about the experiential evidence for religious beliefs as distinct from those who begin with mystery and end in mystery. He only asks to be given an opportunity to examine the evidence and to evaluate it by the same general canons which have led to the great triumphs of knowledge in the past. It is natural in this case, as in the case of extrasensory perception, that he should scrutinize with great care reports which if true would lead him radically to modify some of his earlier generalizations. The unusual must clear a higher hurdle of credibility than the usual. But only on its first jump. Unfortunately, for all their talk of appeal to experience, direct or indirect, religious experientialists dare not appeal to any experience of sufficiently determinate character to permit of definite tests. There is a certain wisdom in this reluctance. For if experience can confirm a belief, it can also invalidate it. But to most supernaturalists this is an inadmissible possibility. We therefore find that the kind of experience to which reference is made is not only unique but also uniquely self-authenticating. Those who are not blessed by the experiences are regarded as blind or deaf or worse!110

In these passages Hook tries to take the position of a completely objective inquirer, claiming that science is metaphysically neutral with regard to supernaturalism and that he might believe in supernaturalism, but by golly, there just isn’t any plausible evidence. By “evidence” Hook means scientific evidence, since for him there is no other kind, at least none that is epistemically reliable. But science is not a metaphysically neutral method or set of methods. Scientists prefer to work with things that can be physically observed, counted, measured, controlled in some manner, and duplicated. Not all phenomena occur under these conditions. By claiming that science is its only method, naturalism does, (contrary to Hook), rule out a priori various entities and our belief in them. Hook is like a man who, having discovered how helpful a microscope is when seeking knowledge of various entities, declares that microscopy is the only method that can be trusted to give us knowledge of reality tout court. If we don’t have any microscopic evidence for the existence of something, then we don’t have any evidence for it at all.

Hook’s naïve realism concerning the objectivity of science has been exploded by the findings in the history and sociology of science. During the last quarter of the twentieth century, we have become increasingly aware that scientists are subject to the same sorts of cognitive, affective, economic, etc. distortions as the rest of us mere mortals. Granted, the scientific method dampens bias significantly, but bias remains nonetheless and the entire enterprise is shot through with values and value judgments. This is powerfully illustrated in the various fields of medicine.111

Next, consider the arguments for naturalism put forth by the American philosopher Arthur Danto along with some comments and questions of my own.

  • “[N]atural objects are the only objects about which we know directly, and it would be only with reference to their perturbations that we might secure indirect knowledge of non-natural objects, should there be any.” This argument rests on the following assumptions: that we have direct knowledge of natural objects; that we have, at best, only indirect knowledge of non-natural objects; that direct knowledge is better than indirect; that one natural entity (humans) can know other natural entities entirely by natural means.
  • People everywhere seek natural explanations. “Recourse is taken to non-natural explanation only in moments of despair. But a non-natural explanation merely underscores the fact that something cannot be explained…at the moment—it does not provide an alternative kind of explanation or intelligibility.” The premises in this argument are empirical claims. Are they true?
  • “All non-natural explanations, the result of using non-natural methods, are in principle replaceable with natural explanations.” This is a very large promissory note. When will we know that it has been paid? What are the criteria for success?
  • “Non-naturalists contradict in their practice what they profess in their theories. Naturalists alone hold theories consonant with their practice.” In other words, when a hail storm destroys his crops, the farmer does not attribute the storm to Divine action. Instead, the farmer blames the storm on the atmospheric conditions that brought it about, and this is a naturalistic explanation. To blame God for the hail storm is a non-natural explanation or attribution. Since we do not indulge in this practice in our daily lives, the naturalistic theory alone is the one that reflects this and is congruent with it. So theists and supernaturalists hold theories that are inconsistent with the way they live; their worldviews are not congruent.
  • “Science is naturally self-corrective if we think of it as it is, as a method to which its own doctrines are unremittingly subjected.” In other words, science is the only discipline we can trust because it has self-correcting mechanisms built into it. This is a form of the “science is successful, so you should believe in naturalism” argument. The phrase “its own doctrines” must refer to specific theories, otherwise Danto puts himself in the awkward position of claiming that the fundamental assumptions of the scientific method are unremittingly critiqued by the outcomes of the scientific method, which is a circular argument and question-begging process.
  • Unlike others who merely wrangle ineffectually, “naturalists will be engaged in helpful clarifications of problems which arise in the course of human life.” In other words, theists or supernaturalists are impractical and unhelpful. If you really cared about people and their problems, you’d be a naturalist.112 One could argue that scientists are the people who are most effective at solving problems in life. Most scientists are naturalists, therefore, it is the naturalists who are most helpful to others in this life. If one counts donations of time and money to charitable causes as being helpful toward others, it is not the case that naturalists are most helpful. Social research shows that theists are most helpful, even when donations to ecclesiastical bodies are removed from the data.

Here are Danto’s replies to the objections aimed at naturalism along with some commentary:

  • “It is not the aim of naturalism to impoverish experience” by saying that “the only mode of experience which is cognitive is scientific.” In other words, humans have lots of kinds of experience, aesthetic and affective for example, and naturalists don’t want to be seen as excluding them and so impoverishing human life.
  • “Nor is it the aim of naturalism to insist that all natural objects are really reducible to one favored sort of natural objects or that only the objects or descriptions of objects recognized by the natural science are real. All natural objects are equally real, and the descriptive vocabulary of the sciences does not exhaust the reality of nature.” This reply is similar to the first one. It too is made in response to an objection that charges naturalism with impoverishing our experience of nature, or elevating the scientific description of nature above all others, say, the poetic description of nature.113

In his online encyclopedia entry, philosopher David Papineau rejects the suggestion that naturalism rests on “some kind of unargued commitment” which “seems to be supported by the historical contingency of naturalist doctrines.”114 Instead he asserts that “naturalist doctrines, . . . are closely responsive to received scientific opinion about the range of causes that can have physical effects.” In his view, naturalism rests on the “widespread acceptance of the doctrine now known as the ‘causal closure’ or the ‘causal completeness’ of the physical realm, according to which all physical effects can be accounted for by basic physical causes (where ‘physical’ can be understood as referring to some list of fundamental forces).” The widespread acceptance of the causal closure doctrine occurred by the middle of the twentieth century. “The causal closure thesis implies that any mental and biological causes must themselves by physically constituted, if they are to produce physical effects. It thus gives rise to a particularly strong form of ontological naturalism, namely the physicalist doctrine that any state that has physical effects must itself be physical.”115

In my opinion, the causal closure doctrine seems like an assertion of naturalism, or a part of it, not something independent of it that can be used to support it. The same seems to apply to physicalism. Also, linking the acceptance of that doctrine to the findings of science does not do away with its contingency, for the findings of science are themselves contingent, as other naturalists have asserted. Papineau’s assertion ultimately rests on the “appeal to science” and its success. But he raises a very important philosophical point, namely, how are we to understand causality? The Heavenly Doctrines take a position directly opposite to the naturalists when they claim that all causes are spiritual, or are in the spiritual world (DLW 119). The New Church view of reality is also shot-through with purpose; it is a highly teleological view of nature (DLW 168, 189, 197, 241).

There is much work to be done in explaining exactly what this means and how it relates to our understanding of science and the natural world. This is another opportunity to conduct some very important research in the future.

Arguments against Naturalism

At the beginning of this paper we saw that naturalism is the reigning worldview of today’s Western philosophers. This does not mean that there are no critics of naturalism. Even though naturalism is the position to hold, and has been for most of the twentieth century, during the past twenty-five years a number of arguments have been advanced against it. These arguments have been produced by both theistic and secular philosophers. What follows are quotations from both sets of philosophers along with my summarizing statements.

Let us first consider one of the arguments made by a Christian philosopher. As we have seen, according to the naturalists we should believe in naturalism because of science. Since this is the most frequent reason given for naturalism and typically the most powerful today, the truth or falsity of this claim is crucial to the debate between naturalists and spiritualists. In this argument, “The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism,” Robert C. Koons attempts to drive a wedge between a certain understanding of science and ontological naturalism.116

[The typical] defense of naturalism presupposes a version of scientific realism: unless science provides us with objective truth about reality, it has no authority to dictate to us the form which our philosophical ontology and metaphysics must take. Science construed as mere instrument for manipulating experience, or merely as an autonomous construction of our society, without reference to our reality, tells us nothing about what kinds of things really exist and act. (49)

Koons argues that scientific realism and naturalism are incompatible by showing that

the following three theses are mutually inconsistent: 1. scientific realism 2. Ontological naturalism (the world of space and time is causally closed) 3. There exists a correct naturalist account of knowledge and intentionality (representational naturalism) (49)

By scientific realism, I intend a thesis that includes both a semantic and an epistemological component. Roughly speaking, scientific realism is the conjunction of the following two claims:
1. Our scientific theories and models are theories and models of the real world, including its laws, as it is objectively, independent of our preferences and practices.
2. Scientific methods tend, in the long run, to increase our stock of real knowledge. (50)

Koons then explains that his argument requires two assumptions, which he labels PS (Preference Simplicity) and ER (Essential Reliability).

I will argue that nature is comprehensible scientifically only if nature is not a causally closed system—only if nature is shaped by supernatural forces. . . . My argument requires two critical assumptions: PS: A preference for simplicity (elegance, symmetries, invariances) is a pervasive feature of scientific practice. ER: Reliability is an essential component of knowledge and intentionality, on any naturalistic account of these. (50)

After giving a defense of PS and ER (50–55), Koons moves to the proof of the incompatibility of the three theses.

Proof of the incompatibility.
1. Scientific realism, representational naturalism, and epistemic reliability entail that scientific methods are reliable sources of truth about the world.
2. From practices of science it follows that simplicity is a reliable indicator of the truth about natural laws.
3. Mere correlation between simplicity and the laws of nature is not good enough: reliability requires that there be some causal mechanism connecting simplicity and the actual laws of nature.
4. Since the laws of nature pervade space and time, any such causal mechanism must exist outside spacetime. By definition, the laws and fundamental structure of nature pervade nature. Anything that causes these laws to be simple, anything that imposes a consistent aesthetic upon them, must be supernatural.
5. Consequently, ontological naturalism is false.

Hence one cannot consistently embrace naturalism and scientific realism (55–56). Koons then tests his position in the following manner:

David Papineau and Ruth Garrett Millikan are two thoroughgoing naturalists who have explicitly embraced scientific realism. If the preceding argument is correct, this inconsistency should show itself somehow in their analyses of science. This expectation is indeed fulfilled. (56)

In a recent paper [1995] Malcolm Forster and Elliot Sober offer a justification of the scientific preference for simplicity that seems to be compatible with scientific realism and yet which does not acknowledge any sense in which simplicity is a reliable indicator of the truth.(58)

A pragmatic justification of our scientific practice, when combined with representational naturalism, yields the conclusion that scientific theories must be interpreted non-representationally, either as mere instruments for generating empirical predictions, or as conventional constructs valid only for a local culture. Pragmatism, by eschewing any commitment to the objective reliability of scientific methods, cannot be combined with a naturalistic version of scientific realism. (61)

Koons concludes:

Philosophical naturalism, then, can draw no legitimate support from the deliverances of natural science, realistically construed, since scientific realism entails the falsity of naturalism. If scientific theories are construed non-realisitically, it seems that the status of ontology cannot be affected by the successes of natural science, nor by the form that successful theories in the natural sciences happen to take. If scientific anti-realism is correct, then the “manifest image” of the scientific world-view must not be taken as authoritative. Instead, that image is merely a useful fiction, and metaphysics is left exactly as it was before the advent of science. (61– 2)

Koons has developed an interesting dilemma for the naturalist, which can be stated in this somewhat over-simplified manner. On the one hand, if natural science is accurately telling us about the nature of reality, then naturalism is false. This of course would not be acceptable to a naturalist. On the other hand, if natural science is not accurately telling us about the nature of reality, then naturalism can be true, but not in its ontological form. This means that we are not justified in claiming that only nature exists, and this leaves the door open for theism and forms of spiritualism. So the other horn of the dilemma is not acceptable to a naturalist either.

Another argument against naturalism, one that has received quite a bit of attention, has been formulated by Alvin Plantinga. Plantinga is probably the most well-known Christian philosopher in America today. He is a professor at Notre Dame University who specializes in epistemology and the philosophy of religion. Like the previous argument, he attempts to drive a wedge between science and naturalism by posing a dilemma. Plantinga’s claims have been summarized by James Beilby.

Not only is theistic belief rational, but one who denies the existence of a creative deity and accepts contemporary evolutionary theory is irrational in doing so. More accurately, the conjunction of metaphysical naturalism (N)—namely, the view that only natural objects, kinds, and properties are real—and evolution (E) is, according to Plantinga, self-defeating. Those who accept both N and E have a “defeater” for the belief that human cognitive faculties, so evolved, are reliable. This defeater . . . cannot itself be defeated and thereby constitutes a defeater for any belief produced by those cognitive faculties, including the beliefs which comprise N&E. Therefore, despite the fact that metaphysical naturalism and evolution are typically thought of as very closely and comfortably connected, taken together, their conjunction cannot rationally be held.117

Plantinga’s argument should not be mistaken for an argument against evolutionary theory in general or, more specifically, against the claim that humans might have evolved from more primitive life forms. Rather, the purpose of his argument is to show that the denial of the existence of a creative deity is problematic. It is the conjunction of naturalism and evolution that suffers from the crippling deficiency of self-defeat, a deficiency not shared by the conjunction of theism and current evolutionary doctrine.

Plantinga’s argument involves three steps. First, Plantinga claims that the objective conditional probability that we have reliable cognitive faculties, given naturalism and evolutionary theory, is either low or, since it is difficult to even start to specify relevant probabilities, inscrutable. Hence: (1) P (R/N&E) is either low or inscrutable [where R stand for the proposition: “Human cognitive faculties are reliable”].

According to Plantinga, the mechanisms of evolution select for adaptive behavior, not necessarily true belief, and it is not obvious that adaptive behavior guarantees, or even make probable, true belief. Evaluating the first step of Plantinga’s argument involves considering the nature of evolutionary mechanisms and the nature of the relationship between belief and behavior from an evolutionary point of view.

The second step of Plantinga’s argument involves the claim that one who accepts N&E and comes to realize the truth of (1) acquires a defeater for R. Hence: (2) If S accepts N&E and (1), she has a rationality defeater for her belief in R. Even the inscrutability of P (R/N&E), according to Plantinga, is sufficient to give one who accepts N&E a reason to withhold belief in R. Further, this defeater cannot itself be defeated since any prospective defeater-defeater would involve beliefs which would be subject to defeat as well.

It seems clear that if the naturalist, or anyone for that matter, came to believe that she had a defeater for R, then the third and final step of Plantinga’s argument would certainly follow: (3) S has a defeater for all of her beliefs, one of which is N&E.118

Less rigorously, we can re-state the argument this way: Naturalism is a sealed mental box that does not allow any transcendental help when it

comes to the truth of our beliefs or the reliability of our belief-generating organs. A theist can claim that even though our brains might be just complex monkey-brains, we receive epistemic assistance from God and His angels when it comes to the formation of beliefs, our rational assessment of them, and the organs used to generate them. This means that we have a transcendental basis for confidence in our ability to (eventually) know the truth. We can know some true things some of the time, because God knows all true things all of the time and He designed us to be finite knowers in His all-knowing image.

If a naturalist holds that all our beliefs are produced by evolutionary processes, and that these are governed by chance, then our beliefs are also produced by chance and we are not justified, or warranted, in placing a high degree of confidence in them. In other words, naturalism undermines the trust we have in our brains and there is no source outside of the “box” of nature that can be used as a source of reliability to shore up the belief-generating organs and processes. So if everything, including belief, is the result of selection pressures from the environment and there is no Divine Hand designing or directing those pressures, but only chance, then we are not warranted in attributing a high degree of reliability to our beliefs or our brains. This forces the naturalist into a dilemma: one can believe in either naturalism or evolution, but not both. Yet evolutionary theory is part of the naturalist creation narrative and is what makes this position a worldview and not just boosterism for science.

Michael Ruse, a leading philosopher of biology, has replied to Plantinga’s dilemma by asserting that even if we are systematically deceived in our beliefs, the theory of evolution can still account for this. Survival and reproduction are reliable touch-stones for small scale deceptions, and “if there are no good reasons to suspect deception, then it should not be assumed.”119 Moreover, even if systematic deception was the case, we could never check our condition against the “real” world postulated by metaphysics. “One simply has to pull back from a correspondence theory of truth and go with coherence at this point.”120 Ruse acknowledges the fact that Plantinga is aware of these moves and argues against them, but Ruse denies that the circularity of coherence is vicious: “rather, as the success of science (including evolution) shows, you get an ever-bigger and better picture, as you (that is, the human race) get evermore experiences and put them into the picture. You get a reinforcing circularity.”121 Obviously Ruse, like other naturalists, is relying on a form of the “success of science” argument here.

Now let us turn to the arguments against naturalism made by other philosophers. There are two main arguments in “The Charm of Naturalism,” which originally appeared in the American Philosophical Association’s Proceedings because it was given by Barry Stroud as a presidential address. It was re-printed in Naturalism in Question.122 The first argument against naturalism is that it is self-referentially incoherent. Stroud points out that there are sharp disagreements over what counts as “nature” and that “those disagreements are not themselves to be settled by what can be recognized as straightforwardly ‘naturalist’ means. So one thing that seems not to have been ‘naturalized’ is naturalism itself” (22). This is quite ironic. Naturalism boldly claims that everything must give way to scientific investigation and that we must bow before its results. This means that everything from axiology and epistemology to religion and worldviews must be naturalized. Yet naturalism cannot live up to its own standard, for there are disputes about what nature is and what naturalism is that cannot be settled in accordance with its own commitments. So naturalism is self-defeating.

Yet there is one sense in which one can begin to naturalize naturalism, namely by investigating the properties of the people who believe that it is true. If we confine naturalism to people who report that they are atheists, it turns out that naturalists “tend to be more educated, more affluent, and more likely to be male and unmarried than Americans with active faith,” according to a study by the Barna Group.123

The second argument that Stroud presents is this:

“Naturalism” seems to me in this and other respects rather like “World Peace.” Almost everyone swears allegiance to it, and is willing to march under its banner. But disputes can still break out about what it is appropriate or acceptable to do in the name of that slogan. And like world peace, once you start specifying concretely exactly what it involves and how to achieve it, it becomes increasingly difficult to reach and to sustain a consistent and exclusive “naturalism.” There is pressure on the one hand to include more and more within your conception of “nature,” so it loses its definiteness and restrictiveness. Or, if the conception is kept fixed and restrictive, there is pressure on the other hand to distort or even deny the very phenomena that a naturalistic study—and especially a naturalist study of human beings—is supposed to explain. (22)

Stroud, like previous thinkers, has posed a dilemma. Either naturalism is inclusive or exclusive (restrictive and fixed). If naturalism is inclusive, then it is not definite; it is loose and might let in entities that are usually labeled “supernatural.” If naturalism is exclusive, then it distorts or denies the very phenomena it is supposed to study. Thus naturalism is either open to the supernatural or it is not capable of giving us an accurate comprehensive account of reality, which means that there is more to reality than nature. Either horn of the dilemma seems to open the door to spiritualism, and this is precisely what the naturalist wants to either keep out, “naturalize,” or ignore.

Stroud proceeds to illustrate his point by examining two large areas of philosophy that are highly problematic when exclusive or restrictive naturalism is seen as the only or best option. These two areas are morals and mathematics.

Naturalism is widely understood to imply that no evaluative states of affair or properties are part of the world of nature. On that assumption, either evaluative thoughts and beliefs take as their “objects” something that is not to be found in the natural world at all, or their contents are equivalent to something that is true in that world, so they are not really evaluative. (30)

This is a continuation of Stroud’s dilemma. Values are not part of nature; nature is value-free or value-neutral. From this naturalistic assumption it follows that value judgments or beliefs, such as “Killing for revenge is immoral,” refers to something not in nature. A naturalist cannot abide this because it opens the door to spiritualism and the idea that morals have a transcendental basis, one that might ultimately empower God or revelation as a source of moral authority. This, from their point of view, would be a disaster.

Yet as John E. Hare has argued, a modern moral theory such as Immanuel Kant’s deontology, cannot be sustained without some transcendental assistance.124 The reason is that Kant’s moral theory includes a gap between the demand of the moral law for impartiality and the fact that our natural capacities are unequal to the demand. Something is needed to bridge the gap between the “ought” of the moral demand and the “can” of our human nature. Kant bridged this gap through his appeal to the idea of a holy being and supernatural assistance, but this of course is not allowed in naturalism. So Hare has analyzed three secular strategies for dealing with this problem. One is to increase the capacity of human nature to meet the demand (which would result in a dubious picture of human nature), another is to reduce the demand so that it fits our natural capacities (which results in watered-down morality). A third strategy is to find a substitute for divine assistance to bridge the gap. He analyzes the development of evolutionary ethics in this light and it turns out that it is highly problematic.

The other option, that the contents of moral judgments or evaluations are the same as something that is true in nature, say a certain electrochemical state in one’s brain, means that this judgment or belief is not prescriptive, only descriptive. This option is intolerable because it either distorts what we take morality to be, or it abolishes morality entirely, and holding a position that does this would make naturalists rather unpopular.

Like Stroud, Richard Foley has also argued that naturalism and scientific realism cannot both be true because science cannot explain the nature of justification, partly because this is an ethical matter.125 The answer to the question, What should I believe? cannot be given by a series descriptions about some part of nature or about what I actually do believe. If one answers, You should believe in science, one can always ask why one should accept science as a method of inquiry. But the answer to this question cannot come from within science, otherwise it would beg the question. Ironically, this means that the epistemic imperatives promulgated by naturalists and positivists are, themselves, incapable of being justified through naturalistic means. Still, What am I to believe? “is a question we must answer if we are coherently to back our beliefs and decisions with reasons.”126

“The same pattern,” Stroud asserts, “is present in the philosophy of mathematics, where the quandary is perhaps most obvious, and has certainly been widely acknowledged” (32). One problem with naturalizing math and logic is that if they are seen as mere human conventions, or products of non-human nature, they are the results of contingent truths.

But it could not have been otherwise than that seven plus five is twelve or that everything that is both red and round is red. No contingent truths, however important, could be adequate to express such necessities. What is more, any naturalism that takes a specifically scientific form, and says that the natural world is the world described exclusively in the terms of the natural sciences, would seem forced to accept truths of logic and mathematics anyway. (33)

It can no longer be identified as simply the world that a scientific naturalist believes in, since if he now accepts logical and mathematical propositions, they are not excluded from what he believes. If this still counts as naturalism, it will be a more open-minded or more expansive naturalism. It does not insist on, or limit itself to, a boundary fixed in advance. It will have expanded to include whatever has been found to be needed in order to make sense of everything that is so in the natural world. (33)

Again, Stroud has placed a dilemma before the naturalist. If he or she holds a restrictive view of nature and naturalism, then this leads to either the exclusion of things that we commonly use and believe in, such as mathematical entities, or it leads to a distortion of those things, which undermines the goal of naturalism to be a rigorously descriptive and objective project. On the other hand, if a naturalist holds to an unrestricted or open form of naturalism, this does not amount to anything more than promoting the scientific investigation of something, and the term naturalism might as well be dropped. If the term is not dropped, it signals that naturalism is really an ideology, which is certainly not science. The result of this dilemma, as with previous arguments, is that a wedge is driven between naturalism and science, and the two are incompatible. This is certainly the opposite of what naturalists assert and desire.

There is another interesting point in Stroud’s speech which is not an argument against naturalism, but is still a problem for naturalists.

The point is that conclusions of naturalist epistemology can be drawn only from the study of what actually goes on with human beings. If it turns out that women’s knowledge differs in certain ways from men’s, for instance, or poor southern black’s knowledge from that of affluent urban whites, that is something that a naturalistic epistemologist should welcome, or at any rate should not resist. Studies in the sociology, economics, and politics of knowledge could also be called “naturalist epistemology” too. The lively interest in such matters these days is certainly on the whole a good thing. Not because naturalism is a good thing, but because coming to see more and more differences among things in the world—if they are actually there—is almost always a good thing. (26–7)

A tough-minded naturalist like Papineau would deny that Stroud presents a problem for him on the basis that the social sciences he lists— sociology, economics, and political science—are not really sciences, or are really extensions of the natural sciences and their findings. But I think Stroud has touched a nerve here. If we take the findings of these social sciences seriously, it means that they could uncover aspects of people’s knowledge that are politically controversial if not downright dangerous. It also means that these same investigative methods and their conclusions can and should be applied to people working in the natural sciences and in philosophy. This is something that most naturalists will probably want to resist, and this for two reasons. First, the natural sciences and philosophy, being embodiments of reason, should be above the influence of things like money, race, gender, class, power and political commitments. Second, if the people in the natural sciences and philosophy are not immune to these kinds of influence, then the objectivity of their inquiries and their results is undermined and some sort of Postmodern account of the sciences will be supported. But Postmodernism tends to put all disciplines on an equal footing, or to exalt the study of language above the sciences (since the truth or falsity of their theories is communicated through language) and this removes the natural sciences from their privileged place in the hierarchy of knowledge.

We now consider the arguments against naturalism written by John Dupre in “The Miracle of Monism.”127 One of the reasons it is such a vigorous essay is that it applies categories of analysis and critique to naturalism, such as mythology, that are associated with supernaturalism and the “soft” disciplines, and these are anathema to most naturalists. Even the title seems to be a direct response to a book by J.L. Mackie entitled The Miracle of Theism. Dupre also links the acceptance of naturalism to poor healthcare practices and the domination of the “medical model” of health, which an increasing number of people can relate to and have criticized. This criticism is important because it shows that naturalism is a worldview whose ideas and attitudes have “real life” consequences, not just theoretical ones.

Dupre claims that the naturalist’s commitment to both empiricism and monism is incompatible. So this version of naturalism is self-defeating. “Monism,” he says, “far from being a view of reality answering to experience, is a myth. And myths are just the sort of thing that naturalism, in its core commitment to anti-supernaturalism, should reject” (39). A main bridge from naturalism to monism is through the explanatory reach of science. If this is combined with the idea that science is a continuous and homogenous activity, “and even more specifically that its explanatory resources depend on its sole concern with the material structure of things, then we are well on the way to naturalistic monism” (30). Monism is a myth that derives its credibility from the myth of the unity of science. Dupre then analyzes attempts to construct this unity through two means: a unity of method and a unity of content.

Paradoxically, while unity of scientific method is intuitively a far more plausible thesis than is unity of content, contemporary philosophical defenders of science generally defend the latter rather than the former. So let me begin by mentioning some reasons why the idea of unity of scientific method has gone into decline. (42)

[The British philosopher of science, Sir Karl] Popper’s ideas had a great deal of influence with scientists and surely had a significant effect on the kind of scientific work that was carried out. It is my impression that many scientists still consider Popper’s the last word on scientific method; and no doubt this is especially true among those scientists employing quantitative or experimental methods in fields also explored by more qualitative and discursive approaches. But although there are still a few able defenders, among philosophers of science Popper’s view of science has been very largely rejected. There are some serious conceptual problems that have contributed to this, most centrally a persisting worry about the great difficulty of falsifying hypotheses: given a recalcitrant observation, how does one decide whether the observation was inaccurate, some unknown factor has interfered, some unquestioned background assumption is erroneous, or finally, that a hypothesis under test is false? It seems that this variety of options always leaves it open to a scientist to rescue a hypothesis. And the work of [philosopher of science Thomas] Kuhn and others has even made it plausible that this is almost always the right thing for a scientist to do. (43)

Dupre concentrates on the concept of falsification that is part of Popper’s philosophy of science. Popper thought that scientists do not really try to prove that a theory is true. Instead, they try to falsify it or find something that will disconfirm it. After all, it only takes one observation of a non-elliptical orbit to show that a theory which holds universally that planets have elliptical orbits is false. Yet scientists do not always reject theories when faced with counter-evidence, and the history of science has shown in some cases that the scientists were justified in pursuing a problematic theory. Dupre says that Popper’s falsificationism has not illuminated

the ways that various kinds of scientific work contribute to the growth of scientific knowledge. . . . the variety of scientific practices makes any uniform account of scientific method unlikely. Methodologies have developed in wholly different ways in response to different kinds of problems, and the methodologies we have accumulated are as diverse as those questions. (46)

Dupre then turns to the other kind of unity that shores-up the miracle of monism, the unity of content, specifically as it occurs in neurology and the philosophy of mind.

The problem is simply that to replace mind talk with brain talk requires that the latter can serve the purposes of the former. But it is exceedingly unlikely that this is so. Even if, in some sense, we are talking about the brain when we refer to features of our mental lives, there is not the slightest reason to believe that, say, my belief that the U.S. stock market will crash soon can be identified with some well-defined part of my brain; still less that the same part of my brain will consistently correspond to just this belief; and least of all that everyone has a structurally identical part of their brain if, and only if, they believe that the U.S. stock market will crash soon. And it seems that it is this last that would be needed if there were to be some piece of brain talk with which, in principle, one could replace this bit of belief talk. (I suggest, indeed, that this is a place where the supernatural qualities of monism appear clearly. Magical powers are being attributed to brain cells on the basis of no empirical evidence, merely from metaphysical commitment.) (49)

After Dupre has discussed the two aspects of the myth of the unity of science, he offers a powerful exposé of the functions of the myth.

Unity provides solidarity and protects the weaker brethren.(52)

Unity, in short, distributes epistemic warrant. The claim to be scientific is not an important one for solid-state physicists or organic chemists, it is one they take for granted. But on the more controversial margins of science such claims are all-important. Economists claim to be scientific in ways that their more interpretative rivals among the social sciences cannot aspire to, and evolutionary psychologists claim to be uniting the study of humanity with science in ways that must spell the end of more traditional exceptionalist accounts of our species [such as ones given by philosophy or theology].

The status of “science” might . . . much better be used as an honorific to be bestowed on investigative practices when they have provided convincing evidence of success in their investigations.

On the other hand, if there [really] is just one system of interconnected truths that constitutes science, a science moreover that ultimately, at least in principle, exhausts the truth about the world, then everything depends on establishing the claim of one’s practice to belong to this totality. And if such could be done on general grounds that do not require the demonstration of actual empirical successes, the relevance of such claims will obviously be greater still. Here I suggest we see Science as a whole in its supernatural guise. Just as membership of the True Church guarantees redemption, so membership of the One True Science guarantees credibility. (53)

This last line is very damaging to the naturalist position, for Dupre has analyzed the way that the unity of science functions in human society, a kind of naturalistic explanation for naturalism, and then explained it using terminology usually reserved for religion. The next step is to show that not just a theoretical debate about the nature of science and naturalism is occurring. Instead, naturalism has had, and continues to have, harmful real-life consequences when it comes to medical care.

The consequences of the ideology of scientific unity are not limited to matters merely theoretical. Reductionist models of scientific unity have a particularly and potentially damaging effect on the practice of science. The ultimate goal of articulating unified science in its full glory leads naturally to a preference for seeing phenomena as depending on the internal structure of the entities that produce them rather than emphasizing the influences of the environment. Probably the most serious practical consequences of this tendency are in the human sciences, and most especially in the medical sciences. Consider, for instance, the several million American children (mostly boys) recently discovered to be suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder Syndrome but, happily, being treated with apparent success with the drug Ritalin. It is somewhat surprising that such a widespread disorder should have been unknown a few decades ago. But of course that doesn’t mean that there were not numerous sufferers. (53–4)

No doubt among these millions are some seriously sick children. But I do not find it a bit surprising that many children now, and in the past, have had difficulty paying attention in schools. I do doubt whether this proves that there is something wrong with these children’s heads that is appropriately treated with psychotropic (and, apparently, addictive) drugs. Schools are, after all, often boring. The fact that powerful drugs can alleviate the manifestations of the syndrome shows very little. Threats of violence may be equally effective at concentrating the minds of recalcitrant students, but this would not prove that they were suffering from corporal punishment deficiency syndrome. There are many ways of influencing behavior. It is evident that there is some kind of mismatch between the dispositions of the problem child and the social context in which that individual is placed. Such a mismatch could, on the face of it, be addressed by changes to the child, to the environment, or both. I do not deny that changes to the child brought about by the ingestion of psychotropic substances may, in the end, be the best solution in many cases. . . . My worry is that the reductionist perspective on science makes this sort of response look natural, if not inevitable. Millions of drugged children . . . are, arguably, the price we pay for action on the basis of this myth. (54)

Is Dupre’s concern unfounded? No. Since the people associated with naturalism believe nothing except what physics teaches, and believe that no one else is justified in accepting the truth of propositions not founded on physics, they reject medical therapy that is not based on the “medical model.” For example, an article entitled “Mystical Medical Alternativism” states that alternative forms of treatment “posit numerous forms of energy alien to physics” and the goals of “alternativism” are to “make health science a sham and to desecularize healthcare.”128 According to the naturalists, these are two of the deadliest sins—pseudoscience and religion— one can commit. The alternative treatments described in the article include Alternative 12 Steps, Bach flower therapy, homeopathy, karuna reiki, Pranic psychotherapy, stress pattern processing, and vibrational medicine. Some of these treatments might be shams designed to prey on people who are ill merely to profit from their illnesses. This is immoral and ineffective and should be exposed as such. However, I have seen both homeopathy and Bach flower treatments work on infants. I have no scientific explanation for why or how they work (the placebo effect does not apply here), but that they can work, I do not doubt. Since this is the case, I do not want naturalists controlling my access to healthcare treatments by means of federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration or the National Institutes for Health.

Here is Dupre’s conclusion:

Monism is surely not grounded on empiricism. For one thing, if it were, there would be no need of the vast amounts of work expended in the elaboration of eliminativist, instrumentalist, and supervenientist theses designed to explain the empirical failures of monism. More simply, our empirical experience of nature is, on its face, an experience of a huge diversity of kinds of things with an even huger diversity of properties and causal capacities. Some of these properties are open to causal inspection; others require careful . . . scientific investigation. Neither causal experience nor detailed investigation suggest that all these properties are best understood through attention to the physical stuff of which things are made. The advance of science does in deed lend credence to the view that we do not deed to appeal to supernatural things in explaining phenomena. One variety of supernatural things are those that are made out of non-physical stuff, like angels or Cartesian minds. So we may allow that naturalism commits us to the monism that insists that all stuff is material, even physical, stuff. The corollary that insight into the properties of stuff holds the key to understanding the properties and behavior of all those diverse things that are made of that stuff is another matter altogether. And this indeed is the kind of doctrine that suggests the attribution of supernatural powers to physical stuff in a way wholly inimical to naturalism. (55)

Somewhat surprisingly, Dupre’s own position is a kind of naturalism: he advocates a “pluralistic naturalism” based upon the great diversity of kinds of things in the world and the great diversity of the means of inquiring into them. Some of the virtues of science also characterize the non-sciences, and while Dupre provides illustrations of this, he states that “[w]hat is most valuable about this picture of diverse and overlapping projects of inquiry is that it makes unsurprising what seems empirically to be the case, that complex phenomena are far more likely to be understood if a variety of distinct but complementary approaches are brought to bear on them” (56).

In other words, Dupre rejects the unity of science approach to the study of phenomena and instead encourages a variety of disciplinary studies. This, he observes, is a more accurate reflection of our experience with the way the world works. Dupre also rejects W.V.O. Quine’s notion that philosophy is continuous with science (57). Since he is a pluralist when it comes to science, his question to Quine, the famous Harvard “godfather” of late twentieth century philosophy, and his followers is: Which science is philosophy supposedly continuous with? Dupre’s view is that philosophy emphasizes different epistemic virtues and has different goals.

Finally, here are two more arguments that parallel ones that have been raised against supernatural religion. Let us label the first one the “fear argument”.

#1. The Fear Argument
It is irrational to believe anything based on fear.
Naturalism is based on fear.
Therefore it is irrational to believe in naturalism.

This parallels the arguments made by Lucretius, Nietzsche, Fuerbach, and probably most famously, Freud. These thinkers have argued that supernatural religion must be false due to its psychological origin, namely, fear or some sort of wish-fulfillment. Secular, “tough-minded” philosophers have used this line of thinking to belittle the religiously committed for believing in God on a very subjective “soft-minded” basis. So it is shocking, fascinating, and wonderful to have a contemporary philosopher at the height of his career at New York University, Thomas Nagel, admit that atheism, that is naturalism, has the same psychological origin: “The thought that the relation between mind and the world is something fundamental makes many people in this day and age nervous. I believe this is one manifestation of a fear of religion which has large and often pernicious consequences for modern intellectual life.”129 Nagel has a fear of religion, so he wants atheism to be true.

In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social practices, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper—namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is not God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.130

The fear argument as stated above is valid, but unsound. The reason is that the truth of its first premise “It is irrational to believe anything based on fear” is dubious. This premise is open to the following sort of case that functions as a counter-example.

Suppose I live in a town in which a number of my fellow citizens fall ill and die despite receiving good medical care. (Unbeknownst to me, a strain of the Ebola virus has grown and is beginning to spread.) I come to hold the belief that I should flee from the town for my dear life and I base this belief on my fear of death. Almost no one would say that I was acting irrationally even though my belief is generated by fear. So at a minimum, for the argument to be sound, the first premise must be modified: “It is irrational to believe anything based on an unjustified fear.” However, I think the larger point is still sound, namely, that if theistic or spiritual beliefs are based on non-rational features of the human mind and are really psychological projections, then the confession of Thomas Nagel makes it plausible that atheistic and naturalistic beliefs are also based on non-rational features of the human mind and are therefore really psychological projections. As Donald Campbell, past president of the American Psychological Association and a naturalist said, he wanted to do away with a supernatural transcendent authority in morality and that is why he supported the idea of evolutionary ethics.131

While this does not prove that spiritualism is true and naturalism false, it certainly does level the playing field between the two positions and seriously undermines the exclusive association of objectivity with naturalism. As the American philosopher William James (1842–1910) pointed out in his famous exchange with William K. Clifford (1845–1979), when it comes to naturalism versus religion, psychological passion occurs on both sides, not only on the side of religion.132

Here is the second argument directed against naturalism. It is designed to show the social pathology of naturalism. Let us label it the “mass murder” argument.

#2. The Mass Murder Argument
Mass murder is immoral.
If naturalism leads to mass murder, then it is immoral to be a naturalist.
Naturalism does lead to mass murder.
Therefore it is immoral to be a naturalist, or to believe in naturalism.

Both Fascism and Communism are political expressions of naturalism. Fascism is based on an interpretation of Darwinism and racial science. Giovanni Gentile, Mussolini’s philosopher, completely naturalized religion by equating spirituality with the State. Marx was a vehement naturalist in the negative sense, that is, consistently decrying the horrors and superstitions of supernaturalism. In his Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Marx wrote that German theory is practically radical because “it starts from the decisive and positive abolition of religion. The criticism of religion ends with the doctrine that man is highest being for man. . . .”133 And what is man but the nexus of material forces? Communism is based on Marx’s, and other theorists’, dialectical materialism. Like the positivists before them, Fascists and Communists assumed the mantel of science in order to legitimize their understanding of society, especially predictions about society, and their desire to control it. The Nazis and the Soviets systematically committed genocide, murdering approximately sixty million Europeans during the first half of the twentieth century.134 Of course this figure does not include the number of people killed by Chinese, Vietnamese, Cuban, Angolan, and Peruvian Communist regimes and the number of people killed by the Italian, Spanish, and Japanese fascists.135

This second argument is one that I have not encountered in recent philosophical books, although a similar one circulated in American thought during the time of the Second World War.136 Because it is little discussed, I raise it here. Even Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law, and Education does not include this argument.137 (However, this book does contain a good argument against some Marxist assumptions concerning human nature.) Benjamin Wiker’s book, Moral Darwinism, links naturalism to Nazi eugenics as well as the endorsement of abortion and eugenics by the founders of Planned Parenthood and the sexual hedonist movement, but it does not advance this Mass Murder Argument or link naturalism specifically to Communist genocide.138 While not a work of philosophy per se, but rather apologetics, Dinesh D’Souza’s What’s So Great About Christianity? does contain a chapter on the mass murders carried out by atheists and their regimes.139

Some might say that this is a cheap argument, or even one that is “below the belt.” I disagree. Sidney Hook called it a “malicious expression” designed to show that a “naturalist or positivist cannot in principle accept the philosophy of democracy.”140 Of course during the second world war this would be the intellectual equivalent of tarring and feathering one’s philosophical opponents. So it is no wonder that the naturalists were quick to remind people of their association with democracy. “Sometimes it is even charged that naturalists and positivists constitute the philosophical fifth column of Western civilization. . .” says Hook with much exasperation.141 While there are many things that can undermine Western civilization, naturalists and positivists are certainly two groups capable of this. While today’s “war on terror” is waged, secular humanists use the same type of argument against their opponents when they charge that the religious right in America wants to establish a theocracy and that Christians must be opposed to prevent the formation of an American Taliban frame of mind.142 If this type of argument is “cheap,” then it must be so for atheists such as Christopher Hitchens as well. If it is not, then the atheists have clearly lost this round, for D’Souza’s historical analysis of atheistic regimes shows that the argument given above is true.

Philosophers may care very deeply about the status of non-material objects, such as numbers or concepts, the “consciousness-wars,” and the role and status of science, but they are a minority of the world’s population. While these are important philosophical concerns, with the exception of the status of science, these are not “bread and butter” issues for society. Most people want to live in peace and they yearn for a world free of murder and totalitarian regimes. Yes, one can say that this argument is just part of a strategy to pin the worst events of human history on the position held by one’s opponents. Some philosophers of the Enlightenment, especially Voltaire, used this strategy quite successfully against the corrupt first Christian church. Many naturalists and secular humanists nowadays use the Crusades as an argument against Christianity, attempting to show by this means that Christians are prone to violence. If the argument linking naturalism as a cause to mass-murder as an effect is true, then it is naturalism, not Christianity, that is responsible for genocide on such a massive scale that the crusades pale in comparison.143

While American naturalists see themselves as the defenders of liberal democracy, some of them feel so strongly the desire to promote atheism, that some of their statements suggest that the end justifies any means. During the question and answer period at the end of a session at a recent conference on naturalism, the speaker wondered why Americans were still so religious compared to their European counterparts and said that where science is strong, secularism will flourish. One member of the audience said that she had a friend who lived in the former East Germany (a communist dictatorship), and that many people were indifferent to religion there, so perhaps American naturalists could learn some lessons from them about how to promote secularism.144 Ironically, this comment was made at the end of a paper devoted to the promotion of a real, that is secular, liberal democracy. Yet no one in the audience publicly commented on the incongruity of the suggestion.



107. Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994).
108. Sidney Hook, “Naturalism and Democracy” in Naturalism and the Human Spirit 40– 41.
109. Ibid., 42–3
110. Ibid., 46
111. See Science and Ethics by Bernard E. Rollin (New York: Cambridge University Press 2006), especially chapters 1, 2, 9, and 10.
112. Arthur Danto, “Naturalism” in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Paul Edwards (New York: Macmillan and Free Press, 1967), 5 & 6: 448–9.
113. Ibid.
114. David Papineau, “Naturalism” published Feb. 22, 2007, in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online.
115. Ibid.
116. Robert C. Koons, “The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism” in Naturalism: A Critical Analysis, 49–62. Henceforth all extracts will be referenced with page numbers in parentheses for Koons and subsequent authors.
117. Naturalism Defeated? Essays on Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. Edited by James Beilby. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002), vii.
118. Ibid., viii.
119. Taking Darwin Seriously (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1998), 296.
120. Ibid., 297.
121. Ibid.
122. Barry Stroud, “The Charm of Naturalism” in Naturalism in Question.
123. As reported in the article “Atheists attempting a show of strength” by Jacqueline L. Salmon. The Philadelphia Inquirer (Sunday Sept.23, 2007): A9.
124. John E. Hare, “Naturalism and Morality” in Naturalism: A Critical Analysis, Craig and Moreland eds., 189–211.
125. Richard Foley, “What Am I to Believe?” in Naturalism: A Critical Appraisal, Wagner and Warner eds., 147–162.
126. From the introduction by Wagner and Warner summarizing Foley’s argument, 16.
127. John Dupre, “The Miracle of Monism” in Naturalism in Question.
128. Jack Raso, “Mystical Medical Alternativism,” Skeptical Inquirer 15:5 (Sept.–Oct. 1995): 33.
129. Thomas Nagel, The Last Word (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 130.
130. Ibid.
131. See “Naturalism and Morality” by John E. Hare in Naturalism: A Critical Analysis, especially page 199 and the endnote on Campbell.
132. Clifford’s “The Ethics of Belief” and James’ “The Will to Believe” have been reproduced many times. Both can be found in Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings, third edition. Edited by Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach, and David Basinger (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 104–117.
133. Karl Marx: Selected Writings, edited by David McLellan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), 69.
134. Norman Davies, Europe: A History (New York: Harper, 1996), Appendix III, 1329.
135. See Stephane Courtois et al The Black Book of Communism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999).
136. See Sidney Hook’s essay “Naturalism and Democracy” in Naturalism and the Human Spirit, 40–64.
137. Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law, and Education by Phillip E. Johnson (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995).
138. Benjamin Wiker, Moral Darwinism, 256, 261–65.
139. Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2007), chapter nineteen, 213–224.
140. Sidney Hook, “Naturalism and Democracy” in Naturalism and the Human Spirit, 44.
141. Ibid.
142. See for example God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens, 32–34.
143. Again, see D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity?, chapter eighteen.
144. The speaker was Ronald N. Giere, and the person who suggested that the east Germans could teach us a few lessons was Prof. Laura Purdy of Wells College (Friday, Sept. 21, 2007, 9:00 A.M. session).

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