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Naturalism

A Critical AnalysisMultiple Authors, Robert C. Koons, William Lane Craig, William A. Dembski and J.P. Moreland

This impressive volume contains critical essays on naturalism from the perspectives of theology, ethics, cosmology, ontology, and epistemology. Various Discovery Fellows make contributions including Robert C. Koons, J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, and William Dembski.

Koons, a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas, begins by noting that there is a simple correlation between existence and the requirement of some non-natural first cause. He observes an irony that science thinks it requires naturalism, when our very ability to practice science, due to the orderly, reliable, and predictable behavior of the universe implies a non-natural intelligent cause. Scientific dependence upon naturalism is self-refuting.

J.P. Moreland, a noted philosopher, quotes Plato to reveal that there really is nothing new under the sun: scholars have been debating naturalism for millennia, and naturalists have been ever pugnacious in their insistence that mutual co-existence is not an option. Moreland recounts that the great philosopher wrote in Sophist:

“They [naturalists] define reality as the same thing as body, and as soon as one of the opposite party asserts that anything without a body is real, they are utterly contemptuous and will not listen to another word. On this issue an interminable battle is always going on between the two camps.”

Yet the battle may eventually be over if the cosmological data presented by William Lane Craig has anything to do with it. Craig recounts the history of cosmology from when where scholars celebrated an eternal universe with no beginning or end, to one where the universe either has a “supernatural cause” or “one must say that the universe simply sprang into being out of nothing” (Big Bang cosmology mandates an expanding universe that is finite in both space and time.). Craig recounts the words of one team of scientists: “The problem of the origin [of the universe] involves a certain metaphysical aspect which may be either appealing or revolting.”

William Dembski closes the volume by arguing that naturalism is no more supported by the scientific data in biology than it is supported in cosmology. Irreducible complexity in nature disallows the possibility that life arose via naturalistic mechanisms. It also signifies an intelligent cause that scientists cannot deny any longer.

Other contibutors not associated with Discovery include Stewart Goetz, John E. Hare, Paul K. Moser, Michael Rea, Charles Taliferro, Dallas Willard, and David Yandell.

William Lane Craig

Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
William Lane Craig is a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. He earned a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Birmingham, England, before taking a doctorate in theology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany, at which latter institution he was for two years a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung. Prior to his appointmant at Talbot he spent seven years at the Higher Institute of Philosophy of the Katholike Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. He has authored or edited over thirty books, including The Kalam Cosmological Argument; Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom; Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology; and God, Time, and Eternity, as well as nearly a hundred articles in professional journals of philosophy and theology, including The Journal of Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science. He currently lives in Atlanta with his wife Jan; they have two children, Charity and John.

William A. Dembski

Board of Directors, Discovery Institute
A mathematician and philosopher, Bill Dembski is the author/editor of more than 20 books as well as the writer of peer-reviewed articles spanning mathematics, engineering, philosophy, and theology. A past philosophy professor, he retired in 2014 from active research and teaching in intelligent design (ID) to focus on the connections between freedom, technology, and education — specifically, how education helps to advance human freedom with the aid of technology. Bill Dembski is presently an entrepreneur who builds educational software and websites. He lives in Iowa.

J.P. Moreland

Fellow and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
J. P. Moreland is Distinguished Professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He received a B. S. in physical chemistry from the University of Missouri, a Th.M. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, an M.A. in philosophy from the University of California at Riverside, and a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Southern California. He has authored, edited, or contributed papers to ninety-five books, including Does God Exist? (Prometheus), Universals (McGill-Queen’s), Consciousness and the Existence of God (Routledge), The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, The Blackwell Companion to Substance Dualism, and Debating Christian Theism (Oxford.) He has also published close to 90 articles in journals such as Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, American Philosophical Quarterly, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, MetaPhilosophy, Philosophia Christi, Religious Studies, and Faith and Philosophy. Moreland was selected in 2016 by The Best Schools as one of the 50 most influential living philosophers.