In a post titled, “Do you believe in magic?”, Christian philosopher Victor Reppert writes:
I don’t believe that reason could arise from nonreason, therefore I think that reason is at the foundation of the universe. According to the naturalistic view, the normative arises from the nonnormative, the logical arises from the nonlogical, the universe exists without an explanation for its existence even though it looks contingent as all heck, the universe was finely tuned for intelligent life, purposes arise where none existed before, consciousness comes from a lack of consciousness. The very foundations of science don’t even seem possible in the irrational universe that atheists believe in. Even the very fact that our thoughts are about something else is sit omething that can’t be captured by basic physics. It has always seemed to me that the atheists, not the theists, are the ones who believe in magic.
My first reaction upon reading this is that Reppert has demonstrated how to make the case for theism appear much stronger than it actually is by committing the fallacy of understated evidence. My second reaction is that my concept of metaphysical naturalism is very different than what Victor describes. As I define metaphysical naturalism:
- it is consistent with moral anti-reductionism (as I define it) and so does not entail that the normative arises from the non-normative;
- if I understand what Reppert means, it does not hold that the “logical arises from the nonlogical”;
- it is consistent with the universe being factually necessary;
- it is supported by the fact that the universe is, at best, coarse-tuned, not fine-tuned, for intelligent life;
- it is disconfirmed by the fact of consciousness, but this disconfirmation is offset by the mind’s dependence on the brain; and
- it is consistent with conscious, intelligent persons constructing subjective purposes.
If you continue reading past the end of Reppert’s post and into his combox, you’ll find commenters suggesting that “atheism is a form of mental illness” and atheism does not even deserve a seat at the kids’ table. As of the time of the writing of this post, Reppert had not yet responded to any of the commenters stating whether he agrees or disagrees. I hope he disagrees and states as much as in his combox.
“Let’s Attack a Straw Man, C.S. Lewis Style!“