Considering that I’ve made a few flippant remarks about “naturalism” along the way, I want to set the record straight and make it clear that I completely agree with the following… well maybe not completely, but it has more to do with semantics and subtle nuances.
I also want to post this hoping that it might spur some further discussion.
From the Center for Naturalism
Q. What is naturalism, anyway? And keep it straightforward!
A. Ok, naturalism is simply the understanding that there exists a single, natural, physical world or universe in which we are completely included. There are not two different worlds, the supernatural and natural. Since we are completely included in the natural world, there’s nothing supernatural about us.
For instance, we don’t have immaterial souls that survive after death. We are fully physical, material creatures, and everything we are and do can be understood without supposing that we have souls, spirits, or any other sort of immaterial supernatural stuff inside us.
Your thoughts, experiences, feelings, decisions, and behavior are all things your brain and body does. How they do all this is of course a very complicated story that’s still being discovered by science, but naturalism says there’s nothing non-physical involved. That the material world has produced creatures that are conscious, can reason, feel emotions, and ask questions is a pretty amazing fact. The “merely” physical isn’t so mere after all. Naturalism re-enchants the physical world.
“everything we are and do can be understood without supposing that we have souls, spirits, or any other sort of immaterial supernatural stuff inside us.”
? ? ?
“Immaterial supernatural stuff”
How would “Love” be defined, just saying it’s synapses and hormones, explains the mechanism, but there’s more to love.
What it is… who would dare define it ?
It’s immaterial for sure,
but it’s also real
My question: can we at least be clear that immaterial and supernatural aren’t necessarily the same?
I don’t feel totally comfortable with that sentence, because I do believe in the ghost in the machine, in that the whole can be more than the sum of it’s parts. I believe on this Earth, this unfathomable biological marvel, that indeed some immaterial spirit exists as a result of all that intermingled complexity, those folds within folds of harmonic complexity as they cascade down the stream of time.
Nothing to with anything people would call God, just some essential element, unrecognized by us, but still some all infusing “spirit” that grew out of those first four billion years of evolution, which set the stage for the wonders of the development of complex life and then oxygen enabled life these past half billion years.