The Leap of Faith in Philosophical/Metaphysical Naturalism

This post triggered, again (I know, right?), my ongoing problem with atheism. But it did so in an interesting way.

The term naturalism refers to explanations based exclusively on natural causes. A position called metaphysical naturalism claims that supernatural causes do not exist. The position of methodological naturalism makes a more humble claim that supernatural causes might exist but will not be invoked to explain the phenomena at hand.

So, of course, I found this article, which concludes with:

From landing a man on the moon, to the creation of the personal computer and the Internet, humanity has been gifted beyond measure by the assumption of methodological naturalism. At some point, doesn’t the amazing success of assuming naturalism when asking questions about reality mean that naturalism is not only a good assumption -but the underlying reality of the Universe?

Now, at first read, I thought “Yeah, yeah, OK. I’ve heard that before.” But there’s still something fallacious about it beyond the leap of faith from method to ontological claim. And it’s relatively easy to find the fallacy in the above phrasing. It’s the sleight of word shift from the phrase “assumption of methodological naturalism” to the phrase “assuming naturalism”. It’s true that the use of methodological naturalism brought us all those things and is what’s so successful. It is NOT true that the use of naturalism, sans the “methodological” modifier, has brought us these things.

My argument with the leap of faith taken by the metaphysical/philosophical naturalists lies precisely there. It’s the METHOD that matters, not the naturalism. It, literally, does not matter what we think, as long as our behaviors follow the pattern.

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