Louder Fenn

Thursday, February 21, 2002

Okay, I said I was going to retreat from this for a while, but I did read something that makes me want to be clearer. Bryan Preston has a nice thought experiment about a pair of doctors. (And the answer, Bryan: The materialist Doctor #2 indeed did the most good.) Bryan's point, here and subsequently, is that rejecting materialism in toto is wrong -- even from a Christian perspective. He's right. My earlier remark about bunsen burners, I think, shows that I agree with him.

What I was trying to do, though, was deal with materialism as a fundamental philosophy. Of course the world is material. It is open to material investigation and material manipulation. A scientist by practice is necessarily a materialist. His purpose is to discern the workings of the material world. A man, even a thoroughgoing Christian, should pretty much set aside supernatural concerns in studying the world. The problem comes when one, as a scientist, denies the supernatural. When one, that is, becomes a Materialist.

And my idea is that one can embrace Evolutionism -- the belief in Man's spontaneously arising from not-Man -- only after one has, implicitly at least, become a Materialist. A man can accept the findings of engineering, mathematics, biology, astrophysics -- any of the sciences -- wholly in a materialistic frame of mind, without abandoning his supernatural faith. Such faith does not address the value of Planck's constant or the workings of the large intestine. Such faith does, however, address the nature of Man. And when you say that God did not make Man directly, you are retreating from the supernatural; and when you are actually persuaded by the meager "evidence" for evolution of species, you are exposing your fundamental Materialism.

Science is wonderful. I mean that. I have said a couple of times here that my quarrel is not with science. How could it be? God made the world and the world was good; we are material; and science is for studying material things. But one who says that Man came from muck is not, in that assertion, being a scientist; he is being a Materialist. That is my point.

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