Browse Search Feedback Other Links Home Home The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
Previous Claim: CA250   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CA301.1

Claim CA301:

Science is based on naturalism, the unproven assumption that nature is all there is.


Johnson, Phillip E. 1990. Evolution as dogma: The establishment of naturalism. First Things no. 6, p. 15-22,
Dembski, William A. 1996. What every theologian should know about creation, evolution and design.


  1. The naturalism that science adopts is methodological naturalism. It does not assume that nature is all there is; it merely notes that nature is the only objective standard we have. The supernatural is not ruled out a priori; when it claims observable results that can be studied scientifically, the supernatural is studied scientifically (e.g., Astin et al. 2000; Enright 1999). It gets little attention because it has never been reliably observed. Still, there are many scientists who use naturalism but who believe in more than nature.

  2. The very same form of naturalism is used by everyone, including creationists, in their day-to-day lives. People literally could not survive without making naturalistic assumptions. Creationism itself is based on the naturalistic assumption that the Bible has not changed since the last time it was read.

  3. Naturalism works. By assuming methodological naturalism, we have made tremendous advances in industry, medicine, agriculture, and many other fields. Supernaturalism has never led anywhere. Newton, for example, wrote far more on theology than he did on physics, but his theological work is largely forgotten because there has been no reason to remember it other than for historical curiosity.

  4. Supernaturalism is contentious. Scientific findings are based on hard evidence, and scientists can point at the evidence to resolve disputes. People tend to have different and incompatible ideas of what form supernatural influences take, and all too often the only effective way they have found for reaching a consensus is by killing each other.


Isaak, Mark. 2002. A philosophical premise of 'naturalism'?


  1. Astin, J. A., E. Harkness and E. Ernst. 2000. The efficacy of "distant healing": a systematic review of randomized trials. Annals of Internal Medicine 132(11): 903-910.
  2. Enright, J. T. 1999. Testing dowsing: The failure of the Munich experiments. Skeptical Inquirer 23(1): 39-46.

Further Reading:

Padgett, Alan G. 2000. Creation by design. Books and Culture 6(4) (Jul./Aug.): 30.
Previous Claim: CA250   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CA301.1

created 2003-5-15, modified 2004-9-28