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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CA601:

Evolution is materialistic; it requires methodological naturalism. It irrationally rules out the possibility of any divine outside influence.


Johnson, Phillip E. 1990. Evolution as dogma: The establishment of naturalism. First Things (Oct.),
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. Supernaturalism is not ruled out a priori; it is left out because it has never been reliably observed. There are many scientists who use naturalism but who believe in more than nature.

  2. Evolution does not in any way rule out the possibility of any outside influence, even divine influence. When evidence for outside influence has been observed, it has been included.

    Science does not include anything that leaves no evidence that might be tested. Hypotheses that can be asserted but never supported are not part of science. However, these untestable phenomena are only removed from scientific consideration; they are not ruled out from life entirely. People are free to accept or reject them as they please, and science has absolutely nothing to say on the subject. Science not only rules out the acceptance of divine influence; it also rules out the rejection of divine influence.

  3. Evolution is not alone in its naturalism. All science, all engineering, all manufacturing, and most other human endeavors are equally naturalistic. If we must discard evolution because of this philosophy, then we must also discard navigation, meteorology, farming, architecture, printing, law, and virtually all other subjects for the same reason.

  4. Intelligent design implies philosophical naturalism. As noted above, all science, industry, agriculture, and so forth is based on nature. That does not stop evolutionists, other scientists, engineers, manufacturers, and farmers from being able to look beyond the materialism and find spirituality in their lives.

    The intelligent design crowd, on the other hand, seems unable to make that step. They seem to require objective, material evidence to back up their spirituality. But that, of course, makes their spirituality naturalistic. For all their complaints about materialism, people like Dembski and Johnson are trying to expand materialism into the field of religion.


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

Further Reading:

Padgett, Alan G. 2000 (Jul./Aug.). Creation by design. Books and Culture 6(4): 30.
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created 2000-11-18, modified 2004-1-1