Thursday, 10 November 2011
CASE 360 - Materialism
In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance. To many philosophers, not only is 'physicalism' synonymous with 'materialism', but they use both words to describe a position that supports ideas from physics which may not be matter in the traditional sense (like anti-matter or gravity). Therefore much of the generally philosophical discussion below on materialism may be relevant to physicalism. Also related are the ideas of methodological naturalism (i.e. "let's at least do science as though physicalism is true") and metaphysical naturalism (i.e. "philosophy and science should operate according to the physical world, and that's all that exists"). The philosophical alternatives to materialism are some forms of monism (besides the materialistic monism), dualism and idealism.
Materialism as a philosophy is held by those who maintain that existence is explainable solely in material terms, with no accounting of spirit or consciousness. Individuals who hold to this belief see the universe as a huge device held together by pieces of matter functioning in subjection to naturalistic laws. Since materialism denies all concepts of Special Creation, it relies on the Theory of Evolution to explain itself, making beliefs in materialism and evolution interdependent.
The first question this worldview should cause most of us to ask is, "If all that exists is matter only, where did the natural laws that govern it come from?" New scientific discoveries in the areas of biological complexity, cosmological design, quantum physics, and information theory bring these materialistic assumptions into doubt. A massive quantity of evidence demonstrates that the universe and its material aspects are connected by a network of energy, design and information. We now see much more than matter - we see the result of conscious creation.