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Science Sunday: Is Scientific Materialism the Best Framework for Understanding Reality?

Photo credit: NASA.

The voices of pop science — Daniel Dennett, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye the Science Guy — teach us and our children that “everything, if Darwin is right, is mechanical and blind and purposeless at the bottom,” that “our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark,” that “the cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be,” and that, as specks upon specks upon specks, we “suck.” In short, we are completely insignificant; we are nothing but matter in a material universe. So our science must be restricted by materialist assumptions, and we must look for nothing more.

Is that what you want to believe? Or do you hope there is something more to life? Here, in a bonus interview from Science Uprising, philosopher Dr. Jay Richards gives us reason to believe that scientific materialism — the belief that there is nothing beyond matter — is inadequate to describe reality, and is therefore not a good starting point for, or definition of, science:

Emily Sandico

Special Projects Coordinator and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Emily Sandico is a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, where she also serves as Special Projects Coordinator. She holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and education from Whitworth University and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Washington State University. She spent 14 years at a major Silicon Valley tech firm, where she worked as a technical editor and product manager, and as a liaison for Fortune 500 clients and the firm’s software development organization, sales force, and technical consultants around the world. Dr. Sandico is a licensed veterinarian with a special interest in how the study of medicine informs our understanding of design in biology. As a citizen and a scientist, she is most interested in helping people to seek truth by building a culture that fosters personal liberty, intellectual honesty, academic freedom, and scientific rigor.



assumptionsBill NyeCarl SaganCharles DarwincosmosDaniel DennettearthJay Richardsmaterial universematerialismNeil deGrasse Tysonpop sciencepurposelessnessscienceScience Uprisingscientific materialism