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Worldviews in Natural History

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The following article was written by John K. Reed, PhD, and published in the Creation Research Society newsletter, CreationMatters, Vol. 21 No. 3, May 2016.

Worldviews in Natural History

How did the “historical sciences” gain such prominence? It can be traced to the Western conversion to  the  worldview  of  naturalism,  combined with Christian blindness and apathy. Most of  us  dismiss  worldviews  as esoteric philosophies, but they steer the history of ideas. Finite, fallen creatures need a framework of belief to cover gaps in  their knowledge and to suppress  unpalatable truth (Romans  1). For centuries, Christianity provided this cultural consensus, but  Enlightenment naturalism has displaced it (Reed, 2001; 2013).

Much of naturalism’s success came from denying its  own nature! Positivism - the assertion that science is the only path to truth - negates theology, putting science on the pedestal once occupied by divine revelation. It reassures secularists that their rejection of “religion” is rational, not moral. Free from that “taint,” their knowledge is  pure, as  they  gaze  on  their  pitiful opponents,  mired in superstition. Though logically falsified long ago, positivism remains a potent emotive force.

Another source of success is naturalism’s ability to keep debate on safe secular ground. Christians affirm science - truth is integral to  Christianity - but  they  also  affirm its modern distortions. And science is just  one  path, not the guaranteed truth of divine revelation  (Hebrews  6:18). Christians who have fallen for that scam cannot both refute naturalism and retain science, so  they retain science  and “fix” the Bible. Paralyzed by accusations of a mythical war between science and religion, and by  the insistence that “methodological” naturalism is inherent to science (cf., Reed and Williams, 2011), they have no effective reply, even though the “war” is a myth and naturalism is a parasite of science, not its foundation.

Naturalism relies on deception to overcome inherent self-contradictions in natural history. Early on, it faced two great barriers. The first was the Bible’s coherent  frame work of  the past, and  the second was  the inability to adequately test hypotheses about unique, unobserved past events (Reed and  Klevberg, 2014a,  b).  Early  secularists such as Lyell overcame both using
uniformitarianism. It twisted the well-accepted axiom  of uniformity into a philosophy of history. It then claimed a sufficient similarity between past and  present  geological processes to guarantee a “scientific” understanding of ancient processes. This opened the  door  to  the  “scientific  history”  that displaced Genesis.

Theologians were largely asleep, mesmerized by “science,” or wolves in sheep’s clothing. Ongoing compromise allowed naturalism to displace Christianity.  Today, a secular natural history that features evolution  and billions of years is so well-entrenched that it is  embraced by many churches.

If naturalism has evolved into the dominant system, why should Christians stand in its way? First and  foremost, we should obey God. Second, naturalism as a worldview fails logical tests (Lisle,  2009;  2010;
Reed  et  al., 2004; Reed and  Williams, 2012). These contradictions stem from naturalism’s reliance on science, which in turn relies on Christian axioms, such  as  the inherent  rationality of  nature. Science developed and thrived in, and only in, the Christian West. Therefore, its underlying presuppositions are justified only by Christian theology.

Creationism is fighting far more than twisted facts, incoherent theories, and  incomplete  forensic  history. At root, it is a conflict between worldviews. In recent decades, we have seen the degradation of the old  optimistic naturalism towards nihilism in the current  postmodernist rejection of truth. Science cannot survive those forces; even now we see its vanishing  integrity. Only a Christian worldview could create and contain science and its discoveries; only a robust Christianity can save it from naturalism.

CRSQ: Creation Research Society Quarterly Lisle, J. 2009. The Ultimate Proof of Creation. Master Books, Green Forest, AR.

Lisle,  J.  2010. Discerning  Truth. Master Books, Green Forest, AR.

Reed, J.K. 2001. Natural history in the Christian Worldview. Creation Research Society books, Chino Valley, AZ.

Reed,  J.K. 2013. Rocks  Aren’t  Clocks.  Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA.

Reed, J.K. and E.L. Williams. 2011. Battlegrounds of  natural history, part  I:  naturalism. CRSQ 48(2):147–167.

Reed, J.K. and E.L. Williams. 2012. Battlegrounds
of  natural  history, part  II:  actualism. CRSQ 49(2):135–152.

Reed, J.K. and P. Klevberg. 2014a. Beyond “origin”
and “operation” science, part I: critique of OS2. CRSQ 50(4):237–251.

Reed, J.K. and P. Klevberg. 2014b. Beyond “origin”
and “operation” science, part II: an alternative. CRSQ 51(1):31–39.

Reed, J.K., P. Klevberg, C.B. Bennett, C.R. Froede,
Jr., A.J. Akridge, and T.L. Lott. 2004. Beyond Scientific Creationism. CRSQ 41(3):216–230.

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