A wise and learned philosopher once said, “We are living in a material world, and I am a material girl”. OK, those were the lyrics to Material Girl by Madonna – but, whether she realised it or not, I think she was onto something: many people today, especially within science, do think we are quite literally living in a material world. Many scientists (and, indeed, people from other fields such as history) presume methodological naturalism – the idea that the best explanation for anything is always a naturalistic one. ‘Supernatural’ explanations are discounted a priori.
This kind of attitude seems to have become standard fare in many scientific circles. Although I don’t usually read the magazine, back in 2012 my wife kindly bought me a copy of the New Scientist special edition “The God Issue”. The editorial on the front page talked scornfully about religion: “Religious claims still wither under rational scrutiny and deserve no special place in public life.” Ouch! This kind of attitude was evident most of the way through the magazine.
I’ve written a review of Sharon Dirckx’s book “Am I just my brain?” for Ian Paul’s blog Psephizo.
Read the rest of the review on his blog.