Is the History of Science Evidence for Naturalism? A Reply to Jeffery Jay Lowder

Trinity Journal of Natural and Philosophical Theology 1 (2):69-87 (2023)
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Abstract

As formulated by atheist Jeffery Jay Lowder, the Evidential Argument from the History of Science, or AHS, is premised on the observation that over the course of modern history, naturalistic explanations have progressively overtaken supernaturalistic explanations. That history, says Lowder, constitutes evidence that metaphysical naturalism is true (hence that theism is false). But it’s possible that the historical pattern as described is not actually the result of any genuine explanatory virtues of naturalistic over supernaturalistic explanations. If there are good reasons to suspect that naturalistic explanations fail to accurately or adequately explain the world around us, then we would not have sufficient grounds to follow Lowder’s argument to its conclusion. Here I will present three reasons to suspect that naturalistic explanations fail to accurately or adequately explain the world around us: (1) an alternative reading of the history of science according to pessimistic induction; (2) the arbitrary epistemic requirements of methodological naturalism; and (3) the ongoing resistance of certain phenomena (the origins of the universe and of life on earth) to any naturalistic explanations that are coherent and relatively simple.

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