Academic journal article Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

On Sean Carroll's Case for Naturalism and against Theism

Academic journal article Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

On Sean Carroll's Case for Naturalism and against Theism

Article excerpt

Among the atheist scientists, Sean Carroll is one of the most careful critics of theism and defenders of naturalism/materialism. (1) My article will articulate Carroll's major arguments for naturalism and against theism, and critically examine them. I shall argue that none of Carroll's arguments are cogent.

Carroll's main thesis is the following:

C: By scientific standards, the materialist hypothesis should be accepted and the God hypothesis should be rejected. (2)

Carroll provides two arguments to support his thesis: one argument put forward in his earlier writing, "Why (Almost All) Cosmologists Are Atheists"; and a second argument that is built upon his earlier argument and is put forward in his later works. (3)

Carroll's Earlier Argument

Carroll's first argument for his thesis C, which is presented in his paper "Why (Almost All) Cosmologists Are Atheists," is as follows:

1. Science has been extremely successful at constructing theories which accurately model reality.

2. In the various ways in which the God hypothesis might have been judged to be a helpful hypothesis, there are alternative explanations which are no less plausible than the God hypothesis, but which do not require anything outside a completely formal, materialist description. …

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