An excellent site that offers an atheistic identity and philosophy without most of the tiresome baggage associated with that unfortunately skunked term, "atheism."

"The Center for Naturalism promotes science-based naturalism as a comprehensive worldview--a rational and fulfilling alternative to
faith-based religions and other varieties of supernaturalism. The
understanding that we are fully natural beings is the foundation for
an effective approach to personal and social concerns, and highlights
our intimate connection to the awe-inspiring universe described by
science.  Through its educational activities and initiatives, the
Center develops constructive applications of naturalism, supports
progressive social policy, and in collaboration with other secular
groups, helps to build a community of naturalists.

"It’s important to see that naturalism depends on taking science as your way of knowing
about the world and what ultimately exists in it. Scientific explanations
tend to unify our view of what exists, since once something gets
understood scientifically, the connections between it and the
rest of what science understands are made clear. This is what
science does: to show the pattern of connections between different
things. These connections are sometimes literal physical connections,

such as how our bodies are put together, and sometimes they are
causal connections, such as how the wind causes a sailboat to
move. Either way, science inevitably unifies the constituents
of the world into a single whole, in which everything is either
closely or remotely connected to everything else. It doesn’t
and can’t show that there is a separate supernatural realm,
or some sort of supernatural stuff that is categorically different
from what’s in the physical, natural world. So, science
is the basis for naturalism. If you take science as your preferred
way of knowing about the world, you’ll be led to naturalism."

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doone, I didn't take an endorsement of Gaia from what they were saying in the bits I just read. I can see how you could take that interpretation from their section on connectedness, but I think that they are positing something a little different from that. They are correctly pointing out the interconnection of all elements within ecosystems, but I don't think they are suggesting the kind of superorganism at the heart of Gaia theory, as I understand it. They seem more to be hinting at Dawkins' Einsteinian wonder, if they are in fact, hinting at anything beyond pure science. I need more reading of the site to be sure of that.

I always have a problem with using the word naturalism in this context. I know that it is linguistically correct , in terms of being the opposing viewpoint to supernaturalism, but it is a word which, to me, has the baggage of association with life sciences and nature study, as opposed to a naturalistic view of science. Perhaps that is why you read the Gaia context into it, doone?

Don, it does seem an interesting site, and I will bookmark it for future reference.
I hadn't seen that passage , Adriana. I understand your reservation over the attempt to include a "spiritual" element, though I would think that it is more that Einsteinian sense rather than any religious sense that is intended. However, if you take away the first and the last two sentences of that passage, is there much to disagree with? It does, then, resonate with my own perspective relatively well.

The elements relating to free-will that you describe were the one bit where I really did feel uncomfortable. I don't know enough about neuroscience to know the arguments fully for and against such a view, but I am naturally inclined to feel uncomfortable with any attempt to abdicate responsibility, either through some form of determinism, or outside agency.
Ditto, me too Don. Thanks for posting.
I thought naturalism, was just a polite word for nudist behavior.
Doug, the term for social nudism is "Naturism". I thought as you, but thank Dog for Wikipedia!
Ya know, the world is a lot more interesting when you suffer from dyslexia.
While it probably could be classified as just another secular, freethought, atheist, humanist organization, The Center for Naturalism is maybe a bit different. It seems to be a bit beyond the supposed negativism of some groups. I don't buy that any of the groups, just like Richard, Dan, Christopher, PZ and everybody are really that negative, but this group is a little like the Brights, sans the difficult name. As far as I've read, they seem to have absolutely levelheaded philosophical worldviews and pretty well organized presentation of themselves. I recommend you, your family, and friends consider joining them.
Yes, I agree, Chuck. I think Tom Clark is the main man over there. I like what he writes in support of the Center's essential outlook. For example, this (below) from an essay of his that is posted to the Web site, “Reality and Its Rivals: Putting Epistomology First”:

Being epistemically responsible--not taking appearances at face value and seeking external confirmation for belief--inevitably pushes us toward intersubjectivity and science. This in turn increases the plausibility of the claim that there’s nothing over and above the natural world, what science shows to exist.

Almost the most crucial distinction we can make as cognitive creatures is between appearance and reality, between how things seem and how they really are, between subjectivity and objectivity . . . Most religions and non-empirically grounded worldviews also claim objectivity; after all, that’s a primary function of a worldview: to provide a picture of what’s real. But these worldviews sometimes claim modes of knowing that reveal the existence of realms outside nature, or that support understandings of nature, and human nature, that sometimes contradict mainstream science. Scientists, science-promoting organizations, and those interested in getting at the truth about the world have a direct interest in assessing the reliability of such modes of knowing, as I’ve done above. Why? Because they want to make sure they’re not missing the cognitive boat in some respect. To openly question religious epistemology isn’t an unfair inquisition against religion or an attack on First Amendment freedoms of conscience, but a necessary defense of a precious and hard-won cultural resource: the epistemic virtue of submitting factual claims to tests which best insure their reliability. If there are other or better tests than what intersubjective empiricism, exemplified by science, has devised, scientists and other free inquirers want to know about them. On the other hand, if a religious or otherwise non-empirical epistemology isn’t a reliable guide to reality, that’s vitally important for people to know. In an interconnected global society, too much depends, both practically and ethically, on staying undeceived about the nature of the world and ourselves. The question of epistemology--of how we know what we know--has to be put front and center.

The only reliable basis for knowledge, the only route from subjectivity to objectivity, is to relentlessly subject a belief to doubt, then to allay the doubt (or confirm it) by gathering evidence that’s independent of one’s commitment to the belief.  To the extent that worldviews, however widely held, fail to test their factual claims using publicly available evidence, and to the extent these claims are incapable of being tested, they fail as contenders for truth.
Actually it wasn't Daniel who came up with "Brights", he just the one who popularized it.
I had thought that James Randi had come up with 'Brights'.
My first and only born was so bright we called him son.
All of this has been discussed elsewhere, but I side with those who think that "brights" is an unfortunate and mistaken coinage. Its aura of self-satisfaction is alienating--which is the last thing we need.


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