There has been much talk lately about the recent research conducted at the University of British Columbia and Union College concerning the impact of ‘death anxiety’ on their acceptance of Intelligent Design. As the article on ScienceDaily quotes Prof. Jessica Tracey on the findings of the paper published in PLoS One:
“Our results suggest that when confronted with existential concerns, people respond by searching for a sense of meaning and purpose in life,” saysTracy. “For many, it appears that evolutionary theory doesn’t offer enough of a compelling answer to deal with these big questions.”
As a Christian such a result isn’t surprising, and comports with a result we would expect to see if it were true that humans are spiritual creatures with inherent meaning and purpose, as well as an eternal existence – for such persons considering beliefs to the contrary would cause cognitive dissonance.
Of course, as they find spiritual explanations contrary to their own beliefs the researchers ignore the obvious implications and come up with a possible solution to overcome the dissonance – indoctrination with naturalism:
Tracy says, “These findings suggest that individuals can come to see evolution as a meaningful solution to existential concerns, but may need to be explicitly taught that taking a naturalistic approach to understanding life can be highly meaningful.”
Here one sees a new strategy emerging. The researchers are essentially saying it is not sufficient to merely present the science – we have to present a metaphysical motivation for belief in the science.
It is a progression I have seen a number of times before – there is a beginning to unbelief which is claimed to be merely the product of scientific rationality and lack of an evidence for the immaterial or divine, then when it is apparent this isn’t sufficient for rational thought they adopt ontological naturalism or materialism – a framework on which he or she can construct metaphysical beliefs. Then ideas about existence and meaning and morality are built on this metaphysical framework. Eventually the ‘unbeliever’ has come full circle and is no less driven by a dogmatic faith than the most fundamentalist religionist.
This is part of the reason we know atheism to be false – there is no such thing as a mere ‘unbeliever’. Humans invariably gravitate toward metaphysical constructs in which they find meaning and purpose. And we know that doing so has nothing to do with mere survival and reproduction – such intentions and compulsions transcend mere physicality. This is why can confidently say that atheism is inherently contradictory and self-defeating. We are all religious creatures, and this fact comports with the idea that a transcendent and immaterial reality exists.
We seek meaning and purpose for a very simple reason; we are here for a reason and we have been endowed with a purpose by the intention of a Creator.