Some scientists claim that what one can experience with the five senses is all there is; hence there is nothing outside of the material universe.
But wait a moment. If scientific naturalism is true, nature is all there is, religion is merely an expression of need, want, or a quest for power, and only what can be measured is real, then one needs to ask, why trust the scientist? In order for scientists to practice science, which is not a physical thing, they must be outside the prison of nature with its domineering and unstoppable determinism.
If naturalism is true, scientists are not free moral agents making impartial volitional studies, but rather they are just a part of the machine, dispensing ideas and formulas that they must produce as their part in the evolutionary dynamism. Chuck Colson states rather succinctly, “Christians ought to argue that scientific naturalism is incoherent and self-contradictory, for scientists must exempt themselves from the very framework they prescribe for everyone else. All human beings are reduced to mechanisms operating by natural causes—except scientists themselves. Why? Because to carry out their experiments, they must assume that they, at least, are capable of transcending the network of material causes, capable of rational thought, of free deliberation, of formulating theories, of recognizing objective truth. They themselves must form the single glaring exception to their own theory. This is the fatal self-contradiction of naturalism.” ((How Now Shall We Live, p 421))
C.S. Lewis, responding to Professor Price’s scientific arguments against the reality of religion, answered using naturalistic reasoning, “He spoke as he did because the matter of his brain was behaving a certain way:…what we call his thoughts was essentially a phenomenon of the same sort as his other secretions—the form which the vast irrational process of nature was bound to take at a particular point of space and time….he was deluded.” ((God in the Dock, p 136)) Lewis goes on to point out that if naturalism is true, then thoughts, ideas, and insights, being the determined product of non-intentional natural processes, are nothing more than a hiccup or sneeze.” ((God in the Dock, p 137))
Bryan Appleyard states, “First Copernicus had turned us into a cosmic speck, secondly Darwin had robbed us of any privileged position in creation, and, finally, he, Freud, had shown that man was not even master of his own mind.” ((Understanding the Present, p 72)) “…for we too must be made of numbers and these numbers must be subject to the same iron logic of cause and effect. We do things because of other things and we are joined to the whole universal chain of causality. Free will is an illusion born of our ignorance. Science tells us that we can know everything and, therefore, that we can be utterly imprisoned.” ((Understanding the Present, p 62))
If we, as naturalists ((I am not using the term naturalist in its technical philosophical sense but rather as an inclusive term referring to those who believe that the immaterial world, i.e. spiritual, does not exist.)) like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and their fellow materialists say, are merely the result of material stimulants and antecedents, then what is lost is far more than one might assume. For without free moral agency there really is no right or wrong, love, hate, valor, praise, crime, good or bad, hope, etc., because everything, and I mean everything, is merely the product of an unstoppable material force. So that even to say we are free is not a free statement, and for one to say “I love you” means nothing more than “I must say I love you, but I don’t in any meaningful sense because that takes freedom.”