The Uniformity of Nature and Materialism

The Uniformity of Nature

     Another major issue that develops when evaluating materialistic worldview falls into the area of how the adherent to this view justifies the Inductive Principle. First, how can the materialist utilize particular experience to formulate generalized conclusions about nature and reality? Second, how can the unbeliever, who believes that at its foundation, the universe is based on random/chance occurrences, account for stability and uniformity in future experience? Stated another way, how can the Materialist account for future scientific success and the belief that chemical reactions and the properties of the universe will react in the same fashion in the future, given the worldview make up of this position? The materialist may answer this question by proclaiming that all matter has certain properties and reacts in a consistent fashion. However, this is simply question begging, considering the fact that the materialist does not know the properties of matter universally and due to the fact that they are attempting to answer a question concerning the future via past experience. That is, they are assuming that about the future that they are attempting to prove. Probability factors are also a response the Materialist gives on this matter; proclaiming that all past-futures have been the same as the past. But, this again fails to address the question at hand, given the fact that probability factors are extrapolated via past or current experiences and not via future experience. Moreover, it is inconsistent to attempt to posit future uniformity given the presupposition of Empiricism, considering the fact that the future is not observable. This reality is even noted by such famed Skeptics as Bertrand Russell, who proclaimed;

It has been argued that we have reason to know that the future will resemble the past, because what was the future has constantly become the past, and has always been found to resemble the past, so that we really have experience of the future, namely of times which were formerly future, which we may call past futures. But such an argument really begs the very question at issue . . . Will future futures resemble past futures? This question is not to be answered by an argument, which starts from past futures alone. We have therefore still to seek for some principle which shall enable us to know that the future will follow the same laws as the past.[1]

     Given the nature of the emphasis that the Materialist places on empirical sense experience and scientific inquiry, the recognition of this deficiency is extremely telling. In summary, this worldview has no basis upon which to advance in future scientific study, or to even assume that the uniformity necessary for consistency in science, or generalized experience, will be prevalent without committing the logical fallacy of circularity. Finally, the Materialist is inconsistent in denying their presupposition of a random/chance universe when positing uniformity and future consistency. Thus, even when taken on its own merits, the materialistic worldview fails miserably to answer the most vital questions of future experience.

 

[1] Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1912), 668, Kindle.