After my first posting the day I joined Nexus, someone asked, "What is a metaphysical naturalist?" He could as easily have asked, "What is a naturalist?"
There are many kinds of naturalists, which for almost 3000 years has meant that whether or not a god exists, everything in the world is natural and operates on natural laws.
But actual, true atheism was almost unheard of in ancient Greece. Atheism was the mere denial that the many thousands of gods that were believed to exist had anything to do with the creation of reality.
Modern naturalism denies the existence of the supernatural. There are many forms of naturalism, including scientific naturalism (SN). In the definition I use for metaphysical naturalism (MN), I also deny the supernatural, and my website agrees with Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's approved philosophical heir. Peikoff said this about existence:
"Existence is a self-sufficient primary. It is not a product of a supernatural dimension, or of anything else. There is nothing antecedent to existence, nothing apart from it—and no alternative to it. Existence exists—and only existence exists. Its existence and its nature are irreducible and unalterable." Leonard Peikoff “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy"; "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology"; see
(Strangely, religion, including Catholicism, has its own form of naturalism that not only does not deny the existence of god, but seeks to prove his existence by pointing out that existence exists! see )
Scientific naturalists agree with the content, if perhaps not the wording or the person who wrote it, because their chief spokesman and his websites disagree with Ayn Rand. see
One thing they disagree with Rand about, is the subject of the soul. To Rand it was self-evident that the soul exists, and epistemologically evident that it does not come from god or exist after death. The SN denies the soul exists, calling it nothing more than biology and physiology, thereby denying the metaphysical importance to the consciousness of man this thing that we all find self-evident within our hearts. MN does not deny the metaphysical importance of what we all find self-evident; MN, while accepting that it is created within our consciousness by physiology and biology, accepts that no matter how the soul is created, it still exists, it has metaphysical importance within the conscience of men, and it does not succeed the death of the body.

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Tags: atheism, metaphysical, naturalism, science, soul


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Comment by Curtis Edward Clark on November 7, 2008 at 7:49pm
No, it is not semantics. Read the descriptions given on the link to the SN sites. Those people believe in memes, genetics, physiology, etc; pure science only, no metaphysics except what they cannot get away without discussing.
I've debated Tom Clark before. It's not semantics. To them, "soul" is supernatural, but understanding that "we are all fully caused in a fully caused universe, and that we have no contra-causal powers," makes SN the very definition of "determinism." They believe in "will," but not in "free will," which they make plain over and over.
Read the list of famous philosopher/authors are on that site, and you will get a feel for what I'm saying.
MN does not believe determinism is the state of the human mind, will, or that it affects man in any way. SN believe all is determinism.

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