Podcast Interview (Part 2) with NonTheology – Metaphysical Naturalism and Secular Humanism

Last week I posted part 1 of an interview I had in early January with Gabriel McDonald from the NonTheology podcast. The subject of the interview is Metaphysical Naturalism and Secular Humanism, and how they provide for a non-theistic worldview without the need of religion in any part of one’s life philosophy.

Part 2 of the podcast is now available on NonTheology.

In the second half I provide arguments in favor of Metaphysical Naturalism and also respond to apologetic arguments against Naturalism. At the end of the podcast we also discuss the type of world that Secular Humanists want to create, and how this outlook for the future can inform our positions and direct our activism in the present when it comes to determining social policy and promoting a secular culture.

If you enjoyed the first half, I hope that you likewise find the second half to be interesting. Thanks to everyone who listens to the whole two-hour interview! I know that I certainly enjoyed the time on the show!

-Matthew Ferguson

This entry was posted in Philosophy, Podcasts. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Podcast Interview (Part 2) with NonTheology – Metaphysical Naturalism and Secular Humanism

  1. MWF, hope you are doing well. What’s your take on Nye/Ham debate? It’s effects:


    thx b

    • Hey Bunto,

      I actually didn’t watch the debate (I don’t really even pay attention to creationists), but I have followed the memes afterward and I am very glad that Nye not only won, but also showed that he was open-minded, while Ham obviously would not be convinced by any amount of evidence. I also like how even Pat Robertson is now backing away from the creationists. I think that, despite all apologetic attempts, they are now losing that front, and I hope it will be followed by apologetic retreats elsewhere (these days apologists are mostly retreating into philosophical and historical arguments, but, I think as skeptics catch up with their games, they will have even less foxholes to hide in there).

      I also like that Nye, as a symbol of American education, clearly won and had better ideas. The most crucial thing we need in counter-apologetics is serious scholars, experts, and authorities calling out these apologetic arguments and appeals to “evidence” that are little more than thinly veiled attempts to proselytize.

      I think that Nye’s victory will not change the opinions of hardened apologists (most will claim that they don’t care about YE vs. OE creationism, so long as Jesus rose form the dead, or there are good theological arguments for god), but it is an important victory for American culture and social progress that creationists are being exposed as scam artists. I think that creationism will lose a lot of popular favor in the years ahead and that will be accompanied by a decline in religiosity as a whole.

      Finally, I don’t really see how someone could “not care” about the implications of evolution. I don’t follow the debate (I don’t really think there is one), but it definitely has ramifications for one’s metaphysics and Christian theological beliefs. Jesus allegedly had to die for our sins, because the “first humans,” who were made in God’s image, disobeyed him. Yet, all of the biological evidence shows that humans never existed in any perfect Eden state, but instead came from previous animals that evolved through a long and brutal process. How can we possibly say that there was any “fall” of man? What exactly did Jesus’ resurrection save us from? The fact that we have demonstrably always been nothing more than intelligent animals who came about just as imperfectly as the rest of nature?

      I don’t see the point of Jesus’ resurrection without an initial fall of man. However, our biological and anthropological history shows that we never existed in such a state. We have always been imperfect cavemen formed by our environment (along with a dozen or so other hominids), not made in any divine image. Since evolution from common descent undermines the concept of Eden, and since the theological implications of Jesus’ resurrection are tied to the concept of Eden, I think that the truth of evolution undermines the case for Jesus’ resurrection.

      One can say that evolution is a scientific matter and the resurrection is a “historical” matter, but MY science is not divorced from my history. Both systems operate together in my metaphysics, so that one cannot contradict the other. Whereas apologists seem to be the ones always making ad hoc assumptions to explain away dis-confirming evidence. In the end, it shapes into nothing more than a series of rationalizations to explain way disparate effects with the only unifying theme being “Christianity is true.” My naturalism is built on a cumulative case, and how anyone could build a cumulative case for Christianity, when apologists can’t even figuring out the role of major feature of our reality, such as evolution, in their theology and metaphysics escapes me.

  2. Bible Movies for some reason

    DJEM: Why Noah is an Incredible Outreach Opportunity and How Christians Can Make the Most of It

    [excerpt] “Bible movies are hot right now. Son of God is currently in theaters..While many Christians react negatively to these movies because they usually stray from strict adherence to the text of scripture, I am convinced that we should be glad Hollywood is making them.”

    They had to add a disclaimer to “Noah” because it took liberties with historical accuracy. I know how badly that upsets peeps like yourself MWF. Response post?… maybe just for kicks?.. hello are you there?


    • Hey Bunto,

      Sorry that I have been away from the blog for so long. I have been absolutely swamped with school work right now (between Ph.D. exams, presentations from a number of potential job candidates that we graduate students have been asked to watch for feedback on a faculty hire, hosting an academic conference this last weekend at UCI, and final exams and papers this upcoming week).

      I have blogs planned for later in March, but my calendar is completely booked at the moment. As for DJEM and Hollywood, a number of Classics movies are coming out now too, from Pompeii to the new 300 movie about Themistocles. I can never enjoy films rife with so many inaccuracies, but they do make people more interested in the ancient world, which pays my bills as a Classicist 😉

  3. MWF, hope you are doing well. LONG time no hear! Well I know you are very busy lately but could you pen to me a letter about this subject: Theism/Theology and the notion of meeting with them ‘halfway’? (in order to validate their perspective I’m guessing) It’s a vibe that’s current in my youtube community, to which I’ve started a push-back. You know how us materialists can be. We’re starting to grow nicely (Pro fide veritatis counter-apologetics 2014), but these little atheist enablers have a bit of a jump on us with their particular message & org.

    We ourselves refuse to surrender to fairy tales.


    ps. Just like/length as the wonderful Nye/Ham letter you wrote to me here, remember? Thanx again for your thoughts & precious time 🙂

    • Hey Bunto,

      Sorry that I have been away. I just posted about some of the projects I have been up to these last couple months.

      What do you mean by meeting theism/theology “halfway”? Do you mean that apologists are asking skeptics to be charitable in entertaining some of their suppositions in order to more clearly understand their side?

      If so, I have some thoughts about that, but, let me know what you mean by “halfway,” so that I can more specifically address your question.

      • “What do you mean by meeting theism/theology “halfway”? Do you mean that apologists are asking skeptics to be charitable in entertaining some of their suppositions in order to more clearly understand their side?”

        Actually, I think it may be THE OTHER WAY AROUND! ‘Skeptics’ asking apologists to council with them over Theology (a rose by any other name). Go ahead and just write down whats on your mind, I’m sure I can work with it.


        • Hey Bunto,

          I think that communicating in order to understand each other’s positions is an important part of having constructive conversations between atheists and theists. All too often both sides straw man the other to refute the position that they want to refute, but not necessarily the view held by the actual person. Likewise, atheists and theists often use some of the same terms in different ways, and we also have different ways of framing and approaching some of the same questions.

          Because of that, before having any argument, I think it is best to ask a couple questions to clarify the other’s position. It’s also important to be upfront about how much one wants to get involved in a given conversations. Sometimes arguments online simply devolve into tedious, drawn out tangents with both people simply trying to get in the last word.

          I’ve definitely met both reasonable and unreasonable theists while discussing these issues. I do not ask people to abandon their religion, but I do work to educate people on what atheist and naturalist positions actually are. So many apologists straw man naturalism and secular humanism to the point that many theists, indoctrinated by such material, do not even have an accurate picture about these philosophies. Now, to be fair, the same can happen with skeptics straw manning theism.

          I have found that apologists, who are bent on arguing that there is undeniable “proof” of their religion, tend to be unreasonable and misinformed. However, not all theists fall into that category, and in fact most do not. Apologetics is just an especially aggressive breed of zealous dogma, IMO.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s