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The Science of Natural Science

This post is part of the series Knowledge

I have already discussed the sciences of theology and philosophy, so the next highest science is natural science. Scientists in the modern era have appropriated the term ‘science’ as if it only applied to their activities or their activities are exemplars of science. Neither is true. Natural science is the study of material beings.

Natural science is the study of material beings. By material beings, these are any substances formed of matter. The study of immaterial substances is not a part of science. Material beings cover the entire range of scientific discourse from stars and planets to atoms, humans and rubber. Anything that can be destroyed or changed into something else is a material thing and can be investigated by science.

Natural science also studies change. All material beings are capable of change because they are material. Since science studies material objects, it also studies what is essential to material objects. Therefore, science studies change. Scientific laws describe the pattern of changes that occur in the world. Scientific theories explain these changes by showing how the powers and potentials of various substances interact with each other.

There would be little controversy here except for a historical accident. A few hundred years ago, an idea known as naturalism began to gain prominence within philosophy and science. This idea claimed that there was nothing but material things in the universe and therefore natural science was the highest of the sciences. As I have shown in my proof of God’s existence, this is false. However, a series of historical events led to the adoption of beliefs that cannot withstand the scrutiny of reason. In any case, this historical accident has caused two problems in science. The first is an inability to define natural science. The second is an inability to recognize when natural science imports principles from a higher science.

If natural science were the highest science then it becomes difficult to distinguish natural science from philosophy or psychology. Even the methods of natural science are imported into history where they do more harm than good. This confusion of the sciences leads to misunderstanding rather than knowledge. Philosophy is treated as if it were an exploration of concepts rather than an exploration of the fundamental nature of existence itself. Psychology is treated as if it were the outworking of mechanical processes and thought is viewed as reducible to chemicals. History is treated as if experiments and false objectivity will give knowledge.

Natural science imports principles from philosophy. These include the nature of change, powers and potentials as well as the requirement that natural science begin with sense experience. These things are necessary for natural science to exist but it cannot prove any of them.

Next, I will discuss the science of psychology.

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