Do atheists personify nature?

May 29, 2014 by  
Filed under Dialogues

 

I have a question about the atheists’ arguments and their views.

While arguing against existence of God, they refer to Nature, often even Mother Nature, her laws and her creations. It seems that most of them (atheists) are not bothered about this personification of nature and that they are willing to accept the idea that a collection of molecules and atoms is capable of acquiring laws of its own, though that would be the only system that we know of where the order and laws would rise from total chaos. They use the word Nature so often, when asked to explain creation and all phenomena around, that it sounds to me like they are stuck with religion headed by the deity named Nature.
On the same note, what is considered nature in atheists’ view? Atoms, molecules, rocks, living things? Anything that they could name could not have created the laws because everything that is called nature is already created following these laws. So at what point the nature started creating the laws or do they admit that the laws existed before creating the matter and nature is only obeying them?

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  • New Apologetics Please pardon the delayed response. You wrote:

    “While arguing against existence of God, they refer to Nature, often even Mother Nature, her laws and her creations. It seems that most of them (atheists) are not bothered about this personification of nature and that they are willing to accept the idea that a collection of molecules and atoms is capable of acquiring laws of its own, though that would be the only system that we know of where the order and laws would rise from total chaos.”

    We reply: Atheists do not usually personify nature (this is typically found in paganism), and rarely do they assert that natural law arose spontaneously from total chaos. Normally, their position would be that reality exists (with natural law included) from without beginning, and “reality” includes no supernatural beings. As Ayn Rand wrote as one of the axioms for her philosophical system in Atlas Shrugged, “Existence exists.” For atheists, “existence” is just the natural universe.

    You wrote:
    They use the word Nature so often, when asked to explain creation and all phenomena around, that it sounds to me like they are stuck with religion headed by the deity named Nature.

    We reply:
    They would posit, usually, that nature (like God) is self-existent. It does not need a cause because it is being itself.

    You wrote:
    On the same note, what is considered nature in atheists’ view? Atoms, molecules, rocks, living things? 

    We reply:
    The definition would include anything that exists which is not God or angels or spirits of any kind. So, it leaves open the possibility of the unknown to a large degree.

    You wrote:
    Anything that they could name could not have created the laws because everything that is called nature is already created following these laws. So at what point the nature started creating the laws or do they admit that the laws existed before creating the matter and nature is only obeying them?

    We reply: 
    It depends on the atheist. The most reasonable position is that “existence exists” and that the laws are just the description of the attributes and interactions of what exists. After all, something can’t be unless *something* is, and natural law is the description of the nature of the “something.” Ayn Rand’s position, we think is a very strong one in terms of an attempt at a coherent atheism.