Weaponized philosophy (Re: Egnor and 'Materialism')

I’ve watched discussions within the ID community about ‘materialism’ and why it is 'bad, ‘unnecessarily liming’, ‘immoral’ and/or simply ‘false’.

I really suspect much of the beef against ‘materialism’ is not philosophically driven. Rather, starting with Philip Johnson (or before but definitely driven by Johnson), it seems that many have perceived it as anti-God or anti-Christian. To be sure, many atheists would agree and I suspect that reinforces the suspicion of guilt by association.

So we have attempts like Egnor’s to ‘disprove’ materialism. Or Johnson’s attempt to ‘defeat materialism by opening minds’. I think this is simply a case of mis-targeting.

I have no idea how one can prove or disprove materialism, either logically or empirically. It seems that it will remain one of the perpetual debates in philosophy – unless (I hope!) someone comes up with a Godel-like proof of unprovability and philosophers can move on to other questions. I also don’t see how ‘materialism’ rules our God. And finally, I don’t see how non-material explanations about ‘mind’ and ‘consciousness’ are really going to be fruitful. And yet, so much energy is spent ‘defeating materialism’ (yes, better described as physicalism). One wonders…


Does this refer to putting a wedge on your beer? Beastly practice.


Presumably “rules out God”? I don’t see how it doesn’t. If God is assumed to be non-material, materialism would deny his existence. Or do you have a different definition of the term?

Well, there are Christian materialists… So, there is ‘Materialism’ of the flavor that everything is material, and then there is ‘materialism’ of the flavor that this universe operates by material means. And there is the ‘materialism’ that suggests mind and consciousness are material phenomena.

And to be fair, I really prefer terms like ‘physicalism’ over ‘materialism’. Again, as part of the ‘weaponization of philosophy’ I can see why ID proponents would prefer to use an overloaded term like ‘materialism’ (with connotations of ‘materialistic lifestyles’), when possible to add negative emotional impact.

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It’s perfectly acceptable for pilsners. Plus, a cold shandy on a hot day is awesome.

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Yes. Christian physicalists have been around from the beginning of Christianity, especially in the Syrian Christian community. However, most Christians eventually rejected this view in favor of increasingly complicated views of the immortal soul, and charges of atheism became increasingly leveled at Christian physicalists, who were called Epicureans, or materialists, or just plain atheists.