This where I read the little blurb about C.S. Lewis not immediately embracing Christianity. It's a fine article that describes the irrational nature of materialism:
That's an interesting article but it seems to me that it does that which I have seen others do in the past - it assumes that this 'materialism' excludes anything else. This is just no true.
Time and again in science we find researchers coming up against things that are plainly and obviously wrong - how could light be a wave and particles at the same time, for example? Well, sometimes, we have to put away our common sense and settle for what nature tells us. These odd behaviours of light really happen and we have shown it. Our maths works out accurately as the conclusion has to be that light really is that way. the point here is that there is not limit set as to what research can show and most scientists would be quite pleased if someone could break a theory in their field as it would lead to new discoveries.
In fact, if we ever discovered something genuinely non-material, like a god, say, action on something in the material world and could prove it, there's a Nobel prize waiting! the thing is, though, that research leads where it leads and we can't predict what will be found.However, so far no one has been able to show that there is such a thing as the 'supernatural' (I rather think the words are rather woolly and poorly defined so that some careful work on defining might be necessary to even know if we found such a thing.) It's hardly as though no one has researched, though, as psychics have been working on this for decades.
Then there is this thing about minds. It has been a handy thing to pick up on for theists as, of course, we don't know enough minds and brains at present. Yet we know quite a bit. Researchers have managed to speak to completely paralysed people but asking them yes or no questions and getting them to think of something, like playing tennis, and picking up the brain patterns on a brain scan. Other studies have shown us the brain making decisions before the person knows what that decision is
. So we are starting to get to grips with the brain and the mind. However, there is one thing we have known for a long time about minds and that is they only exist whilst there is a functioning, healthy brain there. As soon as the brain dies, so does the mind. We even know what parts of the brain do from observing the effects of brain damage on people. Damage the visual cortex and sight is affected perhaps. So we know that minds are not quite as nebulous might be thought as they are firmly attached to brains and damaged in the same way as brains are.
Now if we are to contemplate how we can trust our brains / minds, well, the fact is if they were not reliable we may well be unaware of this. After all, the same problem would apply to all of us. We could, of course, note that we make good predictions about our environment and can easily compare notes about that environment with other people. However, the rub is that faulty minds affect the theist just as much as the atheist, (or not).
So, actually, research has some problems if it were to look for the non-material. There's no definition of the supernatural and we have no concept of a mind without a brain. These are awkward to get round in the short term but not insuperable. Any research we are doing could, in theory, be affected by the supernatural but we need to know what to look for. Meanwhile, for theists there are problems too - just suppose an experiment gave us the tell-tale signs of a god acting
. How would the theist work out it was their particular god from all the possible ones?
So, science and atheists are not so much materialistic but following the evidence. If there really is a non-material god out there that causes changes in the material universe, it is bound to be the case that this god will be detected - maybe by affecting a person's brain to the extent that the person heard words from that god. It's a promising line of research for the churches to fund to see if they can show the existence of something that they only believe in.