• Welcome to the new Internet Infidels Discussion Board, formerly Talk Freethought.

"Nature's God." New concept or buzzword?

Sarpedon

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2002
Messages
2,976
Location
MN, US
Basic Beliefs
the Philosophy of Not Giving a Damn
I'm seeing this term increasingly, especially amongst anti-gay religious people. Is it an old idea, new idea, or just another way of implying that being gay is unnatural? Are there any intellectual implications?
 

Cheerful Charlie

Contributor
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
6,125
Location
Houston, Texas
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist
I'm seeing this term increasingly, especially amongst anti-gay religious people. Is it an old idea, new idea, or just another way of implying that being gay is unnatural? Are there any intellectual implications?

It's a Deist term. As used by Thomas Jefferson et al. It is a term used in the Declaration of Independence. Apparently fundies have latched on to the term to pretend the US was founded on Evangelical Christianity.
 

Tom Sawyer

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 25, 2002
Messages
17,030
Location
Toronto
Basic Beliefs
That I'm God
While the deist concept is an old one, it does seem to be a lot more prevalent today, which is a good thing because it's an indication of people realizing the idiocy of the mainstream religions and moving away from them even though they don't want to dump the theistic concepts entirely. It also makes arguing for theism easier because the god in question is far more ill defined so you can change the definition you're using for it twelve times in a sentence and never have to worry about getting pinned down on some kind of logical inconsistency because the argument they're making is referencing a definition of God that you haven't been using in more than three minutes and is therefore and invalid strawman response on their part.
 

Petrel

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
213
Location
Ontario, Canada
Basic Beliefs
less passion; more compassion
I like that ^^^!
The whole Nature/God thing branches off into several philosophical positions. Spiritualists can use it a grab-bag for whatever mumbo-jumbo is in fashion. Theists can use it to attack any behaviour they decide is "unnatural", like men sleeping with men, birth control, vaccination and woman wearing shoes. Baconists and monetarists can use it to argue that whatever they approve of is 'hard-wired' into the hominid brain. People who don't own dictionaries can use it for whatever they think their words mean.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,066
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
It isn't a new concept or even a new phrase. I THINK it is rooted in deism; it was a popular phrase used by a couple of the founding fathers in reference to an agnostic viewpoint in that they lacked the framework to remove entirely special creation, but that they wanted a way of not actually explicitly plucking (horse) apples of 'revealed truth' from the 'source' of such (horse) apples.

It has been co-opted by faux-intellectuals who who want to sound academic in their failure to recognize that it was only a begrudging concession given a lack of better alternatives to the idea, and would have been gladly abandoned had modern information been available.

It is today nothing but a thinly veiled appeal to nature, a claim that 'what has been is what should be', a derivation of ought from is.
 

Perspicuo

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
1,289
Location
Costa Rica
Basic Beliefs
Empiricist, ergo agnostic
New buzzword. Old concept.

Those who use it believe they know what nature is about, and believe me, it has nothing to do with what biology tell us, which is why sooner or later they're going to realize they're shooting their own foot, and stop.
 

doubtingt

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2002
Messages
820
Location
Midwest USA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist/Scientist
While the deist concept is an old one, it does seem to be a lot more prevalent today, which is a good thing because it's an indication of people realizing the idiocy of the mainstream religions and moving away from them even though they don't want to dump the theistic concepts entirely. It also makes arguing for theism easier because the god in question is far more ill defined so you can change the definition you're using for it twelve times in a sentence and never have to worry about getting pinned down on some kind of logical inconsistency because the argument they're making is referencing a definition of God that you haven't been using in more than three minutes and is therefore and invalid strawman response on their part.

If I thought those using the term were actually deists, I would agree. But I don't share that optimism. I suspect it is much like "ID" and is being used dishonestly by traditional theists, fundies, and gay-bashers to give their irrational views an false veneer of intellectual legitimacy. It simultaneously makes it seems like they are just inferring God from the facts of the natural word (they are not, they are inventing a God of their emotions and imposing it on Nature), and that their hatred of gays is just because it is unnatural (despite all evidence that it is natural and biological, and that their hate is just rooted in fear of the different and what their authorities told them to hate).
 
Top Bottom