the sloppy magical fingerprints of natural law

Naturals laws are science, the way of the world. The way atheists throw science under the bus in order to make atheism work out for them is astonishing! (Silence of Mind)

As a species, I think human beings sometimes lose sight of the limitations we face in terms of expression and understanding. In many parts of the world the population are unhelpfully and unhealthily monolingual, which can have a tendency to further limit them to narrow definitions of larger concepts.

Take this term ‘natural law’, which is in common usage in English. The unhelpful inclusion of the word ‘law’ gives a sense that some agency has created a written rule somewhere and oversees its use.  And indeed this would have been the intention of the religious philosophers in the Dark Ages who developed the notion that, astoundingly enough, some people still hold today.

But ‘natural law’ has very little in common with a human legal system in terms of design and process. And although at a glance it may seem to have similarities, it is the very antithesis of actual science.

Natural law and science are attempts to explain our existence. Both can involve seeking patterns and predictability in our natural world, and finding a suitable method of expressing what we observe, which has the potential to help us understand and interact more effectively with our world.

However, proponents of ‘natural law’ have a tendency to fall foul of the limited conceptual framework they have created. For example, they broadly observe in the majority of species that there are males and females who perform separate breeding functions, and conclude this is a ‘law’ – inventing gender roles to suit their cultural bias and claiming same-sex attraction is unnatural. In doing so, they happily ignore nature itself: the many species in our world exhibiting homosexual behaviour; the hermaphrodite snails, worms and fish; and the human experiences of people born outside their tunnel vision definitions, those who are intersex, gay or trans.

Limited observation based on cultural or religious bias does not equal a ‘law’. It’s that simple.

Science, on the other hand, is an ongoing exploration of observation and testing that is open to revision, that is challenged, expanded and updated all across the world by millions of human beings. Because with every day our understanding as a species grows. While individual scientists can fall foul of bias, science as a whole has no agenda, no underlying belief and nothing it has to prove.

So I’m more than happy to throw this concept of ‘natural law’ under the bus, and I would urge every religious person on the planet to do the same. If your gods exist, they created an existence that isn’t ruled by laws, but an existence that is marvellous in self-sufficient appearance and ongoing evolution – a natural universe with no sloppy magical fingerprints on display.