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A Religion of Nature by Donald A. Crosby

By Donald A. Crosby

An eloquent case for relating to nature itself as religion-as the metaphysical final deserving spiritual dedication.

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It is just the confrontation of one pattern of causal motivations with another. ” Whatever reasons are offered in defense of or against a given belief are in fact just disguised efficient causal motivations. If the foregoing critique of causal determinism and view of genuine freedom are cogent,11 then nature must allow for such freedom. It must have enough latitude or indeterminacy to permit its exercise. Nature also must permit the creativity and change to which scientists give testimony when they speak of cosmic, geological, and biological evolution.

Were these interpretations as arbitrary and unrooted as the constructivist position claims, the demonstrable role of ongoing experience in calling them into question would make no sense. For example, when Galileo saw craters on the moon through his telescope, his experience made him aware of the untenability of Aristotle’s conviction that the heavenly bodies are perfect spheres. Similarly, a lifetime of field observations convinced Charles Lyell that the earth was much older than had been previously thought, paving the way for Charles Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution, itself suggested and 23 The Nature of Nature supported by Darwin’s patient gathering of empirical data in his five-year voyage on the Beagle and elsewhere.

While a thing could not exist without the specific set of internal relations in which it stands, it also could not exist as an indi- 30 Concept of Nature vidual thing without some sorts of external relations. Both kinds of relation are therefore necessary in general for its being the thing it is, but while its external relations can vary widely without affecting its identity or integrity as an individual, its internal relations cannot. They must remain what they are for it to remain what it is.

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