Exploring Our World

The Nature of Science and Philosophical Worldviews

A worldview generally refers to personal beliefs about:

the purpose of life

the supernatural

values and morality

death and life

origins of the universe and of life

Another way to think of it:

A person’s worldview consists of their answers to a great many questions about life and living. Your worldview is your set of answers to those questions.

We all have a pair of philosophical worldview glasses that we usually wear, and usually, like a pair of sunglasses, often do not realize we have them on.  But the question is: Are we able to tell where science or reality ends, and our philosophical belief system begins?  

The Usual Response

The first response by many people is: "I don't have a worldview; I just see things the way they are." Usually when we respond that way, we are deluding ourselves. I admit to having a worldview.

Confirmation Bias

Is what we believe about the cause and existence of the world we live in an impartial investigation of evidence without prejudice; or is it a reflection of our philosophical belief system?  For most of us, it tends to be a reflection of our chosen set of assumptions about the world around us, no matter how unbiased we may attempt to be, or tell ourselves we are.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs, hypotheses, or worldviews, while giving disproportionately less attention to information that contradicts it.  Debates often consist of attempts to overcome opposing views rather than honestly seeking truth.

The Four Basic Philosophical Worldviews:

(1) Supernatural Biblical View:

There still are some scientists who belief in the existence of a Supreme Being and believe that our world cannot be explained by purely naturalistic causes alone.

(2) Naturalist View:

There is a second group of scientists today that maintain that if something other than natural processes was involved in the formation of our world, there is no way to test such a hypothesis, therefore only natural processes should be considered.

(3) Scientific Naturalism View:

There is a third group of scientists that take it a bit further and believe the natural world, known and experienced scientifically, is all that exists and that there is no supernatural or spiritual creation, control, or significance.  This is basically scientific atheism.

(4) Theistic Naturalism View:

There is a fourth group of scientists that attempt to combine the first two.  A Supreme Being created everything but used natural processes to do it.