There's a very good reason for preferring naturalistic explanations of
the world and everything in it -- such assumption leads to useful
science and technology.
I remind Mr. Cote that "Divine Providence" and "God's Will" were
standard explanations for most natural phenomena during the first
fifteen centuries of the Christian era -- so there's been a pretty
good opportunity for such explanations to yield such useful results
if they can. Let's compare the records:
Situation Pious Response Naturalistic response
------------ ----------------- ------------------------
Infection "God has called him" Germ theory of disease
Disease Prayer, last rites Antiseptics, antibiotics
The death cart. Smallpox eradicated.
Bubonic plague controlled.
A doubling of life expectancy.
Famine "God punishes our pride" Nutrition research
Prayer, mass graves Vitamins
Moving "The heavens must be Observation, analysis, math
lights perfect, like their Newton's laws. Optics.
in sky One Author" Voyager. Men walk on moon.
Lightning "God punishes our pride" Franklin. Volta. Watt.
Prayer, guilt and Faraday. Tesla. Maxwell.
expiation Shockley. Chips. Computers.
Electric motors and lights.
Psychosis "Satan's demons Dissection, neuroanatomy,
Epilepsy posess his spirit" neurochemistry. Surgery.
Torture. Exorcism. Lithium. Prozac.
Given a choice between these two records of accomplishment,
I know which I prefer. Mr. Cotera is welcome to the barbarism
of twelfth-century Europe if he prefers that -- it certainly
was a world certain that God exists and explains all things.
> Naturalistic explanations are all well and good if there is no God.
Naturalistic explanations are extremely useful, whether God exists
or not. They don't, however, carry moral import -- nor do they
rule out God's existence. Nor _can_ they ever rule out God's existence,