The Natural Law Argument

We now find that a great many things we thought were natural laws are really human conventions. You know that even in the remotest depths of stellar space there are still three feet to a yard. That is, no doubt, a very remarkable fact, but you would hardly call it a law of nature. And a great many things that have been regarded as laws of nature are of that kind. On the other hand, where you can get down to any knowledge of what atoms actually do, you will find they are much less subject to law than people thought, and that the laws at which you arrive are statistical averages of just the sort that would emerge from chance. There is, as we all know, a law that if you throw dice you will get double sixes only about once in thirty-six times, and we do not regard that as evidence that the fall of the dice is regulated by design; on the contrary, if the double sixes came every time we should think that there was design. The laws of nature are of that sort as regards a great many of them. They are statistical averages such as would emerge from the laws of chance; and that makes this whole business of natural law much less impressive than it formerly was. Quite apart from that, which represents the momentary state of science that may change tomorrow, the whole idea that natural laws imply a lawgiver is due to a confusion between natural and human laws


Many of the things we consider natural laws are really just human conventions.

Folksonomies: atheism empiricism naturalism

/science/physics (0.546605)
/law, govt and politics (0.525502)
/art and entertainment/visual art and design/design (0.213964)

natural laws (0.943322 (positive:0.704490)), human conventions (0.892783 (positive:0.704490)), statistical averages (0.856471 (neutral:0.000000)), Natural Law Argument (0.849454 (positive:0.729964)), great many things (0.825145 (positive:0.625682)), double sixes (0.824213 (neutral:0.000000)), remotest depths (0.691966 (neutral:0.000000)), stellar space (0.657085 (neutral:0.000000)), remarkable fact (0.652941 (positive:0.307569)), momentary state (0.646961 (neutral:0.000000)), human laws (0.584364 (neutral:0.000000)), nature (0.547835 (positive:0.616980)), sort (0.521956 (positive:0.661612)), chance (0.510100 (neutral:0.000000)), dice (0.503615 (neutral:0.000000)), design (0.478047 (neutral:0.000000)), lawgiver (0.464677 (neutral:0.000000)), contrary (0.459382 (negative:-0.260497)), atoms (0.456742 (negative:-0.273710)), doubt (0.455609 (neutral:0.000000)), confusion (0.452483 (neutral:0.000000)), yard (0.451503 (neutral:0.000000)), feet (0.449712 (neutral:0.000000)), kind (0.448043 (positive:0.572348)), hand (0.445240 (neutral:0.000000)), knowledge (0.445091 (negative:-0.273710)), idea (0.445008 (neutral:0.000000)), people (0.444794 (negative:-0.346646)), times (0.443522 (neutral:0.000000)), fall (0.443174 (neutral:0.000000))

three feet:Quantity (0.010000 (neutral:0.000000))

Natural law (0.963937): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Science (0.725229): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 Why I Am Not A Christian And Other Essays On Religion And Related Subjects
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Russell , Bertrand (March 6, 1927), Why I Am Not A Christian And Other Essays On Religion And Related Subjects, Barlow Press, Retrieved on 2011-04-12
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: atheism