>Obviously, if Christians are going to appeal to miraculous actions of God
>in their science, i.e. intelligent design or explanations of surviving
>cats, then we have lost common ground with unbelievers (which is not
>necessarily bad, but for which we should not be surprised that they reject
>our explanation). Plantinga's discussion of Duhemian science has this ring
>to it--one reason to adopt methodological naturalism is to be able to
>the scientific enterprise with non-Christians. If we follow this direction
>then we should commit ourselves to developing a science (or a
>subdiscipline) that is fundamentally incompatible with what unbelievers
>will accept. This is a perfectly reasonable way to go and young earth
>creationists as well as intelligent design theorists are moving in this
>direction. They should not be surprised if their views don't make it into
>main stream science (textbooks, professional journals, etc.) but in the
>interest of truth and the way things really happened there is nothing that
>should stop this development. As for myself, I don't think that origins
>reseach needs these appeals to miraculous actions any more than chemistry
Is what you are saying, that in general it is possible to do science on the
basis of presuppositions that can be shared with naturalists, and that that
is necessary in order to be able to relate to the scientific world around
us? Methodological Naturalism is an accomodation to the prevailing
philosophy and is to be adopted whilst explicitly opposing Ontological
Naturalism. Its adoption by theists is not an a priori statement of how
science ought to be done, it is a recognition of how it is done.
If that is what you are saying, then it seems not unreasonable, but with a
caution. That is that there are a variety of kinds of scientific endeavour
(as you note), and the accomodation may be more likely to break down in the
case of some than others (which I don't think you say, but may agree to?).
Most theories are, in principle, falsifiable in the Popperian sense using
repeatable experiments, etc.. I guess this has to make up 95+% of all
scientific work. But there is another category of theorising which is more
complex. The category I have in mind is that set of paradigms which are
required and developed for their breadth of explanatory power. Often they
are not so readily susceptible to Popperian falsification, and depend upon
either upon evidence that falls to hand rather than upon an active
experimental base, or upon extrapolations from a mathematical model. Both
evolutionary theory and the Big Bang hypothesis come into these categories.
The very fact that these paradigms are sought for their explanatory power,
rather than for very functional predictive calculations and the like, means
that often they touch nearer the issue of world-view. I think it
undeniable that this is the case, or else why would we get so much argument
about these big paradigms. I don't hear many theological or philosophical
debates about Boyle's Law.
If the foregoing is right, it would suggest that we should be rather more
cautious about the implications of accomodating to the prevailing
methodological naturalism when dealing with these major paradigms. I am
not saying that the accomodation necessarily becomes invalid, but that we
do well to check very carefully for the point at which it might.
Is this fair?