Re[2]: Underlying assumptions

Gladwin Joseph (
Sat, 7 Dec 1996 14:29:40 -0800

Dear folks,

Am i right in understanding that we (humans, particularly
the community of scientists) impose a limit on the
scientific method by restricting it to the realm of natural
secondary causes. The term "methodological naturalism"
appears IMO to be describing such a limited
methodology. It also appears that such a limitation is
inherent to the scientific method if we want to preserve
its integrity. IMO the scientific method is a mental tool
discovered/invented by humanity to make sense of nature
(God's cosmos). If the the use of such a tool should
ultimately enrich our understanding of GOD, then as a
Christian theist I am free to do so and will reap
a blessing. On the other hand if i am an agnostic it may
only enrich the Self. IMO otherwise we have to consider
a change in our perception of the scientific
method. We should transform "methodological naturalism" to
"methodological holism", because we understand that nature
cannot be fully understood without transnatural methodology.
But then how does one test transnatural conlusions? I know
brothers who argue for Intelligent Design suggest that
there are ways that are rigorous. Although I fail to
see how one would unless you change one's apriori
assumption of the scientific method. From what i have
read on this list serv and through ASA journals is that
those who hold strongly to methodological naturalism are
physicists. I would like to hear more from biologists who
deal primarily with life systems on whether methodological
naturalism is sufficient to explain the mechanisms of life
systems. Can there be a difference in our
apriori assumptions and therefore the conclusions we reach
as a result of dealing with different systems?

IMO i feel that this ongoing rigorous discussion between
the 2 school-of-thoughts is profitable and who knows
may be we are in the vangaurd of a major shift in the
methodological paradigm.

Another question on purpose before i close. Can
purpose transcend the system at the lower end of the
evolutionary scale, ex.,inanimate matter, and it becomes
more inherent to systems as we move higher up the
evolutionary scale. Similarly purpose is not
inherently apparent at the chemical and atomic scales of
life but becomes more inreasingly more apparent at the
biochemical, cellular, mutlicellular, and organismic levels.
This IMO helps me reconcile the dynamic nature of purpose in
this world.

In everything may GOD be glorified.

His Grace and Peace to you all.

Gladwin Joseph
Forest Science, OSU