Re: Threat to ASA (Was Re: NTSE Note #3)

Murphy (
Tue, 25 Feb 1997 12:48:45 -0500

John W. Burgeson wrote:
> Murphy writes: "This reference to the ASA is significant & ominous.
> Johnson
> seems to be saying that it will soon succumb completely to his notions.
> I can only hope he is as wrong about it as he is about everything else."
> What Phil said was his prediction of what will happen. "Succomb"
> is a very imprecise word (IMO) to use. And his prediction is not at all
> about the demise of evolution -- not even the demise of Darwinism --
> only about the opening of the definition of science to allow
> non-natural hypotheses to be investigated.

In spite of what Johnson & others say, the real issue is not
scientific methodology. That is like southerners in the 1850s saying
that the issues were states rights, tariffs, &c. when the issue was, in
fact, slavery. The real issue here is evolution and, in particular, the
Darwinian component of it. The reason Johnson is popular among many
Christians is not because people are excited about epistemology but
because they want to have an excuse to relegate evolution to a minor
role (or deny it entirely) & not have to think about it or wrestle with
the religious issues it raises.
This is not to say that the question of "methodological
naturalism" is unimportant for scientists & those involved in scientific
dialogue. I think it is important, & that Johnson is profoundly wrong
about it. But that is not why his influence is so baneful.
George Murphy