Copy of: NTSE #9

John W. Burgeson (
Sun, 2 Mar 1997 09:43:01 -0500

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

From: John W. Burgeson, 73531,1501
TO: EVOLUTION Reflector,
DATE: 2/28/97 8:59 AM

RE: Copy of: NTSE #9

A few more comments about Schafersman before going on...

"Supernaturalism (is) the antithesis of naturalism...Since everyone agrees
that the natural exists, it is the responsibility of the supernaturalist to
demonstrate the existence of the supernatural. This they have not done."
(pg 3)

"Science is a truth-seeking, problem-solving, method of inquiry. The
reliability of its scientific method depends on the correctness of three
ancient philosophies...empiricism, rationalism and skepticism...these three
epistomologies are taught in schools as 'critical thinking,' a methodology
indistinguishable, in my opinion, from scientific thinking."

Schafersman discusses "scientism" specifically and states he does not hold
to it. (pg 5)

He talks of the "three philosophical worlds," material/physical,
immaterial, such as ideas, mind, values, etc.' and the transcendent, such
as gods and souls. Belief in only world #1 constitutes mterialism, belief
in worlds #1 and #2 constitutes naturalism, and belief in all three
constitutes supernaturalism. (pg 6)

He holds (pg 7) that supernaturalists "harbor their beliefs without
empirical evidence." I think this claim turns on a specific definition of
"empirical;" my own belief in God/Jesus rests, at least in part, on my own
experiences, which are "empirical" to me, for I experienced them, but not
to anyone else.

"Metaphysical naturalism makes no moral or normative statements, and it
advances no social concerns, both of which seem to me to be essential
elements of any religion." (pg 12).

"The moral entailment of ontological naturalism by methodological
naturalism does not create an ethical lapse among those supernaturalists
who assume methodological naturalism (for the purposes of science), but
something similar to an insincerity or want of courage... ." (pg 14)

"I believe assuming the truth of naturalism only for the purpose of
conducting or believing science is a logical and moral mistake." (pg 15)

" can hypothesize an Unintelligent Designer...(but we don't know of
one -- implied). Naturalistic explanations do an excellent job of
explaining a great deal about nature, including the presence in our bodies
of a sewage disposal pipeline in the middle of a major recerational area."
(pg 19)

Eugenie Scott writes (1996, pg 519 of her book), "Saying 'there is no
purpose in life' is not a scientific statement." Schafersman (pg 22)
disagrees with this. You'll have to read his argument to see why.

BTW -- all page numbers above are from Schafersman's paper as distributed
at the conference. He told me there was now an updated copy at the web
site; it is possible some of the page numbers will not track.

I think I'm done with comments on Schafersman for now.

Thanks again to notes of support for this series from several.. I hope I am
not boring anyone!