NTSE # 16

John W. Burgeson (burgy@compuserve.com)
Fri, 14 Mar 1997 10:48:07 -0500

NTSE #16

This is about Al Plantigna's remarks to the full assembly on Saturday
morning. I've already mentioned a book reference where his full argument is
developed; this was, apparently, a version scaled down to fit an hour's

After preliminary remarks, which demonstrate that the MN principle does not
really restrict our study of nature, but only lays down a definition as to
what sort of study qualifies as 'scientific,' he takes a very "unserious"
statement of MN, the claim that in science there can't be any reference to
supernatural beings.

Plantigna then discusses what he calls the "weak argument" for the MN
principle -- that it is true by definition. He quotes Ruse, from pg 322 of
DARWINISM DEFENDED (1982) and rather convincingly demolishes this argument.

Al's second argument develops a discussion for a much stronger argument, a
pragmatic approach. In this part of the paper he develops a "Duhemian
Science," taken from the scientist by that name. He then develops a second
kind of science, "Augustinian Science," and shows that it, too, qualifies
as "science." Physics and Chemistry are overwhelmingly Duhemian, biology is
mostly so, though there are Augustinian elements there, too, and the human
sciences, "vast stretches" are nonDuhemian.

There is a book coming out "RSN" called THE ANALYTICAL THEIST, edited by
James Sennett, published by Eerdmans Publishing, which is to be a
collection of Plantigna's "Work in the Philosophy of Religion." The book
in which his argument (above) is developed is WARRENT & PROPER FUNCTION,
already in print.


In four tightly written pages Plantigna compresses a great deal of
interesting stuff. I find that I am simply not capable of condensing it