Re: Methodological naturalism

Adrian Teo (
Wed, 01 Apr 1998 12:01:28 -0800

Moorad Alexanian wrote:
> At 09:11 AM 3/26/98 -0800, Adrian Teo wrote:
> >I don't get it, Phil. I know my computer is intelligently designed
> >(observation), but it also operates according to physical laws
> >(observation), and therefore, I can study those regularities through MN
> >(method). How is that different from saying something like "The universe
> >is intelligently designed (presupposition), but it also operates
> >according to physical laws (observation), and THEREFORE, I can employ MN
> >to study those regularities (method)"? Isn't that what Christian
> >scientists are doing all along?
> One has to be careful when using the term universe. Do we mean the physical
> universe or everything. The physical laws, at best, describe the physical
> universe. I doubt it if they will ever describe all that there is, including
> us. In the word spell of my computer I store words in Armenian but I would
> not say that my computer knows the existence of two languages, English and
> Armenian, in its memory bank. Therefore, an intelligently designed object
> may be describable in terms of physical terms, however, there is something
> that goes beyond the physical description

I meant the physical universe, with regularities that can be described
by mathematical equations. And again, we all seem to agree that the
physical universe is not all there is - so that is not where the problem
lies. PJ is against the use of MN, but I can't see why. Given any
physical system with some measure of regularity, MN appears to be a very
effective approach to understanding the system, whether you are a theist
or not. I see those as separable issues (the method and the
presupposition of the existence of God), while PJ seem to see them as
inextricably linked. Of course, I do grant that every method implies
some underlying presuppositions, and in the case of MN, all we need to
presuppose is the existence of an objective reality (physical universe),
its accessiblity (not necessarily exhaustively), regularity, and perhaps
coherence (no inherent contradictions, and the underlying logic is thus
uniform). All these presuppositions agree fully with the Christian

I still don't see the concern PJ has with MN.