Howard posted, last week, a good response to my speculations on
supernaturalism. Here is what he said, followed by my own comments.
"Burgy, You say that
> On page 36, Griffin asserts that naturalism(sam) is the "fundamental
> ontological belief of the scientific community." I would argue, rather,
> that naturalism(ns) is the "fundamental working assumption of the
> scientific community as it performs science" and that while some may
> indeed believe naturalism(sam) that not all do, and that, in any event,
> that is philosophy, not science and irrelevant to the issue. One's
> beliefs are, of course important, but they can be wrong beliefs; they
> not (in the Platonic sense) knowledge. I think Griffin's error here is
> serious one. It is not so much that he is wrong (although I think he
> as that he has seized on an irrelevancy.
When I look on page 36 in my copy of Griffin's _Religion and Scientific
Naturalism_ I see something quite different. In the last paragraph, from
which you quote, Griffin is criticizing the common practice of equating
"theism" with "supernatural interruptionism." _If_ that is what "theism"
taken to mean, then, says Griffin, "belief in theism, accordingly, would
almost inevitably connote rejection of naturalism(ns), which is the
fundamental ontological belief of the scientific community." Griffin
specifically refers here to naturalism(ns), not naturalism(sam).
By Griffin's definitions, however, naturalism(ns), -- or "minimal
naturalism" -- includes the rejection of "supernatural interruptionism,"
_not_ of "theism." Theism, in Griffin's view, can have a rich concept of
divine action (in both invariant and variable forms) that is an
factor in all events/processes in the universe without recourse to
supernatural interventions that interrupt the universe's own causal
The problem, I think, is with Griffin's somewhat labored prose. His
specific words are "Belief in theism, (according to Preus) accordingly,
would almost inevitably connote rejection of naturalism(ns), which is the
fundamental ontological belief of the scientific community." If he is
attributing this last phrase to Preus, that's OK, but it does not appear
so. Rather, it appears to be Griffin's position. My point is that I don't
see naturalism(ns) to be a "fundamental ontological belief" of science.
Rather, I see it as being a "working assumption."
Perhaps I am making too much of this. But I don't think so. It is
difficult to think of myself holding one "ontological belief" on
Monday-Saturday and another on Sunday. I can work with different
assumptions any day of the week however.
(source data on issues of science/theology, quantum mechanics, ethics,
great sports cars, a story of God's intervention into the natural
causation of the universe, etc.)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Jun 12 2001 - 12:09:48 EDT