Re: Why methodological naturalism?

From: george murphy (
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 21:51:40 EST

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    Steve Bishop wrote:

    > I am doing some research into methodological naturalism. At the moment, I
    > am attempting to identify reasons for its popularity.
    > I wondered what reasons list members could identify for its adoption; either
    > personally or in the literature.

            1st, speaking of the "popularity" of methodological naturalism is an
    understatement. The vast majority of working scientists use it in practice. To
    test that claim one may try to find scientists who are content to explain a
    puzzling result of an experiment or theoretical inconsistency by saying "God did
            Of course some are committed to methodological naturalism because they
    are committed to _metaphysical_ naturalism. If there is no God, gods &c then
    methodological naturalism is the only game in town.
            A rejection of methodological naturalism means that "Stop" signs are
    erected to block scientific research at certain points. Even scientists who
    believe that God is active in the world are generally uncomfortable with that.

            Personally I would argue that there are strong theological reasons,
    based on the character of God as revealed in Christ, for accepting
    methodological naturalism. I set out this argument in an article "Chiasmic
    Cosmology and Creation's Functional Integrity" in _Perspectives on Science and
    Christian Faith_ 53.1, March 2001, 7-13.
            Finally, I don't think it's very profitable to argue about the _name_
    methodological naturalism.
    It isn't ideal but it is reasonably accurate, especially when the contrast with
    metaphysical or ontological naturalism is emphasized. & like it or not, we're
    stuck with it - like "Big Bang".



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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