Re: Why methodological naturalism?

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 02:29:13 EST

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Why methodological naturalism?"

    Who was Dixey talking about?

    Interesting comment.

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    Subject: Re: Why methodological naturalism?

    > I couldn't agree more. And to show that some bad ideas just never die,
    > here's a quote I came across the other day. It was written by Frederick A
    > Dixey (biologist, Oxford Univ.) in a book review for Nature in 1903
    > (Semi-darwinian speculations: Nature, v. 69, p. 98-99). Dixey was a
    > Anglican and a darwinian at the height of the 'eclipse of Darwinism'
    > 1900.:
    > "Whenever he meets with a problem in evolution which appears to him
    > inexplicable on the lines of natural selection...he resorts at once to the
    > intervention, by a direct creative act, of a "Being possessing
    > intention, and power". This is bad science, and we much doubt whether it
    > good theology...To fly at once to the hypothesis of direct "intervention"
    > a "higher intelligence" is as much as to say that a science of life is
    > impossible. It is not our province to enter into the theological aspects
    > the matter; we would only remark that the author's language on this head
    > appears to us to be a curious instance of survival from a bygone epoch.
    > When, as in the eighteenth century, deistic conceptions of nature were
    > the idea of "interference" or "intervention" rose easily enough in the
    > of devout persons. The only alternative seemed to be the complete
    > of the Deity from his universe. But in so far as deism is discredited by
    > evolution, its correlative notion of "interference" must share in its
    > discredit; and it is, to say the least of it, somewhat surprising to find
    > idea revived in the supposed interests of religion..."
    > Interventionism, whether Paley or circa-1900-style or OEC or ID, is
    > stroboscopic deism, and a bad idea.
    > Karl
    > ************************
    > Karl V. Evans
    > In a message dated 2/12/02 8:51:16 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
    > writes:
    > << 1st, speaking of the "popularity" of methodological naturalism
    is an
    > understatement. The vast majority of working scientists use it in
    > To
    > test that claim one may try to find scientists who are content to explain
    > puzzling result of an experiment or theoretical inconsistency by saying
    > did
    > it." >>

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