Who was Dixey talking about?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 2:30 AM
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'
> "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 V. Evans
> In a message dated 2/12/02 8:51:16 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
> firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> << 1st, speaking of the "popularity" of methodological naturalism
> understatement. The vast majority of working scientists use it in
> test that claim one may try to find scientists who are content to explain
> puzzling result of an experiment or theoretical inconsistency by saying
> it." >>
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