Re: Why methodological naturalism?

From: Steven M Smith (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 12:11:36 EST

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    George wrote:
    << wrote:
    > Interventionism, whether Paley or circa-1900-style or OEC or ID, is
    > stroboscopic deism, and a bad idea.

        "Stroboscopic deism" is an excellent phrase which deserves to come into

    general use. >>

    Last August/September (2001) there was a brief discussion on the ASA list
    concerning a quote by Edward T. Oakes in his review in "First Things"of
    Phillip Johnson's book _The Wedge of Truth_

    (To jog your memory, the quote under discussion was "Think of the
    difference it would have made to contemporary Christianity
    if Darwin had read Pascal instead of Paley in his days as a divinity

    That review by Oakes generated several replies and rebuttals that were
    also published in "First Things". In Oakes' reply (published at )
    the term "Deism under a stroboscope" was used to great effect.
    Here is the full quote (with apologies to Karl, who suggested a long time
    ago that I send this quote to the ASA list)

       "Now Prof. Johnson's concession of microevolution to materialist
       Darwinism while cordoning off macro evolution as a redoubt of
       Intelligent Design is either Creation "Science" on the installment
       plan, or (more likely) Deism put under a stroboscope. If one must
       conceive of the universe as an artifact (and how odd that materialist
       Darwinians and Intelligent Designers both hold that life is a
       mechanical artifact), then the idea of a Clockmaker God who winds
       it all up and then departs the scene has a certain plausibility, I
       But the idea that God swooshed down from heaven 3.5 billion years
       ago to toggle some organic-soup chemicals into self-replicating
       molecules and thereafter, as occasion warranted, had to intervene to
       jump-start new species is, quite literally, incredible. Prof. Johnson's
       God is not even the recessive Clockmaker God of the Deists. Rather,
       his God is one who, with disconcerting inconsistency, intervenes
       every now and again. As I say, Deism under a stroboscope."

     Steven M. Smith, Geologist Office: (303)236-1192
     U.S. Geological Survey Fax: (303)236-3200
     Box 25046, M.S. 973, DFC
     Denver, CO 80225
     --USGS Nat'l Geochem. Database NURE HSSR Data Web Site--

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