Methodological Naturalism

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Tue Feb 19 2002 - 18:33:29 EST

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    Hi Loren:

    I printed & read your essay on the use of "methodological naturalism."
    very interesting. I will no doubt reread it once or twice more. No, I did
    not find it persuasive, but, as always, you make me think! < G >

    I think that, in the section you call "Problem 1," where you list five
    parts to "Christian Scholarship in the natural Sciences," I would
    probably be a strict demarcationist, and argue that #1, #4 and #5, while
    certainly part of "scholarship," ought no be considered part of
    "science." Thus I would see your first argument failing. Yes, I have read
    Plantinga's arguments against being a demarcationist. I remain one
    anyway, I think on strictly pragmatic grounds.

    Your second argument, that MN implies no God in ordinary events, it is
    apparent that some, Sagan & Dawkins among them, seem to endorse this. The
    recent articles (last year) in PERSPECTIVES appear to me to answer that
    issue, although your argument is strong and very well put.

    I don't really follow your third argument, "credit where credit is due."

    I don't agree with your fourth argument, "MN implies science must deny
    miracles." Implications are funny animals; they depend as much -- perhaps
    more -- on the hearer's worldview(s) as on the expressed language.

    So I wind up in substantial agreement with Richard Dickerson in PSCF 44,
    #2, whom you quoted.

    As always, I enjoy reading your stuff. My intention is to adapt some of
    it (not this essay but other materials on your website) for a six week
    "science/Christianity" Sunday School class this fall at Montview Blvd
    Presbyterian Church here in Denver.


    John Burgeson (Burgy)
           (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
            humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)

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