RE: The naturalist Philosophy

From: Shuan Rose (
Date: Fri Aug 30 2002 - 11:07:01 EDT

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            Seeking a middle ground here...
    Sounds like both of you agree that philosophy, or philosophy of science
    should be taught in public schools, maybe with evolution as a specific
    topic. Should this be done? Could high school students be able to understand
    and appreciate this? I always hear atheists arguing that a Critical Thinking
    course be introduced at the high school level, with the unstated premise
    that the critical thinking be done about religion and "supernaturalism". No
    need for critical thinking about naturalism :-)
    A philosophy of science class, in the hands of the wrong teacher, could
    easily become a way to smuggle hard core atheism , into public schools. In
    the right teacher's hands, it could lead to an informed discussion of all
    the views regarding the origin of the universe, from hard core atheism to
    My understanding is also that textbooks are back pedaling on the "only
    naturalistic evolution" approach. Steven Jay Gould tells of a textbook that
    says "Evolution is one theory that explains the diversity of life. You way
    wish to consider other theories". He considers that as a disgraceful
    pandering to the creationist lobby, but at least it opens the door.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: []On
    Behalf Of Walter Hicks
    Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2002 10:18 PM
    To: george murphy
    Cc: Hassell, Ian C.; Asa
    Subject: Re: The naturalist Philosophy

    george murphy wrote:

    > What I pointed out is that the primary "idea" being
    > presented - is negative -
    > i.e., naturalism is wrong (with disregard of the distinction
    >between methodological &
    > metaphysical naturalism) rather than positive.

    And I think that is a valid viewpoint. One does not need to make
    whatever distinctions you
    want to impose in order to take the position that science works
    strictly on the unproved
    assumption that the universe obeys a series of physical laws without
    any interaction with
    anything external to this universe. (Take this as my definition)

    > > I think that is precisely the point that many anti-science folks
    >are trying to
    > > raise. Science is neat ,but it really rests on pure faith in
    > > Scientists point to the many times it has worked in the past and
    >then extrapolate
    > > that it should be accepted as a universal truth (ignoring all
    >current problems, I
    > > might add). That is indeed philosophy, not science. Science
    >itself only rests upon
    > > this philosophy lest it crumble. Why is it necessary to believe
    >that science is
    > > some magical approach that can figure out everything about God's
    >universe while God
    > > never interacts with His creation? That is surely theology.
    > Again you are failing to distinguish between types of naturalism.

    The naturalism I stated above -- the basic assumption upon which all
    of science rests.-

    > > I think that the suggestion that this be discussed in public schools in
    > > philosophy class is a fine one. Why would a theologian ever
    >disagree with it?
    > Few schools below the college level offer classes in philosophy.

    Sure they do. Check out the textbooks in your local school. The
    "philosophy" is taught
    within the subjects at the discretion of the teachers and by the
    selection of the
    textbooks. For an example of textbooks that teach the "theory", check out It is evolutionary
    theory that is taught in
    these books.

    > Maybe they
    > should but they don't. In any case, I certainly wouldn't object to
    >"the controversy"
    > being taught in public schools under the rubric of comparative
    >religion, sociology, or
    > political science. But the opponents of evolution want it taught
    >as science, which it
    > isn't. Of course there is scientific controversy about how
    >evolution has taken place
    > but not about whether it has taken place.

    Then why do public school textbooks introduce Darwin and his
    theories? Are you saying that
    Darwin was establishing the "fact" of evolution rather than his
    theory? Evolution is
    taught in schools just like Dawkins says. It is "the only game in
    town". Where no solid
    evidence exists, the theory takes over. How can their be any other
    game if you are to
    insist that scientific naturalism (defined above) is not open for
    discussion within the
    science class itself?

    Speaking of what is not customarily taught in schools: I was never
    taught evolution as a
    subject pre college. Why is it such a necessity now? (And I have
    always lived in the
    ultra-liberal Northeast.) I'm certain that those who have introduced
    it so strongly into
    the pre college curriculum have nothing but best scientific motives.
    No humanist/atheistic
    motives could possibly exist ;-)

    I think that it is naive in the extreme to believe that humanists do
    not consciously push
    evolutionary theory in pre college as a means to promote their
    atheistic notions.

    BTW I do believe in evolution. I just disagree that any theory of
    evolution should be
    taught in public schools if alternatives to scientific naturalism (as
    defined above) are
    not allowed.


    Walt Hicks <>

    In any consistent theory, there must exist true but not provable statements. (Godel's Theorem)

    You can only find the truth with logic If you have already found the truth without it. (G.K. Chesterton) ===================================

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