From: Robert Schneider (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Aug 30 2002 - 20:35:51 EDT
Having audited a college-level course in 20th century philosophy of science
this past spring term, I am hard put to imagine how a course that covers the
thinking of the logical positivists, the views of philosophers like Popper,
Quine, Nagel, and Kuhn and the post-Kuhnians, including the social
constructivists and the feminists, could be made accessible to most
high-school students. One would have to present a rather simplified version
of some rather abstract thinking about the nature of science and method.
Recalling how the undergraduates and myself struggled with comprehending
some of this material, I would not want to visit it upon anyone who has not
had some rudimentary philosophical training. I could imagine most students
coming out thoroughly confused and hostile toward both philosophy and
Now, critical thinking is a different matter. American high school
students get precious little of that, if the students I have taught as
college freshmen the last ten years are any indication. I should like to
see critical thinking developed in all high school courses and those
dastardly standarized tests abolished. Perhaps processes of critical
thinking could help high-school students understand the fallacies of
metaphysical naturalism, intelligent design, and YEC, and begin to
understand what the word "naturalism" in its various forms mean.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Shuan Rose" <email@example.com>
To: "Walter Hicks" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "george murphy"
Cc: "Hassell, Ian C." <email@example.com>; "Asa" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2002 11:07 AM
Subject: RE: The naturalist Philosophy
> 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
> and appreciate this? I always hear atheists arguing that a Critical
> course be introduced at the high school level, with the unstated premise
> that the critical thinking be done about religion and "supernaturalism".
> 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
> says "Evolution is one theory that explains the diversity of life. You
> 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: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]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
> 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
> > > philosophy class is a fine one. Why would a theologian ever
> >disagree with it?
> > Few schools below the college level offer classes in
> 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
> http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/textbooks/ 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 <email@example.com>
> 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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