Re: The naturalist Philosophy

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. (dfsiemensjr@juno.com)
Date: Mon Sep 02 2002 - 22:43:44 EDT

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    On Mon, 02 Sep 2002 16:42:06 -0400 jan@dekoning.ca writes:
    >
    > Why? "naturalistic investigations" are based on a philosophy as
    > well, a
    > philosophy which is not Christian and has its own rules, rules which
    > have
    > pre-suppositions as well, only they are very much hidden. For
    > example, the
    > discusions on the age of the earth have several bases, depending on
    > who you
    > take as your pre-decesessor. Several take Aristotle, or Plato, or
    > .... but
    > all have pre-suppositions. "Naturalism" as such has a foundation as
    > well,
    > but now I get into a discussion for which I do not have the time at
    > the
    > moment. The closest description (in English) I know of, is
    > Dooyeweerd's A
    > New Critique. If you read Dutch, read Vollenhoven or any of his
    > followers.
    >
    > Jan
    >
    I don't get the claim that "naturalistic investigations" have a
    non-Christian philosophic basis. The only basis I recognize is that a
    question about the function of nature needs to be addressed to nature.
    That is what Galileo did, followed by Newton and all the other
    scientists. This is methodological naturalism, which says nothing about
    the possibility of supernatural matters. One does not investigate
    miracles scientifically. One denies the possibility of miracles by
    adopting metaphysical naturalism or something similar, but this is not
    science either.

    If one discusses the age of the earth on a Platonic or Aristotelian
    basis, one immediately encounters the flat claim that matter cannot be
    created and so must be eternal. But this is not science, which, since
    Hubble's observations, indicates that the universe is expanding. On this
    scientific basis, I know of two theories: Goldi, Bond and Hoyle's steady
    state and Gamow's big bang. The former was disproved by the 3-degree
    remanent radiation. The latter, modified in the light of more recent
    developments, continues. That the big bang sounds more like "In the
    beginning God created the heavens and the earth" is not a matter of
    philosophy.

    The desacralization of the material universe, based on the
    Hebreo-Christian faith, is basic to science. Aristotle was a great
    observer, but astronomy is the closest he came to a science. For that he
    posited a quintessence for the celestial, one which was not subject to
    the vagaries of everything in the sublunary sphere constructed of the
    four elements. Also, the planets and stars were closer to the Prime
    Mover. The dogmatic insistence on circular motion mucked up accuracy. It
    took Kepler 23 tries (if I remember the number correctly) to abandon
    cycles, epicycles and deferrents in order to come up with an elliptical
    orbit that correctly matched Tycho's observations of the orbit of Mars.
    Such approaches to the world built on the religious assurance that the
    rational Creator could, without problems, establish an order for
    everything he created. This notion could not come from paganism.
    Dave



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