Re: ID science (subtopic 1)

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Fri Mar 14 2003 - 09:28:03 EST

  • Next message: Howard J. Van Till: "Re: ID science (subtopic 3)"

    Hi Burgy,

    Before dealing with your question, "What must the ID folks show to convince
    the world of science they are to be taken seriously?" I'd like to reflect a
    bit on your characterization of science. You said:

    > There appear to be at least four precepts scientists take for a priori
    > granted:

    For starters, let's work only on the first "precept" on your list.

    > 1. If there is observational data, a theory based on
    > methodological naturalism must be constructed.

    Your choice of the word "must" puzzles me. It cannot mean that there is some
    moral rule obligating a scientist, in the presence of observational data, to
    construct a theory based on natural phenomena only.

    I presume it means instead that if any scientific theory is going to be
    formulated to account for some collection of observational data, then that
    scientific theory will, because of the character of contemporary natural
    science, deal with natural causes only. This approach, often labeled
    methodological naturalism (MN), maintains a stance of agnosticism regarding
    the reality of non-natural causes. For example, MN does not explicitly
    reject or accept divine action -- whether of the supernatural (coercive) or
    the non-coercive variety -- it simply excludes divine action (and any other
    form of non-natural action) from scientific theorizing.

    David Ray Griffin, with whose work you are very familiar, makes a somewhat
    stronger metaphysical statement when he proposes that science ought to be
    done on the assumption that minimal naturalism applies (where minimal
    naturalism explicitly rejects supernatural action but maintains a stance of
    agnosticism relative to the possibility of non-coercive divine action).

    Because it chooses to deal explicitly with non-natural causes as actual
    possibilities, ID science (the topic of this thread) rejects both
    methodological naturalism and minimal naturalism, right?

    If I have caught the spirit of your #1, let's proceed to #2. Let me know.

    Howard Van Till

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