From: Ted Davis (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Aug 29 2003 - 19:58:19 EDT
The following comes from Ron Numbers, prof of the history of
science/medicine at Wisconsin and the leading historian of American
religion/science. I use it with his permission.
In my essay "Science without God: Natural Laws and Christian Beliefs"
(which will finally appear next month in When Science and Christianity Meet,
Univ. of Chicago Press), I have the following note (based on extensive, if
not exhaustive, research):
The phrase "methodological naturalism" seems to have been coined by
the philosopher Paul de Vries, then at Wheaton College, who introduced it
orally at a conference in 1983 in a paper subsequently published as
"Naturalism in the Natural Sciences," Christian Scholar's Review 15 (1986),
388-96. De Vries distinguished between what he called "methodological
naturalism," a disciplinary method that says nothing about God's existence,
and "metaphysical naturalism," which "denies the existence of a
I talked with de Vries, and he thinks he coined the term.
I consider this definitive, unless someone is able to produce an earlier
passage they can quote at length in which the term "methodological
naturalism" is explicitly used and implicitly or explicitly defined.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Fri Aug 29 2003 - 19:58:21 EDT