Re: Metaphysics and science: A question for Ted

From: Joel Cannon <jcannon@jcannon.washjeff.edu>
Date: Fri Nov 11 2005 - 10:11:52 EST

For others since Ted is busy, what would be a minimal set of
assumptions and in what sense (or are they) metaphysical?

I can't recall what Ruse said. What I come up with are the assumptions
which Michael Foster said were part of what allowed modern science to
develop.

1. A belief that the physical world was relatively autonomous (I think
   this wording comes from Christopher Kaiser). That is regular and
   not subject in most situations to external influences. In short,
   the world we observed is (at least largely) the result of physical
   cause-effect relationships.

2. A belief that that the world is intelligible

3. A belief in some sense that the world is good, or that knowledge of
   the world is good/useful

I am not trained as a philosopher, but these seem to be metaphysical
with a small m, compared to say metaphysical naturalism.

On Thu, Nov 10, 2005 at 01:42:42PM -0500, Ted Davis wrote:
> I wish I had time to say a lot more Joel, regrettably I really don't, and
> won't for at least several weeks. I'm behind now on four writing projects
> due in the next 30 days, 3 of them quite important. All I'll say here and
> now is this:
>
> Michael Ruse (for example) has in the past 10 years begun admitting (which
> is no surprise to many in the ASA) that yes, accepting evolution does entail
> some metaphysical assumptions about nature and God. You might browse his
> more recent books for details. Another good book, for this narrow purpose
> (and not necessarily others) is Cornelius Hunter's book, Darwin's God.
> Cornelius (as you may know) is strongly in favor of ID--he's a biologist who
> rejects common descent, among other things--but in this book he says some of
> the same kinds of things that Ruse and others say about evolution and God.
> Or, have a look at Jack Haught's book, "God After Darwin."
>
> Ted

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Joel W. Cannon                   |   (724)223-6146         
Physics Department               |   jcannon@washjeff.edu 
Washington and Jefferson College |      
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Received on Fri Nov 11 10:12:11 2005

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