[asa] Re: STATEMENT ON INTELLIGENT DESIGN BY IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY FACULTY

From: David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com>
Date: Wed May 23 2007 - 00:22:31 EDT

I don't know how to get this on the right thread as I am reading it on the
archive and its difficult to follow the thread and impossible to respond to
it.

 But I'd like to respond to Phil's comment.

It isn't clear to me that the statement defining methodological naturalism
is correct. Phil is right in his implication that the Iowa State statement
seems to be elevating methodological naturalism to the level of
philosophical naturalism. The statement is therefore overreaching.

But what if the statement were restricted so as to not overreach? How
could that be done? Perhaps by stipulating that methodological naturalism
describes proximate causes, proximate explanations, and therefore proximate
phenomena? And by stating that methodological naturalism does not apply to
ultimate and unponderable causes and explanations? What happens then? Well,
I think the statement is still in trouble.

Here's why. Many proposed phenomena don't have *any* known explanation.
They are in the realm of knowable but unknown. It isn't reasonable to claim
an unknown explanation to be natural. And it isn't reasonable to claim an
unknown explanation, or a non-explanation, to be covered by methodological
naturalism. And what happens when an explanation isn't even in the realm
of the knowable? Does that mean that it isn't real? Does it mean
methodological naturalism does not encompass it? Who knows? I need to
think about that some more. But it seems one surely *must* *know*
before one can define away an entire realm of knowledge by claiming
methodological naturalism does not encompass the field.

 I actually have in mind here many aspects of brane theory as described by
Lisa Randall in her book Warped Passages. What would the signers of the
statement do with the state of the art in physics? One would think caution
is advisable.

[An aside]
Perhaps I am merely sore because my own school board cited methodological
naturalism as the reason to ban books from our school premises. If it
isn't part of methodlogical naturalism then it isn't real knowledge and
therefore is religion and therefore must be banned from being seen by kids.
That actually happened. In year 2000, Apple Valley Rosemount, Minnesota
school board banned Darwin on Trial And Darwins Black Box from schools. The
American Library Association even listed the book banning in their journal.
  So, perhaps my ears perk up when I hear methodological naturalism touted
as an excuse to hate someone's religion. Please tell me I am wrong for
paying attention.
[end aside]

Now, I think if the statement really does intend to extend methodological
naturalism to the level of encompassing all of reality, then it is clear
that the definition operates in the realm
of the ultimate and imponderable. And federal courts have already ruled
that goverment cannot intrude into the beliefs of students in that realm.
So the statement is in trouble in that sense too. A college can tread on
this in the name of academic freedom. But I believe secondary schools
cannot. Would anybody like me to cite the relevant case(s)?

David Clounch

 From: <philtill@aol.com<philtill@aol.com?Subject=Re:%20%5Basa%5D%20STATEMENT%20ON%20INTELLIGENT%20DESIGN%20BY%20IOWA%20STATE%20UNIVERSITY%20FACULTY>>

Date: Wed May 16 2007 - 17:54:41 EDT

I generally agree with Rich and I would not sign it. It says,

"Methodological naturalism [is] the view that natural phenomena can be
explained without reference to supernatural beings or events."

By saying this is a "view", and by positively affirming that in this view
everything observable in nature "CAN be explained," this is defining a
belief-system rather than a method. It fails to allow that a scientists can
participate in methodological naturalism without subscribing to the view
that it will always be successful in every extreme.

In other words, this definition confuses methodological naturalism with
philosophical naturalism. The philosophical worldview represented in this
statement is not really needed to serve as a foundation for science for any
individual scientist or for the endeavor as a whole.

Phil

On 5/22/07, Dawsonzhu@aol.com <Dawsonzhu@aol.com> wrote:
>
> Gordon Brown wrote:
>
> From my experience with promotion and tenure committees I would say that
> the letters solicited from outside experts in the candidate's field are an
>
> absolutely huge factor in deciding these cases. Usually only those who
> have a role in making the decision have access to these letters, and so it
>
> is difficult for the rest of us to know for sure what went on in the
> deliberations over such personnel matters.
>
>
>
> This sound much closer to the real truth. Important
> factors are hustling abilities, number of graduating
> PhDs, important papers, international reputation etc.
> We can point to all the things he did do or didn't do or
> others who have less and were rewarded. However, in
> the final analysis, if somebody powerful enough doesn't
> like you (for _whatever_ reason), you can basically count
> on it being "game over pal".
>
> If your a Christian, it good to remember the old maxim: "the
> nail that sticks out gets pounded down." It happened to
> Christ, it will happen to you.
>
> One of the things that is far more important is to ask is
> what we should do when we've been "pounded down".
> What does scripture say we should do? What did Christ
> do? That's really __a lot__ harder isn't it?
>
> by Grace we proceed,
> Wayne

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Received on Wed May 23 00:23:13 2007

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