[asa] Re: Is Philosophical Naturalism replacing Methodological Naturalism

From: PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com>
Date: Sun May 27 2007 - 00:51:59 EDT

On 5/26/07, philtill@aol.com <philtill@aol.com> wrote:
> Pim wrote,
> > You still have not explained how it was flawed. I have read the
> > statement and found it quite straight forward, they even mention
> > clearly methodological naturalism.
> Pim, I did explain it last week. At the bottom you will find what I
> posted, copied in italics. Let me emphasize that we are talking about a
> statement that was supposedly defining science in order to protect the
> integrity of science. There is no excuse, in that context, for faculty
> professors who should know better, to write a definition of Philosophical
> Naturalism (PN) and call it a definition of Methodological Naturalism (MN).
> This blatantly ignores the whole purpose of inventing the terminology "MN".
> It was invented specifically to distinguish science from PN, because
> non-Naturalists can be scientists.

I have read your argument and find it flawed in that you confuse the statement

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

With "everything in nature be explained". It does not say all natural
phenomena can be explained. Of course, even if you disagree with the
definition, the statement is clear that it is about science and
methodological naturalism.

<quote>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 scientist can participate in methodological naturalism without
subscribing to the view that it will always be successful in every

> I am quite sure that many faculty signed it for various reasons and did not
> think carefully what it was saying. But the author(s) themselves have
> little excuse for being so sloppy in this context. And it seems to me that
> it wasn't mere sloppiness, considered in context.

You seem to presume too much I believe


> However, I think that the effort among scientists to close ranks against ID
> has gone overboard and is resulting in a virtual re-definition of science.
> For example, nobody is willing to accept the IDer's claims at face value
> that they are investigating "intelligence" without naming it as God. Well,
> why can't they do that? There is no scientific reason that they cannot
> investigate an unnamed intelligence. But everybody says "well, we know that

Based on ID's approach however there is a scientific reason why they
cannot succeed.

> you really mean 'God' and hence you are being dishonest by pretending that
> it is not 'God'." In making this claim, the anti-IDers are saying that if
> you hold a silent belief that God is behind something, then your efforts to
> use MN to investigate that something are irrelevant and invalid. They say

You are reading too much into what anti-IDers may be saying. In fact,
I'd argue that you may be arguing against a strawman argument here.

> that you cannot believe that God is really behind anything if you want to do
> science. See how this is a movement away from MN and a virtual adoption of
> PN?

Only if we are to accept your premises. And I obviously see no reason to do so.

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Received on Sun May 27 00:52:35 2007

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