From: Robert Schneider <>
Date: Sun Jun 03 2007 - 08:01:02 EDT


Having read the Clergy Letter (and those signatures are not "supposed" but
actual) I am hard put to see the statement as "scientistic." In fact, the
primary focus of the Letter has to do with a stance on biblical
interpretation and a particular relationship between religion and science. I
read the letter as affirming the integrity of science and the integrity of
religion. "Scientism" is the position that only science offers the way to
truth. The Letter states that both religion and science are complementary
ways to truth.

I know personally some of the persons who signed that Letter. They are
practicing scientists or persons trained in the sciences who are ordained
priests and ministers of several denominations. They would hardly be taken
in if the letter intended to endorse scientism.

BTW, Michael Zimmerman is now Dean of Arts and Sciences at Butler University
in Indianapolis, a Christian Church, Disciples of Christ foundation.

Bob Schneider

On 6/2/07, David Clounch <> wrote:
> Phil said:
> "In effect, they were insisting that theists must hold to the purity of
> science while they were overlooking their own injection of non-theistic
> metaphysics into science. "
> I have to ask. Isn't the "injection of non-theistic metaphysics into
> science" really scientism in action?
> This Iowa group of signers may have that problem. If they do, it is easy
> to see an immediate establishment clause problem emerging.
> Another group that has the problem would be the petition circulated by the
> (former) Dean at UW Osh Kosh, who supposedly gathered the signatures of
> 10,000 Christian ministers. Just asking ministers to make a statement on
> science seems (to me) to constitute a religious act. Doesn't it? But
> there is also no disclosure of the underlying injection of naturalistic
> metaphysics into that petition's statement. One is left wondering if many of
> the ministers would have signed had they realized what lies beneath?
> So, two cases of scientism? Hmmm. If so, it would seem to be raining
> scientism these days. I would think everyone would be worried about it. My
> personal view is some are afraid to allow the position that the ID movement
> is committing scientism (and that this is the real achilles heel of ID).
> They simply don't want to ask the question. Why? Because to do so would
> expose their own (anti-ID) position to the exact same set of questions. And
> everyone would then realize that there is indeed non-theistic metaphysics at
> play. Better to just pretend scientism doesn't exist.
> I object. I think the world needs clear demarcation criteria for what is
> science versus what is scientism. You see, its got to be more than just
> Phil, or anyone really, merely claiming that non-theistic metaphysics was
> injected. We all have to *know* if this is what is going on in these
> political statements according to objective standards. If we don't know,
> then the nation's public policy is guaranteed to be wrong.
> Thank you,
> David Clounch
> On 5/31/07, <> wrote:
> >
> >
> > > However, it seems to me that one could easily take the view that
> > > "natural phenomena" covers all events in space-time that are not
> > caused
> > > by something outside the continuum eg super natural. In such a view
> > the
> > > resurrection while occurring in space-time is not a "natural
> > phenomena".
> >
> > But clearly they didn't mean to allow this kind of interpretation,
> > because if they did then it exposes the scientific process to the counter
> > claim that certain events in history were not "natural phenomena," including
> > the appearance of bacterial flagella or priveleged planets, because an
> > intelligent designer may have caused these things from outside the
> > continuum. That is exactly the sort of claim that they were intending to
> > deny by their statement.
> >
> > Also, this interpretation reduces their statement to the tautological
> > claim that "all things that are not supernatural are natural." That kind of
> > tautology is not at all helpful in defining the "method" of methodological
> > naturalism. So clearly they didn't mean this.
> >
> > > You could well be right in your conclusion of duplicity, but I'd like
> > to see
> > > some other evidence that philosophical naturalism was what was meant
> > > before coming to that conclusion.
> >
> > Like Rich, I think they were just sloppy and not purposely deceptive.
> > But I think that kind of sloppiness is inexcusable in a statement that was
> > intended to protect the purity of science against metaphysical intrusions.
> > In effect, they were insisting that theists must hold to the purity of
> > science while they were overlooking their own injection of non-theistic
> > metaphysics into science. I think this statement is very telling in the
> > same sense that a Freudian slip is very telling.
> >
> > Phil
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------
> > AOL now offers free email to everyone. Find out more about what's free
> > from AOL at * * <>.
> >
> >

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun Jun 3 08:01:37 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Jun 03 2007 - 08:01:38 EDT