Why is there not objectivity to methodological naturalism? What is
demanded is an empirical test, something which is in principle
repeatable. I will grant that there is no a priori demarcation that can
determine what can be tested. The fact is that physical measurements were
first made and testable theories presented. Galileo and Kepler used
geometry, which was changed to the calculus by Newton to allow more
subtle measurement and prediction. Later various individuals found ways
to work out other relationships. What was once deemed the sole ability of
living things was shown to occur within test tubes. I note that there are
still individuals who refuse to recognize string theory as science
because it has not been possible to perform certain empirical tests.
Others claim that there are tests, just not the supertests requiring
galaxy size cyclotrons.
To prevent one response, I note that there is no such thing at
unconditional objectivity. It is subjects that observe.
Now, if someone can produce an empirical test for design that has not
been produced by human agency, one that is not question-begging, ID can
claim a place among the sciences. As it is, it's sole claim to
testability has been that the writer has not been able to figure out how
something came to be. But other individuals keep coming up with at least
steps that explain part of the gap in understanding.
Empirical testing is not the only approach to understanding. Indeed,
almost the whole realm of philosophy is immune from such tests. The one
philosophical theory I think of that fails on empirical grounds is
Schopenhauer's pessimism. It requires that negatives mount up without
limit during life, whereas the fact of human existence is that bad things
tend to be forgotten more than good things. But that the usual sole test
for philosophical theories is consistency means that there are several
that stand, and such things as solipsism that cannot be disproved even
though nobody who will communicate with us is a solipsist. I note
additionally that one of the common failures of fiction is internal
inconsistency, though we do not demand that all fiction match the
On Wed, 23 Apr 2008 17:07:07 -0400 "David Opderbeck"
George C. said: Science is a realm to itself, one that is based on
I respond: This is surely overstated. The criterion of methodological
naturalism, for example, is not an "objective" one. It represents,
rather, a human judgment about the pragmatic bounds of the human
enterprise our culture labels "science." It may or may not be a
reasonable demarcation line for its own purposes, but it isn't an
"objective" line. Which means arguments over whether ID is "science"
ultimately are meaningless. Who cares, except for the culture warriors
who want to fight about public school curricula? The interesting
question is whether anything ID says is "true."
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Received on Wed Apr 23 17:48:23 2008
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