Re: [asa] Expelled and ID

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Sat Apr 26 2008 - 01:31:44 EDT

Its a good question as to whether a notion of scientific methodology could
apply to science before science was invented. The notion was "potential"
in ancient times just as quantum mechanics was a "potential" field of
knowledge. But it was unrealized (not actual).

Of course I could be proven wrong...sombody just has to show that the fellow
at Wheaton got it from, say, Augustine? Or, lets go before the Christian
era. Got it from, say, the Babylonians?

What is more interesting is that in modern times it was not introduced by
non-theologians to solve a non-theological problem. For example, if
Chinese communists had developed the idea when arguing a point of
scientific discovery among themselves..well then it clearly would not be of
Christian origin. And would not be intrinsically part of a Christian belief
system. Would it?

Also, if it hadn't been introduced to solve a theological problem, then even
if invented by a Christian, I'd argue it is not a theological concept. For
example, calculus was invented by Christians, but not to solve theological
problems. Calculus therefore isn't theological. But the fact is, as far as
I've heard, methodological naturalism was introduced explicitly to solve a
theological problem. Wasn't it? If so, seems to me the burden of proof is
on the secular advocate to demonstrate it is not theological. Just because
a secular advocate likes it doesn't change the nature of it.

Please consider the effect of the term. It is used to eliminate certain
religious ideas. And it has impact on certain religious groups. And impact
on issues of ultimate concern. This is not a secular purpose. It seems it
would be very difficult to argue MN has a sole secular purpose.

Dave C (ASA member)

On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 1:19 PM, D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>

> Note Thorson's response to Poe in the March PSCF. Notions exist before
> they are labeled, or relabeled with new names. I recall one of my colleagues
> in sociology lamenting that some sociologists spent their time writing
> papers that renamed notions in the hope that somebody would use their new
> label and give them momentary fame.
> Dave (ASA)
> On Fri, 25 Apr 2008 01:32:04 -0500 "David Clounch" <
>> writes:
> Dave,
> It would be very interesting for us to discover whether methodological
> naturalism was invented in the twentieth century, or whether it has roots
> further back in history and was merely borrowed. I could be wrong in
> claiming it to have been invented by (De Vries?) at Wheaton. It's just that
> I haven't gotten around to discovering any earlier source. As I remember
> it, Poe claimed the De Vries paper was the very first published anywhere.
> Other forms of naturalism were obviously re-emergent in enlightenment
> and post-enlightenment times. I believe Barr and D'Souza both argue
> that naturalism itself is a Christian idea of ancient derivation.
> Christians thought a rational approach to the universe combined with a God
> that is outside the universe implied that the world runs in a regular
> order. Thus paganism and animism were to be rejected, partly because they
> depended on supernatural forces within nature. Naturalism speaks
> against that.
> Regards,
> Dave
> On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 3:13 PM, D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
> wrote:
> > You're repeating the lie that is foundational in Johnson and ID.
> > Metaphysical naturalism, scientism, materialism and their ilk have ancient
> > roots, although some gained popularity again with the Enlightenment. There
> > is no way that I can be a theist and a metaphysical naturalist. But there
> > are many theists who are methodological naturalists--they have to be both to
> > be scientists.
> > Dave (ASA)
> >
> > On Thu, 24 Apr 2008 08:56:19 -0400 "David Opderbeck" <
> >> writes:
> >
> > <snip>
> > Dave Clounch asks: A third question is, "Should school children be
> > informed of the theological roots of naturalism?"
> > I respond: Not sure what you mean by the "theological roots of
> > naturalism" here -- but if you mean that methodolgical naturalism derives
> > from metaphysical naturalism, if that were accurate, you could probably
> > discuss this in a history class.
> >
> > As your questions illustrate, it is extremely difficult in the public
> > education setting to discuss any issues about religion and science, even at
> > the level of basic presuppositions.
> > <snip>
> >
> >

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Received on Sat Apr 26 01:32:56 2008

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