Re: [asa] Anti-Creationist Psychobabble On the Web

From: Kirk Bertsche <>
Date: Fri Apr 03 2009 - 12:53:21 EDT

Perhaps there is a misconception that MN is a recent invention? Paul
DeVries may have coined the term in the 20th century, but he
certainly did not invent the concept.

I believe the concept of MN was present as far back as the Puritan
founders of modern science (Newton, Boyle, et al), who insisted on
mechanistic, naturalistic explanations for their science instead of
theological explanations. Maybe Ted or someone can comment on this?


On Apr 3, 2009, at 7:14 AM, David Clounch wrote:

> Bill,
> It doesn't matter. Public schools taught science just fine without
> MN. MN exists only to assuage the concerns of certain
> religionists. It belongs down the hall in the philosophy classroom
> or comparative religion classroom, not in the science classroom.
> Along with all questions about metaphysics.
> -Dave C
> On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 11:09 PM, Bill Powers <> wrote:
> Kirk:
> You say that MN is neutral with respect to religion.
> Let me leave that aside and ask whether you (or George) thinks that
> MN is metaphysicially neutral.
> Whether you think them questionable or not it appears to me that
> science surely makes some metaphysical presumptions, even they may
> vary with time. The kinds of explanations we permit, even MN
> itself, is metaphysical. Were it not metaphysical what would it
> be? Surely not empirical. Is it merely a convention? No, I think
> not. What we mean by a particle, or what is a "thing." Are these
> metaphysical? They fit a template, perhaps a changing one.
> I guess what I am briefly suggesting is that science, whether it be
> MN or something else, paints a possible picture of the world. It
> constrains the world, only permitting some ill-defined
> possibilities, and excluding others. There can be no
> discontinuities, the world is a Uni-verse; it must obey rational
> law. This is certainly a more classic view, although Nancy
> Cartwright suggests that the world is "messy," a different "world"
> I think.
> Finally, how do we distinguish metaphysics from religion?
> Heidegger is famous for saying that no one worships the causa sui.
> So perhaps no one, but Hegel, sings to metaphysics. Still they
> touch noses, it seems.
> bill powers
> On Thu, 2 Apr 2009, Kirk Bertsche wrote:
> David,
> I don't understand your comments about "George Murphy's views on
> methodological naturalism" being "religion."
> Based on George's comments, his view of MN seems to be pretty
> standard, and is the way that we we do science. (And I would argue
> that this is the way that we SHOULD do science.) It is
> METHODOLOGICAL, not METAPHYSICAL naturalism. It makes no religious
> claims at all, and keeps science neutral with respect to religion.
> What am I missing?
> Kirk
> On Apr 1, 2009, at 10:56 PM, David Clounch wrote:
> This is why I oppose George Murphy's views on methodological
> naturalism. To me it's religion and I want that religion separated
> from school as far as the east is from the west.
> I don't mind if George Murphy holds his view personally because he
> is entitled to his religion. I just don't want a public school to
> base its science curriculum on George's religion.
> --
> =========================
> I often suffer from nostalgia, that fondness for something that
> never was. Pleasant memories have a tendency to expand.

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Received on Fri Apr 3 12:54:26 2009

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