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

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Fri Apr 03 2009 - 13:25:32 EDT

Another issue here is whether MN is seen as more prescriptive or
descriptive. Science is good at dealing with certain types of
questions and bad at others. Asserting that science is incompetent to
examine most issues of theological interest gives a very different
spin than claiming that science a priori does not deal with
supernatural issues.

In reality, it is not _methodological_ naturalism that creation
science and ID sympathizers object to. They want to claim that their
conclusions were arrived at purely scientifically. It's supernatural
conclusions, not supernatural methods, that are the real issue.

Additionally, even those atheists who insist that science can't have
anything non-"natural" in it would agree that science can test many
claims that involve the supernatural. However, these claims are the
sort that fall under the heading of superstition or magic-if you do x,
y will automatically happen due to supernatural reasons. For example,
it's easy to determine that newspaper horoscopes do not provide more
accurate guidance for people born on certain dates than for others
(even if you compensate for the fact that they've gotten over two
months off where the stars actually are in the past 2000 years.) It's
easy to show that Randi, who admits to doing things by clever
manipulation, can bend spoons just as well as someone claiming to do
it psychically. However, God doesn't work that way.

It is possible to be a theist and accept evolution. Lots of people do
it, and there's no logical contradiction between the assertion that
God exists and that things evolve. Therefore, mentioning in schools
that one can accept both is perfectly legitimate. Claiming that one
must hold that position would be out of order, however. In Christian
schools, one might also point out that claiming that an ID position is
an essential part of Christianity, like the claim that circumcision is
essential, is a very serious error.

Another complication is that any objection to an ID claim is often
misconstrued as opposing the very possibility. The following are all
This particular ID claim is incorrect.
ID claims are generally incorrect.
The standard ID movement is on the wrong track in its search for design.
The whole ID effort is theologically unlikely to work.
No one should even bother investigating ID claims.
ID is totally outside of science and cannot be done.

(I don't want to endorse any of the above for present purposes; it is
merely an illustration of different degrees of objection that are
obscured in an us/them classification.)

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Fri Apr 3 13:26:26 2009

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