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

From: Jon Tandy <>
Date: Fri Apr 03 2009 - 16:34:06 EDT

I think a useful comment here might be, MN is not necessarily a subject that
needs to be taught in school, per se. What needs to be taught in the
science class is how science is done. Take your two teachers, A and B.
Teacher A says that science can investigate objective reality in nature
using naturalistic assumptions, cause and effect, etc. Teacher B says the
same thing, and declares that this "method" of approaching science is
sometimes referred to as "methodological naturalism".


Both are teaching a particular philosophy concerning science and nature. Do
you agree it is an appropriate philosophy that belongs in the science
classroom, in order to make sense of the practice of science, *regardless*
of whether the term is mentioned? If so, what's the argument?


Maybe it is that if the term (MN) is used, a student might ask questions
about how a certain religious view might fit with, or differ from, this
assumption about nature. Maybe so, but this could happen with or without
use of the phrase. It would be a legal question whether the teacher can
answer the question in any way - I personally believe the teacher could
legally give a brief answer or answers as their opinion or as a variety of
opinions, as long as they didn't spend any class time on it, to speak of.


Is your concern that teacher A might tell your children that "nature is all
there is", while teacher B might tell them "MN is a way to think of nature
in a way that is compatible with religion, Christianity, and/or the
providence of God"? Even though you might agree with teacher B's
explanation, are you concerned that they might get A instead, and you
therefore wish to eliminate any discussion on the subject whatsoever?


Jon Tandy


From: [] On
Behalf Of David Clounch
Sent: Friday, April 03, 2009 12:51 PM
To: D. F. Siemens, Jr.
Subject: Re: [asa] Anti-Creationist Psychobabble On the Web



On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 12:22 PM, D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>

Methodological naturalism is NOT metaphysical. It is the same for
atheists, deists, theists, panentheists, pantheists, and those who have
no idea what metaphysical position they embrace.

One problem I have is I don't know what teacher A does differently by
teaching MN than teacher B who does not. It makes no difference.

Until you have a religious student to whom you feel the need to try to
explain something. BINGO! This trips over the Lemon test (and some other
things). IMHO. :)

To those who are completely secular there is nothing to talk about. To those
who are concerned with religion then MN is needed.

An analogy (all analogies are flawed of course):
If I go to the store and buy meat I don't need to know that its
"methodologically natural" (even though someone may believe it might be).
But if I go to the store and ask for Kosher meat, then religion comes into
it. MN is like that.

Perhaps the question really is whether these ideas are religious enough that
they have to be excluded.

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Received on Fri Apr 3 16:55:32 2009

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