[asa] Can Science Test Supernatural Worldviews? by Yonatan I. Fishman

From: Bill Cobern <bill.cobern@wmich.edu>
Date: Mon Apr 20 2009 - 20:59:35 EDT

I would be interested to know if anyone on the list has read the
following article which is available as a pre-print at the
www.springerlink.com webpage. The article will appear sometime this
year in the journal Science & Education. I have a pdf copy if anyone
would like to see the article but does not have access to
SpringerLink. As I say, I'm curious as to how people on the list
might respond to Fishman's arguments, especially those more
philosophically trained than I am!
grace & peace

Can Science Test Supernatural Worldviews?
Yonatan I. Fishman
Abstract Several prominent scientists, philosophers, and scientific
institutions have
argued that science cannot test supernatural worldviews on the
grounds that (1) science
presupposes a naturalistic worldview (Naturalism) or that (2) claims
involving supernatural
phenomena are inherently beyond the scope of scientific
investigation. The present paper
argues that these assumptions are questionable and that indeed
science can test supernatural
claims. While scientific evidence may ultimately support a
naturalistic worldview,
science does not presuppose Naturalism as an a priori commitment, and
claims are amenable to scientific evaluation. This conclusion
challenges the rationale
behind a recent judicial ruling in the United States concerning the
teaching of ''Intelligent
Design'' in public schools as an alternative to evolution and the
official statements of two
major scientific institutions that exert a substantial influence on
science educational policies
in the United States. Given that science does have implications concerning the
probable truth of supernatural worldviews, claims should not be
excluded a priori from
science education simply because they might be characterized as
supernatural, paranormal,
or religious. Rather, claims should be excluded from science
education when the evidence
does not support them, regardless of whether they are designated as
'natural' or

Dr. Bill Cobern, Director
<http://www.wmich.edu/science/>The George G. Mallinson Institute for
Science Education
University Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and Science Education
College of Arts & Sciences
Western Michigan University
3225 Wood Hall
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5444
Voice: +269.387.5407 FAX: +269.387.4998

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Received on Mon Apr 20 21:00:25 2009

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