Re: [asa] Because of us - Steve Fuller's anthropic principle - Darwin's original sin

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
Date: Wed May 13 2009 - 14:21:04 EDT

Ted wrote, in part: "I very much like Schwarzwald's suggestion, namely
that "methodological agnosticism" is a better term for the particular
attitude previously called "methodological naturalism." ... But I'll
stick with MN."

I'm not comfortable with "Methodological Agnosticism." Perhaps that
is because I once thought of myself as an agnostic towards the claims
of Christ, one who did not know but was willing to "listen." The term
"agnostic" seems to me to denote a person who is still "on the fence."

I have a book on MN called "Methodological Atheism," by Otto Strunk
(it dates back to 1968). My notes on this book are on the ASA archives
at The book is still
good reading. However, Peter Berger recently used that term to
describe theologians and historians who study religion as only a human
creation. It seems to "fit" better there. I think Berger applies it to
any social science which assumes no supernatural. This is the concept
Gregory appears to be arguing against (rightfully so, IMHO).

A Google search on "Methodological Agnosticism" turns up some
interesting sources and use of the term. After looking at some of
these, I agree with you that using "Methodological Naturalism" the way
we have been using it here is clearly the better course of action.


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Received on Wed May 13 14:21:49 2009

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