Re: [asa] on science and meta-science

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Wed Nov 04 2009 - 22:43:19 EST


1)I was confusing metaphysical context and metaphysical interpretation as
meaning the same thing. Now I have to go back and read through all the posts
and think about this.

2) Meanwhile, Schwarzwald has me thinking about naturalism:

"Naturalism", in *The Encyclopedia of Philosophy*, Macmillan, 1996
Supplement, 372-373.

*Metaphysical naturalism<>
*, (or *ontological <> naturalism*or
*philosophical naturalism*) which focuses on
This stance is concerned with existence: what does exist and what does not
exist? Naturalism is the
metaphysical<>position that "
nature <> is all there is, and all basic
truths are truths of
Well, thats only part of the story. Let me offer my own suggestions as to
what naturalism means.

CHRISTIAN NATURALISM is a metaphysical framework, ie, the belief the
universe obeys regular laws all on its own, the laws having been set in
place by the creator. These laws operate until they are modified at the whim
of the lawgiver. because we dont know all the laws it is possible many
actions of the lawgiver are via laws we dont know about and thus what may
look like a set-aside of a law is just some other law purposely in use for a
limited time by the lawgiver. CHRISTIAN NATURALISM thus handles the
situation mentioned by ??? (I believe it was Dave Wallace) with respect to
superstitious and pagan cultures. This is why naturalism was invented - to
refute the beliefs of pagan cultures and to re-inforce belief in the
lawgiver. This type of naturalism has never been incompatible with

HUMANIST NATURALISM is a metaphysical framework beleived in by secular
humanists and others of like presuasions, such as materialists and
atheists. As a metaphysical framework it's main tenet is the belief that
the universe operates according to laws, and does so all on its own, but
does so without purpose. There is no lawgiver. There is no modification of
law possible. This also handles the aforfementioned situation of pagan
cultures. But it is not compatible with the historical CHRISTIAN
NATURALISM. It is a modern version of naturalism. [An aside - was there
an ancient version of this that has been brought back? I'd argue no. Why?
because it took Christianity and Christian Naturalism to produce science,
and this modern naturalism emerged post-science, in modern times, starting
in the enlightenment. I'd argue it is post-Christian]

I don't mean for these definitions of naturalism to be comprehensive. They
are starting points. I mentioned these because various reference materials
out there tend to ignore Christian Naturalism and its having been morphed
into a modern (post-Christian) version.

There are, in addition, at least these, having to do with epistemology
rather than metaphysics.

Replacement Naturalism
Cooperative Naturalism
Substantive Nauturalism

Most writers one can find tend to be quite modern. For example, Plantinga:

1994 Alvin Plantinga
Reproduction on other websites is expressly prohibited.
Links to this site are permitted.
                                 Naturalism Defeated
       In the last chapter of Warrant and Proper Function1 I proposed an
argument against naturalism". Take philosophical naturalism to be the belief
that there aren't any
supernatural beings--no such person as God, for example, but also no other
supernatural entities.2
My claim was that naturalism and contemporary evolutionary theory are at
serious odds with one
another--and this despite the fact that the latter is ordinarily thought to
be one of the main
supporting beams in the edifice of the former.3

Naturalism and evolution as opponents? Wow, thats different!!!!!

For sake clarity: When we are talking about questions of ultimate and final
causes we are talking about metaphysical type of naturalism, not the
epistemological types of naturalism.

Consequently, let me propose the following. Moorad pointed out something
important: phenomena are statistical. We cannot observe miracles. He is
making an epistemological argument here. What's important is the statement's
implication(s) for the metaphysical frameworks. One can (perhaps) rule out
what he says via epistemological forms of naturalism. But what one cannot
legitimately do is start with a metaphysical form of naturalism and use that
to rule out Moorad's statement.

Enough for now.
Dave C

On Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 12:52 PM, Douglas Hayworth <> wrote:

> On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 8:29 AM, Ted Davis <> wrote:
>> The fact that I said this 22 years ago, combined with the fact that
>> nothing along these lines has transpired subsequently in public education,
>> is not exactly encouraging. Suffice it to say that I certainly agree with
>> Cameron and Keith, whose ideas are much more practical than mine while not
>> inconsistent with mine. Still, I doubt that most colleges and universities
>> will start mandating that science majors, even future teachers of science,
>> take a full course in HPS.
> Well, here's one area where we have the opportunity to do better. The
> Christian school curriculum initiatives by the BioLogos Foundation and our
> own ASA homeschool resources project have the potential to do what public
> schools are not likely to be able to do: create materials that teach science
> in light of general and biblical history.
> Doug

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Received on Wed Nov 4 22:43:41 2009

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