Re: [asa] on science and meta-science

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Thu Nov 12 2009 - 13:03:24 EST

> Let me phrase it differently. Can you teach science without any metaphysical
> interpretation at all?

Science makes some basic metaphysical assumptions-that there is an
external reality, that we can meaningfully observe and interpret it,
that it is worth doing so, that we should truthfully report the
results, etc. However, these assumptions are compatible with a wide
range of metaphysical positions on other issues. Thus, it is not
possible to be metaphysics-free; scientism is self-contradictory. But
it is possible to do science while holding any view that is compatible
with those, or to have no well-defined view or even to profess a
contradictory metaphysic while accepting science on empirical grounds.

It is possible to teach science while maintaining neutrality among the
range of compatible metaphysical systems, though it is difficult to
avoid favoring one's own view and slighting others.

On methodological naturalism, I agree that it is very poorly named.
However, I think that the basic principle of relying on physical
methods is integral to what is called science in modern English. ID
advocates agree with that-they claim to use physical data to arrive at
supernatural (s.l., including aliens) conclusions. Also, it's
important to bear in mind that non-science can address more important
issues than science can. But claiming that a Christian practicing
so-called MN is inevitably on the way to atheism (a popular anti-TE
claim) is not only endorsing the "naturalism" label but also is
denying God's ordinary providence. By such logic, we should do
nothing at all and expect God to handle everything directly.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Nov 12 13:03:30 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Nov 12 2009 - 13:03:30 EST