Re: Johnson as Expert (was Experts Worry...)

Brian D Harper (
Sat, 02 Oct 1999 21:14:20 -0700

At 10:16 PM 10/2/99 +0800, Steve wrote:
>On Tue, 28 Sep 1999 12:38:50 -0700, Brian D Harper wrote:
>>SJ>Here we have a good case of metaphysical naturalism, masquerading as
>>>methodological naturalism, being applied to "religion", and in this case
>>>the *Christian* "religion".
>>>Would Howard or any other TE/ECs argue against the consistent application
>>>of science's methodological naturalism to the *Christian* "religion", and
>>>in particular its claims of "supernatural intervention in the universe"?
>BH>It seems to me that you answer your own question. If metaphysical
>>naturalism is masquerading as methodological naturalism, then
>>it is not a consistent application of methodological naturalism.
>I am not sure on what exactly Brian is getting at here.
>Is he saying that a metaphysical naturalist cannot consistently apply
>methodological naturalism?
>Perhaps he can elaborate?

I'll be happy to give it a try. First let's start by defining
methodological naturalism (MN). I've always liked Phil's definition:

"... the principle that science can study only the things that
are accessible to its instruments and techniques." --Phil Johnson

I believe we agreed on this definition in the past. If I'm mistaken
about this please let me know.

I can see two ways of interpreting your question. So, let me give
two answers according to those two interpretations. If I still miss
your meaning let me know.

(1) I believe a metaphysical naturalist can practice science in a way
that is consistent with the principle of methodological naturalism.

(2) I believe a metaphysical naturalist can also be a methodological
naturalist and remain consistent with metaphysical naturalism.

The problem is, of course, that some metaphysical naturalist's
do not maintain consistency with methodological naturalism.
But, I believe the best way to handle those cases where
they do not maintain that consistency is to point out the

This is why I said earlier that I thought you were answering
your own question. If A is masquerading as B, then A is
obviously inconsistent with B. The best counter is to expose
the masquerade.

Brian Harper | "If you don't understand
Associate Professor | something and want to
Applied Mechanics | sound profound, use the
The Ohio State University | word 'entropy'"
| -- Morrowitz