Saturday, January 20, 2007

Methodological Naturalism

A conversation I was having in the comments section of one of my posts got me thinking about this term again. Darwin supporters use the term as a weapon to fend off consideration of intelligent design.

For those of you not familiar with the term..
Many modern philosophers of science use the terms methodological naturalism or scientific naturalism to refer to the long standing convention in science of the scientific method, which makes the methodological assumption that observable events in nature are explained only by natural causes, without assuming the existence or non-existence of the supernatural, and so considers supernatural explanations for such events to be outside science. They contrast this with the approach known as ontological naturalism or metaphysical naturalism, which refers to the metaphysical belief that the natural world (including the universe) is all that exists, and therefore nothing supernatural exists.
I don’t know how “long standing” the term is. From this link, apparently Ron Numbers claims that the term was coined in 1986.

Nonetheless, I have to agree with Roddy Bullock, author of The Cave Painting, who wrote:

"Most evolutionists, no doubt, will object to being accused of purposely denying the possibility of intelligent design of living things, but such can be the case only when evolutionists attempt to limit science by definition to exploring only natural causes for all effects. Such an a priori boundary defining what “science” is and what it is not may be appropriate for certain fields of scientific endeavor such as applied science. But, when extended to exclude all but purely natural explanations for the origin of life, such a boundary must be recognized as being required by an assumed constraint, not an inherent limitation. Thus, the refusal to even contemplate the idea of intelligent design in living organisms is purposeful and irrational."
Here is another interesting article by philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, in regard to the Dover trial and methodological naturalism.

I believe the term is stifling to science.