Member # 259
posted 01. July 2002 11:32
I would like to open a discussion about the new Scientific American article called "15 answers to creationist nonsense" and which names Philip E. Johnson, Michael Behe and William Dembski as the source of "nonsensical" ID movement to be nipped in the bud.
Firstly, I found this a very poorly written article and highly defensive. I also found it contradictory in a major premise. I give it the benefit of the doubt that it required limited space to deal with a complex subject, but it glossed over so many things that it did itself a disservice.
The main issue I would like to bring out are the following points and comments:
1. "Thus, science welcomes the possibility of evolution resulting from forces beyond natural selection. Yet those forces must be natural; they cannot be attributed to the actions of mysterious creative intelligences whose existence, in scientific terms, is unproved."
Comment: so it is obvious that, according to the writer, science rejects any supernatural claims whatsoever. They cannot be the source of changes in the universe, the source of life on earth, or for that matter the source of matter in the universe. Note, that this is not the claim that "Science makes no claim and remains agnostic concerning the supernatural which remains outside its domain but is only able to deal with natural explanations". This is a pure rejection of *any* supernatural claims as being outside of the realm of fact.
2. "A central tenet of modern science is methodological naturalism--it seeks to explain the universe purely in terms of observed or testable natural mechanisms."
Comment: This claim weakens the previous claim. It says that science is only a naturalistic method. It seeks to explain the universe in natural terms, but it is implied that it is outside of its methods to determine if something other than naturalistic elements exist. It is not "naturalism" (as is the first claim) it is "methodological naturalism" -- a weaker claim about science.
So it seems that this article is on the one hand claiming "methodological naturalism" for science and on the other hand claiming that science goes further and does not allow even the possibility that explanations outside of "methodological naturalism" exist.
Did anyone else think this article a fair representation of the argument?
[ 01 July 2002, 11:35: Message edited by: complex ]