Member # 1
posted 28. February 2006 09:09
Empiricism and Design
by Stephen Griffith
Abstract: “Metaphysical naturalism” is, roughly speaking, the view expressed by the late Carl Sagan in his oft-repeated mantra “The physical world is all there is, all there ever was, and all there ever will be”. Obviously, this view is logically inconsistent with theism, and possibly motivated, at least in part, by a sort of theophobia. Since the intelligent design theory, henceforth referred to as ID, is clearly friendly to theism, it is not at all surprising that devotees of metaphysical naturalism are seldom if ever sympathetic to ID. It does not follow from this, however, that the challenge posed by metaphysical naturalism is the most important challenge faced by ID theorists in their struggle to be taken seriously by the scientific community. On the contrary, it would seem that ID theorists might be well-advised not to devote too much time and energy to an attack on metaphysical naturalism, for several reasons. In the first place, even those scientists who might most plausibly be described as metaphysical naturalists do not devote much attention to spelling out exactly what it means to say that something is or is not supernatural, so it is not always entirely clear exactly what they intend to rule out by means of a commitment to naturalism. In the second place, it is by no means obvious that the views of these scientists concerning the supernatural play an important role in their actual scientific work. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the strongest opposition to ID theory often comes from scientists who are clearly not committed to metaphysical naturalism at all. Several brief examples might serve to illustrate these points.
To read the entire paper, click here.