January 2012
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Elgin’s Books


  • Christianity and Secularism

  • Evidence for the Bible


  • Science, Religion, and Naturalism, continued

    The following are my comments to another person, Nontheistdavid. His post can be found here.

    Nontheistdavid,

    “Hogwash. If unicorns or invisible “immaterial” beings exist then there should be verifiable and testable evidence of their existence. We should be able to measure and modify to some degree the behavior and/or effects they have on the universe.”

    There are a lot of assumptions in this statement, and it goes to the heart of the difference between theists and non-theists. What perplexes many theists is not so much that non-theist make different assumptions. Rather it is that non-theists do not even seem to realize that they are making their own assumptions, while the attempt to ridicule others; thus their frequent attempts to try and equate the belief in god with the belief in unicorns. While, given its frequent use, non-theists evidently think this is some sort of killer argument, it is so absurd on its face (see my last reply to LaClair) it only makes the non-theist look irrational. Yet they continue to use it.

    “Also why do you theist keep using the term “naturalism”?”

    I for one try to avoid sematic debates that rarely are productive, thus I used the term naturalism, because that is what LaClair used for his views. In this note I used non-theist, because that is what you used.

    “Science engages in Methodological naturalism and most certainty does not deny anything.”

    Depending on exactly how you defined “methodological naturalism” I might agree with you, but you would have to define this a bit more before I could really comment.

    If science is taken as the search for natural explanations, and therefore incapable of saying anything about non-natural explanations, that is fine as long as the bias is recognized. If science is seen as an unbiased investigation and scientists are therefore free to investigate potential non-natural explanations that would also be fine. The problem enters in when you have the view held by many non-theists, that science is seen as an unbiased investigation, but were any non-natural explanation are ruled out a priori as illegitimate.

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