How not to attack intelligent design creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about methodological naturalism [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Foundations of Science 15 (3):227-244 (2010)
In recent controversies about Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC), the principle of methodological naturalism (MN) has played an important role. In this paper, an often neglected distinction is made between two different conceptions of MN, each with its respective rationale and with a different view on the proper role of MN in science. According to one popular conception, MN is a self-imposed or intrinsic limitation of science, which means that science is simply not equipped to deal with claims of the supernatural (Intrinsic MN or IMN). Alternatively, we will defend MN as a provisory and empirically grounded attitude of scientists, which is justified in virtue of the consistent success of naturalistic explanations and the lack of success of supernatural explanations in the history of science (Provisory MN or PMN). Science does have a bearing on supernatural hypotheses, and its verdict is uniformly negative. We will discuss five arguments that have been proposed in support of IMN: the argument from the definition of science, the argument from lawful regularity, the science stopper argument, the argument from procedural necessity, and the testability argument. We conclude that IMN, because of its philosophical flaws, proves to be an ill-advised strategy to counter the claims of IDC. Evolutionary scientists are on firmer ground if they discard supernatural explanations on purely evidential grounds, instead of ruling them out by philosophical fiat.
|Keywords||Intelligent design creationism Methodological naturalism Supernatural explanations Scientific methodology Science and religion|
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Citations of this work BETA
Maarten Boudry, Fabio Paglieri & Massimo Pigliucci (2015). The Fake, the Flimsy, and the Fallacious: Demarcating Arguments in Real Life. Argumentation 2015 (4):10.1007/s10503-015-9359-1.
Nidhal Guessoum (2015). Islam and Science: The Next Phase of Debates. Zygon 50 (4):854-876.
Helen de Cruz, Maarten Boudry, Johan de Smedt & Stefaan Blancke (2011). Evolutionary Approaches to Epistemic Justification. Dialectica 65 (4):517-535.
Maarten Boudry & Bert Leuridan (2011). Where the Design Argument Goes Wrong: Auxiliary Assumptions and Unification. Philosophy of Science 78 (4):558-578.
Taner Edis & Maarten Boudry (2014). Beyond Physics? On the Prospects of Finding a Meaningful Oracle. Foundations of Science 19 (4):403-422.
Similar books and articles
Michael J. Reiss (2011). How Should Creationism and Intelligent Design Be Dealt with in the Classroom? Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (3):399-415.
Robert T. Pennock (2003). Creationism and Intelligent Design. Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 4:143-163.
Sahotra Sarkar (2011). The Science Question in Intelligent Design. Synthese 178 (2):291 - 305.
Jeffrey Koperski (2003). Intelligent Design and the End of Science. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 77 (4):567-588.
Robert T. Pennock (2006). The Premodern Sins of Intelligent Design. In Philip Clayton (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science. OUP Oxford 732-747.
Reed Richter (2002). What Science Can and Cannot Say: The Problems with Methodological Naturalism. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 22 (Jan-Apr 2002):18-22.
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