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
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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References found in this work BETA
Jeffrey Koperski (2008). Two Bad Ways to Attack Intelligent Design and Two Good Ones. Zygon 43 (2):433-449.
Colin McGinn (1994). The Problem of Philosophy. Philosophical Studies 76 (2-3):133 - 156.
Paul A. Nelson (1996). The Role of Theology in Current Evolutionary Reasoning. Biology and Philosophy 11 (4):493-517.
Citations of this work BETA
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.
Stefaan Blancke (2013). A Fascinating Guide to Creationist Minds. Metascience 22 (2):435-437.
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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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