What Science Can and Cannot Say: The Problems with Methodological Naturalism

This paper rejects a view of science called "methodological naturalism." According to many defenders of mainstream science and Darwinian evolution, anti-evolution critics--creationists and intelligent design proponents--are conceptually and epistemologically confusing science and religion, a supernatural view of world. These defenders of evolution contend that doing science requires adhering to a methodology that is strictly and essentially naturalistic: science is essentially committed to "methodological naturalism" and assumes that all the phenomena it investigates are entirely natural and consistent with the laws of physics. Thus encountering any unexplained phenomenon, science assumes a priori that there is some natural cause and will only test a natural hypothesis. Since by definition supernatural causes are assumed to be not subject to the constraints of physical or natural law as understood by science, supernatural hypotheses and explanations must be banned from proper science. Science simply can't say that God did, or did not do it. I argue that the success of science is directly relevant to rational belief in supernatural causes, and that in fact science can and does say in particular cases that "God didn't do it." I suggest that pro-evolution proponents can better defend science and the theory of evolution by rejecting methodological naturalism.
Keywords methodological naturalism  creationism  intelligent design  science  naturalism  supernatural  evolution  anti-evolution
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