Eddie's Defense of Natural Theology

Yep, I remember an old prof, one of those guys who earned Oxford’s once top degree of BPhil lecturing us young guns on the impossibility of our future due to the proliferation of publications. It is daunting to say the least!

If you had started the other way around, you’d sound more like @Eddie and me :smile:

Good, it is rare to find a philosopher trying to tell a scientist how to DO science post-Kuhn. In fact, the philosophy of science degree is kind of dead as most people specialize into philosophy of biology, physics, psychology, etc where they tend to do close work with real scientists. I spent a year cultivating dictyostelium in petri dishes, then starving them, then chopping them up, then running them through some machine to count irradiated genes. It was great fun. Does not make me an expert in science and I wouldn’t say that the scientists I worked with were illiterate on philosophy, although it was damn near impossible to get them to sign up for a graduate philosophy seminar!

If that is the way it read, let me assure you that I wasn’t accusing you of “narrow-mindedness” Mea Culpa! I was more interested in your claim to separate knowledge claims. I think that we academically do that and that we must do that when we are speaking internally. However, all of us, I imagine, give public talks where we more freely speak outside the bounds of our disciplines. In fact, I think, as was pointed out somewhere in this thread, that ID is very guilty of this. Most are/were philosophers and most of the conversations they have are in the public realm. This is a problem as is being discussed in the Dover/Kansas thread here.

I suppose when it comes down to it, I’m really more interested in HOW we investigate science and religion. I’m okay with disciplines specific discourse, but the more interesting question to a philosopher is always going to be the relationships of the disciplines to each other. This means that one has to come to terms with how claims derived from “theology,” “science,” “philosophy,” do relate to each other.


I never read @dga471 as dissing non-scientific fields (although his comment about choosing science because philosophy would be easier to pick up is close :face_with_raised_eyebrow:) – however, if you are going to continually claim that we must be very careful to demarcate our knowledge claims, then at some point, you owe me an account of how to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. That was my question to @dga471 earlier about his “big picture:”

So how do the knowledge claims of science, theology, philosophy work together? It seems you have thought about it since “you love” talking about the bigger picture. Now, let me remind you all that I am a philosopher and you should read Plato’s Apology to get a sense of my ethos. I don’t have answers for you, but raise questions when I see declarations made. This is why Socrates was put to death by the way!

This is an interesting contrast with the nice effect of being an example that ID proponents have established in the literature as just the sort of thing they are on about.

This is one of those areas that needs to be more front and center with the public in my opinion. Regardless of Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyerabend, etc… negative results ARE the benchmark by which science secures its “progress.” However, we, as scientific laity, are conditioned to positive results. I’ve read numerous books against ID that continually bring this and similar points forward which usually is then rebutted by IDers with some Kuhnian point about science being more complicated than negative results (e.g., against falsification)… and we are back into the conversation of philosophy versus science!

This is definitely alive and well in professional philosophy of biology. Teleology is a live research project.

This sounds similar to Antony Flew’s progression and recognition of a designer.

This IS key and I’ve noticed a couple of occasions here at PeacefulScience where @swamidass is trying to have a better conversation by helping strengthen ID arguments. However, I have also sensed much tension in those conversations (if it isn’t simply an artifact of digital discourse)…

And I’ve thrown philosophical curve balls that might not relate to either Natural Theology OR ID! It is time for bed – Cheers all!