How to perform science without using "methodological naturalism."

God could do the same thing humans do, and what humans do is detectable through scientific means. I’m not fully understanding what you are trying to say here.

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I think this question could be better phrased as “how to perform science without the assumption of determinism.”
A lot of people here are making a distinction between “natural” and “supernatural” that only exists in the English language and is not supported by either the Bible or scientific methodologies.
If angels exist, then they are natural. They may be nonphysical, but they are natural. Same goes for God, demons, and the human soul. If these things exist, then they are part of the natural world as it really exists, and a science that truly embraces naturalism should be open to their effects.
I think the real conflict arises from the idea that God can make decisions and act out His will in a way that is not bound by cause and effect (an assertion that is hotly debated in the theological community, by the way). Quantum mechanical “randomness,” to my mind, raises a similar predicament. The question really seems to be “how can we do science while not assuming that the universe behaves in a deterministic way?”


I don’t assume determinism.

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No, that is not even remotely correct.

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But this, I think, is a correct understanding of MN. If Angels existed, and their existence could be demonstrated, then there is no reason in principle that they could not be understood thru the scientific method.

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I think the purpose here is obviously a good one. I don’t expect you will experience too much resistance from various scientists as long as you were very careful to say that GAE is not a result of modern science (and MN) but is simply not in contradiction with scientific results. It is encouraging in one sense because it is an a Christian perspective that is not in contradiction with modern science which is rather uncommon in today’s evangelical world. But for many I think this type of statement can be uncomfortable. That’s is:

We Christians need to be increasingly careful how we speak about our worldview because modern science has eliminated or put constraints on various Biblical interpretations.


I dont get this statement. The Christian worldview consists of works by a real, active, supernatural God that are wholly outside of the “natural” which science depends upon to make assessments. So i completely and totally disagree. Do you know how many stars are in just our milky way galaxy? Billions. Many of these you could fit thousands of our star, the sun into. Then there are billions of other galaxies. Science says that our universe had a beginning. But science is silent or just clamoring for ideas about how it got its start. The God of scripture is the explanation for this and if this God is true, and He is, then i think it may be better phrased that the existence of the real God who is active in our midst has put constraints on various scientific interpretations and definately not the other way around.

Except that it is in contradiction with scientific results.

Human beings only come into existence from being born of other human beings. That is what the scientific evidence tells us. GAE requires that they come into existence from some other means, and then are able to interbreed with the existing human population. That is contrary to scientific knowledge.

That doesn’t make sense to me. When God created a pillar of smoke or fire to lead his people through the desert during the Exodus those pillars were in the natural world. When God rained manna down from the sky that food was in the natural world. God was even said to reside in the Holy of Holies which was in the natural world.

What if scientists are able to figure out how universes are naturally created? What then?


It’s like with the resurrection…
If a Christian claims that Adam and Eve were spontaneously created from dust by natural processes or that Christ rose from the dead via natural means- then yes that would be falsified and in contradiction with scientific results.

But the claim is that ‘God supernaturally did stuff.’ There isn’t really any way to rule out God, leprechauns, fairies, invisible dragons using science (ie. MN) - but only put various constraints on how such entities could act.


When i contemplate the complete irrationality in my human mind about the eternality of mass energy in the past where we know that in time it is becomming disorganized and never the other way around, and i then contemplate the much more sensible idea that an eternal Creator outside of the realm that mass energy dwells made it from nothing rather than the less sensible idea that it created itself, i open my mind to faith options, one of which finds its summit on golgotha where history shows a death burial and resurrection of a man claiming to be equal to God.

The Bible does not say like most all other religions suggest, that we must have great faith in such a deity-this makes it appear that the deity is made up. Rather it says something quite contrary to human logic and that is that all we have to do is have even a small faith in a great God truly exists who is capable of creating the entire universe! That idea is mindblowing and counterintuitive to the history of religion that typically celebrates mans effort and ability for reaching its deity and not celebrating God Himself. This gives me greater cause to believe it is true.

So, to address your comment, if such a God exists and He can create a universe, then it is quite impossible to read His mind on how He accomplished life or pillars of smoke, or manna from heaven. He could have directed nature, caused it supernaturally, taken a balance of both and whatever was on His mind at that time.

As a Christian who did choose to place a mustard seed of faith in God who saved me from my sin and selfishness, i found my eyes opened to the very real reality that my senses and logic and base of knowledge as a puny little created being taking up the space of a dust in a universe billions of light yrs big must be additionally infinitely inept compare to the One who made me. I believe He has put a great test before those who are wise in their own eyes: will they trust their senses, or because nothing is impossible with God, trust Him at His Word!

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The point I was making is that they existed in the natural world. They were a part of the empirical universe that science operates in. So why couldn’t science test those things?

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This is wrong. You’ve been told why at least a few times before.

A massive galactic cloud of hydrogen is about as chaotic as things can get, yes?

But as it cools, gravity begins to pull the cloud together, until it ignites into a highly organized fusion reactor… and the fusion reactor makes “more complex” elements … and in its own death throws, it makes even more different kinds.

You do not understand what “organization”, disorganization", “complexity” or “disorder” means.


As I understand it, this thread is primarily about whether or not there’s a way to do science without dismissing out of hand the idea of spiritual elements/entities. I still stand by my earlier statement that a lot of people are making an arbitrary and purely semantic distinction between “natural” and “supernatural,” and that that is not a good way to approach this question. So what I’m trying to do is boil the main idea of the thread down to a philosophical issue that we can actually debate meaningfully instead of arguing semantics.
So what do people see as the actual conflict here? If it’s not about determinism/the idea that events can be predicted, is it just about whether it’s possible to do science with a level of intellectual honesty that acknowledges the existence of things we don’t understand? Or maybe it’s really about how we teach science - a willingness to acknowledge mysteries, even when it undercuts our sense of authority?



You are inventing a branch of epistimology… let’s call it “Ludwastimology”?

I don’t dismiss that out of hand.

Based on experience, I see no evidence that there are such entities. However, it is equally true that I see no evidence that would disprove that there are such entities.

What we can reasonably say is that if there are spiritual entities, they operate at a level where their effect on scientific tests is too small to provide convincing evidence of the existence of such entities.

We also cannot rule out that the laws of thermodynamics are false “supernaturally”, or that the earth is flat “supernaturally.”

The word “supernatural” is pretty much meaningless in this context. It just means “It’s true, because I want it to be true.”

But we don’t see God supernaturally assemble people from dust either. Whether dust naturally spontaneously assembles into human beings, or God supernaturally forces the dust together into human beings, we don’t see it happen. It is an empirical fact that people aren’t spontaneously assembled or magicked into existence out of thin air, whether through unknown natural forces or God’s divine will.

We only ever see human beings born, and before artificial insemination they exclusively had parents that copulated.


If there weren’t things we didn’t understand, we wouldn’t need science. Of course science acknowledges that. What’s a mystery besides something we don’t understand?

Or that God didn’t create the universe last Thursday. I get it. That’s why I agree God is useless as a scientific explanation.

That seems to be a rather broad generalization but I think it touches upon the question, ‘are there other ways of knowing besides MN?’

On one hand, MN seems to be one of the most effective methods for learning about our world. Is it the only way? Certainly for the natural world but there seems to be something that makes me human beyond such physical descriptions. Being able to address this ‘more’ is something that is really important which is why I think many people do seek other ways of knowing.