Is Science Limited by Methodological Naturalism?

Let me know if links to my blog are too spam-y and I’ll stop. Otherwise, comments welcome.


From the blog:

An interesting quirk of human bias is that we have created the words “artificial” and “natural”, as if what human beings do is not natural. Well, we are natural beings just as any other species is. A human writing letters on the Rosetta stone is just as natural and amenable to methodological naturalism as birds making nests or beavers making dams.

I would agree that parsimony is a necessary part of science where this specific topic is concerned. If the evidence is consistent with a proposed natural process then we conclude the natural process is the cause. We don’t prevent ourselves from reaching that conclusion because a supernatural force could produce the same evidence, for no apparent reason.

This is backwards, IMHO. If science can’t get the answers you are looking for then you use a different tool. If MN doesn’t work for ID proponents, then construct a new methodology and use that. If ID proponents believe this new method is better, then demonstrate it is better.

What ID proponents have been trying to do is improve the image of ID by calling it science. They have seen the respect science has garnered in modern society, so they are striving to gain some of that credibility for their ideas. Methodological naturalism is science, and if they want to call their work science then they need to follow those rules.

I fully agree. We use methodological naturalism because it works.


Me too. And that’s why the Christian philosophers who developed methodological naturalism liked to use it. Because it works. (And it avoids having personal theologies get in the way of the evidence God has placed in his creation.)

Meanwhile, I’m going to insist that classical geometry no longer be restricted to what one can demonstrate using a compass and a straight-edge. Protractors, calipers, and pocket calculators should also be allowed. And theology should be an acceptable tool for geometry as well. So if someone wants to prove a geometry hypothesis, it should be sufficient to say “God created polygons to be that way.” This reform will save everybody a lot of time.

If Stephen Meyer can redefine science, then I should be able to redefine geometry as I see fit. It’s only fair. (And maybe Harper-Collins will publish my book and sell it in the Religion & Mysticism section of bookstores.)

P.S. Is Stephen Meyer simply playing to an audience which assumes “God must be a part of every academic study!”? Is it a kind of demagoguery? I don’t know. I can’t know and judge a man’s inner motivations. But I’ve often wondered about this.


I made a mistake… I looked at YouTube comments.

Stephen articulates his arguments so clearly that even the common man and woman can understand. Sadly many in the media and academia have fallen to cultural Marxism and atheism which is now so deep rooted no amount of light will be allowed to shine on the truth. As most know God is not welcome in most universities, but gender identity politics, diversity, evolution, multiculturalism, moral and cultural relativism and political correctness are the new welcome curriculum for a Godless generation without purpose.

We need the common man and woman to save us from the idiocy of “many” in the media and academia…


I’m no longer in academia and I’m about as common as they come. So I volunteer.

No need to thank me.

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Faizal, if you’ve linked to other blog posts of yours, there certainly haven’t been many. Since you are a regular participant and contributor to forum discussions, I don’t think there would be anything wrong with the occasional blog-drop :slight_smile:

I enjoyed reading this blog post. I particularly appreciated the distinction between the IMN and PMN, and I think you explained them well and explained them fairly. You and I might disagree about whether IMN or PMN is more suitable, but we agree, of course, that Meyer’s complaint about MN is unwarranted.


It must gall the ID Creationists that their fans can’t help dropping the facade and talking about God, even though ID is supposed to have nothing to do with that.


It seems to be more about American Conservativism and their Culture War hobby horses. It’s about conspiracies and feigned persecution, not science.

I will give credit to @cwhenderson for reading through the youtube comments. He’s a braver man than I. :wink:


This is simple. If one rules out conclusions BEFORE investigation then one has corrupted the investigations claims to seeking truth.
SO God/miracles etc are ruled out, from the start, then ALREADY conclusions have been made before investigation. THUS no one could ever say God/miriacles were proven NOT to be the origin of this or that.
So they are not using MN to reach conclusions they are INSTEAD rejecting conclusions AND then using exclusively MD investigative tactics.
If truth is the purpose of human investigation/science then all options are on the table. you can’t reject some before investigation and then say AHA investigation shows no God/miiracles.
This is a imple equation.
This attempt is as poorly done as the attempt to say evolutionism has biological scientific evidence.
Any scientific investigation into origins which lead to it being created by a thinking being.
MN ONLY deals with the after the fact creation. that is after the sixth day. no more creation was done after the sixth day. it runs itself. THUS folks imagine they are showing a non god effected universe YET the bible already said this. SO MN is a creationist idea. Except at very atomic levels like what ID deals with. In no way does MN hurt creationism.

That they are “ruled out, from the start” is the false claim Meyer makes. The article demonstrates why it is false.

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The supernatural is not ruled out before investigation. The problem for ID/creationism is that science requires a testable hypothesis to rule things in.

In order to have conclusions you need a testable hypothesis and supporting empirical evidence. ID doesn’t have that. What science is doing is refusing to accept non-scientific beliefs.

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I would disagree, partially. The do have a testable hypothesis. And the empirical evidence refutes it.

Thats just a accusation. ID is using testable concepts and in fact thats what irreducible complexity is example of. YEC and iD always do MN in debunking wrong conclusions in biology and geology and others.

Then all should agree no options for conclusions are to be ruled out before investigation.
Many have said this but they are defeated. Saying science in seeking truth had a right to rule out God/miracles etc was always a recent but strange error.

Perhaps, but I think PMN is not a coherent idea, and subtlety embeds a strong notion of posivitism. I think science works by IMN, just as it should.


@bjmiller just stumbled into four perfectly testable hypotheses:

All four make clear empirical predictions. I’m ready and willing to test all of them. Do you think that the DI will give me a grant?

I agree. There are lots of testable hypotheses. They don’t have the faith to look for the existing evidence that would put any of them to the test. Instead, they present hypotheses as facts.

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No ID proponent is testing or has tested an ID hypothesis.

IC is a definition. The hypothesis is that IC structures can’t evolve. Who in the ID movement is testing that?


Its not that they can’t evolve but that its proven they didn’t at the IC concept level.
This is the intellectual testing. by the way evolutionism does this by using geology to 'claim testing" for a biology subject.
Anyways. science only includes testing. its just a methodology of high standard of how one makes conclusions about nature/manipulating it.
ID is not just hypothesis but has the method for proving its hypothesis. iC is case in point. why not?

What tests do you run to determine if an IC system was produced by an intelligent designer?

Joking aside, it would seem to be a difficult thing to test. How does one determine if amino acids are properly placed in an antibody? That smells like an entirely post hoc conclusion. It seems that one could just as easily argue that there could be more examples of b-lactamases in library of antibody proteins if the constant regions were changed.

ID proponents assume, without evidence, that what they see is designed, and then work backwards from there. The difference with evolution is that we have independent tests for determining if evolutionary mechanisms caused these changes, such as the nested hierarchy, divergence of exons and introns, and the bias of mutations. Therefore, when an ID proponent sees the Fc region of an antibody they just assume that it was designed that way for a purpose, and it is reflected in their language. MN doesn’t allow you to assume your conclusions. There needs to be a few steps before that.

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