I was struck by the statement, which I can’t let go without answering: “Nelson really sees methodological naturalism as the fundamental reason why Christians cannot work with mainstream science.” I beg your pardon? Paul thinks “Christians cannot work with mainstream science”? I didn’t see that anywhere in Dr. Nelson’s article and I know it’s not what Paul believes. His point, as I understood it, was that Professor Swamidass folds into the phrase “mainstream science” a couple of tenets that needlessly constrain the search for truth about a historical first couple. Of course, that’s a wholly different idea.
Well, mainstream science includes MN and is confident in common descent/ancestry (CA). @pnelson concludes his article by writing,
Let go of MN, I reply, and consider that CA might be false, in the light of new evidence, and we can talk. Otherwise, there isn’t much to discuss.
His whole article seems to be against the idea of Christians engaging with science on these terms, the terms of mainstream science.
Of course scientists like me understand MN differently than does @pnelson, but my book doesn’t even depend on MN in the first place. And the argument of the GAE explicitly does not depend on CA being true either. So what could @pnelson mean except that Christians cannot engage with mainstream science?
Whether or not CA is true or Mn is the correct way to do science, I want to explore what it would mean for Christians if CA were true. That question is the focus of the GAE. You don’t have to agree with CA or MN to engage that question.