Home » Intelligent Design » Who coined the term “methodological naturalism”?

Who coined the term “methodological naturalism”?

It appears that the first usage of this term traces to the Christian philosopher Paul de Vries. He used the term orally at a conference in 1983. A few years later it appeared in print in the paper “Naturalism in the Natural Sciences,” Christian Scholar’s Review 15 (1986), 388-96. For de Vries, methodological naturalism says nothing about the existence of God, contrasted with metaphysical naturalism, which actively denies God’s existence. This bit of sleuthing is the work of Ron Numers.

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10 Responses to Who coined the term “methodological naturalism”?

  1. Have heard Phillip Johnson use the term “epistemological naturalism” which hits the nail on the head: me thinks it’s for the agenda which would push Design out of public knowledge but let us hold to it subjectively like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.

  2. Dr. Dembski, are you saying that “Methodological Naturalism” was not a named philosophy of science prior to 1983, sometime after I graduated highschool? Did the same view go under a different name? If so, what was that name?

    As far as the politics of ID goes, this may be a big deal!

  3. ID should not be emeshed in the quagmire of metaphysics. What is at issue is design and it’s detection. That is squarely in the realm of scientific inquiry. Questions about any supernatural can never be.

  4. Howdy,
    Methological Naturalism should not be confused with Metaphysical naturalism ,the former has a tentative grip on making inferences using data,the later is an example of an Idea.

  5. According to csicop,

    http://www.csicop.org/doubtandabout/brights/

    The Brights are followers of the Brights Movement whose doctrine is based squarely on Methological Naturalism (Neo-Monism in a cheap hairy gorilla suit).

    Our heros Dawkins and Rollins consider themsleves “bright”.
    At the risk of invoking Godwin, that’s what they said about Hitler. His followers thought the gleam in his eye was brilliance. It turned out to be insanity.

    2Cr 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

    I am still holding out for Rollin’s salvation. The Apostle Henry? Converted on the Damascas road while ID-bashing?

  6. Has it occured to any of us that it takes only one deletion and one substitution mutation event to go from “brights” to “bigots”?

  7. “That’s no moon … It’s a space station.” – Obi Wan Kenobi

    Godless Dawkins Sphere
    Rawk&Roll Studios
    (c) 2006

    In the world where I was born
    Lived a man who lived in fear
    And he told us about life
    In the realm of Dawkins Spheres

    So we flew into the sun,
    Till we found our lake of fear,
    And we burned eternally,
    In our godless Dawkins Sphere

    We all live in a godless Dawkins Sphere,
    Godless Dawkins Sphere, godless Dawkins Sphere …

    And our friends became so Bright,
    As the world became so dark,
    And the band begins to play.

    (Trumpets play)

    We all live in a godless Dawkins Sphere,
    Godless Dawkins Sphere, godless Dawkins Sphere …

    As we live the life so Bright,
    RM+NS is all we need, all we need
    Lake of fire, lake of fire, and life of fear, life of fear
    In our godless ,in our godless, Dawkins Sphere, Dawkins Sphere, blaha

  8. Have you all seen this gem by Daniel Dennett?

    http://www.edge.org/3rd_cultur.....index.html

    The late Steve Gould was really right when he called Richard and me Darwinian fundamentalists. And I want to say what a Darwinian fundamentalist is. A Darwinian fundamentalist is one who recognizes that either you shun Darwinian evolution altogether, or you turn the traditional universe upside down and you accept that mind, meaning, and purpose are not the cause but the fairly recent effects of the mechanistic mill of Darwinian algorithms. It is the unexceptioned view that mind, meaning, and purpose are not the original driving engines, but recent effects that marks, I think, the true Darwinian fundamentalist.

  9. Colin DuCrane: “Methological Naturalism (Neo-Monism in a cheap hairy gorilla suit).” An excellent quoteable!!

    Mike 1962: “ID should not be emeshed in the quagmire of metaphysics. What is at issue is design and it’s detection. That is squarely in the realm of scientific inquiry. Questions about any supernatural can never be.”

    From a scientific perspective, design and it’s detection is squarely in the realm of scientific inquiry. Questions about any supernatural can never be.

    However, science is not both the beginning and the end.

    Science also has discovered the big bang and the necessary precision of the primary forces of the universe. This is the end of science, and the beginning of metaphysics.

    Science, in ID biology, must end with the detection of design. Metaphysics, however, will move on from that point, and will establish certain characteristics that must be true of the designer(s).

    Consider, for instance, what we have already.

    According to current cosmology, there was only one big bang. Therefore if the big bang was designed, it was designed by either a single designer or a group of designers working together as one. By the same token, all of life is based on the same DNA structure. If it was created by multiple designers then those designers all worked from the same playbook.

    Further, what we have discovered about nature is that it is emminantly logical. It is bound to rules of cause and effect. If designer(s) did it, this is not necessarily so. Further, the designer(s) did not encrypt his/her/their work. It would seem clear that the designer(s) at least do not mind having their work discovered and understood.

    My position on the matter: Let science do what science does, and no more. But don’t prohibit good metaphysics from doing what metaphysics does.

  10. “Methological Naturalism (Neo-Monism in a cheap hairy gorilla suit)” – C. DuCrâne

    “That’s a typo” – Homer Jay Simspon

    Maybe the Brights get their inspiration from crystals.

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