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View Full Version : PA ID court case calls philosopher witness


stamenflicker
4th October 2005, 07:21 AM
http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/experts/FORREST_EXPERT_REPORT.pdf

I found this document interesting. Besides outlining ID'rs primary Christian objectives and history of working these objectives, the document (which I assume has be given to both parties before she testifies on October 5) pretty much outlines the movement as a war on materialism and naturalism, stating that the alternative to naturalism is "supernaturalism," therefore qualifying ID as a religious exercise.

This is a very interesting approach to the issue in a court of law, which if ruled in favor on this point alone (though I doubt it will win on this point alone since the rest of her testimony is pretty solid), has carryover consequences it seems to me for non-materialist information presented in the education system.

It would seem to me that if the case stands on this point, then materialism wins the day against competing philosophies, which though they may or may not belong in the science classroom, they certainly belong in education.

Is anti-naturalism or anti-materialism a religious exercise?

Flick

ETA -- http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/experts/haught.pdf
An interesting document submitted to the courts by a theologian against ID.

drkitten
4th October 2005, 07:47 AM
http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/experts/FORREST_EXPERT_REPORT.pdf

I found this document interesting. Besides outlining ID'rs primary Christian objectives and history of working these objectives, the document (which I assume has be given to both parties before she testifies on October 5) pretty much outlines the movement as a war on materialism and naturalism, stating that the alternative to naturalism is "supernaturalism," therefore qualifying ID as a religious exercise.

This is a very interesting approach to the issue in a court of law, which if ruled in favor on this point alone (though I doubt it will win on this point alone since the rest of her testimony is pretty solid), has carryover consequences it seems to me for non-materialist information presented in the education system.



I think that you're reading too much into it.

From her opening paragraph (alone),


Anti-naturalism is an integral part of ID. Its proponents reject not only philosophical naturalism... but also the naturalistic methods of science.... ID's rejection of naturalism in any form logically entails is appeal to the only alternative, supernaturalism, as a putatively scientific explanation for natural phenomena. This makes ID a religious belief.


There's nothing wrong with philosophical non-materialism within the sciences as long as it's discussed in a naturalistic (aka scientific) context. So a dualistic theory of consciousness would be quite appropriate in an otherwise "scientific" discussion of psychology -- what are the (naturalistic) implications of such a theory, how might such a theory be tested, et cetera.

Similarly, there's nothing wrong with non-materialism in a non-explanatory capacity. You can teach whatever you like in art class.

Bronze Dog
4th October 2005, 07:53 AM
I think it depends on how you define "supernatural", a very nebulous term. I prefer to define religion as unfalsifiable hypotheses... Like ID.

drkitten
4th October 2005, 08:27 AM
I think it depends on how you define "supernatural", a very nebulous term. I prefer to define religion as unfalsifiable hypotheses... Like ID.

I suspect we're mostly in agreement here. The point is that "supernatural" is not necessarily non-falsifiable (that's the whole point of the JREF prize, innit?). JREF's tests, and much of parapsychological research more generally, is an attempt to investigate "wierd stuff," whatever term you want to apply to it, using the principles and methods of naturalism, and specifically science.

If the data cooperated, I could easily demonstrate the "supernatural," simply by demonstrating it. (Oh, you want me to read your mind, with both of us in separate Faraday cages? Sure.) Obviously, this would only work if the phenomenon under study really existed -- and future philosophers would have a lot of fun arguing about whether this was really "supernatural" once it had been demonstrated.... but a falsifiable non-materialistic, non-naturalistic, phenomenon is not in and of itself unscientific.

Forrest's point, more broadly, is that the ID movement is not just rejecting naturalism itself, but also methodological naturalism as a path to knowledge.

(From Forrest, p. 29)

Although anti-naturalism is a longstanding component of creationism, Johnson has made it a central feature of ID creationism, extending his criticism of it into virtually everything he writes. He refuses to accept the naturalistic methodology of science even as a procedural protocol (methodological naturalism). Instead, he persistantly conflates science's necessary methodological limitations with the metaphysical position that nothing exists beyond the natural world (philosophical naturalism), and he rejects both.

Johnson, and by extension the whole flippin' lot of them, are explicit that they are using a non-naturalistic, non-empirical, unscientific epistemological framework. (p. 26) "I looked for the best place [for the source of life on Earth]... and I found it in the prologue to the Gospel of John."

His conclusion is, of course, factually incorrect. But more than that, it's not science. Right or wrong, sciences doesn't look for things in the Gospel of John, because that's not now the practice of science works. Even if the Gospel of John were factually correct, science would need to make that determination through methodological naturalism....