Intelligent Design

How About “Methodological Pragmatism”?

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Instead of afflicting scientific research with a vague, culturally-dependent set of metaphysical expectations and constraints (naturalism), why not characterize the scientific method in a metaphysically neutral manner? I think a more productive alternative to “methodological naturalism” would be “methodological pragmatism”.

This would define science as a methodology for finding/creating models that work for various purposes without assuming or making any metaphysical judgements on the nature of reality. It would also not generate metaphysical expectations or confine interpretations of data to metaphysical narratives that are largely cultural.

5 Replies to “How About “Methodological Pragmatism”?

  1. 1
    Heartlander says:

    Or – Methodological Realism: allowing the iconoclastic nature of reality itself to judge the effectiveness of our provisional methodologies.

  2. 2

    Reality doesn’t judge anything; only sentient entities can judge the value of any model in terms of their own experience, whether or not that experience or a particular model corresponds in a significant way to any “reality”.

  3. 3
    TomG says:

    I would recommend “Regularism” instead: “Reliable regularity of cause and effect in nature.” That’s all that’s needed for science to do its work, and it’s metaphysically neutral, or near enough to neutral, anyway.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Although I have always had an interest in science, I had never heard of methodological naturalism until an atheist tried to tell me that inferring God in science is forbidden because of ‘methodological naturalism’. i.e. He held that science can only invoke ‘natural’ causes. Well, I found this rather curious for him to say since I had never heard of this rule in science before despite having an interest in it for years and had always thought that science was primarily about following the evidence WHEREVER it leads. Obviously, for me it was a self-serving definition for the atheist to say only natural causes can be considered valid prior to investigation.

    Methodological Naturalism in a nutshell: – cartoon
    http://ow.ly/i/15DCL/original

    Putting Methodological Naturalism Into Practice – Treasure Island
    http://bevets.com/ti.htm

    In fact, the problem inherent in Methodological Naturalism is actually far worse than the Treasure Island cartoon I just listed:

    Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzS_CQnmoLQ

    As Dr. Craig pointed out, Metaphysical Naturalism is reducto ad absurdum on (at least) these eight following points:

    1.) Argument from intentionality
    1. If naturalism is true, I cannot think about anything.
    2. I am thinking about naturalism.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    2.) The argument from meaning
    1. If naturalism is true, no sentence has any meaning.
    2. Premise (1) has meaning.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    3.) The argument from truth
    1. If naturalism is true, there are no true sentences.
    2. Premise (1) is true.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    4.) The argument from moral blame and praise
    1. If naturalism is true, I am not morally praiseworthy or blameworthy for any of my actions.
    2. I am morally praiseworthy or blameworthy for some of my actions.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    5.) Argument from freedom
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not do anything freely.
    2. I am free to agree or disagree with premise (1).
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    6.) The argument from purpose
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not plan to do anything.
    2. I (Dr. Craig) planned to come to tonight’s debate.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    7.) The argument from enduring
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not endure for two moments of time.
    2. I have been sitting here for more than a minute.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    8.) The argument from personal existence
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not exist.
    2. I do exist!
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    Thus assuming Methodological Naturalism as true leads to the epistemological failure of science. Or to put it in laymen’s terms, assuming Methodological Naturalism leads to insanity.

    Many atheists may be offended that their naturalistic worldview leads to such insane conclusions, but this fact really should not be that surprising to learn about. Even atheists themselves do not live as if their worldview is true, but they live their lives as if they are infused with meaning and purpose:

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    Of course much more has been, and can be, said about atheists imposing their preferred naturalistic conclusion onto the scientific method prior to investigation, i.e. Methodological Naturalism, but for now I think it suffices to show that Methodological Naturalism defeats itself from within and therefore cannot be true:

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Verse and Music:

    1 Corinthians 1:25
    For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

    “Your Great Name” –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7tmU5_BLFo

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    OldArmy94 says:

    Alvin Plantinga points out the folly of a materialist attempting to use methodological materialism for his inquiries in science. It is a self-defeating belief system, which Dr. Craig points out, and no one can expect it to be a reliable, true indicator of anything.

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