Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Methodological Naturalism and Its Creation Story


In the next video from the Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism (AM-Nat) conference, Arminius Mignea points out that when we force science to adhere to naturalism, it requires scientists to simply ascribe supernatural powers to ordinary matter.

Remember, the AM-Nat biology conference is coming up in November. We already have several abstracts submitted and you should get registered now during our early bird special! More information is available at http://www.am-nat.org/

I made below a summary of the presentation for those who cannot spend time to watch the video The agenda is to evaluate if within the framework of Methodological Naturalism (MN) and Materialism (M) science is able to articulate a persuading creation story. In other words to tell us how matter managed to create life and living organisms of infinite variety in our life-friendly cosmic neighborhood - with no hint of help from anything supernatural or intelligent. We proceed to examine the nature and the features of life and living organisms – the subjects of most interest –before considering any possible scenario for their origin. We employ an investigation device that should make materialists and empiricists perfectly comfortable: the concept of machine and two characteristic elements for any machine: the first is a general definition of a machine as an assemblage of components that have well matched interfaces and interactions with each other, assemblage that produces a sustained (repeatable) function and, the second, an important corollary: any sustained function has a machine behind it. We then make a statement that living organisms (LOs) are super, super machines and proceed to support such an affirmation with a systematic comparison between Man-Made Machines (MMMs) and Living Organisms Machines (LOMs). The comparison is made from multiple, diverse perspectives: the number and nature (level of complexity) of the produced functions, the number of components and integrated sub-systems, the degree of integration with their environment, the nature of their bodies and geometries (the mostly rigid bodies for MMMs versus the soft, growing, variable shape and geometry of LOM bodies), We compare also the level of autonomy and self-sufficiency between the two categories of machines. In all the above comparisons LOMs come out as categorical winners and the idea that LOMs are classes of magnitude above MMMs is getting substantial support. Even more so when we discuss categories of comparison where MMMs are lacking completely capabilities that are manifest in many if not most LOMs: ability to self-replicate or self-reproduce or the ability to self-repair or heal after certain type of damage or injury. We consider in passing the exceptional capabilities of a particular specie of LOMs: the Homo Sapiens that can be empirically seen (at least for the purpose of this argument) as machines with unmatched functions (capabilities): machines that reason, solve any kind of problems , machines that can design and construct non-living machines (MMMs). One interesting, relevant observation is that although Homo Sapiens LOM machines have unmatched intelligence, imagination and creativity that is revealed in their ability to invent and construct new sophisticated machines (MMMs) the best MMM machines they ever built cannot imitate or even mimic the genuine, innate intelligence they have as LOMs. The above observation translate into an insurmountable challenge for any MN Creation Story: if Homo Sapiens LOMs – that are extremely intelligent machines that still cannot synthesize genuine intelligence in the MMMs that they build how the materialist scientist (that conducts science within the constraints of M and MN) can articulate a convincing story where the main character – the Matter - creates the super, super LOM machines that posses genuine intelligence? Coming back to the main agenda: the next step is to upgrade our affirmation that LOMs are super, super machines and to state that life and living organisms are genuine scientific miracles. And to again justify such an affirmation. A brief logical justification for such a declaration is that becomes clear – more so as the science frontier advances – that science has only superficial, beginner understanding of life and core life processes and phenomena. Although science accumulated and still accumulates enormous amounts of information and knowledge about the living world, became quite apparent that the unknowns grow faster and larger as the acquired “knowns” get larger. The main intermediary conclusion is that naturalistic, materialist constrained science has a huge task on his hands: to come with genuine scientific explanations (not only “narratives”) on how Matter – with whatever “tools” it has in its “creation tool box” - how Mater could have created LOMs which are genuine scientific miracles, super machines of such a caliber that they are far, far above the current, best scientific, technological and engineering capabilities of the humankind. We then discuss the failed attempts of materialist-bound science to put together some elements of its creation story: the abiogenesis, theory of evolution and other tentative theories. We formulate the following conclusions: Living organisms are looking more and more – as we better understand them - as supernatural entities - at least in the sense that they are much, much beyond human scientific and engineering capabilities. And the final conclusion: It is possible to eliminate the supernatural as a starting scientific hypothesis but it is impossible to eliminate the supernatural from the scientific conclusions. InVivoVeritas
Oh Mighty Electrons, fill the holes in the current of my life. Mung
'.....Arminius Mignea points out that when we force science to adhere to naturalism, it requires scientists to simply ascribe supernatural powers to ordinary matter.' A staff-writer at Nature magazine described them as 'animists', although I am not sure they have much in the way of a liturgy. Axel

Leave a Reply