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Paul Nelson on methodological naturalism and scientists who don’t believe in it

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Asking for comment:

Now, you may think MN is unnecessary, or even unsound, for the practice of science. (Another time, I hope to discuss the surprising fact that many atheist scientists and philosophers disagree strongly with MN, when MN is proclaimed as an unconditional rule.) The National Academy, however, is not listening to you, nor are federal courts, nor are organizations such as the American Federation of Teachers — all official bodies whose remit includes defining “science” for academic practice and public policy, in matters such as curricula, funding decisions, employment, and peer review.

All right: we’ve put a serious problem on the table for discussion. It looks very much like the dialogue between Evolver and Designer, despite their apparent engagement of the same scientific questions — e.g., how did life start? — is not a genuine dialogue at all.

Paul Nelson, “Trapped in the Naturalistic Parabola” at Evolution News and Science Today

Methodological naturalism is a lazy thinker’s dream because you could never know if it wasn’t true.

This is the first of four parts from Paul Nelson.

6 Replies to “Paul Nelson on methodological naturalism and scientists who don’t believe in it

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    The trap isn’t really a trap after you understand that it is a trap. Discussion is useless. I’m not sure it ever worked, but certainly it can’t work in the modern environment of academia and web. The sole purpose of discussion is to pull you away from plain truth and into trivial fake arguments over DETAILS.

    There are only two rational choices. Remain silent, or present the truth in a passively available way, where it waits for discovery.

    Even better, present an invitation to perform real experiments. Reality can’t lie, and reality can’t play Alinsky games.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    If you have a better way of doing science then let’s hear it because answering every question by speculating that it must have been the will of the Designer does not get you anywhere.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, imposition of methodological naturalism is deceptive, oppressive ideology and anti-science as it rejects a first duty of reason, to seek truth. KF

  4. 4
    chuckdarwin says:

    Re: Seversky: If you have a better way of doing science then let’s hear it because answering every question by speculating that it must have been the will of the Designer does not get you anywhere.

    It gets you into heaven. 😉

  5. 5
    AaronS1978 says:

    I’d say a better way to do science is to not pigeonhole it into one ideology which you happen to favor and to allow others to also do science and have a fair voice in the matter instead of forcing a singular ideology down everybody’s throat and then mocking them for their view

    So I guess a better way to do science would be for the scientist to be far more open minded and then let the work speak it self

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    The demand from atheists that science must be limited to giving us only natural and/or material explanations is to violate the spirit of science in the most fundamental way possible. It is to, prior to any experimentation and/or investigation, claim that you already know what the answer to the experimentation and/or investigation will be, i.e. for the atheist, the answer in science will always be a material and/or natural cause no matter how badly the experimentation and/or investigation contradicts their hypothesis and/or axiom of naturalistic materialism.

    More specifically, to claim that only material and/or natural explanations are permissible in science is to make naturalism in general, and Darwinian evolution in particular, impervious to falsification by experimentation.

    “If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is … If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
    – Richard Feynman
    https://fs.blog/2009/12/mental-model-scientific-method/

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl – Popper – The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959)

    Moreover, it is not as if Darwinism has not already been falsified time and time again. It is that Darwinists themselves simply refuse, because of the prior adherence to methodological naturalism, to ever accept any falsification of their theory.

    Here are a few experimental falsifications of Darwin’s theory that simply count for nothing in the Darwinian mindset

    Darwin’s theory holds mutations to the genome to be random. The vast majority of mutations to the genome are not random but are now found to be ‘directed’.

    Darwin’s theory holds that Natural Selection is the ‘designer substitute’ that produces the ‘appearance’ and/or illusion of design. Natural Selection, especially for multicellular organisms, is found to grossly inadequate as the ‘designer substitute.

    Darwin’s theory holds that mutations to DNA will eventually change the basic biological form of any given species into a new form of a brand new species. Yet, biological form is found to be irreducible to mutations to DNA, nor is biological form reducible to any other material particulars in biology one may wish to invoke.

    Darwin’s theory holds there to be an extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever.

    Charles Darwin himself held that the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Yet, from the Cambrian Explosion onward, the fossil record is consistently characterized by the sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. Moreover, Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late).

    Darwin’s theory, due to the randomness postulate, holds that patterns will not repeat themselves in supposedly widely divergent species. Yet thousands of instances of what is ironically called ‘convergent evolution’, on both the morphological and genetic level, falsifies the Darwinian belief that patterns will not repeat themselves in widely divergent species.

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Yet as Doug Axe pointed out, “Basically every gene and every new protein fold, there is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in that gradualistic way. It’s all a mirage. None of it happens that way.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Yet as Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig pointed out, “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as modern versions of it.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that, ““The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God. Yet ‘our conscious selves’ are certainly not explainable by ‘chance’ (nor is consciousness explainable by any possible reductive materialistic explanation in general), i.e. ‘the hard problem of consciousness’.

    Besides the mathematics of probability consistently showing that Darwinian evolution is impossible, the mathematics of population genetics itself has now shown Darwinian evolution to be impossible. Moreover, ‘immaterial’ mathematics itself, which undergirds all of science, engineering and technology, is held by most mathematicians to exist in some timeless, unchanging, immaterial, Platonic realm. Yet, the reductive materialism that Darwinian theory is based upon denies the existence of the immaterial realm that mathematics exists in. i.e. Darwinian evolution actually denies the objective reality of the one thing, i.e. mathematics, that it most needs in order to be considered scientific in the first place!

    Donald Hoffman has, via population genetics, shown that if Darwin’s materialistic theory were true then all our observations of reality would be illusory. Yet the scientific method itself is based on reliable observation. Moreover, Quantum Mechanics itself has now shown that conscious observation must come before material reality, i.e. falsification of ‘realism’ proves that our conscious observations are reliable!.

    The reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought holds that immaterial information is merely ’emergent’ from a material basis. Yet immaterial Information, via experimental realization of the “Maxwell’s Demon” thought experiment, is now found to be its own distinctive physical entity that, although it can interact in a ‘top down’ manner with matter and energy, is separate from matter and energy.

    Darwinists hold that Darwin’s theory is true. Yet ‘Truth’ itself is an abstract property of an immaterial mind that is irreducible to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution. i.e. Assuming reductive materialism and/or Naturalism as the starting philosophical position of science actually precludes ‘the truth’ from ever being reached by science!

    Darwinists, due to their underlying naturalistic philosophy, insist that teleology (i.e. goal directed purpose) does not exist. Yet it is impossible for Biologists to do biological research without constantly invoking words that directly imply teleology. i.e. The very words that Biologists themselves use when they are doing their research falsifies Darwinian evolution.

    etc.. etc…

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    Test all things; hold fast what is good.

    Moreover, trying to force materialistic and/or naturalistic answers onto science, no matter what the evidence says to the contrary, forces science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure.

    As I have pointed out several times before, although the Darwinist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science, (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that Darwinists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to:

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Darwinian Materialism and/or Methodological Naturalism vs. Reality – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaksmYceRXM

    Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Moreover, contrary to what many people have been falsely led to believe by Darwinian atheists, about Intelligent Design supposedly being a pseudo-science, the fact of the matter is that all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.
    From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (namely that the universe is rational and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can dare understand that rationality), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results themselves, from top to bottom, science itself is certainly not to be considered a ‘natural’ endeavor of man.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever found just laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analyzed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial logic and immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.
    Again, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.

    “Can it be by accident that all birds beasts & men have their right side & left side alike shaped (except in their bowells) & just two eyes & no more on either side the face & just two ears on either side the head & a nose with two holes & no more between the eyes & one mouth under the nose & either two fore leggs or two wings or two arms on the sholders & two leggs on the hipps one on either side & no more? Whence arises this uniformity in all their outward shapes but from the counsel & contrivance of an Author? Whence is it that the eyes of all sorts of living creatures are transparent to the very bottom & the only transparent members in the body, having on the outside an hard transparent skin, & within transparent juyces with a crystalline Lens in the middle & a pupil before the Lens all of them so truly shaped & fitted for vision, that no Artist can mend them? Did blind chance know that there was light & what was its refraction & fit the eys of all creatures after the most curious manner to make use of it? These & such like considerations always have & ever will prevail with man kind to believe that there is a being who made all things & has all things in his power & who is therfore to be feared.”
    – Sir Isaac Newton

    “Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.”
    – Sir Isaac Newton, A Short Scheme of the True Religion

    Verse:

    Proverbs 1:7
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

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