News Philosophy Science

Science is about metaphysical naturalism – Science & Education paper

Spread the love

In “The Role of Metaphysical Naturalism in Science” (Science & Education, 20 November 2011), Martin Mahner explains,

Abstract: This paper defends the view that metaphysical naturalism is a constitutive ontological principle of science in that the general empirical methods of science, such as observation, measurement and experiment, and thus the very production of empirical evidence, presuppose a no-supernature principle. It examines the consequences of metaphysical naturalism for the testability of supernatural claims, and it argues that explanations involving supernatural entities are pseudo-explanatory due to the many semantic and ontological problems of supernatural concepts. The paper also addresses the controversy about metaphysical versus methodological naturalism.

What metaphysical naturalism actually does is lay down the edict that only material forces are part of science. Immaterial forces like information must somehow be seen as their accidental byproducts.

It’s strange. One can’t imagine the tenure bores asking themselves, “Why are we stuck believing in a multiverse, which essentially negates science?” (To get away from evident fine-tuning) Or “How come origin of life never gets solved?” (Because the researchers are looking for something that isn’t there: An information-free zone that produces information-rich life.) “How come the ‘hard problem of consciousness’ shows zero progress.” (Because the researchers are willing to believe that it arises from stuff like chimps throwing poop.)

In their world, unrestrained curiosity is not only idle but dangerous.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

8 Replies to “Science is about metaphysical naturalism – Science & Education paper

  1. 1
  2. 2
    above says:

    –“Abstract: This paper defends the view that metaphysical naturalism is a constitutive ontological principle of science”

    So science then is based on materialist dogma? Given that there is no proof of materialism and all the evidence points to the contrary, defining science as such would be to direct it toward falsehood and lies.

    “in that the general empirical methods of science, such as observation, measurement and experiment, and thus the very production of empirical evidence, presuppose a no-supernature principle.”

    Kant’s Transcendental Logic and Aesthetic should have put an end to such nonsense one would think, but unfortunately the stupidity is too deeply rooted in some people. Even ignoring Kant’s work, the mere fact that reality is intelligible, is itself evidence of teleology. The very act of faith that we put in science rests upon a principle, such as teleology, that naturalism is incompatible with. Without intelligbility, measurement, experiment and observation would be impossible. As one Theist philosopher put it, one of the simplest manifestations of teleology is intelligibility.

    –“It examines the consequences of metaphysical naturalism for the testability of supernatural claims, and it argues that explanations involving supernatural entities are pseudo-explanatory due to the many semantic and ontological problems of supernatural concepts.”

    There is no law that dictates that just because something is untestable it is non-Real. That claim is just an exposition of naturalistic narrow-mindedness and dogma. What is pseudo-explanatory is trying to explain all of reality via the “atheist god of chance”, which is nothing more than a pathetic superstition. As far as the vagueness of ontological concepts is concerned, we are all still waiting for a clear definition and consequent exposition of what this thing called “matter” is… Or a definition of nature that when put underscrutiny is not found to collapse at the face of a reduction ad absurdum fallacy.

    This article is laughable.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    i.e. Science is not even possible in the materialistic framework!

    Epistemology – Why Should The Human Mind Even Comprehend Reality? – Stephen Meyer
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

    Moreover the founders of modern science were Christian;

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    further notes:

    How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality? Is human reason, then, without experience, merely by taking thought, able to fathom the properties of real things?
    — Albert Einstein

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Presuppositional Apologetics – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Random Chaos vs. Uniformity Of Nature – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6853139

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? – Joe Carter
    Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....onkey-mind

    What is the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism? (‘inconsistent identity’ of cause leads to failure of absolute truth claims for materialists) (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yNg4MJgTFw

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    The following interview is sadly comical as a evolutionary psychologist realizes that neo-Darwinism can offer no guarantee that our faculties of reasoning will correspond to the truth, not even for the truth he is giving in the interview, (which begs the question of how was he able to come to that particular truthful realization, in the first place, if neo-Darwinian evolution were actually true?);

    Evolutionary guru: Don’t believe everything you think – October 2011
    Interviewer: You could be deceiving yourself about that.(?)
    Evolutionary Psychologist: Absolutely.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....think.html

    “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” –
    Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” J. B. S. Haldane [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

    Moreover that logical mathematical order which is presupposed by Christian Theists to be placed on reality by the mind of God reveals, within the working out of its own internal mathematical logic, the necessity for God:

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    Finely Tuned Big Bang, Elvis In The Multiverse, and the Schroedinger Equation – Granville Sewell – audio
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4233012

    At the 4:00 minute mark of the preceding audio, Dr. Sewell comments on the ‘transcendent’ and ‘constant’ Schroedinger’s Equation;

    ‘In chapter 2, I talk at some length on the Schroedinger Equation which is called the fundamental equation of chemistry. It’s the equation that governs the behavior of the basic atomic particles subject to the basic forces of physics. This equation is a partial differential equation with a complex valued solution. By complex valued I don’t mean complicated, I mean involving solutions that are complex numbers, a+bi, which is extraordinary that the governing equation, basic equation, of physics, of chemistry, is a partial differential equation with complex valued solutions. There is absolutely no reason why the basic particles should obey such a equation that I can think of except that it results in elements and chemical compounds with extremely rich and useful chemical properties. In fact I don’t think anyone familiar with quantum mechanics would believe that we’re ever going to find a reason why it should obey such an equation, they just do! So we have this basic, really elegant mathematical equation, partial differential equation, which is my field of expertise, that governs the most basic particles of nature and there is absolutely no reason why, anyone knows of, why it does, it just does. British physicist Sir James Jeans said “From the intrinsic evidence of His creation, the great architect of the universe begins to appear as a pure mathematician”, so God is a mathematician to’.

    This following video humorously reveals the bankruptcy that atheists have in ever trying to ground beliefs within a materialistic worldview;

    John Cleese – The Scientists – humorous video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M-vnmejwXo

    It is also interesting to point out that this ‘inconsistent identity’, pointed out by Plantinga, which leads to the failure of neo-Darwinists to be able to make absolute truth claims for their beliefs, is what also leads to the failure of neo-Darwinists to be able to account for objective morality, in that neo-Darwinists cannot maintain a consistent identity towards a stable, unchanging, cause for objective morality;

    The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris’ Moral Landscape – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvDyLs_cReE

    Hitler & Darwin, pt. 2: Richard Weikart on Evolutionary Ethics – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_04-08_00

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    News,

    it gets worse — to the point where Mr Mahner just joined Lewontin in the list of they said its in the intro page at IOSE:

    This paper defends the view that metaphysical naturalism is a constitutive ontological principle of science in that the general empirical methods of science, such as observation, measurement and experiment, and thus the very production of empirical evidence, presuppose a no-supernature principle . . . . Metaphysical or ontological naturalism (henceforth: ON) [[“roughly” and “simply”] is the view that all that exists is our lawful spatiotemporal world. Its negation is of course supernaturalism: the view that our lawful spatiotemporal world is not all that exists because there is another non-spatiotemporal world transcending the natural one, whose inhabitants—usually considered to be intentional beings—are not subject to natural laws . . . . Both scientists and science educators keep being challenged by creationists of all shades, who try hard to reintroduce supernaturalist explanations into biology and into all the areas of science that concern the origin of the world in general and of human beings in particular. A major aspect of this debate is the role of ON in science . . . .

    ON is not part of a deductive argument in the sense that if we collected all the statements or theories of science and used them as premises, then ON would logically follow. After all, scientific theories do not explicitly talk about anything metaphysical such as the presence or absence of supernatural entities: they simply refer to natural entities and processes only. Therefore, ON rather is a tacit metaphysical supposition of science, an ontological postulate. It is part of a metascientific framework or, if preferred, of the metaparadigm of science that guides the construction and evaluation of theories, and that helps to explain why science works and succeeds in studying and explaining the world. Now this can be interpreted in a weak and a strong sense. In the weak sense, ON is only part of the metaphysical background assumptions of contemporary science as a result of historical contingency; so much so that we could replace ON by its antithesis any time, and science would still work fine. This is the view of the creationists, and, curiously, even of some philosophers of science (e.g., Monton 2009). In the strong sense, ON is essential to science; that is, if it were removed from the metaphysics of science, what we would get would no longer be a science. Conversely, inasmuch as early science accepted supernatural entities as explainers, it was not proper science yet. It is of course this strong sense that I have in mind when I say that science presupposes ON.

    Talk about begging BIG metaphysical questions, and hijacking the very definition of science [trying to after the fact read out the founding scientists out of the halls of science as applied atheism], all pivoted on a strawman contrast: natural vs supernatural.

    It apparently has not dawned on such that ever since Plato in The Laws, Bk X, the proper contrast on the table was and is natural vs ARTificial, i.e we can and do routinely distinguish chance and/or necessity vs art using empirical signs and per reasonable principles of logical analysis.

    We need make no a priori metaphysical, ideological, loaded commitments that sacrifice science as an open-minded pursuit of the truth about our world; once we see that empirical investigative methods can reliably detect chance and/or necessity vs art.

    Then, we can follow this process up on tested signs and let the metaphysical chips fall where they may. (And, yes, I am aware that the signs we may observe point to art as the root explanation of the cosmos fine-tuned for C chemistry aqueous medium cell based life, and of life in it.)

    Good catch,

    GEM of TKI

  6. 6
    ScottAndrews2 says:

    Why argue against naturalism when it is meaningless? There is no meaningful definition of “supernatural.”

    Arguing against it plays into the assumption that ID posits the supernatural.

    I believe in God, and I suppose that’s supernatural in the common sense of the word. But from a scientific perspective the label is meaningless. A thing either exists or it doesn’t. It may be of a currently understood nature, or it might be of another. We may not be able to observe something, but it does not follow that it is impossible to observe.

    When someone says that something is supernatural or beyond observation, they inevitably mean that if it were to exist they don’t know how they would observe it.

    Is it the standard practice in science to infer the existence of an unobserved entity and then determine that it has some magical, supernatural attribute of being beyond physical reality just because we can’t directly observe it? Or is that just a principle to apply selectively?

    It is applied selectively, which reveals that it is only an excuse for discarding evidence that contradicts one’s ideology or belief system.

  7. 7
    Petrushka says:

    Is it the standard practice in science to infer the existence of an unobserved entity and then determine that it has some magical, supernatural attribute of being beyond physical reality just because we can’t directly observe it? Or is that just a principle to apply selectively?

    Speaking only for myself, I’ve never heard anyone in science refer to an inferred entity (dark energy, anyone?) as supernatural of magical.

    Many, in not most, scientists reserve the term supernatural for claims made that cannot be verified at all, by any kind of observation or inference. Ghosts, ESP, telekinesis, etc.
    Along with failure to confirm, there is generally a claim being made that would violate known regularities in nature.

    But known regularities can be quite counterintuitive. Quantum entanglement, for example. The relevant thing is not the weirdness of the phenomenon, but its regularity. Can it be repeatedly be observed by any competent researcher?

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Petrushka you state:

    scientists reserve the term supernatural for claims made that cannot be verified at all, by any kind of observation or inference. Ghosts, ESP, telekinesis, etc.

    First I noticed you did not put almighty God into your list?!?, Second, ESP and telekinesis, contrary to your denial, has been ‘observed’:

    Study suggests precognition may be possible – November 2010
    Excerpt: A Cornell University scientist has demonstrated that psi anomalies, more commonly known as precognition, premonitions or extra-sensory perception (ESP), really do exist at a statistically significant level.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....ition.html

    Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter – Random Number Generators – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007

    I once asked a evolutionist, after showing him the preceding experiment, “Since you ultimately believe that the ‘god of random chance’ produced everything we see around us, what in the world is my mind doing pushing your god around?”

    As well petrushka, I noticed you stated:

    But known regularities can be quite counterintuitive. Quantum entanglement, for example. The relevant thing is not the weirdness of the phenomenon, but its regularity.

    Yet it seems non-local, (beyond space and time), quantum mechanics refuses to stay in the ‘regularity box’ you have tried to put it in petrushka:

    Quantum Theory’s ‘Wavefunction’ Found to Be Real Physical Entity: Scientific American – November 2011
    Excerpt: David Wallace, a philosopher of physics at the University of Oxford, UK, says that the theorem is the most important result in the foundations of quantum mechanics that he has seen in his 15-year professional career. “This strips away obscurity and shows you can’t have an interpretation of a quantum state as probabilistic,” he says.
    http://www.scientificamerican......vefunction

    The quantum (wave) state cannot be interpreted statistically – November 2011
    http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1111.3328

    Petrushka now what in blue blazes is the exact beyond space and time ’cause’ for quantum wave collapse if it is not a law like ‘regularity’ that you have postulated? I’ll give you a hint, the word starts with a capital G!

    further notes;

    Centrality of Each Individual Observer In The Universe and Christ’s Very Credible Reconciliation Of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/17SDgYPHPcrl1XX39EXhaQzk7M0zmANKdYIetpZ-WB5Y/edit?hl=en_US

    Excerpt of preceding article:

    I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    Further notes:

    Double Slit Experiment – Explained By Prof Anton Zeilinger – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6101627/

    Wave function
    Excerpt “wave functions form an ‘abstract'(now shown to be physically real) vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function.
    – wikipedia

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    It is important to note that the following experiment actually proved that information can be encoded into a photon while it is in its quantum wave state, thus destroying the notion, that was/is held by many, that the wave function was not ‘physically real’ but was merely ‘abstract’. i.e. How can information possibly be encoded into a entity that is not physically real but is merely abstract? It simply would not be possible!

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage – on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.,,, Quantum mechanics dictates some strange things at that scale, so that bit of light could be thought of as both a particle and a wave. As a wave, it passed through all parts of the stencil at once, carrying the “shadow” of the UR with it.
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

    Now, I find the preceding to be absolutely fascinating! A photon, in its quantum wave state, is found to be mathematically defined as a ‘infinite-dimensional’ state, which ‘requires an infinite amount of information’ to describe it properly , can be encoded with information in its ‘infinite dimensional’ state, and this ‘infinite dimensional’ photon is found to collapse, instantaneously, and thus ‘non-locally’, to just a ’1 or 0? state, to each unique point of observation in the universe, out of a infinite number of possibilities that the photon could have collapsed to instead! Now my question to materialistic atheists is this, “Exactly what ’cause’ has been postulated throughout history to be completely independent of any space-time constraints, as well as possessing infinite knowledge, so as to be the ‘sufficient cause’ to explain what we see in the quantum wave collapse of a photon???

    John 1:1-5
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    Jeremy Camp – The Way (Official Music Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q6o4sbndVE

Leave a Reply