ATHEISTS ARE MEN OF GREAT FAITH

The most powerful reason for science’s reluctance to em­brace a theory of intelligent design is based on philosophical con­siderations. Many people, including many important and well-re­spected scientists, just don’t want there to be anything beyond nature. They don’t want a supernatural being to affect nature, no matter how brief or constructive the interaction may have been. In other words they bring an a priori philosophical com­mitment to their science that restricts what kinds of explanations they will accept about the physical world.

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5 Comments on “ATHEISTS ARE MEN OF GREAT FAITH”

  1. Grundy April 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM #

    Once we accept that the supernatural is possible, anything goes. God can exist, but so can Loki and Wizards. Any magical being could just as easily be true as any other, even contrary to visible evidence because they could affect our vision, change reality and rewind time by supernatural means. Isn’t it better to have a natural outlook on life?

  2. M. A. Melby April 18, 2012 at 9:44 PM #

    You are correct in a way. The two major philosophical principles inherent in science are methodological naturalism and Occam’s Razor – both of those reject supernatural explanations. However, those reject supernatural explanations within scientific theories. They do not prescribe philosophical naturalism. Many scientists are religious. My former chair, a physicists, was a sister in a Catholic order; another fellow faculty member was Lutheran, another Zoroastrian, another Muslim, another Hindu…but none of them would dream of using “God did it” as a scientific explanation because science is about understanding the NATURAL world; and developing models of nature that describe and predict NATURE. Science not using the supernatural in their explanation has little or nothing to do with atheism – other than the two being constantly conflated by people that don’t understand neither science nor atheism.

  3. antithesis314 April 20, 2012 at 7:27 AM #

    Methodological naturalism is hardly an “a priori philosophical commitment”. There’s a difference between methodological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism. To do science, one does not need to presuppose metaphysical naturalism (no such thing as supernatural entities).

    • M. A. Melby April 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM #

      Exactly!

  4. M. A. Melby April 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM #

    I attempted to address this issue a on my blog here: http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/your-creator-is-not-a-shim/

    I am clearly not the first one to discuss this. AronRa did a great job on YouTube explaining it with his “Foundational Falsehood” series.

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