Saturday, August 18, 2007


Fairy Tales

Once upon a time ... March 7, 2006 to be exact ... Alvin Plantinga, philosopher/theologian at Notre Dame University, in his article* "Whether ID is science isn't semantics" was telling us how Intelligent Design was scientifically "verifiable," "falsifiable" and "testable" and that science does not exclude supernatural explanations. Methodological naturalism, he said, "hamstrings science by precluding science from reaching what would be an enormously important truth about the world."

The term "science," according to Plantinga (back then at least) simply "denotes any activity that is:

(a) a systematic and disciplined enterprise aimed at finding out truth about our world, and
(b) has significant empirical involvement."
Plantinga, a scant year and a half ago, asserted that "[a]ny activity (presumably including ID) that meets these vague conditions counts as science."

How times change.

In a recent lecture by Plantinga entitled "Science and Religion: Why Does the Debate Continue?" given at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church in southeast Seattle (where his daughter, Jane Pauw, is the pastor), he reportedly:

... argued that there is no intrinsic conflict between religion and science. Conflicts arise when spokespersons for one or the other make claims on behalf of science or religion that are exaggerated. For example, said the professor, it is perfectly appropriate that scientific work proceed without religious assumptions or references. Plantinga called that "secularism with respect to science."
I'd call that a pretty good definition of "methodological naturalism" myself.

Tempus fugit.

* Sorry about the Google cache link but Science & Theology News, where this article appeared, is no more. Sic transit gloria mundi. (Now see here.)

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