The Misguided Attack on Methodological Naturalism

Keith B. Miller

in For the Rock Record

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257580
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943711 | DOI:
The Misguided Attack on Methodological Naturalism

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Both traditional creationists and intelligent design (ID) advocates argue that the methodological limitation of science to the study of natural agents and processes is equivalent to the denial of the existence and action of God. This is a reflection of their false claim that science as currently practiced is inherently atheistic. It is a fundamental confusion of methodological naturalism with philosophical naturalism or materialism. ID proponents see methodological naturalism not as a description of the limitations of scientific inquiry, but as an arbitrary and unjustified prescription that prevents scientists from including supernatural action in their scientific explanations. Probably one of the best case studies illustrating how the nature of science has come under attack in recent years is the widely reported effort of young-Earth creationists and ID advocates in Kansas to rewrite the state science standards. In their more recent challenges to Kansas science education, ID advocates have explicitly attacked methodological naturalism as a description of the nature and limitations of science.

Keywords: Kansas; intelligent design; science; nature; methodological naturalism; philosophical naturalism; materialism; science education; supernatural action; creationists

Chapter.  9707 words. 

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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