Talk:Methodological naturalism

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Circular definition comes into play here:

Many scientists of faith nevertheless adopt naturalism in their studies. This is because there is simply no way for an experiment to investigate forces which by their nature cannot be investigated scientifically.

The definition of scientific investigation is "study of the natural (material) world". Science thus limits itself to investigation of the material world. By this definition, studying anything beyord the material world is "not scientific". Therefore (by this definition), studying supernatural phenomena is not scientific, and any experiment which investigates the supernatural is not a scientific investigation.

What then is the rationale for limiting investigation to the material world, i.e. natural phenomena. Is it because there is no way at all to study it? Or simply that we have defined "scientific investigation" as "study of the material world only".

This is like defining geography so that it is limited to physical geography and excluding human culture, trade, etc. So National Geographic]] has gone way beyond its bounds, if geography is limited only to physical aspects such as geology, ecology, wildlife, etc.

It's really a confounding of method and scope. --Ed Poor Talk 14:30, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

I don't believe it's possible to say that science limitis itself to the material world... I mean, science is basically testing the testable. So what you are saying is that science is limiting itself to what is possible... It's not as though you can test the untestable.Raggs 09:06, 19 March 2008 (EDT)
Your words simply perpetuate the confusion. Let me try again:
Liberals and conservatives agree (1) that science should test the testable and that (2) science properly limits itself to investigating the possible. Agreed? --Ed Poor Talk 14:15, 19 March 2008 (EDT)

New start

I had to delete the article, because it simply did not make any sense. Moreover, it completely obscures the main thing that people want to know about science and naturalism:

Do scientists assume that the material world is all there is?

Now, I've heard it said that "methodological naturalism" is only a self-imposed restriction. That scientists aren't really endorsing materialism but have chosen to look only for physical causes, when studying matters of physical science.

However, the only context in which I've heard this term is in the origins debate, where it's used as the chief pretext for dismissing intelligent design. Then it starts becoming intellectually dishonest, by using circular reasoning.

They say that ID can't be "scientific" because science only examines physical causes. But ID says that the decision to confine one's research and study to physical causes is itself the problem! --Ed Poor Talk 15:30, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

Very interesting conclusion Ed. I would not say that scientists assume that the material world is all there is, as many scientists are of different faiths. I would, however, say that science is limited based on methods of detection. As such it is hard to not study the physical scientifically when the detection methods that currently exist are only able to detect the physical. For example, if I were to say that there is a sunflower in the middle of the room, you could verify this by looking in the room. However, if I were to say there is an invisible sunflower in the room you would be limited to detecting it through means that would not require optics, such as displacement methods. To go further if I were to say there is a mass less, invisible, non-field rendering sunflower in the room you would be unable to verify this based on the current detection methods available currently. The reason why so many scientist say the ID is not scientific is that there is no way to currently detect and research their hypothesis (That life was intelligently designed by something). The reason why evolution does not fall into this situation is based on the hypothesized mechanism of evolution, that mutation can cause the diversity. ID is based on the designer somehow causing the diversity however the mechanism has yet to be explained as to how the designer caused the diversity. The problem, and therefore the reason why science is not accepting of ID, is that we are currently seeing microevolution occur based on the mechanisms explained by evolution however the best explanation that IDists can give is that the designer had predesigned this to occur without providing a mechanism as to how we can detect the hand of the designer or as to how it was preprogrammed.--Able806 11:27, 26 February 2009 (EST)