Saturday, July 22, 2017

NOMA and the Jones decision

The Jones decision absolutely reeks of NOMA, and it only works as an establishment clause case on the assumption of NOMA. Were questions of design refuted by Darwinian biology, or were they set aside as metaphysical issues outside the purview of science per se? Did the methodological assumptions of science change over time to preclude design inferences? Are there weaknesses in the Darwinian story that are constantly being papered over? Is Darwinian theory being protected by leaders in the scientific community, using the phobia of creationism to silence honest, and secular criticism of the standard theory? The guy from China said that while in China you can criticize Darwin but not the government, over here you can criticize the government but not Darwin. 

If you go by the Jones decision, then biology textbooks are going to have to be checked to make sure they don't have antireligious content in them. Otherwise they violate the establishment clause in just the same way that the Dover statement violated it. How much do you want to bet that you could find lots of violations in many biology textbooks? 

What I believe on the other days of the week is that NOMA is true, biology should be metaphysically neutral, and science textbooks should indicate that questions of intelligent design lie outside the purview of science and cannot be settled one way or the other by science. So, evolution is affirmed because science has to work that way, and you can legitimately ask the question of design, but as an extrascientific question that science, per se, cannot answer.

3 comments:

Stardusty Psyche said...

"What I believe on the other days of the week is that NOMA is true,"
--The deistic god is undiscoverable so long as it chooses to remain hidden.

A god that interacts with matter/energy is in principle scientifically discoverable and thus not in an entirely separate magisteria. The god as described in the Torah, NT, and Quran is in this class.

Science could in principle discover Paley's watch. Many candidates have been proposed only to then be scientifically accounted for on naturalism. Thus, the irreducible complexity candidate pool is an ever shrinking set that occupies the ever receding corner of scientific ignorance.

" science textbooks should indicate that questions of intelligent design lie outside the purview of science"
--But they are not wholly outside the purview of science.

" and cannot be settled one way or the other by science."
--Science can settle the lack of necessity of ID for particular observed phenomena.

Victor Reppert said...

If theistic hypotheses are scientific hypotheses that can be tested by science, then the Establishment Clause case doesn't work. Even if they are bad theories, there is nothing wrong with presenting them to students.

The fact that advocates of these theories hope for a particular religious outcome from teaching the theory would knock out a lot of biology textbooks as well as such texts as Of Pandas and People, which the Dover statement actually just referenced, and it was not used in the classroom.

As for one way progress knocking out religious hypotheses, two developments have arisen which have made it harder to be, as Dawkins puts it, an intellectually fulfilled atheist. One if the Big Bang theory and the apparent beginning of the universe, which has faced opposition for anti-religious motives, and the fine-tuning of the universe. These make it the case of for naturalism more difficult and complicated, even if they are not fatal to atheism. And there are others. It would have been more convenient for atheists if the fossil record had not been so gappy as not to prompt Gould to come up with punctuated equilibrium, but that didn't happen either.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Victor Reppert said...

" If theistic hypotheses are scientific hypotheses that can be tested by science, then the Establishment Clause case doesn't work. Even if they are bad theories, there is nothing wrong with presenting them to students."
--If that particular brand of ID was scientific that would be true, but it isn't, it is only religious, and teaching that which is only religious as science violates the establishment clause.

Public schools are not permitted to advocate religion, only teach about it as a social fact. To present an unscientific and religions view as science in the science class is a violation of the establishment clause.

If the existence of god ever becomes established science then it can and should be taught in science class.

" The fact that advocates of these theories hope for a particular religious outcome from teaching the theory would knock out a lot of biology textbooks "
--I have seen a number of high school biology textbooks. None of them leaned toward any religious outcome so I really do not see your point here.

" One if the Big Bang theory and the apparent beginning of the universe, which has faced opposition for anti-religious motives,"
--The obvious question is what caused the big bang. That is just basic logical inquiry.

" and the fine-tuning of the universe."
--Highly debated and a significant factor in considering inflation, strings, and other cosmological models.

" These make it the case of for naturalism more difficult and complicated,"
--That's the exciting thing about science, it is so very complicated with so much remaining to be learned.

" even if they are not fatal to atheism. And there are others. It would have been more convenient for atheists if the fossil record had not been so gappy as not to prompt Gould to come up with punctuated equilibrium, but that didn't happen either."
--Yes, I have noticed that the universe has a rather annoying habit of not giving a damn about my convenience!


July 22, 2017 1:41 PM