The history and philosophy of naturalism

Terms for science controversies

Controversies are more difficult than they need be. I have written about this before here and here. One challenge for dealing with controversies is that terminology is misleading, inaccurate, or loaded. Here are some examples from the creation-evolution controversy. The term ‘evolution’ originally meant an unrolling, and was applied by Charles Lyell and Herbert Spencer …

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Interpretation of math and science

There’s a common understanding that most writings need to be interpreted — especially those of a religious or philosophical nature. But mathematical and scientific writings are similar and need to be interpreted, too. Consider that mathematicians and scientists write as if they were creating a world. Mathematicians say things like, “Let there be a line …

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Science stoppers and starters

An inference of intelligent design (ID), or any version of creationism, or whatever might hint at the supernatural is often considered a science stopper. See, for example, this and the final chapter of Stanley’s book reviewed earlier. Look at two key examples from the ID literature: Dembski’s design inference and Behe’s irreducible complexity inference. Do …

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Invention of the uniformity of nature

Previous posts review Matthew Stanley’s book, which describes how theistic science was displaced by naturalistic science in 19th century Britain. He calls the latter “scientific naturalism,” which is accurate since it is a version of the philosophy, naturalism. It would be opposed by “scientific theism,” though I don’t think he uses that term, perhaps because …

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