[b-hebrew] Academic Debate"

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Nov 1 10:52:39 EDT 2007


On 10/31/07, Yigal Levin <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il> wrote:
> In the world as we know it, if a person writes about events that happened in
> the past, he either: 1. had written sources, 2. depended on oral tradition,
> 3. made it up. Possibility number 4, "God told him", does not work in the
> world that we live in, which leaves the other three to be discussed on a
> case-by-case basis, which I'm willing to do, but not right now.
> Yigal Levin
There is a difference between methodological naturalism and
philosophic (religious) naturalism.

The definition for science that I found in numerous textbooks is
according to methodological naturalism: all what we can repeatedly
observe is limited to the physical universe. Furthermore, it is
limited to the present. It does not a priori rule out the supernatural
as an unobserved cause for observed phenomena.

Philosophic naturalism, which is a religion, teaches that the physical
universe is all that exists, therefore only naturalistic causes for
observed phenomena may be entertained. The supernatural is ipso facto
ruled out.

Dave Washburn has well dealt with the problem of studying the past, so
I won't repeat him, but the same demand for accepting only natural
explanations for historical events typifies the religion of naturalism
from an even handed study of history.

On this list we have opted for methodological naturalism and ruled
that a discussion of religion, including philosophic naturalism, is
off limits. That doesn't mean that religious concepts can't be
mentioned, just that we cannot say on this list that our religion is
the only way. However, I find that when people openly admit their
religious bias, like Shoshanna, that it is less offensive than when
one hides it behind openly neutral statements, but still follows it
behind the scenes.

Karl W. Randolph.

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