Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism Conference

I thought some of you might be interested in an online conference April 16, Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism.  The goal of the conference is to have a discussion among interested researchers about what other modes of investigation one might employ that were counter to methodological naturalism.

This is a cross-discipline conference, and we are hoping to get submissions in physical science, biology, economics, computer science, psychology, and other areas of inquiry.

Anyway, whether you are interested in presenting or attending, please fill out our contact form and we will mail you when more details become available.

AlternativesToNaturalism

The organizers of the conference are myself and Eric Holloway.  This is somewhat of a continuation from a previous conference organized by myself and Dominic Halsmer, The Engineering and Metaphysics 2012 Conference, the proceedings of which are here.

84 Replies to “Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism Conference”

  1. hotshoe_
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: You are under no obligation to respond to my query. I still wonder how anyone gets from, say, Plantinga’s proof of God to the nature and attributes of God without making up the dogma.

    He doesn’t get there without making up the dogma. He just covers up the “making” part with insults about us not being “serious” who do not “merit” a response.

    Hey, it works for the RCC. Why not for Erik?

  2. johnnyb
    Ignored
    says:

    shallit –

    But isn’t the Blyth Institute just johnnyb?

    It is more than just me (but not a lot more). But even if it was just me, how is that relevant? If you want to judge the institute, my suggestion is to do so based on our previous conference and proceedings.

  3. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: This site endorses voluntary participation. You are under no obligation to respond to my query.

    Sure. Except that you are a mod here. And you formulated your post as a response to me. But it wasn’t a response. It was a query into irrelevance. That from a mod says something about what this site really endorses.

    Alan Fox: still wonder how anyone gets from, say, Plantinga’s proof of God to the nature and attributes of God without making up the dogma.

    For balance, take time to wonder how anyone gets from, say, atoms bouncing randomly on each other and evolving life-forms and humanity for no purpose, while at the same time you have the impression that concepts like dogma or truth make sense.

    I sincerely don’t get what you are asking. Your question refutes itself from the get-go. Ask a meaningful question and somebody may be able to answer.

    As for Plantinga, I never had anything to do with him. People generally don’t become religious by force of philosophical argument and neither did I. People don’t become atheists either by force of philosophical argument. Instead, people are constantly articulating, elaborating and specifying their general life perspective. In the process, sometimes conversions occur one way or another, whichever way feels more liberating or enlightening.

    So, I’d be grateful if KN had a few examples of the many, many criticisms of Plantinga’s EAAN. I have heard of none.

  4. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: For balance, take time to wonder how anyone gets from, say, atoms bouncing randomly on each other and evolving life-forms and humanity for no purpose, while at the same time you have the impression that concepts like dogma or truth make sense

    I sincerely don’t get what you are asking. Your question refutes itself from the get-go. Ask a meaningful question and somebody may be able to answer

    The question makes complete sense. It’s true that people don’t become religious because of those philosophical arguments because they can’t justify their dogma. Why do they use them to rationalize their weird beliefs then?

    Your atom/biology analogy is absurd. Scientific underpinnings don’t rely on any particular theory, but all those theories are the product of the same methodology, the same philosophical foundation.

  5. Richardthughes Richardthughes
    Ignored
    says:

    Good luck with your conference Johnny B. I hope you share your thoughts / a summary afterwards. Maybe Templeton would be interested?

  6. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: So, I’d be grateful if KN had a few examples of the many, many criticisms of Plantinga’s EAAN. I have heard of none.

    I posted links to those articles here.

  7. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    dazz: The question makes complete sense. It’s true that people don’t become religious because of those philosophical arguments because they can’t justify their dogma. Why do they use them to rationalize their weird beliefs then?

    First you have to provide a watertight argument that their beliefs are weird – at least weirder compared to your own beliefs. This will determine if you are worth listening when you talk about dogma.

  8. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox:
    What I mean by shared experience is accumulated experience – the total of human knowledge. The thing about observation is that anyone can do it.

    The thing about observation is that everyone should do it, consistently and systematically. If it’s not done this way, experience may be dissipating rather than accumulating.

    Alan Fox:
    Many false conclusions and results have been exposed by repeat experiments. No weight of opinion will make water run uphill.

    Whereas weight of experiment would make water run uphill?

  9. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: First you have to provide a watertight argument that their beliefs are weird

    Oh, sure. Guys walking on water, talking snakes, “supernatural” beings poofing stuff into existence… some believe in guys riding up the sky in winged horses…On the other hand we have empirical evidence and reason ruling natural phenomena that produces theories that explain all sort of things in a predictable, repeatable way and works the same everywhere.

  10. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: Whereas weight of experiment would make water run uphill?

    What an utterly stupid thing to say. Trying to force conclusions into reality is your thing

  11. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    dazz: Oh, sure. Guys walking on water, talking snakes, “supernatural” beings poofing stuff into existence… some believe in guys riding up the sky in winged horses…On the other hand we have empirical evidence and reason ruling natural phenomena that produces theories that explain all sort of things in a predictable, repeatable way and works the same everywhere.

    So, that’s what you believe. Now, all you have to do is provide evidence that the first kind of beliefs (a) are weird and (b) provide reasons and empirical evidence in a predictable, repeatable way why those beliefs exist – because without that evidence, those beliefs should not exist. But they exist.

    You are failing the test. You have not managed to define weird yet, much less to prove that something in the world is weird by your definition.

  12. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: So, that’s what you believe. Now, all you have to do is provide evidence that the first kind of beliefs (a) are weird and (b) provide reasons and empirical evidence in a predictable, repeatable way why those beliefs exist – because without that evidence, those beliefs should not exist. But they exist.

    You are failing the test. You have not managed to define weird yet, much less to prove that something in the world is weird by your definition.

    Nah, I don’t have to prove those things are weird to any reasonable grown man. I just need to demonstrate that basing one’s knowledge on reason and evidence leads to all the scientific theories that help explain stuff in a perfectly consistent way from quantum mechanics to evolutionary biology.
    On the other hand, you have absolutely nothing to ground your beliefs on virgin births and women created out of ribs, and bread and fish multiplication. Remember this was about how one goes from stuff like first cause arguments to actual dogma connecting the dots in a logically consistent way. I can go from reason and empiricism to all my conclusions and I can show it works across the board… you have a book, long debunked medieval arguments and tons of fallacious gullibility.

  13. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Xenu. Golden Tablets. Adventism. Faith healing. Raeleans. Homeopathy.

    There is nothing so stupid and contrary to evidence that someone won’t believe it. Put it far enough in the past, teach it to children, and tribes of people will base their identity on it.

  14. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: Whereas weight of experiment would make water run uphill?

    Have you not noticed that water invariably runs downhill? Scientific observation and experiment is repeatable for anyone who wishes to check results for themselves.

  15. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: Have you not noticed that water invariably runs downhill? Scientific observation and experiment is repeatable for anyone who wishes to check results for themselves.

    Perhaps Erik has not noticed that work, in the form of sunlight, makes water run uphill. Clouds form, rain falls, repeat.

    No magic in the hydrological cycle and no magic in life and no magic in evolution.

    Work makes it work.

  16. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    petrushka: Perhaps Erik has not noticed that work, in the form of sunlight, makes water run uphill.

    But that’s not water – it’s water vapour! You’ll be claiming next that ice is water! 😉

  17. shallit
    Ignored
    says:

    johnnyb:
    shallit –

    It is more than just me (but not a lot more).But even if it was just me, how is that relevant?If you want to judge the institute, my suggestion is to do so based on our previous conference and proceedings.

    Creationists have a long history of making up names for institutions that are just fancy ways to describe themselves.

  18. johnnyb
    Ignored
    says:

    shallit –

    Creationists have a long history of making up names for institutions that are just fancy ways to describe themselves.

    An interesting observation, but why is it important? And do you think creationists are unique in this regard? Let me rephrase that sentence a few times, and see if it is still a valid critique:

    Software developers have a long history of making up names for companies that are just fancy ways to describe themselves.

    Plumbers have a long history of making up names for companies that are just fancy ways to describe themselves.

    Entrepreneurs have a long history of making up names for companies that are just fancy ways to describe themselves.

    Educators have a long history of making up names for their tutoring services that are just fancy ways to describe themselves.

    In the case of The Blyth Institute, it is a 501c3 organization, which means it has a board of directors, and it isn’t just me, though I am the primary participant. Nonetheless, even if it was just me, I’m not sure how that would impact anything.

  19. johnnyb
    Ignored
    says:

    NOTE – it was not my intention to dominate the front page. If I have set something that does that, it was not my intention. If another admin can point out what I need to change to get it to move down with the flow, that would be greatly appreciated.

  20. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    johnnyb:
    NOTE – it was not my intention to dominate the front page.If I have set something that does that, it was not my intention.If another admin can point out what I need to change to get it to move down with the flow, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Jon, you must have ticked the “make sticky” box in error (top right-hand compose window). I’ve un-stickied it for you.

  21. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: Jon, you must have ticked the “make sticky” box in error (top right-hand compose window). I’ve un-stickied it for you.

    I did that.

    And I would have undone it earlier today, except that I was getting “permission” problems accessing the site — probably a malfunction somewhere.

  22. cubist
    Ignored
    says:

    johnnyb:
    shallit –

    Creationists have a long history of making up names for institutions that are just fancy ways to describe themselves.

    An interesting observation, but why is it important?And do you think creationists are unique in this regard?

    You miss the point of Shallit’s comment. It’s not that Creationists are the only people who employ overinflated credentials and set up self-aggrandizing Prentiously Named Institutes™ which turn out to be just them working in a suburban bungalow; rather, it’s that the incidence of overinflated credentials and self-aggrandizing Pretentiously Named Institutes™ is so much greater among Creationists than it is among plumbers, software developers, educators, etc etc—so much so that among Creationists, overinflated credentials and self-aggrandizing Pretentiously Named Institutes™ are the rule, rather than the exception.

    In other fields of human endeavor, this sort of thing is rare enough to be noteworthy when it’s observed; among Creationists, this sort of thing is sufficiently common as to be completely and utterly uninteresting when it’s observed.

  23. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: Have you not noticed that water invariably runs downhill?

    Good one Alan! You really got him with that one! Actually, he probably never noticed. Sort of like the moderators admins here who fail to notice the obvious.

    Just what does your question add to the conversation in this thread? If you mean to insult Erik we have Noyau for that. You of all people know that. Another admin who can’t abide by the rules. Elizabeth Liddle, absentee benevolent slumlord.

  24. Flint
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Good one Alan! You really got him with that one! Actually, he probably never noticed. Sort of like the moderators admins here who fail to notice the obvious.

    Just what does your question add to the conversation in this thread? If you mean to insult Erik we have Noyau for that. You of all people know that. Another admin who can’t abide by the rules. Elizabeth Liddle, absentee benevolent slumlord.

    And thus Mung refutes methodological naturalism.

  25. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Flint: And thus Mung refutes methodological naturalism.

    My name will become famous!

  26. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    shallit: Creationists have a long history of making up names for institutions that are just fancy ways to describe themselves.

    Unlike anyone else. LoL.

    What does your comment have to do with anything? How does it help advance Elizabeth’s vision for this site? Have you considered that it is possible that you may be mistaken? Did you park your priors? Or are you just here to scoff and mock?

    If so, begone. This site is dedicated to serious engagement on the issues, not drive-by comments from people who can’t be bothered to stick around and defend their views from criticism.

  27. Flint
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: My name will become famous!

    Certainly your reputation is beyond dispute.

  28. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: Scientific observation and experiment is repeatable for anyone who wishes to check results for themselves.

    Erik, just let me know if you want access to my super-collider!

  29. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Shine enough sunlight on water and it will tend to flow uphill.

  30. Richardthughes Richardthughes
    Ignored
    says:

    Please don’t copy paste spam here. Thanks.

  31. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Moved spam comment to guano along with one response.

  32. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: This site is dedicated to serious engagement on the issues, not drive-by comments from people who can’t be bothered to stick around and defend their views from criticism.

    Better close your account then.

  33. shallit
    Ignored
    says:

    What does your comment have to do with anything?

    When most people think of an “institute”, they think of an established group with a history of scholarship. They think of, for example, the Institute for Advanced Study, which has housed people such as Einstein, von Neumann, Gödel, Oppenheimer, and so forth. They expect that the institute lists on its web pages who is responsible for it, the names of the board of directors, when it was founded, and so forth. They think of a place with buildings and offices. They think of a place with a million-dollar budget.

    Somehow I don’t imagine the “Blyth Institute” qualifies. Where are its buildings? Where are the offices? Who constitutes the board of directors? When was it founded? How much is its budget? All this is relevant for the average person to know whether to take it seriously. Is it just some guy in a basement with a pretentious name? Or something more?

    Where can we find out this information?

  34. shallit
    Ignored
    says:

    Still no answer from johnnyb about my questions.

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