Book Release – Naturalism and Its Alternatives

I thought you all might be interested in a book we just released this week – Naturalism and Its Alternatives in Scientific Methodologies. It has been heading up the Amazon charts, and hit the #1 Hot New Release spot today on three lists – Scientific Research, Epistemology, and Psychology.

This book is based on the Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism conference earlier this year. Anyway, I hope some of you check it out and see what you think!

248 thoughts on “Book Release – Naturalism and Its Alternatives

  1. Frankie: dazz doesn’t realize that all design inferences mandate that blind and mindless processes be ELIMINATED first?

    Having never seen any, I don’t know how to eliminate blind and mindless processes.

  2. Mung:

    Frankie: dazz doesn’t realize that all design inferences mandate that blind and mindless processes be ELIMINATED first?

    Having never seen any, I don’t know how to eliminate blind and mindless processes.

    I thought you’d been reading Frankie’s comments.

  3. Mung: Frankie: dazz doesn’t realize that all design inferences mandate that blind and mindless processes be ELIMINATED first?

    Mung: Having never seen any, I don’t know how to eliminate blind and mindless processes.

    Planetary orbit isn’t a blind and mindless process? Plate tectonic movements? Biological mutation? Tree ring development? If not, who’s guiding them and how do you know?

  4. Frankie:
    Earth to dazz- the design inference is based on our KNOWLEDGE of cause and effect relationships whereas your position is based on ignorance- as in no one knows how to test the claim that the vision system evolved let alone evolved by means of blind and mindless processes.

    LOL!

    Earth to Joe…I got your nose!

  5. Frankie: GlenDavidson: But why do they consider that supernatural beings might be responsible for archaeological designs, crimes, etc.?

    Joe: ID doesn’t require the supernatural.

    Joe once again oblivious to his own goal: the whole reason ID is worthless is that it doesn’t (in fact can’t) rule anything out. So ID is worthless for forensics, archaeology, SETI, biology…heck, even flippin’ burgers…

  6. Robin: Planetary orbit isn’t a blind and mindless process?

    Not that I know of.

    Plate tectonic movements?

    Not that I know of.

    Biological mutation?

    Not that I know of.

    Tree ring development?

    Not that I know of.

    If not, who’s guiding them and how do you know?

    God. By faith.

    I missed the place where you made the case for blind and mindless processes, and it’s not like Frankie hasn’t been asking, begging, you to make that case. Right?

  7. Frankie:
    netwon:

    They can’t possibly know the mechanisms actually used. And they can determine an artifact exists before knowing who and how.

    Forensic science can’t know the mechanism which created the bullet hole?

  8. Robin: Planetary orbit isn’t a blind and mindless process? Plate tectonic movements? Biological mutation? Tree ring development? If not, who’s guiding them and how do you know?

    Question begging- was gravity produced by blind and mindless processes? Was the earth produced by blind and mindless processes? Were living organisms produced by blind and mindless processes?

  9. Robin: Joe once again oblivious to his own goal: the whole reason ID is worthless is that it doesn’t (in fact can’t) rule anything out. So ID is worthless for forensics, archaeology, SETI, biology…heck, even flippin’ burgers…

    Yes it does. ID rules out blind and mindless processes for the origin of living organisms, the earth and the universe.

    The way archaeologists determine something is an artifact uses the same techniques as ID. The way forensics determines a crime has been committed uses the same techniques as ID. The way SETI determines if a signal is from ID is the same technique as ID

  10. Robin: LOL!

    Earth to Joe…I got your nose!

    Earth to Robin- You sure as hell don’t have an argument

    Are scientists supposed to be immature cowards?

  11. fifthmonarchyman: In what world does that follow from what Mung said?

    For atheists, faith means hopeless, and hopeless means blind and mindless. I’d call them hopeless, but they are only blind. So I have faith.

    It’s tempting at times to say that atheists beliefs are also based on faith, but I think that gives them far too much credit. Faith is at least reasonable.

  12. fifthmonarchyman: In what world does that follow from what Mung said?

    peace

    To mung and you I expect there are no blind mindless processes, everything is guided by God? Is that correct?

  13. Mung: For atheists, faith means hopeless, and hopeless means blind and mindless. I’d call them hopeless, but they are only blind. So I have faith.

    What do you hope ,mung?

  14. Mung: It’s tempting at times to say that atheists beliefs are also based on faith, but I think that gives them far too much credit. Faith is at least reasonable.

    Depending what you have faith in, lots of bad stuff has occurred by those with faith

  15. newton: To mung and you I expect there are no blind mindless processes, everything is guided by God? Is that correct?

    No I believe there are many mindless processes and at the same time everything is guided by God. That’s because I have no problem with secondary and dual causation

    My roomba robot vacuums in a process that is completely random and mindless but the decision to sweep the floor and to stop sweeping and where to sweep is made by me and the programmers.

    It’s all about your perspective.

    quote:
    The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.
    (Pro 16:33)
    end quote:

    peace

  16. Mung: For atheists, faith means hopeless

    No. To most atheists I know the word faith means “a belief without a good evidential or rational reason”. Even for many religious believers.

    and hopeless means blind and mindless.

    This one is even worse. There’s simply not any person I know of or have ever met, who thinks the word hopeless means “blind and mindless”.

    I’d call them hopeless

    Then you’d be deliberately calling them something they aren’t. I’m an atheist, I have several atheist friends and acquaintances. None of them are “hopeless”. They all have hopes for themselves, their futures, their friends, family and loved ones.

    They generally don’t believe things just because it gives them hope, though.

    It’s tempting at times to say that atheists beliefs are also based on faith, but I think that gives them far too much credit. Faith is at least reasonable.

    If you take the word faith to mean hopeful for the future, then sure, “having faith” is reasonable, because then “having faith” means “I’m hopeful for something”, and that’s of course a perfectly rational position. But that’s generally not what that word means. You’ve made up an alternative definition. Why?

    Plenty of religious scholars would say faith refers to a sort of strong conviction. A belief that persists despite obstacles.

    Even if they don’t accept the commonly used atheist definition of faith, as a belief without (or even despite of) evidence, they still use a related definition that goes some way towards a similar concept. To them, to say “I have faith” is sort of like saying “I will continute to believe even if I should come to know a lot of arguments and evidence, or have personal experiences, that might cause others to change their mind”. “I won’t doubt God, because I have faith.” Or “I have a lot of faith”. Or “my faith is strong” are all ways of expression such a sentiment. “To be a christian you have to have faith”. Is a common expression.

    This is some times turned into an argument against atheism, by use of the phrase “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”.

    Here it is implicitly accepted that the word faith refers to a conviction, or a belief, based on little or nothing that could justify it. In other words, the religious person who uses that phrase is implicitly agreeing that you should not believe in something for insufficiently good reasons, and that faith refers to the concept of a person who does exactlty that.
    A person of faith, or with a strong faith, or lots of faith, is a person who is somehow able to keep believing in something despite very little, or even no good evidence for it. So obviously, in this sense the word faith implies that the atheist, the one with “lots of faith”, is the person with a belief much stronger than evidence an argument can support. So the christan, the reasonable one, rejects such a strong faith.

    But here you are now, basically saying atheists have no faith, and you have lots of it. But in order to make that appear as a rational position, you’re forced to redefine the word faith, and seemingly substitute it for what the word hope means. Which is quite ridiculous.

  17. fifthmonarchyman: My roomba robot vacuums in a process that is completely random and mindless but the decision to sweep the floor and to stop sweeping and where to sweep is made by me and the programmers.

    It’s completely random and mindless, but it’s guided by you and the programmers, and ultimately by God.

    Ok. Whatever…

  18. Mung: If not, who’s guiding them and how do you know?

    God. By faith.

    So here, do you mean you believe it “for no good reason” ala the “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”- use of the word faith. Or do you believe it because you are hopeful use of the word faith?

    When you say you know it by faith what does that mean?

    Are you using the faith=hope definition here? Then how does that constitute an answer? I don’t see how being hopeful, or having hope for something, gives you knowledge about what is causing the movement of planets, or atoms, or what have you.

    Can you elaborate?

    “I believe God is guiding the planets, and I know it by faith” is almost nonsensical.

    To me, you’re essentially saying “I believe God is guiding the planets but I have no reason that would justify my claim to know it, yet I claim so anyway!”.

  19. fifthmonarchyman: No I believe there are many mindless processes and at the same time everything is guided by God. That’s because I have no problem with secondary and dual causation

    And what is the difference between guiding and causing when you guide everything?

    My roomba robot vacuums in a process that is completely random and mindless but the decision to sweep the floor and to stop sweeping and where to sweep is made by me and the programmers.

    Yes but humans do not guide everything as God does.The Roomba does not stop without God’s guidance, the atoms do not exist without God’s guidance. Motion and physics is guided by God. Cancer like everything else is guided by God. All proximate causation is guided by God.

    It’s all about your perspective.

    Which is guided by God.

    The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

    exactly, the cast is guided the dice are guided

    peace

  20. The English word “faith” is ambiguous. Taken in one sense, it means something like “an assertion or claim about the world that one takes to be true even though there is insufficient evidence or reasoning to justify it”. Taken in another sense, it means something like, “a commitment to living one’s life in a certain way, involving project and attitudes that are of fundamental existential significance.” One can have faith in the first sense (call this “faith in the epistemic sense”) without faith in the second (call this “faith in the existential sense”) and vice versa.

  21. Mung: Not that I know of.

    Not that I know of.

    Not that I know of.

    Not that I know of.

    God. By faith.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Sigh…Oh Mung…that’s some funny stuff!

    So, I suppose we can expect some paper…essay…thesis…doodle on the back of a cocktail napkin…indicating some entailment for this “God” moving planets, plates, and cambium around any day now? Oh…no…’course not. You noted that ‘faith’ thing as the basis of your knowledge…right. Ok. So…no different than “making shit up”?

    Thus endeth Dover II. We can all go back to our secular lives, education, and knowledge folks.

    I missed the place where you made the case for blind and mindless processes, and it’s not like Frankie hasn’t been asking, begging, you to make that case. Right?

    I don’t have to “make a case” for them Mung; I just simply note that the math and processes work just fine without adding any input of Sauron’s Ring. Do I need to have “faith” that Melkor isn’t going to knock planets out of their orbit? Why no…I don’t! Looky there…gravity explains why there’s no amount of magic that can effect planets’ motion because gravity explains it all! Do I need to have faith that leprechauns or gnomes will draw pretty rings in trees wood? Why no…I don’t! Looky there…dendrochronology explains it all!

    Until and unless some theist can actually show that without some “god” our knowledge of how things work is actually wrong, there’s no reason to accept claims for it or any other concept that has no actual effects.

  22. Frankie: Question begging- was gravity produced by blind and mindless processes?

    Well since it appears only mass is involved in creating gravity, yes.

    Was the earth produced by blind and mindless processes?

    According to astrophysics, yes.

    Were living organisms produced by blind and mindless processes?

    According to biology and chemistry, yes.

    Here’s the thing, the only direct evidence available is of blindness and mindlessness. One has to introduce that which has no direct evidence as a premise for positing that which cannot be explained and then conclude the existence of that which has no direct evidence in order to even argue about it. That there is the definition of question begging. Those of use who just rely on the evidence at hand have no need for such fallacious, to say nothing of disingenuous, thinking.

    So you all keep trying to get your pet imaginary friends introduced as part of the explanation for this world and universe. The rest of us will continue to rely on the actual mechanics of how things work in order to make living a little better.

  23. Frankie: Yes it does. ID rules out blind and mindless processes for the origin of living organisms, the earth and the universe.

    No it does not. Dembski even admitted that:

    One difficulty is that intelligent causes can mimic law and chance, thereby rendering their actions indistinguishable from these unintelligent causes. It takes an intelligent cause to know an intelligent cause, but if we don’t know enough, we’ll miss it.
    http://arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_explfilter.htm

    So no, Dembski’s “Explanatory Filter” is worthless. Andrea Bottaro even shows that it can’t do simple eliminations of “intelligence” vs natural processes.

    The way archaeologists determine something is an artifact uses the same techniques as ID.

    LOL! No it doesn’t! Not even close Joe. It would be nice if you’d actually go along on an archaeological expedition or do some lab work just once.

    The way forensics determines a crime has been committed uses the same techniques as ID. The way SETI determines if a signal is from ID is the same technique as ID

    Totally false Joe. You’re a riot!

    And since I covered this already: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/biological-evolution-what-is-being-debated/comment-page-9/#comment-161790

  24. Robin: No it does not. Dembski even admitted that:

    One difficulty is that intelligent causes can mimic law and chance, thereby rendering their actions indistinguishable from these unintelligent causes. It takes an intelligent cause to know an intelligent cause, but if we don’t know enough, we’ll miss it.
    http://arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_explfilter.htm

    That doesn’t refute what I said, Robin.

    So no, Dembski’s “Explanatory Filter” is worthless.

    It is only worthless in the hands of the useless.The EF is standard operating procedure when trying to determine a root cause. It is a process mandated by Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation and Occam’s Razor.

    Andrea Bottaro even shows that it can’t do simple eliminations of “intelligence” vs natural processes.

    Bottaro can’t support the claims of his position.

    The way archaeologists determine something is an artifact uses the same techniques as ID.

    No it doesn’t!

    LoL! That is neither and argument nor a refutation. Scientist my ass.

    Please try to make your case by showing the determination of an artifact is different from the way IDists determine design.

    Make you case instead of just saying that I am wrong.

    And since I covered this already: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/biological-evolution-what-is-being-debated/comment-page-9/#comment-161790

    And you screwed up there too.

  25. Question begging- was gravity produced by blind and mindless processes?

    Robin:
    Well since it appears only mass is involved in creating gravity, yes.

    That isn’t an answer

    Was the earth produced by blind and mindless processes?

    According to astrophysics, yes.

    Evidence, please

    Were living organisms produced by blind and mindless processes?

    According to biology and chemistry, yes.

    More bullshit- evidence please Your say-so is meaningless, Robin

    Here’s the thing, the only direct evidence available is of blindness and mindlessness.

    Nonsense- we see people doing things that are NOT blind and mindless every day. And according to science you still need a way to test your claims. And you cannot test the claim that life arose via blind and mindless processes. That means it isn’t a scientific claim. The same goes for the earth and gravity.

  26. Robin: Until and unless some theist can actually show that without some “god” our knowledge of how things work is actually wrong, there’s no reason to accept claims for it or any other concept that has no actual effects.

    LoL! We don’t have any knowledge of how living organisms arose in the first place and we don’t have any knowledge on how the diversity of life arose. We don’t have any knowledge on how the earth formed either- knowledge via science requires the claims be testable or else it isn’t science.

    So until or unless some someone can actually show that assuming blind and mindless processes leads to scientific knowledge there’s no reason to accept the claims for it or any other concept that has no actual effects.

  27. This is what Robin spewed about forensics and archaeology:

    Archaeology and forensic science both deal only with blind, mindless, purposeless, and unguided processes Joe.

    What a load of crap. People actively committing crimes is an example of blind and mindless processes? Really? People actively designing and building artifacts is an example of blind and mindless processes? Really?

    When archaeologists are looking for signs of work they are looking for signs of blind and mindless processes? Really?

    Or is Robin just talking out of its arse, as usual?

  28. . . .
    LOL! No it doesn’t! Not even close Joe. It would be nice if you’d actually go along on an archaeological expedition or do some lab work just once.
    . . . .

    What did an archaeologist ever do to you?

  29. Frankie: Archaeology and forensic science both

    You’ll never see an archaeologist proclaim “I ruled out chance and necessity, therefore these ruins were designed” and walk home with a big fat check for a well done work.

  30. Nice straw man, dazz. You do realize that ID is about the detection and study of design in nature? Or is it that you don’t understand what that means?

  31. dazz: You’ll never see an archaeologist proclaim “I ruled out chance and necessity, therefore these ruins were designed” and walk home with a big fact check for a well done work.

    They don’t make the mistake of thinking that life or its remnants happened to be designed, either.

    Because, life’s not much like anything known to be designed. Too complex, for one thing.

    Glen Davidson

  32. GlenDavidson: They don’t make the mistake of thinking that life or its remnants happened to be designed, either.

    Because, life’s not much like anything known to be designed.Too complex, for one thing.

    Glen Davidson

    They definitely don’t make the mistake of thinking that life or its remnants just happened by blind and mindless processes.

    And because life is more complex and intricate than anything we have designed that means nature didit? Really? Is that the way your knee jerks?

    “Holy fuck some of this looks like human design but much of it is more complex and intricate than anything we have designed. Nature didit. I don’t know how but I am confident because we could not have done it has to be nature.”

    Does that about sum it up?

  33. Frankie:
    Does newton think that every dead body with a bullet hole is a murder?

    That would depend on the designer who used the mechanism.Another way forensic science differs from ID

  34. Frankie:
    Nice straw man, dazz. You do realize that ID is about the detection and study of design in nature? Or is it that you don’t understand what that means?

    Yes it cannot detect a mechanism or the designer. It is a bit of an underachiever

  35. That would depend on the designer who used the mechanism.Another way forensic science differs from ID

    And yet forensic scientists deduce purpose without the murderer and ID does so without the Designer. Another newton fail

  36. newton-

    There are many unsolved crimes and many artifacts that we don’t know who did it. But the crimes and artifacts still exist as such

  37. Frankie: And yet forensic scientists deduce purpose without the murderer and ID does so without the Designer. Another newton fail

    Meanwhile tthe two parties use completely different methods.

    And I’m pretty sure you meant infer.

  38. Robin: Here’s the thing, the only direct evidence available is of blindness and mindlessness.

    According to your worldview can there be any direct evidence of mindfulness? Even in principle?

    If direct evidence of mindfulness is possible what would it look like from your perspective?

    Doesn’t methodological naturalism exclude any such evidence a priori?

    peace

  39. Frankie: There are many unsolved crimes and many artifacts that we don’t know who did it. But the crimes and artifacts still exist as suc

    True, generally we know what species they are and a general idea how the crimes was committed. Another difference with ID.

  40. Frankie: They do? Evidence please

    Find me a single forensic scientist who has any earthly clue what CSI or a UPB are and how to use them in their field of work. As far as I can tell there are none. Likewise, ID proponents aren’t seeking to identify human-specified activity exactly, but design by something else entirely.

  41. TristanM: Find me a single forensic scientist who has any earthly clue what CSI or a UPB are and how to use them in their field of work.As far as I can tell there are none.Likewise, ID proponents aren’t seeking to identify human-specified activity exactly, but design by something else entirely.

    OK so you don’t have any evidence. Why didn’t you just say so? CSI and UPB are ONE method and not the only methodology ID has. The explanatory filter is standard operating procedure used by anyone who is investigating root causes.

    SETI isn’t looking for human-specified activity exactly, but design by something else

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