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Theism and Explanation 1: Against Religious Explanations

09/23/2011

1.1 The Naturalism of the Sciences
1.2 Religion, Explanation, and Revelation
1.3 Objections to Religious Explanations

Dawes briefly sketches different forms of naturalism, distinguishes methodological and ontological naturalism, and confronts the accusation that people assume methodological naturalism in the sciences due to an a priori commitment.

He looks at the current debate about methodological naturalism, and says that it is misconceived. People confuse in principal objections with de facto objections. The former says that supernatural explanations can’t be falsified, or personal explanations can’t be tested, or agents that can perform miracles are immune to prediction, and therefore those types of explanations don’t belong in science. The latter say that science has tested many, many supernatural hypotheses, and they have come up false over and over again in the last 30-400 years. Therefore we must assume naturalism out of practicality.

Dawes concludes by saying that he believes the de facto objection is correct, and the  in principle objection is not correct.

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