What's Wrong with Methodological Naturalism?
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The compatibility of Darwinism with religious beliefs has been the subject of vigorous debate from 1859 to the present day. Darwin himself did not think that there was any incompatibility between his theory of natural selection and the existence of God. However, he did not think that appeals to the direct or indirect activity of a Creator substantially increased our understanding of any natural phenomenon. In effect, Darwin endorsed what we would today label as "methodological naturalism,' roughly the view that the only legitimate elements of the explanation of natural phenomena must appeal only to natural processes, natural laws and natural regularities.In section 2, Darwin's commitment to methodological Darwinism is documented. Section 3 addresses the question of whether methodological naturalism does or does not rule out belief in a divine Creator. Section 4 raises the question of whether methodological naturalists are also metaphysical naturalists. Finally, section 5 assesses the warrant for expanding the scope of ‘science’ to include non-naturalistic factors.
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