Thursday, March 22, 2007

Naturalism: An Obstruction of Justice

Supporters of Intelligent Design necessarily place themselves in opposition to methodological naturalism, (as it applies to origin-of-life questions) but far from relying on "supernatural" causes, this opposition to naturalism merely enables one to objectively weigh the evidence and make rational conclusions based on that evidence. Naturalism actually stacks the deck and only allows evidence for one possible explanation for life to be explored. That's hardly science, and it's hardly objective.

All possible philosophies of science aside, there are two possible explanations for the origin of life: Either life arose as the result of purely unguided, unintelligent processes which rely on chance and/or necessity, or life was designed by some other entity which may or may not be directly observable to us. There are many variations on each of these themes, but all possibilities fall within these two broad categories. There are no other options.

To illustrate the absurdity of the naturalist's position regarding origin-of-life issues, just imagine you're a lead detective in a law enforcement agency, and you've been assigned by your captain to investigate a murder. Due to circumstances around the murder, it's already apparent that there are two prime suspects for the crime. But one of those suspects is your captain's close personal friend. Your captain approaches you privately and instructs you that you are NOT permitted to build a case against his friend and that you must build your case to charge the other suspect.

When you look at the scenario above, it's obvious to any casual observer that, whether the captain's friend committed the murder or not, corruption has reared its ugly head. And although your captain's efforts to protect his friend cannot prove his friend's guilt, it does make the captain's friend that much more of a suspect. Your captain cannot expect you to solve the case in a fair, objective and professional manner unless you are permitted to investigate each suspect without regard to who that suspect is friends with. If this scenario happened in real life, your captain would likely be charged with obstruction of justice.

The captain here is analogous to the naturalist. Naturalists have put themselves in the position of obstructing an investigation by trying to steer the investigation away from one of the two prime suspects. And just as the captain is serving to "frame" the other suspect for the crime, the naturalist is attempting to "frame" natural causes with the origin of life.
ID theorists recognize that this is a lousy way to approach the question of origins. We realize that both--not just one--suspects need to explored as suspects equally until the evidence begins to steer the investigation towards one suspect or the other.

Naturalists have to explain why they feel compelled to frame the other suspect. They have to explain what they're trying to protect. They have to explain why they wish to obstruct the investigation. I'm glad I'm not in their shoes.

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