Talk:Argument from the Necessity of Naturalism

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Looks like this article, as well as Argument from Non-Cognitivism were copied verbatim from (specifically from the articles [1] and [2]) without attribution. The website mentions that the articles are copyrighted by their authors, and that “reproduction with proper attribution and a link back to this site is encouraged”. --jmp 17:12, 15 March 2010 (CDT)

Will do.--wissam hemadeh 03:09, 16 March 2010 (CDT)

Poor argument

I don't know if you'll agree, but I think this aptly restates the argument:

  1. Supernatural causes are inherently impossible to detect without absolute knowledge of all possible natural causes.
  2. Since such knowledge is unobtainable (at least to us, at present), what things would require a supernatural cause cannot be known.
  3. Therefore, when investigating an effect, the only valid conclusions are that it has a natural cause, or that the cause is not known. It is always fallacious to conclude a supernatural cause. (It may actually be supernatural, but it remains unknown to us.)
  4. Therefore, supernatural causes are impossible.
  5. Etc.

I added the [hopefully] validly-stated conclusion #3 to better highlight the flaw in #4, as the rest of the article is based on the same leap in logic. It does not follow that effects cannot have a supernatural cause. The correct conclusion is that we cannot validly conclude that they do. This is not the same as concluding that they do not.

Anyhow... The point is, in my opinion, this whole article makes a poor argument. It is phrased poorly, organized poorly, and draws conclusions from assumptions it doesn't state (including a couple of fallacious assumptions). And if the point of the argument were made correctly, it would not prove its title ("the necessity of naturalism" cannot be drawn from #3). Also, it has been copied word-for-word from Apologies, but an argument coming from people I agree with does not make it valid.

And to add my two cents...

In the famous words of Tim Minchin, "throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be not magic." If stated as a practical conclusion (that is, for practical purposes we may assume that all observed effects have natural causes, since every observed effect so far has had a natural cause) then I'd support it. But that's not the intent of the original argument.

I think the page should just be deleted.

--Jaban 04:17, 29 May 2010 (CDT)

Seriously?! It looks like you haven't read the whole article, Jaban. The article argues the impossibility of supernatural explanations and nothing more. This would mean that "god" is cognitively meaningless. The argument also refutes arguments such as fine-tuning and kalam, since we can never realize a supernatural cause. This is actually a very good argument since it refutes all inferences drawn from the natural world to the supernatural.--wissam hemadeh 04:33, 1 June 2010 (CDT)
I think we should clarify methodological and metaphysical naturalism on the wiki.--wissam hemadeh 07:18, 1 June 2010 (CDT)
I don't think the article should be deleted. As the argument shows, all inferences drawn from the natural world (including miracles, fine-tuning, etc.) to the supernatural are fallacious.--wissam hemadeh 07:21, 1 June 2010 (CDT)
It is structured poorly, uses ambiguous phrasing, and has vague and ill-defined use of terms. There are also a couple of unstated assumptions within some of the premises, which were not established beforehand (leading to invalid conclusions).
One of its conclusions is that supernaturalism is impossible, while what has actually been established (or could be) is that supernatural claims have no explanatory power. That line alone demonstrates all of the above. But I'm not just picking on one invalid conclusion - the whole article (except the recent edits) is written like that.
If you'd rather fix it, go ahead. But I suggest three things:
  1. Make it clear that the purpose is to argue for the exclusive practical usefulness of naturalism as an explanatory framework for observable phenomena.
    • Don't then try to argue for what's impossible and what's absolute and how meaningless god is as a concept. God could be a supremely useful concept, but still have no explanatory power in the natural world.
    • Leave out the arguments regarding the necessity of a transcendent knowledge base. The nature of knowledge is a topic of debate in epistemology, and has not been established as an absolute (in the philosophical sense). Any premise which relies on it being established invalidates your conclusion, as the counter-argument is that you haven't established knowledge as an absolute.
  2. Lay out a structure that can be made with ONE logical argument, i.e. one set of numbered points.
    • Don't include unnecessary premises, like that god is a supernatural concept. Of course he is. That sort of thing just makes the logical argument harder to follow, and makes it easier for you to end up with a conclusion that hinges on a flawed premise.
    • Really try hard to list all the assumptions necessary to state each premise individually. You need to know that your premises are valid. I promise you, any hidden assumptions required to make a premise valid will later be used to dismiss your conclusion.
  3. Finally, avoid the "-isms" and the sweeping conclusions. If your goal is to show supernatural claims have no explanatory power, you should not have to use the words "supernatural-ism" (not the same as supernatural claims) or "meaningless" (not the same as providing no explanatory power).
--Jaban 21:44, 1 June 2010 (CDT)

Thx for the advice.--wissam hemadeh 08:15, 4 June 2010 (CDT)

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