New Chick Tract

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“Power Lab” Bible School

While walking around my neighborhood, I noticed a large sign on the lawn of a minister's house. It said "Power Lab," with background iconography of an atom and a test tube. But it also said "Discovering Jesus' Miraculous Power" and "Vacation Bible School." I googled the lot when I got home. Apparently, you can buy a kit for this in Christian stores. And I noticed a good number of churches, of all sorts of denominations, have web pages up for this as their vacation bible schools. Fascinating. I … [Read more...]

Nonmetaphysical Naturalism (follow-up)

This is turning into the never ending series, but there are a couple of questions I thought were too interesting to bury in the comments.Sastra asks, "exactly how are you defining "metaphysics?" I'm not sure if you ever say, specifically. You seem to be taking it as the nature of "ultimate reality" -- but the word "ultimate" seems rather hazy and vague."It's got to be somewhat vague, I think. "Metaphysics" isn't one of those things you define by necessary and sufficient conditions. It's more of … [Read more...]

Nonmetaphysical Naturalism (part 5)

I'll wrap this up by saying why I care about the whole metaphysics and naturalism issue. I don't know if it's of any wide significance; after all, I've mainly been picking out a strand in naturalistic thinking and saying something about why I like it and why it fits my more science-centered prejudices. But in certain debates that I happen to care about, it matters.What I have foremost in mind is the unending struggle over creation and evolution. Due, I suppose, to the nature of political … [Read more...]

Nonmetaphysical Naturalism (part 4)

Well, what about knowledge apart from science? Can reasoning about morality be reduced to a form of science? Can mathematics? Or the multiple discourses of everyday life, from cooking to religion, that might be nonscientific but no less legitimate on their own terms? Even many naturalists leave these alone, resisting what they view as scientism or reductionism—particularly naturalist philosophers of a neopragmatic bent, such as Kai Nielsen. Pragmatists still shun metaphysics, but then, what … [Read more...]

Nonmetaphysical Naturalism (part 3)

Originally I had thought I'd break a long post into two parts, but then I got carried away. So this ended up as a kind of online note-taking and thinking out loud prompted by some recent books I've read. Oh well, here goes again...I've said I'm partial to the idea of rehabilitating metaphysics, bringing it out of the realm of armchair reflection and Platonic rationalism and seeing how it might play a role in systems that make contact with reality tests. There is, I think, another advantage to … [Read more...]

Nonmetaphysical Naturalism (part 2)

Let's say you are inclined to go along with me so far: you agree that there is something troubling about metaphysical thinking, and you think that naturalism in particular should tread as lightly as possible where metaphysics is concerned.We need a bit more, though, unless we want to announce that we have a metaphysical intuition that metaphysics is bad. (Actually, I am tempted to stop there.) Then, we get complications. It's not entirely clear how to separate metaphysical from nonmetaphysical … [Read more...]

Nonmetaphysical Naturalism (part 1)

There's something about the description of this blog that bothers me, especially since inadvertently I've ended up as the most frequent voice here. Apparently this blog is centered on metaphysical naturalism. What if you're a naturalist who is suspicious of any and all metaphysical enterprises, and who is inclined to think that most of what goes on in the philosophy of religion is so much wheel-spinning? Someone like me, in other words.Now, I can see why we might want to attach "metaphysical" to … [Read more...]