If We Can't Do Science This Way, We Can't Do It At All.

Emailed to me by CiarĂ¡n Mc Ardle: In this video Randal Rauser accuses Ehrman of being “woolly” for not admitting of the supernatural when doing New Testament History, which is why I link this video [below].

Eugenie Scott, when debating Kent Hovind on the radio defined science as a limited field of inquiry with limited scope.

Science assumes, for the sake of enquiry, that all phenomena are natural and that all phenomena are the result of natural causes. Only this way can science proceed.

Now, maybe miraculous phenomena do occur. Maybe some phenomena are not the result of natural causes. Perhaps there is all sorts of magic and miracle in the world. However, if such non-material phenomena exist, science cannot detect it. If a phenomenon exists that is not the result of a natural cause, then science cannot detect it.

This is methodological Naturalism. However, methodological Naturalism is different from Ontological Naturalism. Ontological Naturalism is the positive belief that the supernatural does not exist. Methodological Naturalism merely states that if the supernatural exists then science has no ability to detect it.

Similarly, with history. History is a limited field of enquiry with a limited scope. Our founding assumption is that all historical events are natural events and proceed from natural causes. If miracles happened in the past, then the historical-critical method has no means of detecting them. Perhaps all manner of magic and miracle happened in the past... however, the historical-critical method is all we have, and it cannot detect these magical and miraculous prodigies. Ehrman is not committing himself to the positive belief that miracles never happened in the past. All he is saying is that the historical-critical method cannot detect miraculous and magical occurrences in the past.

Christian Apologists, for some reason, don't like this. Frank Turick, who has a PhD in something or other, doesn't even seem to understand this!

If we allow magic and miracle into our scientific and historical methods, then, immediately, we are swamped with useless hypotheses like: God-dunnit, Satan-dunnit, a-witch-dunnit, a-genie-dunnit etc.

Once we admit of the supernatural into our methods, then, right out of the gate, Science and History become impossible.

And so my challenge to Christian Apologists who accuse Bart Ehrman of an anti-supernatural bias is this: show me a way we can do science and history if we admit of the supernatural. In my view, it cannot be done.

Here's Randal Rauser's YouTube Video.