Let me repost a previous blog entry that many new readers might find interesting. I take a rather detailed look at the central New Atheist argument – science shows God does not exist – that was advocated by New Atheist activist/philosopher Maarten Boudry.
Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, and Johan Braeckman recently published an on-line article entitled, Grist to the mill of ID creationism: the failed strategy of ruling the supernatural out of science by philosophical fiat. The article comes across as a glorified blog posting designed to help the Gnu atheist movement in their ongoing death struggle with the “accomodationists.”
The basic argument of the article seems to be that because the “Intelligent Design Creationists” (IDCs) are correct in arguing that methodological naturalism biases science against supernatural causes, those who advocate methodological naturalism are helping the IDC by supplying “grist to their mills.”
The abstract reads:
According to a widespread philosophical opinion, the methodology of science is intrinsically naturalistic. It is simply not equipped to deal with supernatural claims, so it has no authority on questions of metaphysics. This (self-imposed) limitation of the epistemic reach of science is often used as a way to reconcile science and religion. We argue that ruling the supernatural out of science for intrinsic reasons is not only philosophically untenable, but has actually been grist to the mill of Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC),
The authors clearly think the whole “grist for the mill” saying is important, as not only is it in their title and abstract, but they repeat this saying several times in their paper:
- IMN is actually grist to the IDC mill on several accounts,
- In fact, Johnson’s remarks show that IMN, which is clearly his focus of attack here, is actually grist to the IDC mill.
- their writings show that IMN is actually grist to their mill.
According to the dictionary, the saying is supposed to mean “something that you can use in order to help you to succeed.” As such, I find this whole “grist for the mill” complaint to be strikingly irrational for two reasons.