Empiricism-Denier: “Empiricism is self-refuting. Empiricism is nothing more than a philosophical faith. Empiricism is an idea that is not able to be tested by the scientific method.”
What such a “Empiricism-Denier” seem to not get is Empiricism is part of the scientific method (to me the scientific method has these presuppositions, it employs some expression of Methodological Naturalism and Scientific Realism. Then to me the scientific method is roughly broken down philosophically as a process of rationalism, empiricism, and methodological skepticism. Beyond the internal philosophies, experiments are basically the most important part of the scientific method arranged to test a hypostasis which are a conjecture, based on information obtained while formulating the question to test, because the scientific method employs a null-hypothesis standard as the general default position that all offered hypothesis are false. Thus, for a offered hypothesis to be seen as true it must prove itself by disproving the null hypothesis and showing grounds, warrant, and justification for believing that offered hypothesis reality accurate.” The philosophic processes being used for the scientific method in its experiments are presuppositionally using a correspondence theory of truth mindset, that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes i.e., corresponds with that world). A presupposition in general is an implicit assumption or an implied though often not plainly expressed agreement about the world or some background thinking/rationalisation(s)/belief(s) relating to propositions, claims, beliefs, statements or assertions that expresses a judgment or opinion.
If one can understand how to see and expose hidden but agreed to presupposition a supernaturalist holds we can then use that set of agreements in our dialect challenges positioning the presupposition if possible against aspects in expressed agreement about the world or some background thinking/rationalisation(s)/belief(s) relating to thinking, propositions, claims, beliefs, statements or assertions that expresses a judgment or opinion.
Examples of presuppositions:
- Have you ever talked to or read an idea by Damien? *Presupposition: Damien exists.
- Damien have you stopped believing in god? *Presupposition: Damien had once believing in god.
- Damien no longer sees talk of a god as involving anything real. *Presupposition: Damien once saw talk of a god as as involving anything real.
Supernaturalists just like to throw a bunch of bullshit out there and see what sticks, claiming that:
- Methodological naturalism is not really the accepted approach in Science.
- Intelligent design actually follows methodological naturalism because it doesn’t say who or what the designer is.
- Answering the kinds of questions that intelligent design and evolution ask can not be handled by methodological naturalism.
- Evolution is as much a religion as Intelligent design because of its reliance on naturalism.
All of these arguments together are pretty self-defeating, but they are also wrong individually. Methodological naturalism is a cornerstone of science, embraced by both practitioners and philosophers of science. There is always disagreement in philosophy, and that includes philosophy of science. The fact that intelligent design doesn’t talk about the designer is a major hit against it as a hypothesis, and it certainly doesn’t save it from violations of methodological naturalism. The value of methodological naturalism comes from the ability to quantify, measure, and study the causes of phenomena. Intelligent design removes our ability to predict, measure and quantify, whether the intelligent designer is supernatural or an alien. The questions that evolution answers are rooted as firmly in empirical evidence and methodological naturalism as any other science. Arguments that claim it is not are really holdover ideas from creationists, who like to claim that unless it’s directly observed in a laboratory, “it’s not science”. 1
Arguments from philosophical naturalism
Taking off from where the last arguments from the spiritualists leave off are the proponents of philosophical naturalism. Science is itself a process based on methodological naturalism, i.e. treating the world as if metaphysical naturalism was the case, but without actually taking a stand on matters philosophical (outside of method). Metaphysical naturalism extends scientific principles all the way into the farthest reaches of philosophy. Most of these individuals agree with the basic premise that most supernatural claims can be studied using the scientific method, and that they have been studied and shown to not exist. These individuals argue that the logical leap is then to realize that these things really do not exist and that naturalism is reality. Perhaps the best known proponent of this viewpoint in recent times is Richard Dawkins with his recent best selling book The God Delusion. Others include Christopher Hitchens with his book God is not Great and Sam Harris with Letter to a Christian Nation. These authors point out that empirical evidence can be derived that falsifies the existence of an interventionist god such as the “Christian” god. They argue that science should embrace its ability to demonstrate the falsehood of any claim and comes out against the reality of religion. Others have focused less on religion in general and more on the specific claims of spirituality — particularly as it emerges from the pseudoscience movements. James Randi has offered a million dollar prize to anyone that can offer proof of supernatural claims such as the ability to talk to the dead or make psychic readings. He has personally overseen and arranged for many hundreds of controlled experiments on these claimed abilities. Every single one of those tested has failed. Randi makes several excellent points that it is possible for science to study these kinds of claims using standard methodology, and that the mounting evidence of failure is evidence that these claims are bogus. Perhaps one of the strongest arguments for philosophical naturalism stems from the success of methodological naturalism. Nothing else in human knowledge has come anywhere close to the ability of science to predict, understand, and control the world around us. From landing a man on the moon, to the creation of the personal computer and the Internet, humanity has been gifted beyond measure by the assumption of methodological naturalism. At some point, doesn’t the amazing success of assuming naturalism when asking questions about reality mean that naturalism is not only a good assumption — but the underlying reality of the Universe? Metaphysical naturalism is more or less a basic precept of all modern analytic philosophy, which was itself formed partially in protest of the centuries of woo that had accreted in philosophy prior to the explosive triumph of modern science in the last 150 years or so. Methodological naturalism is a “minimum position” to which science is reducible and it still entails not giving the time of day to woo woo (pseudoscience) by taking the fight all the way to the assumption of a naturalism-only stance directly against supernaturalism, theology and accommodationism. 1
Empiricism atheism: empiricism is an epistemological theory which argues that that all knowledge must be acquired a posteriori and that nothing can be known a priori. Another way of putting it is that empiricism denies the existence of purely intellectual knowledge and argues that only sense-knowledge can exist. Empiricism is a common philosophical belief among many atheists. They believe that empirical science is the only true path to understanding. If you cannot see it, smell it, taste it, hear it, etc., it cannot be known. Empiricism atheists say that if you cannot prove something empirically, such as the existence of God, you are irrational for believing it. 1 2