Possible is one thing, reasonable is another

Jason Rosenhouse looks at this natural v supernatural problem.

If you hold views about a supernatural realm that have absolutely no empirical consequences whatsoever then you have nothing to fear from science. There are even certain religious systems that posit such a realm. But that is not the sort of faith held by most Christians.

True; so the business about what is ‘beyond’ nature becomes irrelevant.

So long as we are talking about a divine creator in the abstract then there is no conflict with evolution. Deism is not threatened by evolution.

But Deists aren’t the people who freak out about evolution, so they’re not actually the people Mooney is talking about, so again, they are irrelevant.

One more time, science can not rule out the existence of a supernatural realm, but it can certainly make certain ideas about how the supernatural realm interacts with our earthly realm seem highly implausible.

Just so. If it’s entirely beyond and outside, nobody knows, so you can believe anything you want to, but don’t expect anyone to agree with you; if it’s not beyond and outside, then science can investigate it, so the ‘this is where science stops’ claim doesn’t apply.

The clear distinction between methodological and philosophical naturalism is mostly irrelevant to the question of whether science and religion are compatible, since religion typically claims far more than the mere existence of a supernatural realm…Different people can draw different metaphysical conclusions from the same empirical data. The argument is over whether it is reasonable to accept both evolution and traditional Christianity, not over whether it is possible to accept both.

Yes that’s what I meant by the more long-winded “It’s perfectly possible to know that one can’t know X and still believe X. It’s a constant battle, to be sure, and there’s no guarantee that atheists and naturalists won’t always be saying ‘But there’s no good reason to believe that’ – but that’s life as a grown-up, isn’t it.” It’s possible, and that’s all you get. We can’t give you reasonable too, and it’s unreasonable to expect it.

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