As a result, I wish to use this case as a springboard for the advocacy of a terminological change in the debate over naturalism, one which I believe will help render more perspicuous the nature of the disputes. I thus suggest that we divide the sciences by their causal explanatory structure, and in particular their ability to abstract from the causal power of agency (whether human or divine) in their proper explanations. The sciences will then be demarcated into the teleologicalı and the non-teleologicalı, rather than the more usual division between socialı and naturalı. Using this conceptual framework will help elucidate the mistakes that Ruse, Overton, and Laudan all make, and enable a new (and hopefully more profitable) way of understanding the relationship between naturalismı and theistic inquiry. In the end, I attempt to show that the non-teleologicalı sciences forego, in principle, any possibility of supernatural causation in their proper explanations, and hence leave no room for most interesting varieties of theism. If we take these sciences and their methods as constitutive of naturalismı, then it can be sharply demarcated from theism. However, if teleologicalı sciences are taken seriously (e.g., ecology), then science and theology will have to be demarcated in a more careful fashion, if indeed they can be demarcated at all. Insofar as a science has an irreducible residue of agency in its proper explanations, a theistic scienceı remains a possibility, not an oxymoron.
Copyright © Keith Abney