Naturalism Under the Microscope

Methodological naturalism — the philosophical doctrine that scientific explanations must refer only to natural causes — is the central and most controversial concept in all discussions of evolution, creationism, and intelligent design.

Listening to Butterflies

The metamorphosis of butterflies represents “the magic of reality,” in Richard Dawkins’s wonderful phrase, where actual, not made-up or fictional, biology is so astonishing that its power to move us never goes away.

Designed, Yes — Just Not by God: The Remarkable Implications of Clarke’s Third Law

In public debates (and personal discussions) with Michael Shermer and Massimo Pigliucci, I’ve met an argument, advanced by both skeptics, which opens interesting and largely unexplored territory in the ID vs. naturalism controversy. In a new article, the science writer and astronomer John Gribbin steps into the same territory, a speculative region familiar to fans […]

Ontogenetic Depth 2.0: The Prequel

Okay. First admit the obvious. Ontogenetic Depth (OD) 1.0 was — well, it would be beyond charitable to say utterly inadequate. I realized this not long after reading PZ Myers’ first wave of criticisms. As I’ll explain, however, my realization stemmed not from Myers’ specific points (most of which were either minor quibbles, or missed […]

An Exercise on the Eve of Paul Nelson Day 2010

A few years ago, P.Z. Myers — with his Mencken-like genius for the memorable putdown — devised “Paul Nelson Day,” aka April 7, to record my annual failure to follow up on a promise to elucidate “ontogenetic depth,” a notion I floated in 2003. Much as I enjoy having my own day and all, I […]