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Science's Blind Spot: The Unseen Religion of Scientific Naturalism Paperback – June 1, 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

In this thought-provoking book, Cornelius Hunter shows that modern science has in fact been greatly influenced by theological and metaphysical considerations, resulting in the significant influence of what he calls "theological naturalism." Naturalism is therefore not a result of empirical scientific inquiry but rather a presupposition of science. This bias is science's "blind spot," and it has profound implications for how scientific theories are evaluated and thus advanced or suppressed. In the end, Hunter proposes a better way--moderate empiricism--and shows how Intelligent Design fits into such a method.

"Continuing the theme from his previous two books, biophysicist Cornelius Hunter surveys the history of science to reveal the real source of modern scientists' opposition to intelligent design. Turning popular opinion on its head, Hunter convincingly argues that scientists who oppose intelligent design do so for theological reasons, not empirically based arguments. Science's Blind Spot is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand why those who oppose intelligent design are becoming more entrenched as the evidence for it continues to build." --Guillermo Gonzalez, Iowa State University

"This book is a scholarly, yet easily understood, description of how difficult it is to work outside the dominant paradigm. Hunter provides a perceptive analysis of how we got to be where we are, and why 'theological naturalism' is an overlooked but critical issue in understanding the current face-off between religion and science. There is a depth of perception here, an insight into our most unexamined assumptions, that will boggle the mind of anyone conversant with the issues. This book will richly reward all those who read it, whether they are new to the debate or hardened veterans of the science wars. The author has a great gift for clarifying arguments that have long been misunderstood or overlooked." --Gene Bammel, professor emeritus, West Virginia University; author of Everyday Philosophy

About the Author

Cornelius G. Hunter (PhD, University of Illinois) is formerly senior vice president of Seagull Technology, Inc., and is currently engaged in molecular biophysics post-doctoral and engineering research in Cameron Park, California. He is adjunct professor of science and religion at Biola University and author of the award-winning book Darwin's God and its follow-up, Darwin's Proof.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158743170X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587431708
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Fritz R. Ward VINE VOICE on July 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Anyone examining the debates surrounding evolution and various alternatives, including "intelligent design," cannot help but be struck by the vehemence with which advocates of the former attack the latter. Whether on Amazon reviews and discussion boards, or in the broader scientific and popular literature, Darwinists attack those who disagree with them in an manner that far exceeds what one would expect from one scientist simply disagreeing with another's interpretation of the data. This is because the question literally involves the personal religion of those who support the current neo Darwinian synthesis. Despite the claims that supporters of evolution routinely make, namely that they are opposing "religious" fundamentalism, the fact remains that their basic suppositions are religious. This new book by biophysicist Cornelius Hunter examines these religious assumptions and lays bare their strengths and weaknesses in the historical sciences.

The story of modern science begins with Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes, each of whom rejected the rationalist theories of Aristotle. They did so, however, in very different ways. Bacon supported a moderate empiricism. Stressing observation and experimentation, he suggested science as such limit itself to observable and testable hypotheses. In contrast, Descartes advocated a new rationalism: one in which all science would pursue naturalistic explanations and use these explanations, even if they did not yield useful predictions, because such explanations were inherently superior to supernatural (or non-natural) paradigms.
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26 Comments 162 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
In "Science's Blind Spot," biophysicist Dr. Cornelius G. Hunter provides an insightful look at the role of metaphysics in modern science. In particular, he gives readers a succinct overview of the role naturalistic theological assumptions that have influenced the historical sciences in recent times, moving from cosmology to biology.

For Hunter, metaphysical influences are all but inevitable and by themselves pose no necessary impediment to scientific understanding and progress. He argues that it is essential that we be aware of the constraining impact of those influences in to avoid force-fitting data into preconceived conclusions. But important scientific findings, suggests Hunter, reveals how our modern demand that only undirected processes be considered in science has prevented other explanations that might better account for what we observe in the natural world. Along the way, Hunter examines the metaphysical influences behind ideas such as multiverse theory and the theory of neo-Darwinian evolution.

In the concluding pages, Hunter makes a plea for the scientific community to embrace a modest empiricism that focuses more narrowly upon empirical findings that can be observed and verified through experimentation. Particularly where the historical sciences are involved, Hunter calls for a more modest approach to the scientific enterprise that is conscious of its own limits. He goes on to suggest that the theory of intelligent design fits within such an inquisitive atmosphere and that it be given careful consideration. (But Hunter just scratches the surface in this last respect, as this book is NOT about intelligent design.)

In two previous books, Hunter focused upon the metaphysics inspiring and affirming Darwin's theory of evolution and its modern form.
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1 Comment 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I am a legal intern at Discovery Institute where this review was originally published.

In law, one who sells a product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user is held strictly liable for the physical harm to the injured party. One way for the injured party to win a case is to successfully argue that there is a design defect in the product. Put another way, the plaintiff is entitled to damages because there is something wrong with the blueprints for the product. At this point, expert witnesses are found to testify to the design's integrity or its defectiveness.

Perhaps the most common blind spot that inhibits the proper functioning of a product is the quite literal blind spot we experience when driving our cars. If modern science and the pre-suppositions that support it were an automobile, then Dr. Hunter's new book would be the testimony of an expert witness who has found a significant design defect. The defect has created a blind spot that is not necessary for the proper functioning of science.

Dr. Hunter begins his book by pointing out the design defect: "The problem is that religion has joined science." (Hunter, 2007, pg. 9) He goes on to explain that, while today's science is thought to be empirical and free of theological premise, nothing could be further from the truth. Dr. Hunter examines the complex interaction between religion and science in history and arrives at what may be a surprising conclusion for many: the modern design of science is based on theological naturalism, a phrase he uses to describe the restriction of science to naturalism for religious reasons.

But Hunter goes further and refutes a common argument that naturalism is a result of atheism or empirically based findings.
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4 Comments 65 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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