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Huxley's Church and Maxwell's DemonFrom Theistic Science to Naturalistic Science$
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Matthew Stanley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226164878

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226164908.001.0001

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(p.264) Conclusion
Huxley's Church and Maxwell's Demon

Matthew Stanley

University of Chicago Press

The relationship among theism, naturalism, and science remains important in the twenty-first century. “Intelligent design” (ID) and its scientific critics battle in American courts over the same categories as the Victorians. This chapter engages with both sides, and argues that a historical perspective on naturalism can provide illumination on the debate. In particular, the claim (embraced by major figures on both sides) that true theism is incompatible with modern scientific methodologies is shown to be a construction of the Victorian period that does not fit well with the realities of religious faith in modern America. A central claim of the ID movement - that scientific naturalism must be rejected if God is to be found in science - is shown to be, strangely, based on the rhetorical claims of Huxley and his allies. The ways in which historical theistic science embraced what are now seen to be naturalistic values such as uniformity have been forgotten, and ID instead proposes a fundamentalist decimation of scientific practice.

Keywords:   Intelligent Design, scientific naturalism, science education

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