A long argument exists over whether supernatural or metaphysical things should be mentioned in the same breath as science. Those in the physical sciences hold that anything supernatural or metaphysical is not science because it is not material, and therefore belongs in the realm of religion or elsewhere. Whenever anyone attempts to discuss other sources, such as a religious source, they loudly scream “psuedoscience!” and promptly ridicule the offender into submission, or at least away from the discussion table and back to the reservation.
As long as the physical scientists (materialists) are claiming that the physical sciences only deal with the physical, and do not deal with the extra-physical, then all is well and good, and there is not much to discuss. In such a case we will gladly retreat back behind the boundary between the areas of study into our own realm, and everyone will be perfectly happy. However, they seem to insist on crossing the boundary while claiming they are not crossing it, then accuse us of meddling in their area. How do they do this? They study physical science, assume that the material world is all that exists, then conclude that the supernatural does not exist. This is an amazing feat of circular gymnastics, for how can one remain behind their own boundary and then conclude that there is nothing on the other side of the boundary? Only by making a metaphysical claim about all that exists, on both sides of the boundary, can they conclude that there is no supernatural forces at work. They can claim that they will not study supernaturalism, or that they find no evidence of it. But to conclude that miracles do not exist and have never intervened into the physical world is to cross the boundary and make a claim about the whole scheme of things.
In fact, they are regularly leaping across the boundary into philosophy, all the while claiming to be remaining on their side, only observing physical forces. Yet when a philosopher makes a claim about the material world they shrilly force him back across the boundary, saying he does not belong in their area. Therefore, if the physical scientists insist on leaping onto my side, and making circular philosophical claims that conclude miracles have never existed, or that supernatural forces do not exist and have never impacted the physical world, then people on my side of the boundary will not shut up. We will not be ridiculed away from the discussion table, and will continue to ask questions………questions such as “how can you conclude that there are no supernatural forces when all you’re looking at are physical forces?” and “How can you continue to make philosophical conclusions, while you refuse to engage in philosophical discussions?”
The atheist members of the physical sciences are fond of saying that the philosophers don’t know how to use the tools in the sciences, and should therefore go back to the reservation and not pretend to have anything intelligent to say about science. What is good for the goose is good for the gander: If the physical sciences don’t know how to use the tools of philosophy, then they should stop making philosophical claims. There is nothing wrong with not studying philosophy as long as one does not make philosophical claims. I tend to think they don’t realize when they are doing it, for if they did, they would not make the mistakes that they make.