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Berlinski on Swedish Nudism and the Inordinate Sponginess of Scientific "Naturalism"


Hoover Institution's Peter Robinson does a terrific job of interrogating David Berlinski at National Review Online. The NRO TV interview will come out in five parts. In Part 1, in the context of a discussion of his recent book The Devil's Delusion, Berlinski comments among other things on scientific naturalism:

These dominating terms -- natural, naturalism - when you try to look at them more clearly they turn out to be inordinately spongy. There's really nothing under the term itself. We all know that to be natural is somehow to be good. It's like a Swedish nudist documentary. All natural. See any number of Swedes prancing on the beach. That's natural. But what does the word mean? And why should we pay such serious attention to scientific propagandists who wish to insist that only this kind of inquiry makes sense? After all mathematics is a paradigmatic case of a science that has nothing to do with natural anything.