Imagine you and your friend find a coin on the street, and without either of you examining the coin carefully, you make a bet. If a flip of the coin turns up “heads”, you must pay your friend a dollar, and every time it turns up “tails”, he pays you a dollar.
You flip. A “heads” turns up. You pay your friend a dollar.
You make the same deal again, and again a “heads” deprives you of another dollar.
Not wanting to cut your losses, and certain that there are at least a few “tails” ahead, you try again. “Heads”.
You sigh as you hand over a 3rd dollar, but then challenge your friend to a 4th flip. Again you lose.
Imagine yourself so stubborn that you continue this for 1,000 flips. Yet, the result is “heads” every time.
At what point would you suspect the coin, for whatever reason, is “double-headed”?
Methodological naturalism is precisely this. Years ago when people, without the modern tools or the body of scientific knowledge available to us today, pondered the phenomena around them, the were quite warranted in betting on supernatural or divine causation for any given phenomenon.
So, over the centuries as science advanced, supernatural causation was posited for many phenomena such as fire, lightning, the movements of heavenly bodies, bad weather, psychoses, conception, inherited traits, mental processes, eclipses, and plagues.
Each time the supernatural explanation lost to a material explanation. Yet, humans in every generation acted as if the coin-flipping game ought to be reset to even; that previous coin-flips deserved no consideration in their new posit of divine causation for another unexplained phenomenon.
Most humans would begin to suspect after a few dozen coin flips turning up “heads” that “heads” was all that was possible. Yet each new generation of humans discounts the previous flips of the coin of scientific inquiry, and consider the odds to be close to 50/50.
Are you among those who play this game with the faith that, eventually, a “tails” must turn up?
Or are you among those who acknowledge the past successes of material explanations as legitimate warrant for a current expectation of continued material explanations for unexplained phenomena?
This warranted expectation is the methodological naturalism that under-girds the current acceleration in scientific discovery, and the technologies that subsequently emerge.
So survey the history of scientific discovery. How many times has an immaterial cause been suggested? How many times has the suggestion (or arrogant affirmation in many cases) turned out to be wrong, and a material explanation been uncovered?
Isn’t it time to reconsider your certainty that there exists a divine “tails” out there somewhere?