I have yet to receive my copy of Bradley Monton's book, Seeking God in Science; an Atheist Defends Intelligent Design. However, I just found out that there is a review of his book, here. And there is also a previous paper that he wrote concerning the Dover trial, here.
The paper is a criticism of Judge Jones' decision in the Dover case. What is most interesting is Monton's focus on the claim that science entails
methodical methodological naturalism. I'll just quote from his paper.
"Most of my discussion will focus on the issue of methodological naturalism – I will argue that rejection of the supernatural should not be a part of scientific methodology.
"The reason this matters is that it’s a dangerous practice to try to impose rigid boundaries on what counts as science. For example, as I will show, a consequence of Jones’s criteria is that the aim of science is not truth. While this may be the case, one would expect this to be established by philosophical argumentation about the aim of science (along the lines of e.g. van Fraassen 1980), not by a specification of demarcation criteria to distinguish science from pseudoscience. My position is that scientists should be free to pursue hypotheses as they see fit, without being constrained by a particular philosophical account of what science is.
"In sum, I maintain that it is a mistake to try to argue against ID by declaring it unscientific. Larry Laudan got the answer right:
If we would stand up and be counted on the side of reason, we ought to drop terms like “pseudo-science” and “unscientific” from our vocabulary; they are just hollow phrases which do only emotive work for us. (Laudan 1983, 349)
"If our goal is to believe truth and avoid falsehood, and if we are rational people who take into account evidence in deciding what to believe, then we need to focus on the question of what evidence there is for and against ID. I recognize that, if we can’t declare ID unscientific, this makes it harder to exclude ID from pubic school. But we first need to figure out the right thing to think about the scientific status of and the empirical evidence for ID; only then can we take up the very different question of what should be included in public school curricula. This latter question is outside the scope of this paper.
"…We come now to the most promising of Jones’s three criteria, the criterion of methodological naturalism. In this section I will grant that ID does postulate supernatural causation, and I will argue that that is compatible with it being scientific. In the next section I will ague that in fact ID is not inherently supernatural, and hence ID can count as science even if the restriction to naturalism is part of the scientific methodology.
"…I will now argue that it is counterproductive to restrict scientific activity in such a way that hypotheses that invoke the supernatural are ruled out. Specifically, I will argue that it is possible to get scientific evidence for the existence of God. The scenario I am about to describe is implausible, but there is nothing logically inconsistent about it. The point of the scenario is that in the described situation, it would be reasonable for scientists to postulate and test the hypothesis that there is supernatural causation occurring. (I am not the first to present this sort of scenario; for a related scenario, see Dembski 1992.)
"Imagine that some astronomers discover a pulsar that is pulsing out Morse code. The message says that it’s from God, and that God is causing the pulsar to pulse in this unusual way. The astronomers are initially skeptical, but they find that when they formulate questions in their head, the questions are correctly answered by the message. The astronomers bring in other people to examine this, and the questions are consistently answered. The message goes on to suggest certain experiments that scientists should perform in particle accelerators – the message says that if the experiments are set up in a specified precise way, then God will cause a miracle to occur. The experiments are done, and the resulting cloud chamber tracks spell out Biblical verses. Then the message explains to the scientists how to form a proper quantum theory of gravity…
"I could go on, but you get the picture. The evidence doesn’t prove that God exists – maybe some advanced alien civilization is playing a trick on us; maybe the scientists are undergoing some sort of mass hallucination; maybe all this is happening due to some incredibly improbable quantum fluctuation. But the evidence does provide some support for the hypothesis that God exists. It would be close-minded for the scientists to refuse to countenance the hypothesis that God exists, due to some commitment to methodological naturalism. Of course, it is important to consider the naturalistic hypotheses, but one has to consider the theistic hypothesis as well.
Monton cites some scientists and philosophers of science who discount methodological naturalism as a necessary part of science.
"I conclude that it’s not the case that there’s a clear consensus in favor of methodological naturalism (when understood to rule out appeals to the supernatural) in the scientific or philosophical communities."
Dembski, William (1992), “The Incompleteness of Scientific Naturalism”, in Jon Buell and Virginia Hearn (eds.), Darwinism: Science or Philosophy, available at http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/fte/darwinism/index.html.