Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Science’ Category

More on Morality

Given some of the discussion that has been taking place on an earlier post, I thought I would pass on this link to an interesting article by biologist Frans de Waal in today’s edition of “The Stone” (a philosophy forum from The New York Times). The entire article is worth reading as I think he touches on a number of very important points (including the limits of science), but I was especially drawn to one particular section. Read more

Good For Us

Later this month Prof. John Stackhouse from Regent College will be here in Nanaimo to talk about the New Atheists (can we still call them “new?”) and whether or not it is crazy to be a person of faith.  Those who have been long-time readers of this blog will know that this is an event that has special interest for me because a) I wrote about the New Atheists for my masters thesis a few years back; and b) John Stackhouse was my supervisor for this project.  So I’ll be there with bells on.  And if you are on Vancouver Island on Saturday, October 23, I would encourage you to attend this event (you can register here).  I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say. Read more

The Question is Worth Asking

A few more loosely connected thoughts and links for a (holiday) Monday morning…

The Stone” is a New York Times philosophy forum that I have enjoyed spending time at recently. Yesterday’s post by Tim Crane called “Mystery and Evidence” is one of the best attempts I have seen from an atheist to honestly lay out the difference between religious approach to the world and a scientific one. Crane critiques the view popularized by Richard Dawkins (and others) that religion and science are two competing alternatives for the same explanatory slot—as if religion were a kind of primitive science that offered the same kinds of explanations that science now offers in a much more comprehensive, rational, and intellectually satisfying manner. Read more

Slip and Slide

Over the last little while, The Biologos Forum has been posting a conversation between Pete Enns and N.T. Wright dealing with various questions about faith, culture, science, politics, etc. Today’s video has to do with the perception, in parts of the evangelical world, that there is a “slippery slope” in evangelical-dom and that it always goes to the left (i.e., to more “liberal” understandings of faith).  The questioner wanted to know if the “slippery slope” argument could also be applied to the right? Read more

Only Two Scenarios?

It seems like every time I walk into a bookstore these days there are a handful of new books on the shelf, confidently explaining how science has shown this or that religious understanding of the world to be unfounded, misguided, false, naive, etc. The obvious response to such claims—and one that is frequently made—is to question just how it is that science could “prove” or disprove anything about an overall worldview within which science is located.   Read more

Marvels, Meat, and Minds

A few weeks back, while browsing the Regent College Bookstore, I was surprised to see a new book by Marilynne Robinson called Absence of Mind that deals with issues around the philosophy of mind. I was familiar with, and deeply appreciative of, Robinson’s novels (e.g., Gilead and Home), but this topic seemed like a rather radical departure for her—at least based on my limited exposure to her work. I did a quick scan and of the contents, mentally put the book on my “to read someday” list, and pretty much forgot about it. Read more

The Only Question That Matters

I’m still mulling over some of the excellent lectures I heard last week at Regent College’s Pastors Conference on Science and Faith. One lecture, in particular, focused on the “new atheists” (who are increasingly becoming, well, not new) and their often simplistic misunderstandings of the scope of science, the relationship between science and faith and the roles both play in our consideration and adoption of world-views (incidentally, I noticed today that David Bentley Hart has another wonderfully entertaining and insightful critique of the new atheism up over at First Things). The basic idea in the lecture (delivered by Denis Alexander) was familiar enough: just because science can explain one level of reality very well, it is not thereby equipped to explain or even suited to address every level of reality. All that was very good, if relatively standard stuff. Read more

This is My Father’s World

In what is becoming a most enjoyable annual tradition, I find myself back at Regent College for their pastors conference during this, the first month of May. This year, the theme of the conference is the interaction between science and faith and is called “Wonder and Devotion: Bringing Science and Faith Together for the Church.” We’ve talked about creation and evolution, the immanence and transcendence of God, issues around the interpretation of Genesis 1-3 and a whole host of other very interesting things. It’s been a great week thus far. Read more

A “Thick Enough” Worldview

The controversy around the Bruce Walke story has led to some interesting conversations (on this blog, and elsewhere) about the relationship between science and faith, questions about how we read Scripture, and others. One of these conversations took place this morning. Read more

More on Waltke

For those still following the story of Bruce Waltke, I thought I would pass along a few interesting and helpful links I came across today. It seems the story of Walke’s resignation from the Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL due to comments he made about the compatibility of evolution and Christian faith touched off a bit of a storm in the blogging world. As is so often the case in the wild and woolly world of blogging, there can be a lot more heat generated than light. Many portrayed the Waltke/RTS situation as something approaching a modern-day Galileo case, with RTS being cast in the role of inquisitors. Not surprisingly, the truth turns out to be not quite as sensational. Read more

A Culture of Fear

I’ve been subscribing to BioLogos website basically since its inception a year or so ago.  It has always been an interesting, provocative, and thoughtful forum for learning about and discussing matters related to science and faith.  It is a refreshing voice in that, rather than positing science and faith as mortal enemies it seeks to embrace the contributions both make to the quest for truth. Read more

A World Suffused with Value

Spending parts of the last few days writing an article about atheism has given me the opportunity to revisit some of the notes and quotes I accumulated during my thesis research a few years ago. Discussions about the relationship between the discoveries of science and the claims of faith seem to occur quite regularly, both on this blog and in my everyday conversations. This quote from John Polkinghorne’s Beyond Science: The Wider Human Context isolates an important dimension of the conversation, in my view: Read more

An Ironic Dominion

Over the last week or so I have been making my way through an article from last month’s issue of The Walrus which discusses the imminent demise of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. The article talks about the rising acidity levels of oceans around the world by virtue of increased CO2 emissions and the warmer water temperatures this produces. It predicts that some of our most magnificent ecosystems (like the Great Barrier Reef) are living on borrowed time because of human-induced climate change. In some ways, the article reads like many others: it is a tale of human beings wantonly wreaking havoc with nature and a plea to do something about it. Read more

Stuck in the Cave

It’s fairly common these days to see religious belief presented as a kind of primitive holdover from our superstitious past.  So in that sense, yesterday’s article from the National Post‘s religion blog, “Holy Post” was nothing new.  What was interesting was the angle Prof. Hank Davis has apparently taken in his book called Caveman Logic: The Persistence of Primitive Thinking in the Modern World.  The objects of Davis’s criticism—what he sees as prime examples of “caveman logic”—are the purposive phrases we use in everyday life.  “It was a sign,” “thank God,” even “good luck”—we use these phrases seemingly instinctively (in fact, Christians seem to have a whole separate arsenal of them: “it was a ‘God thing’,” “it’s all part of God’s plan,” etc.).  But do they make any contact with what is objectively true?  For Davis, the answer is obviously “no.” Read more

Why The “Why?”

I came across Richard Dawkins’s latest impassioned plea for evolution this morning via Arts & Letters Daily. Dawkins’s medium this time is a book review (Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True), but those familiar with the world of Dawkins will find little new here.  Mostly, it’s the same old tired re-hashing of his war against creationism and all who would resist the idea that evolutionary theory answers all questions worth asking or answering. Read more

Truth, Fear, and Fairy Tales

Three or so odd months after finishing my thesis, I still find myself perking up when I come across some headline or article discussing the latest bit of wisdom from the pen of Richard Dawkins. Apparently the good professor is now directing his attention toward children’s fairy tales and myths, hoping to uncover the pernicious effects on scientific rationality contained therein (h/t: First Things). Those familiar with Dawkins’s bestseller, The God Delusion, will notice some similar themes: Read more

Optimism and Evolution

I’ve been mulling over this article that Olivia Judson wrote in yesterday’s New York Times over the last couple of days.  The article is about the omnipresent battle in American schools about whether/how to teach evolution.  Judson, a biologist, thinks that the fact that there is even a debate about the matter is a “travesty.”  Perhaps she’s right, but I’m less interested in the status of American school curricula than I am in her linkage of the terms “evolution” and “optimism,” and the assumptions at work in her arguments for teaching evolution.   Read more

Scientists Have Discovered…

It seems like every week or two I come across an article bemoaning how distracted we’ve become with our over-reliance on technological gadgetry, our inability to turn our devices off, and our constant foraging for information, checking email, etc. Usually this is framed as a negative thing primarily because of its detrimental effect on the economy—too many work hours down the drain due to our inability to focus on a single task and our proclivity for allowing our minds (and mouses) to get distracted and wander off into cyberspace or BlackBerry land. Read more