Everyday miracles and methodological naturalism

I’ve written before that miracles are not the most important theological issue I have with methodological naturalism: special providence is, because Scripture describes it as all-pervasive in the affairs of both man and the natural world. God is constantly active, according to the Bible, in managing his household, including by the answering of prayers, and I remain unconvinced that we can properly understand the physical world without somehow accommodating that truth. But nevertheless I want today to consider specifically miracles of healing rather than daily providence, because I’ve been reading about them recently. Continue reading

Posted in Medicine, Science, Theology | 4 Comments

The real MacKay

MacbigWith a large tome in the post from Amazon, and a trip to the beach imminent, I picked the thinnest unread book on my shelves to take. This was part of a job-lot I acquired last year from a Baptist minister, and was The Clockwork Image, by Donald M Mackay: at 111 pages even shorter than my online book God’s Good Earth (plug). Sadly most of his books are out of print now, though he was one of the most important (and both theologically and scientifically competent) writers on science and faith until his relatively early death in 1987. See this obituary from the ASA. Continue reading

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Beauty and the beast

There is a small animal park near us. It doesn’t really qualify as a zoo, but it’s a great place to take small grandchildren. When we’re not waylaid by the children’s playground, I get a kind of Goethian pleasure in seeing how each exotic species, especially the birds, when seen in life, has its own unique and holistic character (with the possible exception of the llamas, which look as if they were made from leftover parts of a kit). Goethe wrote:

We conceive of the individual animal as a small world, existing for its own sake, by its own means. Every creature is its own reason to be. All its parts have a direct effect on one another, a relationship to one another, thereby constantly renewing the circle of life; thus we are justified in considering every animal physiologically perfect.

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Methodological theology, naturally

There’s an interesting new series of YouTube videos (of which I confess to having heard only two so far) of a conference discussing alternatives to methodological naturalism. The organiser is, of course, an ID group – which is hardly surprising, as according to most mainstream scientists MN is just fine and dandy. What you don’t doubt, you don’t examine that carefully. But as I’ve been suggesting here and here there is at least an argument for its being a hindrance not only to the consideration of God’s role in nature, but also to some aspects of understanding nature itself. Continue reading

Posted in Creation, History, Philosophy, Science, Theology | 35 Comments

Science as she is spoke

Well, I see The Hump of the Camel has had another thread of its very own on BioLogos, courtesy of Joshua Swamidass. The effect is spoiled a bit by the fact that it’s mainly our own contributors here who have posted there. Perhaps Potiphar should organise a kind of roadshow in which we all turn up on blogs around the world and have private conversations, to their great surprise. That would certainly increase our profile! Continue reading

Posted in History, Politics and sociology, Science | 4 Comments

Sy Garte on Evolution

Our own Sy Garte did an excellent overview of the current state of evoltionary theory at an ASA meeting recently. Here is a link to his blog, and here is the talk itself.

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 8 Comments

Modern theological pelicans

When I ran our church youth group, in the late 1980s, one of our young people (a gifted musician) came from a Catholic family. He rather resented being expected to play organ at his parents’ church every week, especially as he felt increasingly estranged from his religious background. One Sunday he complained to me that in the morning he’d played a hymn whose words included, “O blessed Pelican.” He had no idea what it was about, and wondered if I knew. Continue reading

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Where the mystery really lies – a Classical and Reformed viewpoint

Computational biologist and theistic evolutionist Joshua Swamidass invited us at The Hump to respond to his online challenge The-100-Year-Old-Tree. My response was longer than the others he has posted, so between us we distilled it down to the form in which it appears on his website. This (following the challenge itself) is my original full version. Continue reading

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Evolutions and their Creations

This is an expansion of a theme I brought up in a discussion on BioLogos. Ever since evolutionary theory became an intellectually preferred way to view the Universe (long before Darwin and any persuasive scientific evidence – we have to go back at least to Buffon and the Enlightenment philosophy of the eighteenth century) it has been tempting to some to recast theology in the light of evolution. This is still, sadly, routinely done in theistic evolution, as the conflicts that occasionally surface at the ASA, CiS or BioLogos show to those with eyes to see. Continue reading

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Divine action hiding in plain sight?

Leaving the question of a possible metaphysical makeover for science, fielded in my last post, hanging for now, I’ll follow gravity in returning to the matter of divine action. In any case this was the spin George Brooks put on my article in his flagging of the post at BioLogos, and it has also been discussed recently in another thread there. Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 7 Comments