More on pseudoscience

Bible scholar Michael Heiser specialises in slightly more esoteric aspects of the Bible, such as what is taught about supernatural beings in it (often passed over in a mixture of monotheistic embarrassment and academic naturalism). He is also interested in astronomical questions, and is a champion of Ernest L. Martin’s detailed theorising about what the Magi saw that took them in search of the child Jesus, and when it occurred. Continue reading

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When I was a child…

It doesn’t show much now, but when I was a kid I was quite a science fiction buff. I was eleven when Doctor Who first screened in 1963, and I remember sharing knowledgeably with my friends about what good sci-fi it was compared to most of what had been on TV.

That was certainly true: it took a stroke of genius to portray the TARDIS as having a broken camouflage circuit so it turned up incongrously as a London police telephone box amongst Daleks or Mongolian hordes. And likewise it was genius that it did not roar like a rocket, nor whirr like your average flying saucer or time machine, but instead groaned like a woman in labour as it strove to enter space-time, and sang like a whale when it had done so. The spacecraft was a living thing.

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The non-problem of cosmic fine tuning

There’s a very nice podcast here by Australian cosmologist Luke Barnes answering the common objections to Cosmic Fine Tuning. And very amusingly, too.

His blog is good value as well. It majors on CFT too, and is notable in critiquing even-handedly (if not without scorn when deserved!) arguments not only from physicists, but from atheist apologists like Richard Carrier and Christian apologists like philosopher William Lane Craig and OEC astrophysicist Hugh Ross. I should add that it comes across clearly, but not crudely, that Barnes himself is a Christian theist. Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 3 Comments

Information, language, code

Joshua Swamidass, in dispute with staunch ID apologist “Deliberateresult” (Joe Palcsak) over at BioLogos, denies (like a surprising number of TEs) that DNA is anything more than “analogically” a code, or a language, in the wider context of his being uncomfortable with considering people as biological machines:

Honestly it sounds like you are seeing people as machines, even in this quote. Of course we make analogies between living systems and machines, language, technology, etc. That is how humans work. We reason about often this way. You, however, seem to think the there is not analogy, that this is actually describing the reality.

You say, DNA is actually a language, no metaphor, right? The only differences between humans and machines are because we are much more brilliantly engineered. Right?

I’m fine with using the metaphors, but you seem to be taking them very literally. I am not comfortable with that. It leads to very poor thinking, and in the case of calling humans and example of technology, it makes me ethically and theologically squeemish [sic].

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Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 28 Comments

How regular is normal?

Tom Gilson runs the excellent Thinking Christian blog, but has also made a useful contribution to the recent debate over methodological naturalism. In 2011 he did a multi-part series here on why science neither needs, nor benefits from, MN, and came to the positive point with his alternative here. In the main, he favours a change of nomenclature rather than of practice, because of the ease with which MN, originally coined by a Christian (and not many decades ago, at that) to distinguish it from metaphysical naturalism, has actually become a potent means of endorsing the mythical link between science and atheism. Continue reading

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How pseudoscience helped build the modern world

Spending a sweltering summer bank-holiday Monday on an overcrowded Lyme Regis beach with my grand-daughter and her mother last week was a duty rather than a joy. The book on Lyme I’d brought along to read between building sandcastles and queuing for fish and chips told me that the town’s resident population of 3,000 expands to 15,000 on a hot summer’s day, and I could well believe it as they had all apparently encamped on the same small area of sand as us. Continue reading

Posted in History, Politics and sociology, Science | 6 Comments

The foresight saga

According to Open Theist Thomas Jay Oord in a BioLogos comment to our Eddie Robinson, Calvinists and Thomists are much less easy to persuade to change their views on the fundamental nature of God “from reason, Scripture and experience” than Arminians, Pentecostals, Anabaptists and others. Maybe that explains why I’m fated not to be impressed, though it does raise provocative questions about the reasons this might be so. Continue reading

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Being creative with love

It’s a commonplace of systematic theology that when 1 John 4.7 (and 16) say that “God is love”, it is neither a definition of God, nor even his “true” core atribute, as if his other “moral attributes” were mistakes by the Bible writers, or to be qualified or discarded if they seem to be incompatible with love. Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Theology | 8 Comments

Where the “undetectable God” takes you

A new post on Fr Aidan Kimel’s blog Eclectic Orthodoxy caught my eye, because it references the late Hugh McCann, whose book Creation and the Sovereignty of God impressed me greatly recently. McCann seeks to show how true libertarian freedom is compatible with – and even depends upon – full divine sovereignty over all created events. Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Philosophy, Theology | 25 Comments

Asa Gray and methodological naturalism

The American botanist Asa Gray was, probably, the very first Darwinian theistic evolutionist, in that he was in correspondence with Darwin for years before the latter’s theory was published, and as an orthodox Congregationalist had discussed with him the theory’s theological implications. I recently discovered an online link to the body of Gray’s writings on evolution, Darwiniana, and thought to do a post in relation to current discussions on methodological naturalism. Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 4 Comments