Form, health and optimization

One of the things that used to intigue me when I was in medicine (in those occasional philosophical moments) was the fact that, though I spent my life combating disease, it was rather hard to pin down what health actually is. The 1946 WHO definition of health is very worthy, but totally impractical:

“A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Whilst I had a pretty holistic approach, I wasn’t going to sort out people’s social lives, and for some reason it was officially frowned upon to improve their mental well-being by sharing the gospel with them. But I knew reliably, if not infallibly, how to recognise “health”. In fact a couple of hundred thousand consultations gives one a Polanyi-type “personal knowledge” of what’s OK. Continue reading

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Great journeys

I’ve mentioned the swallows nesting in our stable in passing on a couple of posts. They’re now on their second brood (on a second nest, atop a second light-fitting, for some reason – failure to find a valeting service locally, perhaps?). It’s astonishing that within a month or so those parents, and both new broods, will be making their way to South Africa. Continue reading

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The myth behind the myth

In the last post I referenced C S Lewis’s essay on the modern Myth of “Evolutionism” (as distinct from the scientific theory of evolution, just to remind you…), of which one major, and undoubtedly correct, point is that the ideological motivation to believe in evolution as an overarching principle precedes Darwin’s biological theory by several decades. But Lewis doesn’t attempt to explain fully why it should have developed in the first place. Here’s my attempt to do so. Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Politics and sociology, Prometheus, Science, Theology | 2 Comments

Enduring myths and their aftermath

When I cited Os Guinness in a recent post, I noticed a reference to an important essay by C S Lewis whilst re-reading Guinness’s assessment of humanism. It’s well worth reading, though from the 1940s, and gives that feeling you always get with Lewis that, although a mediaevalist, he was half a century ahead of his time. Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Politics and sociology, Science | 115 Comments

When stories become science (and when they don’t)

I hesitate to continue on the subject of maths in evolution, as it takes us into some deep philosophical waters, and especially as evolutionary programming is outside my comfort zone. But some useful stuff arose from the comments on previous threads, and there may be a couple of posts in it to make us think more critically. Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Science | 14 Comments

On metabiology, natural law and divine action

I’d like to pick up on a remark made by our friend Darek Barefoot on a recent thread:

God may be working outside the pattern of lawlike regularities in countless irregular nudges of the genetic code, but given how many of these nudges there seem to have been it becomes difficult to distinguish them from lawlike regularities. Continue reading

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How moral absolutes evolve by punc eek

A shift in tack today, prompted by the UK parliament’s current discussions on the euphemistic “assisted suicide” (meaning your doctor is ordered to kill you). I’ve actually lost count of the number of times this has been debated nationally. Certainly I made a submission to the House of Lords Select Committee in 2004, and during a previous incarnation of the bill I discussed the matter with my MP Simon Burns, then the Shadow Minister for Health (and later the real one), whose opinion was that there was no significant support at all for such a move in Parliament. Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Medicine, Philosophy, Politics and sociology | 6 Comments

Frontloading, maths and logic

After our worthwhile diversion into the christology of creation for three posts, I want to drop back briefly to the previous discussion on frontloading, natural v supernatural action in nature and so on. A post on Uncommon Descent about scorpion burrows prompted  one of my infrequent comments there. Continue reading

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Creation as Mission

One aspect of the close connection between creation and salvation that I didn’t mention in the previous two posts on the subject is that of Missio Dei, the mission of God, which encompasses the outgoing motivation he had both to create all things from nothing, and to restore them in the aftermath of the Fall. Continue reading

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Athanasius on the nature of man

Let me expand a little on the quote I gave in the last piece from Athanasius, because it seems to give some pointers, derived from Scripture, on the essential nature of Christian creation teaching. Here’s the quote:

…for, as I said before, though they were by nature subject to corruption, the grace of their union with the Word made them capable of escaping from the natural law, provided that they retained the beauty of innocence with which they were created. That is to say, the presence of the Word with them shielded them even from natural corruption, as also Wisdom says:

“God created man for incorruption and as an image of His own eternity; but by envy of the devil death entered into the world.”

Continue reading

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