Yet more on randomness and divine purpose

Looking for an illustration for the last post, I stumbled across what is evidently a slide from some lecture on origins positions. My eye was drawn to just one of the bullet points, familiar, perhaps, from recent threads on BioLogos: Continue reading

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Why providence is not miracle

Someone at BioLogos dismissed my distinction between providence and miracles, by saying that there is “nature” and there are “miracles” and nothing else and it’s simple. There’s little point in replying there because, apart from a rather dense thread made contentious by the usual suspects, if he won’t even investigate the army of theologians and philsophers I cited for the last two thousand years on the doctrine of providence (the Fathers, the Scholastics, the Reformers, Wesley and even Arminius), he surely won’t pay any attention to me. To some ECs holding the “intellectual high ground” means one needn’t engage with not only ones opponents in ID or YEC, but ones predecessors in the faith. Continue reading

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St Paul the Humpian at the University of Athens (GA)

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Biology Faculty and said: “Hi Y’all! I see that in every way you are very statistical. For as I walked round and inspected your laboratories, I found a memo pinned to a notice board with this inscription: ‘Randomness is the measure of uncertainty’. Continue reading

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Why dreams are irrational

It’s a constant source of wonder to me how dreams succeeed both in evoking the familiar and simultaneously cutting swathes through reality. One dreams of finding a lost room in one’s familiar home – only to wake up to realise the familiar home itself, in all its detail, was fictional. One enjoys dream-time with an intimate friend – or weeps inconsolably at their death – and finds on waking they were a complete stranger, whose face one nevertheless can still picture. Continue reading

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Nature – the director’s cut

The time has come round again to register ambivalence about the latest technically wonderful, and in many ways aesthetically stupendous, David Attenborough series, Planet Earth II. My criticism isn’t far removed from the fact that the title itself is in the style of a Hollywood Blockbuster franchise.

I voiced a similar concern back in 2013, referencing criticisms of a similar series about the anthropomorphism, and perhaps emotional manipulation, of the stories, and mentioning the riposte that anything that makes people more aware of the plight of wildlife in such a visually stunning way has to be a good thing. That’s true, of course, and one might add to that the fact that millions of people’s sense of awe and wonder, as well as their desire to preserve the wild environment, are heightened, which is to be applauded. Continue reading

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Science and faith – as easy as riding an epicycle

Engaging with a Young Earth Creationist at BioLogos recently, Chris Falter raised the examples of Calvin, Luther and other Reformers opposing Copernican cosmology on the basis of biblical literalism. His aim was to show that this is a dangerous pursuit, and likely to pit theology unnecessarily against science, since nobody now thinks that modern astronomy contradicts the intent of Scripture.

Continue reading

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The Hump goes providential

With the number of posts on The Hump now exceeding 900 I’ve added a “random post” facility in the sidebar to keep you amused for hours.

I must note, given one of our perennial subjects, that “random” here means “epistemologically random”, not “ontologically random”. The widget is in fact governed by some kind of clever algorithm that simulates randomness: the posts actually appear according to deterministic criteria. That doesn’t preclude them, of course, being providentially tailored to your particular interest and needs.

Isn’t theology wonderful?

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Progressive Creation = Evolutionary Creation

Before it got diverted on to US party-politics, Joshua Swamidass’s thread on BioLogos  looked for common ground between the four common Christian origins positions (YEC, OEC, ID and EC). This was in the light of bridgebuilding discussions he has set up between representatives of all but ID (so far – given that many IDists are also believers in evolution, this ought not to an irremediable omission). Continue reading

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The clarity of mud

Last week’s Royal Society symposium – on whether the Evolutionary Synthesis should be extended, or whether (as some appeared to imply) all the dramatic new mechanisms found recently were successfully and silently subsumed into standard population genetics several centuries ago -had a slide that caught my attention. It caught the attention of ID people in the audience as well, which is how I came to be aware of it. It was in Andy Gardner’s talk expounding the virtues of “weak adaptationism”.

Here’s the pic:

gardner-slide-closeup Continue reading

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A History of Providence – Part 3

In the last post I sketched in a few gaps in James Penman’s account of the doctrine of providence in the biblical and Patristic periods. In the past I’ve done some work on the mediaeval view, in the shape of Thomas Aquinas, and in perhaps drawn some more surprising conclusions from the writings of Jacobus Arminius (given the not infrequent assertion that universal providence is incompatible with libertarian freedom of the Arminian type). Continue reading

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