Primary reality

There’s an interesting take on the historicity of Adam on the Colossian Forum, as part of a project funded by BioLogos, Beyond Galileo – to Chalcedon: Re-imagining the Intersection of Evolution and the Fall, of which at least one of our readers, J Richard Middleton, is a participant. Continue reading

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It’s an old trick…

So, one death-affirming jihadist has been “outed”, with the resulting danger that by demonizing him our mainstream press will, once again, fail to notice they are increasing his propaganda value. Continue reading

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How order develops spontaneously in news

This Independent headline caught my eye: New theory could prove how life began and disprove God. As you’ll see, that’s the sub-editor’s sense of priority: the article itself just says the new theory “throws out the need for God”. The Indie’s source, with its stress on the punch-drunkness of God and the terror of Christians, is actually a piece by Paul Rosenberg at the Richard Dawkins Foundation, rather than the original review in Quanta Magazine. The latter was obviously un-newsworthy when it appeared over a year ago as it just mentioned the science, not the demise of God. Quanta was itself a secondary source for the work of physicist Jeremy England, making the Independent headline 5th hand (and this piece of mine 6th hand!) journalism. Continue reading

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Why I am not a postmodernist

Well, I’ve finally struggled through Michel Foucault’s The Order of things, much in the manner of someone destroying his health trying to cross the Sahara on foot, but too stubborn to give up. The enterprise started well – his preface laid out the bones of a thesis that there have been fundamental changes in the very patterns of thought, especially scientific thought, of which he proposes three since the sixteenth century. These changes are far deeper than the changing science itself, and he describes them as being at an “archaeological” level, and the result of rather mysterious forces rather than any new discoveries or increase in rationality. Continue reading

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The presentation of self in everyday ecology

Apologies to sociologist of my youth Erving Goffmann for the title. Our friend Hanan, as always perceptive, e-mailed me with some quotes from a blog, or perhaps a conversation, on ecology:

Ecosystems adapt not because they’re in harmony, but because they’re in tension. Sometimes that tension yanks everything in a new direction when things are changed, and sometimes everything falls apart…

“Harmony” suggests that everything is working together. What’s really happening in an ecosystem is that everything is working on its own, and on its own, for its own reasons (so to speak), reacting to everything around it. Even symbiosis, like between bees and flowers, isn’t the bees and flowers working together, but the bees getting as much as they can out of the flowers and the flowers getting as much as they can out of the bees. They’re in tension with each other, each trying to get the most use out of the other while expending as little of its own resources as possible.

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Unexpected stasis in evolutionism

Evolution was first presented as a theory of biology, but soon become the definitive way of thinking about every conceivable process involving time. In a real sense, it’s our culture’s “theory (or metatheory) of everything”, so that it’s not unfair to label the predominant worldview of the West, and not just of some atheist subset of positivists, as “Evolutionism”. Let me demonstrate this from both academic and popular sources, mixed indiscriminately. Continue reading

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Dubious claims to fame

In 1972 I formed my first band, an acoustic folk-rock duo, with a talented guitarist named Dave. The commerciality of our style (a cross between the Incredible String Band and Yes) may be gauged by our name, which was Peculiar Lucan Sauce. Be that as it may, I used to repair regularly to Dave’s house in Guildford to rehearse, and very nice coffee his Mum served, too. Continue reading

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Nothing in life makes sense except in the light of genealogy?

Last Thursday my wife and I took a drive out, initially to Maiden Castle, Britain’s largest iron-age hill-fort (a new-build from 600BC, if you don’t count the Neolithic causewayed camp it replaced), but then to Radpole Lake, one of the largest reedbed habitats in the country. Continue reading

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More on the sociology of science

Last week I wrote about a recent sociology paper that has revealed a significant social grouping in the US, which they call “Post-secularists”. I suggested that the most interesting thing is not so much the nature of the new demographic as the fact that it was only after someone changed the kind of questions being asked that the phenomenon become visible to science. Here’s another instance of how science cannot be separated from sociology. Continue reading

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Democracies burn books

Just a quick one today. I notice this story in the Independent today. Old books (non-fiction, note) pulped in Manchester reference library update. Some of the comments say it’s a storm in a teacup because, as the council spokeswoman said, “The only books which were withdrawn as part of this vital housekeeping exercise were those which were duplicated, outdated or otherwise obsolete.” Continue reading

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