Monthly Archives: August 2012

Thinking socially about evolution and original sin

E O Wilson is interviewed in the Guardian about his recent work on group selection. He says some uncharitable things about his detractor Richard Dawkins’ status as a scientist, which hasn’t stopped the BBC booking the latter in for their Life Scientific series on Radio 4. A trailer for that suggests that Dawkins’ post-scientific interests will be over-represented, which is a shame because it’s been a good series hitherto. But I want to range wider than Dawkins or Wilson, and wider than controversies in evolutionary theory too (except to note in passing that they are alive and well in the Guardian).

Posted in Adam, Theology | 2 Comments

Mixed messages

I was listening to national radio on the way home the day before yesterday, when I heard the Vice-Chairman of NICE (the government’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) flying the flag for greater regulation of food manufacturers. He is Prof Simon Capewell, a public health physician from Liverpool University, and he has been appointed to NICE since my retirement. It was good stuff – he knows what he is talking about, and isn’t afraid to challenge powerful industries and governments serving vested interests. We need more like him.

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Dembski on conservation of information

May I draw your attention to a very good and accessible article by William Dembski on conservation of information for dummies? It’s very suitable for mathematical dummies like me, but also for those of a Darwinian persuasion, whose responses to Dembski, from my reading over the last years, have all shown a complete lack of understanding of the issues he raises.

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 1 Comment

What Genesis really teaches about science

Penman and I were discussing John H Walton’s thesis that the Genesis 1 creation account is actually a temple inauguration text, the temple in question being the whole cosmos. That led on to talk about G K Beale’s extensive study of the Bible’s use of temple imagery right through to Revelation. Penman suggested that someone should explore whether this might be a global theological organising principle, in the manner of covenant theology. The more I think about it, the more I believe he’s right.

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Methodological naturalism never knows when to stop

There were a couple of recent references to Peter Enns on the usual blogs recently. Ted Davis cited him in his article on theistic evolution, and in reply to a comment added some background about his departure from Westminster Seminary, to which I’ll return. Uncommon Descent  linked to his reply to a review of his book The Evolution of Adam in Themelios, largely it would seem to discredit BioLogos by association with Enns’ views on Adam (though BioLogos‘ taking him on as their house-theologian after his removal from Westminster was surely making a statement too). That should be more than enough links for now. Neither reference was of much import … Continue reading

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Divine action and divine detectability

I want to summarise some lines of argument showing how God might influence the process of evolution (and other natural events), and why that ought to leave visible marks in the world. This matters because, apart from divine action at some stage in the process, theistic evolution is indistinguishable from atheistic evolution and therefore has nothing particular to contribute apart from a fideistic claim that God exists irrelevantly somewhere. I hold that the proposition that God’s involvement is restricted to the creation of the Universe with its laws and initial conditions, and his general sustaining of all things, is inevitably Deistic rather than Theistic, and so falls short of any … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Theology | 41 Comments

Francis Bacon and history

The last chapter of Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses moves away from making the case that the four gospels record genuine eyewitness testimony to Jesus, and takes a look at the nature of testimony itself.

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Is the Bible optional?

I’ve commented before on how mystifying it is to me that so many Christians, including Evangelicals, who are active in the science-faith discussion downplay the importance of the Bible to Christian faith. Probably it arises ultimately from the Liberal separation of the “Christ of Faith” from actual history, so that one is supposed to relate only to the risen Jesus. “The book” then becomes seen as an object of idolatry, the bare “letter” that quenches “the Spirit”. This attitude, in turn, originated in the doubts cast on the reliability of the biblical accounts by two centuries of critical scholarship – there’s really no point in taking the Bible seriously as … Continue reading

Posted in Theology | 1 Comment

How the other half lives

I have little interest in the New Atheists, since their sole function on the kind of blogs I visit is to throw in irrelevant references to Jebus and Pixies, say “cheers” and disappear, except when they carp on about being treated in an unchristian way. But every now and again it’s good to be reminded of why so many people, especially atheists, are embarrassed by the Gnus’ ability to win such support amongst the mindless and to damage the cause of atheism, if there is one.

Posted in Politics and sociology, Science, Theology | 20 Comments

Statistics and divine action

In another context Gregory linked to an article by Steve Fuller. In this post the argument of the article itself is not important. But part of what it said was to point to the work of the physicist James Clerk Maxwell. Of Maxwell Wikipedia says: Maxwell is considered by many physicists to be the 19th-century scientist having the greatest influence on 20th-century physics. The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists says he is generally considered: …the greatest theoretical physicist of the 1800s, as his forbear Faraday was the greatest experimental physicist.

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