Monthly Archives: December 2013

The universe and perpetual motion

My brother likes to be useful to the world by participating in BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) projects, in which the computing power of the broad masses is used for processor-heavy tasks like screening data from the SETI program (a hiding to nothing) or testing climate change models (potentially immensely valuable). When I was visiting him recently, I displaced the BOINC screen-saver in order to check the news, and found an item purporting to have mathematical evidence that the universe is a hologram. The idea of the cosmos as an illusion (of what, for whom?) is a common conceit, usually in the form of its being a computer … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 2 Comments

A Happy Christmas to you all

It’s easy to forget that the Christian teaching on Christ’s incarnation is closely, and mysteriously, related to the doctrine of creation: In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. All of us at the Camel’s Eyrie wish you all a wonderful holiday and a prosperous New Year Jon, Sy, Penman and Merv … Continue reading

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Varieties of orthodox theistic evolution

In a previous article I briefly reviewed Loren and Deborah Haarsma’s book on theistic evolution. The version of theistic evolution presented as their own preference, allowing for several other models, seems basically to endorse Jacques Monod’s dipole of chance and necessity, but viewed as a theistic mode of design. The initial “deposit” of the creation could be sufficient, the book suggests, to have produced the whole natural world, without the need for further divine activity, though their theology happily grants the possibility of the latter. But the position is that the fine tuning of the original laws and conditions makes known evolutionary mechanisms sufficient to guarantee the sort of bisophere … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 19 Comments

How much autonomy does providence allow?

Hanan, a welcome participant here on the Hump, made a good point on an interminable BioLogos thread about God and the much despised idea of “micromanagement”: So you say God does not micromanage the world. Ok. What does “micromanage” mean? Let me put it this way, I recall a scientist stating there is no such thing as micro-evolution vs macroevolution. It would be akin to saying one believes in inches but not miles. The macro is derived from the micro. So if God does not manage the micro, then surely he would never manage anything that is formed from all those billions of micros (i.e. macro).

Posted in Creation, Theology | 12 Comments

Theistic evolution’s shy Calvinists

In my last post I looked in more depth, through the writing of Karl Giberson, at the “free process” idea of creation that has been so prevalent at BioLogos since I became a visitor and contributor there maybe three years ago. I want today to look at the views of Deborah Haarsma, BioLogos President for the past year. This has been prompted by Ted Davis’s invitation to me, on one of his BioLogos threads about Robert Boyle, to read the book she and husband Loren co-authored (Origins – Creation, Design, and Evolution), which he thought would accord with my own viewpoint. He asked me to feed back my conclusions there, … Continue reading

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“Free nature” disappears up its own analogy

I’ve not really had much to do with the writing of leading theistic evolutionist Karl Giberson, except for noting his occasional public outbursts against Evangelicalism’s failure to embrace his ideas fully. But I probably should have done, because he was Executive Vice President of BioLogos from 2009, and since his departure from them has written a book with its founder, Francis Collins. And, I discover, he has much shown more forthrightness in his writing about the “Free creation” than the curious coyness of BioLogos (to the point of temporarily shutting down comments rather than addressing my questions about it not long ago).

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 8 Comments

The Incredible Hulk – a view from the 21st century

  I find it fascinating how popular fiction unconsciously picks up the tenor of the times. The Incredible Hulk, though first appearing in 1962 and based, its creators say, on Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and the Jewish Golem myth, embodies some popular science as well. In particular, as a textbook case of the cliché of “scientist transformed in laboratory accident,” he embodies the hopeful monster hypothesis of Richard Goldschmidt’s 1940 book. This in turn reflected the early optimism of the modern synthesis about the role of newly-discovered mutations in long-term evolution. But in fact it’s an anachronism – modern science explains the Hulk far better.

Posted in Creation, Science | 74 Comments

On people

This post is going to be about people. I will take the opportunity to plug an article that just appeared in the journal Perspectives in Science and Christian Faith on Imago Dei. In that piece, (which can also be found in the I zine God and Nature): I present my views on the nature of human beings. The modern view that humans are basically worthless, or even an evil side show in a mostly bacterial world, and that there is nothing special about us, is a fairly new concept among atheists. In fact the humanist creed, the belief that human beings are quite special, was shared by most of … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Science | 40 Comments

Evolutionary creation and scientistic agnosticism

A long and rancorous thread has, I hope, begun to peter out at BioLogos. I referred to it in an earlier post, written when it was merely controversial. The bitterness masks the fact that, hidden deep, some propositions were actually given some kind of answer, though in typical BioLogos fashion (sad to say) it’s taken 140+ posts, none by staff members, to slug out what could have been answered amicably in about seven. Let me try and summarise what I think is the actual reasoning, gleaned from a number of people’s possibly varying positions.

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 28 Comments

Twin studies, religiosity and the conservation of oddity

I’ve collaborated with my friend Martin on musical projects for several years, but we’ve not met for over forty, when we were both on the committee (and separately presidents) of Cambridge University Folk Club. He’s an atheist, but not a Gnu, since he uses a capital for “God”, and religion came up when he asked my news recently, and I told him about The Hump. We normally only talk saxophone solos and studio techniques.

Posted in Science, Theology | 3 Comments