Monthly Archives: March 2014
For my next trick, ladies and gentlemen, I shall attempt the impossible: trying to say something coherent about quantum mechanics from the background of a “B” grade in A-level physics. My only encouragement is that proportionately few people in the world have any understanding of QM, and those who do disagree about its interpretation. I’m aware (with some hope of useful feedback and correction) that our subscriber Ian Thompson, a nuclear physicist who has a very similar approach to theistic science that I do and is a concurrentist and Neo-Aristotelian to boot, has actually written a book on quantum theory and philosophy of science – currently on my Amazon wish-list.
The separation of science and religion has recently been discussed on BioLogos in the context of Ted Davis’s mention of Langdon Gilkey, who advocated the complete separation of science and religion. Pretty soon in that discussion Gilkey’s particular approach was compared to Stephen Jay Gould’s NOMA (Non-Overlapping Magisteria), in which science has to do with “facts” and religion with “values”.
When The Hump was relaunched with multiple authors around last October, after various events at BioLogos, I cobbled together a kind of working brief to the prospective writers whimsically entitled The Hump Strategy (or “Evolutionary Creationism in a cheap camelskin coat”). The reference to a certain infamous wedge should be obvious to those in the know. In the light of Sy Garte’s call to arms in a comment yesterday I fished this document out for inspiration (rather than reading through the whole of what is now approaching a million words on the blog). The summary with which I concluded was this:
Physicist Ian Thompson was kind enough to agree with the recent post in which I suggested that, if we are theists, we probably ought to expect a universe in which God interacts personally in natural, as well as in human, affairs. He pointed us to an excellent article of his own in which he argues the same. I want to explore that theme further through the work of Michael Denton.
How do you catch a lion with your bare hands? Catch two and let one escape.
One of the things that triggers a writing attack for me is the fortuitous coincidence of separate ideas that seem to inform each other. On this occasion it’s reading Michael Polanyi on the true nature of scientific thought, and the recent discussion on here, BioLogos and everywhere about the Cosmos TV series. To that I must add the catalyst, an old video I chanced upon where philosopher and theologian R C Sproul mentions a correspondence he had with Carl Sagan towards the end of the latter’s life. Let’s start there.
In a way the recent 2-part series on BioLogos, by Paul Julienne, is quite groundbreaking. It’s the first time in an article at BioLogos I’ve seen information cited as a fundamental constituent of the universe, in the way that Paul Davies and others have advocated for many years. Perhaps it is because, like Davies, Julienne is a physicist rather than a biologist – and a quantum physicist at that. He is particularly unusual, in the TE setting, in using DNA as an example of the same principle of the primacy of information, and in linking all those to the wisdom of God personified in Christ, the Logos. The articles could easily … Continue reading
I’ve argued in the past that Open Theism is only the logical outworking of classical Arminianism, and that Arminianism itself is an outworking of the Renaissance insistence on autonomy as the basis of freedom. This is fundamentally different from the classical understanding of freedom as found in the Fathers like Augustine, in the mediaeval scholastics like Aquinas and in their intellectual descendants in the Reformed tradition like Calvin, Luther or Edwards. One is looking, essentially at two different metaphysical assumptions rather than merely two theological interpretations, and in fact they roughly correspond to the categories of the “concurrentism” (classical) and “mere conservationism” (Arminian) I’ve explored recently.
I saw an instance yesterday of how much the church scene over origins seems to differ between the US and the UK. We had the first full all-day rehearsal for a modern oratorio in which I find myself playing electric guitar, classical guitar and, bizarrely, detuned bazouki. But there’s also a full orchestra and choir. That mix itself was quite amusing: as I played one of the power-chord parts marked in the score as “Who-ish“, an old male pro on 1st clarinet in front scowled at me, while the young female amateur on second clarinet gave me a solid thumbs-up. Who would I rather please? But lunchtime was what raised … Continue reading
Further to my piece on the Incredible Hulk a little while back, the author of an article I cited there, David Dobbs, has done a follow-up piece, together with comment articles from four scientists. One interesting and sobering thing is his reportage of the responses he had from the biological community and its followers to his original piece: