Monthly Archives: October 2014

Aposematism around the world

This little chap was climbing the evolutionary ladder to our greenhouse recently. I’m referring to the warningly gaudy (aposematic) caterpillar rather than his cryptic slug friend, destined to be both drab and a toad’s meal. It prompted me to read a little on warning colouration and mimicry, which we debated here a little, some time back. I wasn’t too surprised that it has been a major, and contentious, topic of discussion since Darwin. Ernst Mayr said in 1982 that a biological concept which could clearly and unambiguously explain mimetic phenomena would also solve all other biological problems.

Posted in History, Politics and sociology, Science | 14 Comments

Another century-late review

Following my custom of busting the myths that are spun about previous generations by reading the original sources, I finally got round to reading some Alfred Russel Wallace, in the form of his last (1910) book on a biological subject, The World of Life. Just to remind you of Wallace’s role, he was the co-discoverer of the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution by natural selection, published in the 1858 paper On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection. By CHARLES DARWIN, Esq., F.R.S., F.L.S., & F.G.S., and ALFRED WALLACE, Esq. Communicated by Sir CHARLES LYELL, F.R.S., F.L.S., and J. … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, History, Science, Theology | 2 Comments

The environment – random with respect to teleology

Here’s me with one of my main guitars. Even most non-guitarists will recognise it as a Fender Stratocaster (though mine is a Tokai copy), the most successful model of electric guitar ever made. It was released in 1954, and remains the worldwide market leader, pretty much in its original form. Even Fender’s “improvements” have proved unable to compete with the original post-war technology. To what can one attribute its 60 year dominance of a crowded market?

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Keeping science and religion separate (not)

My attention was drawn to an article by philosopher of science Stephen Dilley, in which he examines just what a surprisingly prominent place is given to theological arguments in Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. I must acknowledge upfront that I found the downloadable version of the article on Hump subscriber Ian Thompson’s Theism website, so he’s covered this issue already. But it does no harm to spread the information wider, I guess.

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 2 Comments

Creation and Evil

One of the baseline positions of The Hump of the Camel is the essential goodness of creation both before and after the fall of mankind into sin. I’ve probably written on it too many times to do useful links (try the search box), but I’ve argued for it from the Bible, extensively from church history and in other ways too. Carnivores, parasites – all come within the wisdom of God’s good creation. At the same time, I’ve never wished to deny that, in numerous ways, sin has corrupted creation in God’s eyes, and damaged it both directly and indirectly. Whether by God’s judgement or man’s corruption there are aspects of creation that … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, History, Politics and sociology, Theology | 2 Comments

Playing the Odds

We recently had the fun of escorting our pastor to a skydiving event where she was to jump out of an airplane as a fund raiser for our church. No, we weren’t trying to get rid of her, nor was it her first time exiting an airplane that way. I’m happy to report that the event was a success in every way; not that we expected otherwise. But that’s part of what my thoughts here are about.

Posted in Merv Bitikofer, Theology | 18 Comments

The Nature of the Physical World

One of the great mysteries of modern life is why materialism as a philosophy refuses to lie down and die. Ted Davis on BioLogos pointed out recently that the modernist Samuel Schmucker believed in 1920 that Victorian science had discredited materialism. I’ve just completed a series of reviews in which mathematician and philosopher William Dembski argues that present knowledge of the nature of information has done the same. Today I want to address the book by astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington, the British “father” and expositor of both relativity and quantum theory, from the 1927 Gifford lectures.

Posted in Philosophy, Science, Theology | 2 Comments

Premonitions and materialism

Last Friday night I had a rather vivid dream in which half my back tooth fell out, which was annoying. I should have woken up then, because the dream went on to include the front of my head falling off too – or rather, the painless falling-off of some extraneous bony extensions to my skull, which looked very interesting on the dream X-rays. It’s astonishing how dreams can ignore even the most basic aspects of reality. It was a surprise to look in a mirror and see some stranger’s face staring back at me – you’d have thought that was a fairly core aspect of identity. But that’s dreams for … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Philosophy, Science | 4 Comments