Monthly Archives: January 2015
I wish I could link you (but I can’t, outside the UK) to an interesting BBC radio series on the history of ideas. Each Monday, presenter Melvyn Bragg introduces a big subject such as “What is man?” with a plenary session of experts from diverse fields, who each present their own programme on the other four days. Plenty to agree or disagree with, but always educational. This week I caught historian Justin Champion’s take on “How has technology changed us?”
The Third Way is the project of a group of scientists dissatisfied with Neo-Darwinism as a theory of evolution, yet also committed to naturalism. I’ve commented on it a couple of times before, firstly last August, when I praised its openness to exploring new ideas, including those involving teleological mechanisms; and subsequently in discussion to demonstrate that, despite frequent claims of total solidarity, there are indeed those within science wanting to replace, rather than merely extend, Neodarwinism.
The discussion on this thread, with Lou Jost about the human particularity of reason (or the lack thereof) and with GD on the varying degrees of epistemological certainty within science, set me thinking about how in practice it’s impossible to wall off kinds of knowledge that, in theory, are quite distinct.
Here’s a pleasure for the weekend. My church friend, whose job gives him responsibility in the preservation and management of the three ancient West Country moorlands near here, sent me this video link. Bodmin Moor, Exmoor and Dartmoor are ancient geologically (Carboniferous), archaeologically and even spiritually, way back to the end of the ice-age. Dartmoor’s wildness has meant ritual sites being preserved for millennia, and even some of the stone crosses you will see probably date back to late Roman times. The time-lapse photography, I find, enables one to see nature with fresh eyes, familiarity usually tending to dull our sense of wonder somewhat.
I’ve recently been reading a book on the theology of evil. That’s an important topic in its own right, though regulars will know my position that the physical creation is neither intrinsically nor derivatively evil (see several 2011 posts on it starting here, and I’m still waiting and hoping for the publication of a proper paper on it). In this blog, majoring on creation doctrine rather than hamartology, I tend to follow the dictum of the late great guitarist John Martyn: I don’t wanna know about evil I only wanna know about love
Much discussion recently amongst the usual suspects (including both BioLogos and Uncommon Descent) on a Wall Street Journal article by Eric Metaxas, suggesting an increasing support for theism from modern science. Unfortunately it’s behind a pay-wall, but seems to have majored on cosmic fine-tuning, together with support for the “rare earth” hypothesis.
As regular readers here will know, I’m no Aquinas scholar, though I’ve found some of his thinking extremely helpful in gaining a better understanding of reality, especially in the discussion of origins. But even I – and no doubt many of you – have some awareness of the annoyance of Thomists at the misrepresentation of Aquinas’ Second Way of demonstrating God’s existence, by some of the New Atheist writers. Ed Feser, for example, has devoted a few blog posts to it and in his book on Aquinas pours scorn on the “stock caricature”.
Not much blogging this week, because I’ve been trying to do an arrangement for massed saxophones of Carl Orff’s totemic opening to Carmina Burana, O Fortuna. It rather tickles my fancy how it contrasts with the last arrangement I did, Driving in My Car by the ska band Madness. The idea was to have some kind of cosmic fanfare for a gig we’ve booked at the end of this year, to accompany the switch-on of our town’s Christmas lights. As you’ll hear from a clip of the original, it might require burning the whole town down to do it proper justice:
Last week I was repainting our living room, work that invites having the radio on in the background. And even if it doesn’t, having paint on your hands prevents you switching the thing off. And so it was that I heard three programnmes back to back bearing on similar subjects.
I first became aware of the idea that the future hope of Christians is bodily resurrection on a renewed earth, rather than spiritual translation to heaven, back in 1971, through an unusual theological source: the British music newspaper The Melody Maker.