Category Archives: Philosophy
One interesting aspect of Dante’s Divine Comedy (around which to reading I’ve finally got…) is to see the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas being applied just a few decades after his death, when it was still new and controversial. Thomas actually makes an appearance in heaven, but spends the majority of his speech eulogising St Francis of Assisi, which is not improbable given the priority he put on faith over philosophyat the close of his life. One thing that Dante deals with is the Great Chain of Being, a key mediaeval idea which I wrote about here.
All the main participants in the “two person bottleneck” thread on BioLogos have, as I write, gone to lick their wounds in teaching or research. It’s going about as inconclusively as I predicted here.
I mentioned briefly in my last post one of the things that struck me most from reading Perry Marshall’s Evolution 2.0. And that was the fact that intrinsic teleology and external teleology are not mutually exclusive, and yet might not be easy to distinguish.
On his blog Shadow of Oz, biologist Wayne Rossiter, a principled opponent of theistic evolution, notices a re-posted BioLogos article by, ironically, the editor of Rossiter’s own book critiquing TE, Robin Parry. Rossiter’s post points out the fatuousness of the following argument:
I’ve commented before on “reading serendipity” – how things one happens to read consecutively bring together disparate ideas one would not have associated otherwise. In this case it started with a C S Lewis essay to which I was pointed by reading a quotation in an article. The essay in question is Bluspels and Flalansferes, which like the excellent book Studies in Words arises from Lewis’s professional life as a philologist.
For some reason, Bilbo started a thread on BioLogos directed at me, in which (as far as I can tell) he argues basically, “If God can create free wills that make decisons without reference to him, why could he not create random processes that similarly cause things without reference to him?” Many cans of worms open because of that, which you can read about on that thread. Here I just want to deal in more depth than is possible there on the question of whether the comparison between free-will and randomness is actually a valid one. I suspect it isn’t, except at the most superficial level.
This is by way of being an appendix to the main conclusions I’ve drawn in previous posts about the possible implications for human origins of seeing Adam, in the context of Genesis, as proto-Israel, yet also as a real and historical (not fictional) archetype. I’ve suggested that we should distinguish the whole race of mankind, created in Genesis 1, from Adam as one member of that race, chosen to become the forerunner of a new kind of relationship with God as Yahweh, analogous to the calling from the generality of humanity of Abraham, or of Israel the nation, or of those born again into Christ. But someone may ask if … Continue reading
I want today to take another tilt at the question just how theory-laden our view of the world is, following a frustrating conversation with an atheist at BioLogos (whose posts were “liked” by a good number of non-atheists there). He just couldn’t see why his naturalist view of a “Nature” containing only the “material” governed by “laws” and “chance” (metaphysical concepts all) is not simply self-evident truth, into which one might somehow be able to fit a God if there were enough evidence. The “evidence”, of course, would have to be investigated using the methodological naturalism that excludes God a priori, and in the extraordinarily unlikely situation that it jumped … Continue reading
I see Joshua Swamidass posted a link to my Martin Luther King piece on the BioLogos Home School forum (now it can be told – it was he who sent me the link to MLK’s sermon). One of the first responses on his thread there, from a BioLogos moderator, challenged my point that, since Dr King attributes sin to the higher, “spiritual” aspect of man’s nature that includes his will, both the attribution of human sin to evolution, and the presence of evil in non-volitional Nature, cannot be valid. There is indeed, she said, another kind of evil apart from sin, “natural evil”.
In the article linked from my last post, about animal suffering and therefore, by extension, about “natural evil” and theodicy in general, one sentence might have given careful readers pause for thought: It is debatable whether Aquinas understood God’s goodness to entail that He perfectly meets a certain set of moral obligations.