Category Archives: Philosophy
How Hegelian! The pained responses to the unfairness of the large ID book critiquing Theistic Evolution has led to the clearer exposition of the various views within BioLogos that some of us have been calling for for years. This piece was drafted before Eddie’s recent post, which nevertheless arises from the same observation of self-examination within the organisation. I particularly recommend reading the discussion on this thread, and the clear theological and metaphysical water between, say, Ted Davis and Jim Stump there. In this piece, though, I want to examine one particular view presented by BioLogos president Deb Haarsma, not so much in her own recent “defence” piece, as more … Continue reading
As I’ve described in the previous two posts, natural selection is, despite its reputation as the biggest discovery ever, the central tenet of (only) some of the theories of evolution that have held centre stage since Darwin and Wallace popularised it. One of the negative reasons for its being recurrently in doubt is the ongoing difficulty of deciding what natural selection actually is.
I think my reply to the last critique made by Jay313 to my recent C S Lewis post warrants a longer treatment than an inline comment. So here it is as a post.
In his 1947 book Miracles, C S Lewis presents an argument against naturalism that has become one of the most influential philosophical arguments of its type of the last century. Very briefly, it says that under naturalism, mankind evolved purely by natural selection, for survival alone. His brain, therefore, could only (by the very tenets of materialistic evolutionary theory) be orientated towards survival, and not truth. There is no way then, under naturalism, that one could rely on human reason to discover truths about the world – including, of course, naturalism itself.
Uncertainty – the Soul of Modeling, Probability & Statistics by William Briggs (Springer, 2016). The world really does need a book on the philosophy behind probability, and this is it.
There’s an interesting, and rather long, podcast here in which philosopher Lydia McGrew calls out New Testament scholars, as an entire guild, on what she perceives as systemic errors in their basic methodology, and particularly in the field of what is called “redaction criticism”. I have to say I agree with most of what she says, but there has also been a backlash from evangelical NT scholars contradicting her, partly on the basis of credentialism, ie that since she herself is not a trained New Testament scholar, she has no warrant to criticize those who are.
In my last post, on occasionalism, I alluded to the recent suggestion that the universe is a “simulation” in the context of the defensiveness people feel over the importance of the secondary causes in our world being “real”: The more powerful objection against occasionalism, it seems to me, is the vague idea that if, in the end, there is no solid basis to physical reality, then God is making us live in a world of illusion. Hence the feelings resonating around the recent suggestion that the universe is a “simulation” in which we are living.
Early last year I did a couple of pieces (the most useful here) on a new formulation of the metaphysical position on divine action of occasionalism, called “divine compositionalism”, being developed primarily within the field of science. I liked it.
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.