Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Demise of the Random?

I’ve just come across this overview paper by James Shapiro. If the evidence he gives is as presented, it really does seem to me to present a potentially fruitful 21st century view of evolution. The weak point of Neodarwinism has always been its reliance on random mutation as the ultimate source of variation. Indeed, for many decades after it was first suggested, mutation was downplayed as a better mechanism was sought for – that’s because all the experiments with mutation showed a zero rate of positive return (here is an amusing illustration of those results). Mutation really won the Neodarwinian day, it seems, mainly by default – and maybe by … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Science | 3 Comments

Will you, won’t you?

Britain must be one of the only places in the world where you can hear a radio programme in which 3 philosophy professors discuss free will with an informed chairman. Free will poses a difficulty for naturalism because although we consciously make decisions – especially moral ones – every day, it is difficult to account for them. The determinism of natural law would suggest free choice, and so moral accountability, to be impossible. Yet introducing the only other naturalistic mechanism, randomness (by invoking quantum physics for example) would, even if plausible, still exclude moral responsibility because ones will would be the “victim” of external random forces. So there seems no … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Politics and sociology, Science, Theology | 1 Comment

Did the Puritans Start the Seti Project?

This quote about life on other planets was sent to me by my friend Penman, a regular poster on the Biologos site. It is by Richard Baxter, one of the greatest of the 17th century Puritan writers and preachers:  I know it is a thing uncertain and unrevealed to us, whether all these globes be inhabited or not. But he that considereth, that there is scarce any uninhabitable place on earth, or in the water, or air; but men, or beasts, or birds, or fishes, or flies, or worms, and moles, do take up almost all; will think it a probability so near a certainty as not to be much … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Theology | 5 Comments

Romans 5 and Pre-Adamic Man

One of the passages that causes some difficulties for “old Earth” views of mankind, and especially of the origin and nature of sin, is Romans 5. But not only can these difficulties, I believe, be overcome, but the passage can cast considerable light on how spirituality and sin might come into a world in which the human race is acknowledged to have existed for many millennia. My essay on the subject here

Posted in Adam, Creation, Theology | 1 Comment

Diversity Rules, OK?

Online comments on the recent case in which a Pentecostal couple were rejected as foster-parents tend to degenerate into the usual slanging matches over homophobia. But what the judges’ ruling seems to concern is not homosexual orientation as such, but equality and diversity legislation. They cite regulations to ensure that children “are provided with foster care services which value diversity and promote equality”. This is considerably more open-ended than the question of harming sexually confused children. Mr and Mrs Johns themselves insisted that they would love any child unconditionally, but would not consent to endorse the homosexual lifestyle. They also pointed at that the issue was scarcely likely to arise in the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and sociology | 1 Comment