Souls, Life, and Abortion

There is a wonderful articulation of a serious and balanced pro-life position in Jonah Goldberg’s most recent piece in the National Review Online, “Life Matters”. He says up front that there is much he does not know about the soul, its relationship to life, and what we mean by it in the case of a recently-fertilized egg. He also acknowledges that, if one is talking about consciousness, then life does not begin at conception. He thus has no passionate feelings… Read more

Wisdom of Solomon 2: An Apocryphal Prophecy About Jesus?

Among the set texts for today’s class on the Bible was Wisdom of Solomon chapters 1-3. We discussed one particular excerpt in class (2:12-20):Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to usand opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against thelaw, and accuses us of sins against our training. He professes to haveknowledge of God, and calls himself a childa of the Lord. He became tous a reproof of our thoughts; the very… Read more

‘Tis But A Scratch

I just looked once again at Sean Carroll’s short piece from Science Magazine, “God as Genetic Engineer”, which is a review of Michael Behe’s latest book. I had forgotten that he used this analogy. It must have embedded itself in my subconscious, because it came to mind (but without the proper attribution to its immediate source) when I wrote my own comparison of young-earth creationism to Wile E. Coyote, “Creationism’s Cartoon Physics.” The next step, I suppose, will be to… Read more

The Synoptic Problem and Student Papers

Studying the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) is great preparation for being an educator. I’m convinced this is true even if your field has no direct connection to Biblical studies.Student papers can at times closely resemble each other or other possible source material. Learning to recognize lengthier agreements in order, and distinguish numerous agreements of wording from that which can occur through memory or chance, is very helpful.I can’t help wondering if any student in a course on these… Read more

Google Reader

I can’t believe it took me so long to discover Google Reader. It is like having a web version of Outlook for your blog feeds, making clear which of the blogs you follow have posts on them that you have not read yet in much the same way that Outlook draws unread messages to your attention – bold print plus a number to indicate the number of unread posts.What’s more, as some readers of this post already know but others… Read more

Everything I Need To Know About Evolution I Learned In Kindergarten

Let me say up front that I do not mean by this title that I learned all the biology I need to know in kindergarten. That is definitely not true. Rather, in alluding to the title of a famous book, I am suggesting that there are basic principles that we learn early on that some voices in current debates about evolution seem to be missing. Here are just a few of them.1) Teachers know more than we do. There are… Read more

Don’t Be Too Righteous

I think that, when there are debates over the nature of the Bible, too much time is spent focused on debating whether historical details can be confirmed or whether cosmological and biological details match up with data from the sciences. In my class on the Bible yesterday, we discussed Ecclesiastes. Students expressed the same surprise (or in some cases shock) I felt when I first encountered the book.Perhaps the most startling of all is the advice in chapter 7 to… Read more

The Genesis Creation Stories and the Environment

Let me join others who are focusing on the environment for this blog action day. It was the pressure of an unanticipated exam question that forced me to relate the implication of academic (especially source critical) study of the creation stories in Genesis to the issues of environmentalism.The question asked whether the creation stories justified human exploitation of the environment. I had prepared to talk about a lot of aspects of the creation stories, but that was not one of… Read more

Creationism’s Cartoon Physics

Wile E. Coyote heads towards the cliff but doesn’t see it. We’ve all seen the cartoons – he can keep running, until he looks down and notices there is no longer anything beneath his feet to support him.This is, in essence, the situation of the young-earth creationist movement. Every single objection that did not consist of pointing at unanswered question – and even some of those – has been answered by scientists, and still more evidence than we might have… Read more

Ruffled Feathers

I seem to have ruffled some feathers. The blog Telic Thoughts has posted what is not so much a response to what I wrote recently as a complaint. Mike Gene felt that I painted with too broad a brush in my earlier post in which I suggested that proponents of Intelligent Design are dishonest.I don’t think that my statements were completely unjustified – indeed, some will probably say I didn’t go nearly far enough – but I will add that… Read more

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