Archives for February 2009

Creationist scientists

It's easy to suspect that characteristically philosophical questions are irresolvable. And not just in the sense that there are no final and incontestable answers, but in the sense that you can't even make progress on them. The main reason to suspect this is that philosophers don't in fact seem able to resolve their disputes. (You might think that this indicates that a lot of philosophical questions are really pseudoquestions. But whether this is so is itself a philosophical question, and … [Read more...]

Divine Action and Natural Selection

The major intellectual sin of science is that it can get boring. Let's face it, most of us bang away at research that might be useful, even important for others in our subsubdiscipline, but it's hardly a big deal. (Do you want me to talk about the effects of stratospheric relaxation in radiative forcing calculations? I didn't think so.)But our routine-but-boring usefulness can obscure the way us science-types can go off the deep end as easily as anyone else. And religion, as always, is the great … [Read more...]

British Creationism

In the last couple of years, I have been hearing a lot more about creationism in Europe, particularly Britain. A recent poll apparently has that among the British, "More than half of the public believe that the theory of evolution cannot explain the full complexity of life on Earth, and a 'designer' must have lent a hand." Compare that to the notoriously low rate of church attendance in Britain.In some ways, I am surprised. In others, I am not.I am surprised because I am more used to creationism … [Read more...]

Russell vs. Copleston on the Moral Argument

On his Dangerous Idea blog, Vic Reppert asks for comments on who won the famous debate between Bertrand Russell and Frederick Copleston, S.J. on the existence of God, broadcast by the B.B.C. in 1948. I recently commented on this debate in the chapter "Bertrand Russell" in Icons of Unbelief, edited by S.T. Joshi and recently published (2008) by Greenwood Press. My scorecard is: Russell clearly won the first round on the argument from contingency. The second argument, on religious experience, is … [Read more...]