Archives for June 2010

Opera on science and religion

The Metropolitan Opera has reportedly commissioned a new opera from Osvaldo Golijov, a composer whose work I usually like. Apparently it's going to be about the "relationship between science and religion."That could be interesting. On the other hand, I suspect it's most likely to to resolve into some pap about ultimate harmony. It won't be the first time I'll have to listen to music I like while ignoring the words. (It helps if the words are in Latin or some other language I don't speak.) … [Read more...]

What are they thinking?

I was looking over reports of a "Quran and Scientific Truths" conference held in Istanbul, Turkey. (I can find only this in English; there's a lot more in Turkish.)There's nothing all that new in it—mostly the usual science-in-the-Quran nonsense. But, as always, the conference included a host of Turkish academics in engineering and science fields giving talks about the scientific miracles in the Quran.What I don't get is this. All these chemists and engineers and so forth lining up to … [Read more...]

Rational policy?

The political versions of religious nonbelief usually include affirmations of rationality in public policy. The recent Copenhagen Declaration on Religion in Public Life has "We submit that public policy should be informed by evidence and reason, not by dogma."All this assumes that there is a single agreed upon form of rationality. Maybe it also assumes that people who share in this form of rationality will, if well enough informed, converge upon a single policy. And it certainly seems to assume … [Read more...]

Gray’s Anatomy

I've just finished a collection of John Gray's essays, Gray's Anatomy. Gray is perhaps my favorite conservative thinker—conservative in the European tradition, which has some intellectual depth, rather than the mindless combination of Jesus and market-worship that is American movement conservatism. I'm not conservative myself, since my temperament inclines me not toward "if it's not broke, don't fix it," but rather toward "change it around a bit, let's see what happens." Still, I think a serious … [Read more...]

Methodological naturalism

Let me put in a plug for Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, and Johan Braeckman's paper in Foundations of Science, "How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism." Here's the abstract:In recent controversies about Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC), the principle of methodological naturalism (MN) has played an important role. In this paper, an often neglected distinction is made between two different conceptions of MN, each with … [Read more...]

The Sentence “God exists” Part 2

This is the Logical Positivist skeptical argument, as understood by Richard Swinburne:(1) If the sentence "God exists" expresses a coherent statement, then the sentence "God exists" expresses either an analytic proposition or else it expresses a synthetic proposition.(2) The sentence "God exists" does not express an analytic proposition.(3) The sentence "God exists" does not express a synthetic proposition.Therefore,(4) It is not the case that "God exists" expresses a coherent statement.The key … [Read more...]

Jesus: Struck by Lightning

The insurance company is bound to claim this was an act of God. … [Read more...]

The Sentence “God Exists” Part 1

In The Coherence of Theism (original:1977, revised ed.:1993), Richard Swinburne argues that the sentence “God exists” is a meaningful indicative sentence that expresses a coherent proposition. He does this by raising objections to arguments that have been given against this view, and by also making a detailed positive case. For the negative or defensive case, Swinburne starts out by raising objections to some general arguments against this view, and later in the book he raises objections to mor … [Read more...]