Saturday Science Links: October 18, 2014
Collection of the best articles of the past several weeks on science (and faith) from around the web.
Some people who brook no “god of the gaps” arguments anywhere else look to these three moments as more reasonable places to insert God into natural processes: God spoke matter/energy into existence, God made life out of lifeless matter, and God breathed a soul into human beings.
This ongoing series written by historian Ted Davis begins with a brief synopsis of his personal background, and then goes on to reveal his passion for debunking “the now-common view that the history of science and Christianity is one of ongoing, inevitable conflict.”
Many Christians believe that they face a painful choice-- either life was designed by God or it is an evolutionary product of natural selection. Charles Darwin himself believed in this dichotomy, and people ever since have felt the need to "choose sides". However, looking back at history, we find that one of Darwin's chief scientific colleagues, Asa Gray, did not share this perspective. In this three-part essay, part 1 charts the relationship of Asa Gray and Charles Darwin. Part 2 describes Darwin's struggle with the problem of natural evil and design in nature, and part 3 explores how Asa Gray was able to embrace evolution without rejecting the idea of design.
I ask the question, “Why is the universe so special?” Now scientists don’t like things to be special; we like things to be general, and our natural anticipation would have been that the universe is just a common specimen of what a universe might be like.
Design arguments have been around forever and expressed in various ways. Most of them fall into what we call natural theology, which is the process of inferring something about the existence and nature of God by the inspection of nature.
I will take some time to clarify exactly how Michael Behe, the biochemist and Intelligent Design (ID) proponent who has most extensively developed the "irreducible complexity" argument, uses the term.
Scholar and musician Jeff Warren addresses the questions of how music is meaningful, and where that meaning resides, by looking at the popular ideas that musical meaning is entirely subjective to the listener and that the meaning of music can be universal. He also explores the recent trend of attempting to explain music via neuroscience. Finally, he looks into the reasons why music continues to play such a critical role in the worshiping life of the Church.
In today's video, Oxford physicist Ard Louis discusses the famous debate between renowned evolutionary biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Simon Conway Morris over the idea of evolutionary convergence.
The interesting thing about this is that Steve Meyer and I are probably really in almost the same exact position when it comes to our core beliefs. We differ primarily in one regard.
In this series, Dennis Venema describes his personal journey that took him away from the Intelligent Design arguments toward the evolutionary creation worldview. Through careful and honest research, he discovered ID scientific reasoning to be analogy-based, in sharp contrast to evolutionary science, which was supported by concrete data. After accepting this view, God’s presence ever strengthened him as he explored the compatibility between the Bible and God’s creative mechanism.
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was the foremost Christian scholar of the High Middle Ages and is today regarded as a "doctor" of the Catholic Church. No, Aquinas was not a materialist neuroscientist, but he understood the intimate interdependence of mind and body.
In this paper, Venema tells the story of his transition from support of Intelligent Design to the view that God uses evolution as a creative mechanism.
Many scientists feel that the ID movement is an attempt to locate gaps in our scientific knowledge and then to presume those gaps can only be filled by intervention of an external intelligence. It is important to note that ID leaders do not view their work this way.
This in-depth series by Michael L. Peterson surveys author and apologist C.S. Lewis, reflecting on his arguments for the existence of God as well as his views on Intelligent Design and evolution. Peterson first explains the classical lines of rationale and then discusses Lewis’ Transcendent Intelligence argument. He clearly distinguishes Lewis’ view, however, from other design arguments. As he concludes, he relates Lewis’ thoughts on the firmly grounded theory of evolution, presenting his grand Trinitarian worldview which included this scientific view of the universe.
Providing the crutch for non-believers to lean on is a well-intentioned strategic error that has no benefit and likely does much harm. However, I am even more concerned about something else related to our construction of these crutches.
One of the assumptions underlying this worship project is that the sovereign God provides pointers or signposts to Himself in the natural world.
Over the past two decades, the intelligent design movement has been working diligently to offer a parallel version of modern science, one that can scientifically show God at work in creation.