I’m planning to run a semi-regular feature on this blog that collects some interesting articles from around the web. Of course we already run Saturday Science Links, but since my training is in philosophy, I think there are lots of other relevant things out there that don’t qualify as strictly scientific.
I’ve always thought a clever title for this feature at BioLogos would be “Missing Links”. But while I did think of this on my own, I found that I am not the first to think of it: Ed Yong at National Geographic’s “Not Exactly Rocket Science” blog regularly collects links under the title, “I’ve got your missing links right here” (I’m feeling a bit like Alfred Russel Wallace to Yong’s Darwin). My second best title right now is “Things I read on the internet recently”, so until I come up with something better (or one of you suggest something better), I’m going to stick with the not-quite-original-but-still-clever “Missing Links”.
Note that an article’s inclusion in Missing Links does not imply endorsement of its content by BioLogos or myself personally; it merely means that I found it interesting for some reason.
Roger Trigg is a British philosopher now associated with Oxford’s Ian Ramsey Centre. He has a new book coming out called, Beyond Matter: Why Science Needs Metaphysics. An excerpt was published in the very cool magazine Nautilus with the subtitle, “Science can’t tell us if science explains everything”. Here’s a teaser:
Those who say that science can answer all questions are themselves standing outside science to make that claim. That is why naturalism—the modern version of materialism, seeing reality as defined by what is within reach of the sciences—becomes a metaphysical theory when it strays beyond methodology to talk of what can exist. Denying metaphysics and upholding materialism must itself be a move within metaphysics. It involves standing outside the practice of science and talking of its scope. The assertion that science can explain everything can never come from within science. It is always a statement about science.
Ruth Graham writes some interesting pieces on religion for The Atlantic and Slate. Her article inspired by the Homo naledi results, “Did Neanderthals have Souls?” is the wrong question IMO. But she does get to the right question for Christian theology in the text of the article, viz., Since we allow for salvation through Christ to apply to Old Testament people living before Christ, could it also apply to more ancient humans?
Another difficult theological issue in the context of Evolutionary Creation is the problem of evil. Specifically, as we discover more and more about the created order, does this have troubling implications for how we understand God’s goodness? Ryan Patrick McLaughlin put it this way:
Here, we begin to see the issue: if the universe is finely-tuned, it is not simply so for life. It’s also finely-tuned for violence, extinction, and disease. Even more potently: Ours is a universe well-designed for the suffering and death of children.
Finally, LifeWay Research (an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention) released the results of survey data they collected about Americans’ beliefs in a Creator. Cathy Lynn Grossman wrote up a brief summary on Religion News Service. She says,
LifeWay Research’s overall finding — that most Americans believe there is a creator who designed the universe and defines human morality — is not surprising. After all, 3 in 4 U.S. adults identify with a religious denomination.
The surprise is that so many people who don’t identify with a religion — so-called nones — agree.