Tag Archives: philosophy

fundamental distinction

If we take words patiently and technically, asking if God ‘exists’ or not is like asking if God is physically alive or dead, moving or still, blind or seeing, takes up space or not, heavy or light, hot or cold, tall or short, hard or soft, or any other question which could be asked about things we see, touch, feel, hear, smell or taste – or in other words to make a fundamental category mistake.  I think it was Paul Tillich who wrote that anyone who says God [merely] ‘exists’ is an atheist [or perhaps a kind of pantheist].

On the other hand, if we use words colorfully and metaphorically, this category distinction is less (if at all) problematic.  Two examples of metaphor: Christian tradition calls God “father”; Science calls stuff “matter”.

uncreated thing

Those who hold that all things (the universe/multiverse/whatever) began to exist and were created (by an ultimate Creator or First/bottom Cause), and those who hold that all things (the universe/multiverse/whatever) ‘have always existed in some form/state’ agree on (at least) one point…

…namely that there is indeed an uncreated ‘thing’ which cannot be questioned, caused, created, ‘got behind’, etc.

The former call this uncreated ‘thing’ God – and the latter call it Nature.

‘big question’ essays

Cheers to Bryson for directing me to an essay, which I discovered was one over several over at The John Templeton Foundation.

The essays are comprised answers to ‘big questions’ from a variety of perspectives – theist, atheist and agnostic.  They make for interesting reading whatever your beliefs are.

Two of the ‘big questions‘ essays were of particular interest to me: “Does the Universe Have a Purpose?” and “Does Science Make Belief in God Obsolete?“.

Some other bits which may be of interest to some readers include:

  • Does Evolution Explain Human Nature?
  • Debates between contributers to the Science/Belief essay (Christopher Hitchens v. Ken Miller; Jerome Groopman v. Michael Shermer; and Steven Pinker v. William D. Phillips).
  • A Brief interview with (physicist/cosmologist) Paul Davies concerning multiverse theory
  • assorted video content (look for it) :)

is nature ‘natural’?

  • what do we mean by ‘nature’?
  • what do we mean by ‘natural’?
  • how do we account for either?
  • what do we mean by ‘account for’?

explaining nature

1. nature demands an explanation

2. a ‘natural’ explanation of nature… isn’t.

thanks ian…

Thanks, Ian Luxmoore

…for a friendly, respectful, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable conversation about life, god, the universe, morality and all the rest.

mixed responses

The Christian response to the ‘Faithful Science’ day-conference have been mixed.

Most of the appreciative and complementary feedback has been email or verbal.  As for the less-appreciative feedback, unfortunately it’s been more public.

First, the Christian newspaper “Challenge Weekly” published a (to say it kindly) selective and less-than-inaccurate piece entitled “Conference fuels Controversy” (which can be viewed here – scroll down about half way), which, among other things, made the bizarre and out-of-left-field claim that some of the presenters held views more like Deism (which was anything but the case).

Predictably, the “letters to the editor” section in subsequent issues have been spotted with a handful of  readers who were concerned/shocked by the conference.  And, also not a surprise, a fresh write-up by CMI (Creation Ministries International) was subsequently published (here), entitled “Genesis not a Myth”, warning against a roadway to “spiritual disaster”.

The CMI article is also up here at their own website in very similar format, though more specifically targeting the Faithful Science conference.

I’ve offerred a couple of responses to Challenge, hoping to a) correct factual errors, b) help to clarify relevant issues, and c) challenge (no pun intended) readers to be more patient, and not assume what “those christian evolutionists” actually believe.  Also, I’ve responsed to the CMI article and am hoping for some positive interaction there.

Also, I’ve had some dialogue (which is absolutely exemplary in terms of tone, patience, etc.) with an I.D. advocate who is a member of my church and attended the conference.

Here’s to (hopefully!) fruitful dialogue and interaction in the next… however long.  :)

two thomist tasters

Just a couple quotables I’ve read recently by James Chastek at Just Thomism:

…the best arguments for naturalism are that we should get out of the armchair, stop using abstract language and start giving quantitative, statistical, and experimental arguments… But the arguments are all made from the armchair, using abstract terms, without quantitative, statistical, or experimental arguments. (from here)

and…

How do we understand the sort of design that evolution supposedly does away with? Presumably, evolution means we can stop looking for some magical elf-and-Santa-workshop where God busily assembles new species.  Great. Call off the search. If evolution were to fail, what then? Would it leave the sort of hole that could be filled by the the magical mystery species shop? No. We would just look for another natural explanation, whatever it was. If evolution were to fail, it would not leave a God-shaped hole, and so it follows that it is not filling one now, nor has it ever done so. (from here)

god is not a ‘thing’…

…and that is one of the first ‘things’ I believe about God.

teleology & ethics

The word ‘teleology’ (from Greek τελος ‘telos’ – meaning ‘goal’, ‘end’, ‘purpose’ or ‘that toward which things tend’) is not a street-level term.  However, the concept of a purpose, goal, function or ‘end’ to things most certainly is.  It’s a common as anything.  Teleology is blindingly relevant.

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