Thinking Christian

Thinking Christianity for church, home, and community

Origins and Science

Here We Go ‘Round the No-Free-Will Bush ♫

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Sheesh.

SteveK [told us[(http://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2014/06/to-seek-god-sensibly-on-his-own-terms/#comment-101165) about this report, Free will could be the result of ‘background noise’ in the brain, study suggests.

I’ve seen enough bad science journalism to know that the real experiment may look very little like the one reported there. (In fact, I have real trouble believing the research is as weak as that.) Taking the report at face value, though, with that disclaimer, this appears to be what’s happening:

A cue appears on screen at random intervals. When the cue …

 

Seek God Sensibly: On His Own Terms

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Is there a God? How would we know?

Among atheists today there is a sizable subset who think that if God is real, he ought to be detectable through science. I can see the appeal in thinking that, since science tells us so much about the world. Even better, it has ways to adjudicate factual disputes, especially when it’s possible to employ very careful measurement and control of variables.

Ironically, those are exactly the factors that make science a poor way to detect the reality …

 

Creation, design, and evolution: if a theory could be derived straight from metaphysics, would it still be scientific?

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Imagine the following scenario:

SMITH: I know that evolution produced the biological world by naturalistic processes.

JONES: Interesting. Do you believe in God?

SMITH: No, I’m sure there’s no God.

JONES: How do you know that naturalistic evolution explains life as we see it?

SMITH: Because the evidence clearly demonstrates it.

JONES: Suppose there were no evidence for it. How would you handle that?

SMITH: What do you mean? There is evidence. Tons of it!

JONES: Of course there is. We both agree on …


Tagged As:

 

The God of the Gaps and the Baker of the Bagel Hole

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Here are a few quick responses to the “God of the Gaps” objection to Christian theism. The objection involves a few serious misconceptions, including:

Thinking that the gaps are where God mostly works in nature (or thinking that’s what Christians think about God). That’s like saying your local baker’s chief product is bagel holes.

Declaring “God of the gaps” to be a silly God argument, while future-science-of-the-gaps is just fine; for example, “We don’t know how rationality functions in the brain, but we’re confident science …


Tagged As: ,

 

Why There Was No Visible Scientific Progress in the Middle Ages

Friday, April 25th, 2014

There was no scientific progress in the middles ages. Science made gained no ground at all until the end of the age of unreason. Right? So we’re told, anyway.

Here’s one way to represent it: a simplified picture of the progress of science since the year 500. It looks believable enough, doesn’t it? The curve assumes that in 500 there were about only 100 imaginary “knowledge science units” in the whole world. With that as a baseline, it’s easy to suppose that today there might …


Tagged As:

 

Why Didn’t Jesus Introduce Simple Medical Practices?

Friday, April 25th, 2014

The question came up recently, why didn’t Jesus bring better health science with him when he came? Think of all the misery that could have been spared, even if he had taught people to boil bandages before applying them to wounds.

What if questions are impossible to get reliably right, but for this one I think we can apply Clarke’s maxim: “Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic.” If Jesus had introduced scientific medicine that far ahead of its time, it would have been …

 

Misunderstood or Misrepresented: JT’s Straw-Man Version of My Beliefs

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Intellectually responsible debate requires understanding what you’re disputing. That’s one of the most well-established tenets of debate. When one side distorts the other, either by failing to understand or by intentional twisting, the debate is no longer about each side’s beliefs, but about one side’s false beliefs about the other’s beliefs. The result is usually that a weak straw man is put up and knocked down, in a classic display of fallacious reasoning.

Today I’ve seen a glaring instance of dispute without understanding. It’s at …

 

Expert Reveals: Even Aristotle Thought Humans Were Smarter Than Animals

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Are humans smarter than animals? Who do we go to for the answer?

A while back I wrote a piece for BreakPoint on “When There Are No Experts.” The idea there was that we’ve developed a culture that won’t make a decision until it’s been supported by scientific experts—and we’ll insist on doing things that way even when there are no experts. In no way do I mean to dismiss or diminish the value of scientific expertise. The problem is that we’ve made it …

 

Jerry Coyne’s Witch-Hunting Ways

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

If the essence of witch-hunting is in its minute inquiry, condemnation, and eventual throttling of what is feared as supernatural, then there’s a witch-hunt going on today in the most unlikely of places: among atheists in academia.

The self-appointed magistrate in charge of this beady-eyed hunt for bewitchery is Dr. Jerry Coyne, professor of biology at the University of Chicago. Last April on his “Why Evolution Is True” blog he exposed an Honors course being taught by Dr. Eric …

 

Real Time Analytics