Scientific literacy is falling in America. Part of the reason is that its value is being under-appreciated by a larger and larger segment of the population. Suspicions about evolution and climate change have created an atmosphere where two of science’s most strongly supported investigations are dismissed. To do that, you have to dismiss science itself. Really. Continue reading Those who are suspicious of science are missing part of the restoration
Myself, my longtime friend, BYU colleague and mentor, Duane Jeffery, and my buddy the always entertaining James McLachlan, conviene with the amazing Dan Wotherspoon for nearly a couple of hours discussion and commentary on the LDS Church and its historical and contemporary relationship with Evolution.
Click here to go to the Mormon Matters Podcast . . . → Read More: Mormons and Evolution
My talk at the Science and Religion Conference held in Krakow Poland, “What is Life? Theology, Science, and Philosophy” continued (Part I is found here) . . .
Life’s processes are often mischaracterized as a simple reductive scheme that misses some of life’s most astonishing features. Bergson criticized this as finalism in which the whole was given. This ‘whole’ can be seen in Philosopher Daniel Dennett idea of a design space. He uses it to argue for a deterministic universe, but the idea is that there are only so many possible combinations of DNA that produce viable ‘creatures.’ From a given starting point, the unfolding of different life forms, must wander around on this space, driven by local selection regimes, but the set is finite, and the steps must be small ones. Richard Dawkins uses the same notion in his view of ‘climbing mount improbable’ in which he demonstrates how evolution can completely explain the designed complexity of life on earth. They are right that evolution completely explains complexity, but the question that deserves some consideration is can we ask where the design space comes from? Of course that is in principle unanswerable from a scientific perspective.
Continue reading Mormonism and Evolution, Life as Emergent Agential Systems: My Presentation at the Krakow Theology Conference Part II
Where have I been? It’s been a while so I suppose some explanation is in order. I’ve been attending meetings! First I presented a paper at a Science and Religion Conference held in Krakow Poland, called “What is Life? Theology, Science, and Philosophy.” It was a theology meeting exploring questions about ‘Life’ from multiple religious perspectives. It was a blast hobnobbing with priests, monks, Jewish thinkers, Catholic theologians, and most fun of all, a stunningly bright contingent of LDS thinkers including Jacob Baker, Jim Faulconer, Ralph Handcock, Adam Miller, Joseph Spencer, and Justin White. I don’t think I’ve had more fun since I was a teenager (Which fun included a Basia Bulat concert in a small cafe in Krakow). Continue reading Mormonism and Evolution, Life as Emergent Agential Systems, and a Basia Bulat Concert
It always seems surprising when I hear LDS people arguing for the Discovery Institute’s fundamentalist evangelical campaign of Intelligent Design as if there were some science behind the idea. ID was exposed long ago as a backdoor attempt to get creationism taught in the schools. This was made abundantly clear in the Dover Trial, in which ID was put under the microscope and found to be a fuzz ball rather than a living organism—by a conservative Christian judge nonetheless. It’s an idea without a modicum of scientific merit. There are no scientific institutes, programs or organizations that recognize it as a science. Still, myths persist. Here are a few. Continue reading Intelligent Design: snake-oil science cries ‘whaa whaa whaa’
Check out my post at fMh for Manuary!
Crossposted at ByCommonConsent.com
What is Science? A school kid’s definition goes something like this: Find a hypothesis (from somewhere); make sure it is falsifiable; test it against reality; if it fails, discard it; if it doesn’t, published it. Rinse and repeat. We’ll call this SKD view of science for shorthand.
There is some truth in it. In the same way that, being a good tennis player means, being able to hit the ball really hard, keeping your knees bent, and keeping your eye on the ball. While that’s got some things right and that seem to lean somewhat in the direction of what it means to be a good tennis player, there is much that could be taken away and gobs of stuff that could be added to give a richer and more accurate description of the concept. Continue reading Why science is so darned powerful
With some software (HT/Matsby) I made a movie about not consciousness:
It turns out that getting the science right matters. We live in a wondrous age in which a breathtaking understanding of our universe is possible. We understand the nature of life though DNA and how structures arise though protein construction during embryonic development. We are discovering possibly inhabitable worlds at distances measured in light years. We have mapped the interior of our own planet and explored its oceans from deep under its waters and scanned them from above with orbiting satellites. This is not to say that science will answer all our questions, or provide all sources of value in all areas of meaning. But ignore it at your peril. Continue reading Why Science Matters
BCC’s Ronan introduced me to the work of Nick Bostrom, an Oxford Philosopher. He writes and thinks on technology and ethics issues. He has a fascinating line of reasoning. He argues that quite possibly we are living in a simulation, like The Matrix. Continue reading Thought-experiment August: What if you are just a minor character in a computer game