A Short Stay in Hell Launches

My existential horror novella was released today in multiple formats: Hardback, paper back, digital, kindle etc. What is existential horror? Well . . . read the book and you’ll see (I more or less invented the term, because it’s very difficult to describe). Here’s the book’s website.

Read the reviews in the review tab and those on Goodreads for a sense of the book. Today and tomorrow we are having a book bomb, so if you are thinking about buying it, today or tomorrow would be wonderful (it draws attention to when people start buying it all at once). Thanks!
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If this isn’t your cup of tea don’t forget my magical realism novel, The Scholar of Moab!

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Naomi Oreskes’s talk on ‘Merchants of Doubt’ at BYU

Recently Naomi Oreskes historian of science and author of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming talked at at the Kennedy Center as part of a special series of talks sponsored by The Nature Conservancy and BYU’s Environmental Ethics Initiative (which I’m involved with). It’s a wonderful talk about the reasons why Climate Change became politicized and how nearly half of Americans were convinced to ignore or not believe in a scientific consensus that the planet is warming and that humans are the cause. The short version is extobacco company scientists after years of spinning the story that tobacco did not cause cancer, switched to climate change after being hired by big oil in a obfuscation campaign. An astonishing and troubling story.

Watch this link for the full story. Also read the book.

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But Bishop! My Cat’s Parasite Made Me Do it!

It looks like the zombie apocalypse has started. We have seen its effect in the insect world for many years‚ÄĒfrom fungi that drive ants to the highest plant available, so that its head can explode in a shower of fungal spores that ride the wind to their next anty victim, to amoebae that make insects freeze in place at the top of blade of grass so they can more likely be consumed by their preferred bovine host. Continue reading

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Copies of you

Is this future possible in a Mormon context?

Discuss.

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The Darwin Seminar at BYU

Cross posted at BCC

This semester over thirty faculty members gathered for a reading group sponsored by the BYU Faculty Center. I led the group in its reading of Conor Cunningham’s book Darwin’s Pious Idea: Why the Ultra-Darwinists and Creationists Both Get It Wrong. Cunningham is a Catholic theologian at the University of Nottingham. The thesis of the book is that both the evangelical atheists (e.g., Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc.) are wrong in their attacks on faith and that their arguments are based on a caricature of religion that are largely incoherent. Conversely, he argues the Christian Fundamentalist creationists, including the cleverly-named, but silly, pseudoscience, Intelligent Design movement, is a religious and spiritual disaster. Cunningham argues that we can have a faithful religious embrace of evolutionary biology. In short, we can do both good science and good religion. BCC’s own BHodges gives a wonderful review of the book here so I won’t go too much more into the book, but instead focus on the seminar itself. I think it marks a historic moment at BYU and deserves a little attention. Continue reading

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Even more of Blair, Me, and Evolution at the FAIR Blog: Part II

Here is the second part of Blair’s interview of me and evolution! Enjoy!

 

 

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Blair, Me, and Evolution at the FAIR Blog

In which the wondrous Blair Hodges interviews me for FAIR about Mormonism and Evolution. My favorite subject.

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Monsters and Mormons launches

Well I’ve been silent a while. Part of it this semester several creative projects are launching, I’ve got an NSF grant application due, and two papers back for revision. And my blogging has suffered, but get ready this semester we held faculty a seminar sponsored by the Faculty Center on Darwinism and I will be blogging on it once my grant is in (Dec. 7th).

In the meantime enjoy these creative works. My story is about Mormon’s on Mars battling a reemerging Earth. It has Unicorns.
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I also was nominated for a Rhysling Award for best long-form Sciencefiction poem. It is found Here:

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I also have four poems here that will launch soon:
























I’ll tell you about three novels being published in another post. ūüôā

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Life as Emergent Agential Systems: Tendencies Without Teleology

 So here is the whole thing. I sent his off  for review last week and had restructured it so completely that posting in the sensible pieces based on what went before was impossible. So this is the whole shebang. When you run across sections you have read before you can just skim and move on. This is very long for a post. Sorry. 

For those who don’t want to read this long, long paper in a nutshell the argument is:

A) Life has evolved in a completely Darwinian fashion. 

B) Even so their are¬†strategies¬†that evolution has stumbled upon over and over like the move to¬†individuality and sociality which produces more¬†individuation¬†at higher levels. Other’s include the emergence of life imbedded in a context, changes the design space upon which it rests through influencing and restructuring that space in a constant back and forth between life and that design space. The result in genuine novelty.

C) Bergson, a French philosopher of the early 20th century, noticed that there were creative tendencies in evolution that life uses again and again despite the non-teleological direction of evolutionary change. 

D) This has implications for theology:

  1. The creation is ongoing.

  2. That the creation is unique, unpredicted, and surprising and worthy of preservation and protection. Life is not a set of predefined necessary forms.

  3. That emergence means that the universe is open ended and that surprises await in what evolves. 

 

For: What Is Life? Theology, Science, and Philosophy Conference

Krakow, Poland June 2011

Introduction

Biology has something relevant to say to theology and visa-versa (Cunningham 2010), and as a biologist I would like to hone in on some aspects of life that may gesture to perspectives that cross disciplinary lines. In particular I would like to draw on the work of Henri Bergson, long ignored in biology. However, he is growing in relevance as problems in understanding what life is and how it enfolds in an emergent universe become more pressing and more perplexing. Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Faith, Religion, theology | 8 Comments

Mormons and Evolution

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 Site.

(Don’t forget to explore the links at the bottom of that page for some great information about the topic.)

Posted in Evolution, Philosophy of Science | 6 Comments