On When Science Meets Religion: The Book

Of all the books and articles that I’ve read the past few years about the science and theology interchange, this book by Ian Barbour, When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners? is one that I wish I would have read it relatively early in my journey.

Dr. Barbour, a professor emeritus of Science, Society, and Technology at Carlton College, is a well-known author and authority in the field. Early in this book, Barbour establishes four models/views for examining the complex relationship between science and theology: conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration. However, readers will also find variations of the models – thus more models.

In the majority of the book, Barbour reinforces the four models by examining important issues in light of each model. Chapters/issues are the following:

  • Astronomy and Creation
  • The Implications of Quantum Physics (yes, for you John)
  • Evolution and Continuing Creation
  • Genetics, Neuroscience, and Human Nature
  • God and Nature

I can say that this book is very readable, however, some foundation knowledge on both the broad topic and the individual topics is helpful. Otherwise, it may be a difficult read. For instance, I admit having very limit knowledge about quantum physics. Throughout the journey, Barbour cites numerous examples to support the model he is explaining within the given topic.

The science and religion interchange as a topic is complex, therefore writing a book on the topic would not be easy. However, for anyone interested in the topic, this is a good one encounter early in your process. By the way, check your local library or the library-share organization that it may be a member because that is where I found it.

On Fair and Balanced

Every news watcher has the favorite news channel and newscaster. Although I continue to maintain that bias, no matter the channel, is a given; yet the channel may be less biased than the one listening.

Although they are the most-watched news source on television, FOX News seems to get in fair share of negative publicity; yet, its followers proclaim it as the ultimate source. The FOX News slogan is Fair and Balanced, and I’m quite certain that the slogan does not refer to the amount of negative and positive comments it receives.

With this in mind, below are the top 10 reasons why I believe FOX news is Fair and Balanced.

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On Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Memorial Day is on one of those three-day weekends that all of us enjoy. Although most of us will spend much of the extra time with fun and fellowship, let us not forget to take the time to remember those who are serving, have served, and died serving.

Your time may be somber and reflective, yet it can also be joyous and uplifting. Below are two wonderful versions of the Armed Forces Melody – one by a men’s chorus and one by a pops orchestra. The late Erich Kunzel, the King of Pops and longtime conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, leads the latter. Although we miss him, his memory also lives on through his concerts on the Washington Mall. Enjoy and be proud.

Chorus

Orchestra

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 97

On the Big Picture of Life
The images of a ravaged Joplin, Missouri are horrifying. Given the rash of recent disasters in this country alone (let alone the earthquake in Japan and other world events), please consider donating to a disaster relief fund of your choice.

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On Politics
I have a difficult time accepting Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-Va) using assistance for Jopin to get more tax cuts.  “if there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental.” “if there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental.”

Run Sarah Run – Long live the nincompoop!

Good reads

On the Rapture

  • Harold Camping insulted and embarrassed Christians.
  • Harold Camping has an engineering background. What if Boeing engineers miscalculate? What if nuclear engineers miscalculate?
  • I appreciate the following take from Bill Tammeus.

I don’t get it. Now Harold Camping, latest of the never-ever-ever-right date-setters, has changed  his end-of-the-world prediction from May 21 to Oct. 21. Why didn’t he pick Oct. 23? After all, that’s the date in 4004 BCE on which the world was created (at 9 a.m. Greenwich time), according to Archbishop James Ussher. What’s Camping got against symmetry? Just to cover his behind, however, Camping did say  that Judgment Day really did happen last Saturday, only in a spiritual — not a physical — sense. Yes, and I emptied the kitchen wastebasket in a spiritual — not a physical — sense, which is why it still appears to be full.

On Shorts of all Sorts
From today forward, if we Cincinnatians get average rainfall the rest of the year, we’ll end the year about 30 inches above our yearly average. Well, that could also mean here comes an abnormal dry spell to even.

Congratulations Oprah! To me, her most important decision was (many years ago) deciding that she didn’t need to follow the path of the crazy shows as Jerry Springer.

Here’s a wonderful, two-paragraph story that is worth your time. Thanks Moe.

Earlier this week I found this beautiful video from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year. Simply awesome, many thanks Tom, and I encourage readers to take a few minutes to enjoy.

Ask John

This blog, as well as others, know John well. Full of whit with answers tied to physics, science fiction, and military history, John uses his experience as an interpreter of goat-speak to share unlimited bits of information flowing from his neurological network. With that in mind, I present the inaugural edition of Ask John.

If you had dinner with Albert Einstein, what would you ask him first?
Hmm. Does he know what’s gone on following his death? If so, does he really think the Higgs boson, if found, is really the ultimate and completing particle of the sub-atomic family? If he only knew what he did at the time of his death, how the heck did he come up with the fact that the speed of light is insurmountable?

What if you could change places with General (MacArthur or Patton), which decision would you make differently?
This one’s the toughie. I could be flip and say, as Patton, I’d decide not to slap those soldiers. But I assume you mean military. As Patton, I’d say drive north in France to help US First Army close off the Falaise gap, thus encircling and destroying or capturing most or all of up to 14 German divisions. For direct action, while I hate to criticize Patton, being one of my favorites, it would be to put major effort up Monty’s left on Sicily. While Patton’s run to the west of the island certainly put the Italians and Germans in a nasty spot, if all Allied forces could have reached Messina sooner, they could have cut off some of the German forces that made the Italian campaign such a bloody, grinding effort.

For MacArthur, lower the priority of the Philippines because they were not as militarily important as other island groups like the Marshalls. I understand wanting to get an American colony back, but a lot of time and effort was wasted that could have been applied in the “island hopping” campaign.

What if you were a vegetable, what would you be?
Bizarre! I’d say corn, but I’m allergic to the pollen corn plants put out, so I’d make myself sneeze! Strange as it sounds, probably a potato. Part of you gets the warm summer sun, but most of you is in the cool, moist earth. I’ve always loved the feel of rich, black dirt!

Thanks John. To submit future questions for Ask John, submit them on the comments … and then we’ll see if John can overcome the urge to immediately provide answers. Then again, I can receive suggestions on Facebook or by email.

On the Evolution-Creation Struggle: A Book

Many years ago, a student entered my science class with a frustrated look and asked, “What is the purpose of history?” Fortunately, my answer is one that I remember and one that I frequently remind myself: To know where you are going, you must know where you are. To know where you are, you must know where you have been – that’s history.

For the past, several years I have done may share of reading about the interchange between science and theology, especially around the topic of evolution. Not all that long ago, I noticed a certain book on the library shelf, but I admit, knowing the reputation of the writer I didn’t proceed. Good news is that I gave in and I’m glad I did.

The creation-evolution debate continues today – many times in a religious context. However, this debate has a story – it has a history that should help us understand today. As it turned out, The Evolution-Creation Struggle (Michael Ruse, 2005) examines this historical perspective.

Although the core of the debate lies in the 1700s, Dr. Ruse starts the story with a view of Aristotle’s (the Great Chain of Being) that served as the baseline for many philosophical perspectives. Awareness of the thoughts before, during, and after Charles Darwin’s writings is paramount to understanding the situation.

While I differ with Dr. Ruse’s views about God, he primarily focused on the history – thus held-back his perspective until the final chapters. Surely, one can argue that Ruse injects his perspective throughout the book through his view of history, but I challenge critics to show me any unbiased analysis. Bottom line – The Evolution-Creation Struggle is worth reading because it helped me better understand the misunderstanding and misconceptions held by many.

On Early GOP Handicapping

As well documented on this blog, I’m an independent moderate, thus proudly boast allegiance to no political party. True to form, I will enter the presidential primary season as an uncommitted voter.

With the 2012 presidential election season ramping up, there is a lot of buzz about the candidates seeking the Republican nomination. With my vote up for grabs, here’s an independent moderates view of the GOP landscape regarding the odds of them getting my vote – after all, odds are I will vote in Ohio’s Republican primary. Then again, I also have a history of leaving the November presidential ballot blank, but have voted Democratic – and still may.

In the words of the old British colloquialism, “Fat Chance” – in other words, these candidates have zero chance of getting my vote – nada, zilch, zero, no-way, thus I won’t even think about Michelle Bachmann, John Bolton, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain

The following have a “Slim Chance” of getting my vote. Although I will sift through additional information as it becomes available, “slim” also implies odds are against them getting my vote.

  • Rick Perry (Unannounced, but seems to be leaning)

“Maybe Chance” is for the fence-sitting candidates that I don’t know much about. That is, time will tell which way the will fall on the scale.

  • Tim Pawlenty

“Best Chance” does not mean an endorsement, nor does it I will vote for them. It simply means the candidate has the best chance of getting my primary vote.

  • Mitt Romney (yet I still believe he won’t get the nomination)
  • John Huntsman (who may be too pragmatic for the partisans)

Given the above, I won’t be surprised if the field expands over the next four months. In the mean time, many of the GOP partisans continue to back the unelectable.