On Requested References

Given my interest in the interchange between science and religion, Debra @ Breathelighter asked me to post a few books for those wanting to know more. Besides, her request made me feel good, plus I know she enjoys when I post about this topic.

In order to provide a range of sources, I organized the books into thematic groups. Some of the books I reviewed here, so I also linked them as Past post.

FYI: I found many of these books through local libraries and inter-library loan systems.

The organizations list provide bountiful resources, including essays.

Saving Darwin (Karl Giberson)
The Evolution-Creation Struggle (Michael Ruse) Past post

Theologically Centered
Can You Believe in God and Evolution (Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett)
Responses to 101 Questions about God and Evolution (John Haught)
God after Darwin: A Theology of Evolution (John Haught)
Questions of Truth: Fifty-One Responses to Questions about God, Science, and Belief  (John Polkinghorne)

Science Centered
Finding Darwin’s God (Ken Miller)

The Lost World of Genesis One (John Walton) Past post

The Language of God (Francis Collins) Past post 

Origins (Deborah Haarsma and Loren Haarsma) (Review TBA)
When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners? (Ian Barbour) Past post

By any of the above authors; plus, Denis Alexander, Peter Enns, George Murphy, Ron Numbers

Organizations (listed alphabetically)
American Scientific Affiliation
BioLogos Foundation
Center for Process Studies
Center for Theological Inquiry
Center for Theology and Natural Sciences
John Templeton Foundation
The Clergy Project
The European Society for the Study of Science and Theology
The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion
The International Society for Science and Religion
Vatican Observatory

On Oracles of Science

Oracle – A person giving wise or authoritative opinions (Merriam-Webster)

Many would consider scientists Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Steven Weinberg, and Edward O. Wilson are oracles. After all, they are respected voices in their field and many look upon as eloquent public intellectuals.

Besides being accomplished scientists, each is a successful writer. The group has achieved countless awards, including a Nobel Prize and two Pulitzer Prizes. Each of them have shaped the public’s perception of science and its relationship with other fields. Yes, these six people are oracles of science.

OraclesKarl Giberson and Mariano Artigas wrote Oracles of Science: Celebrity Scientists versus God and Religion to examine each of these luminaries and their views regarding the interchange between science and religion. The group’s belief system ranges from atheist to agnostic to humanist. Some respect religion while others are openly antagonistic. Meanwhile, the authors (both physicists) are Christians – with Artigas also being a Roman Catholic priest.

Each oracle has his own chapter, thus readers can engage the oracles in any order. Not only does each chapter focus on the oracle’s own words, the authors respectfully engage with the oracle with their own ideas and reactions.

Whereas the opening chapter sets the stage for what is to come, the final chapter examines similarities and differences while offering conclusions.

Regardless of one’s religious preference – Protestant or Catholic; evangelical or fundamentalist; evolutionist or creationist; religious, atheist, agnostic, deist, humanist, materialist, or naturalist – this is a good book for those who enjoy thinking.

Because of the nature of the topic, the stature of each oracle, and the counterpoints by the authors, I can guarantee that readers will disagree something. The question is can one agree or disagree with the same integrity and respect that the authors demonstrate? After all, that is one thing missing in many conversations about this topic.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 182

On Politics
With current topics as Benghazi, the IRS, and the AP, our elected officials continue to demonstrate their preference for diversions over finding solutions to primary problems.

The IRS story has activated a burr. I’ve been writing on it other the past several days for this post, but eventually exceeding a short, so it will an upcoming post.

Here’s a good one for Gov. Steve Breshear (D-KY) responding to state Republicans avoiding expanding Medicare at the state level in response to Obamacare: “I say get over it. This law was passed by Congress and it was upheld by the Supreme Court. This is not a political decision, it’s a policy decision.”

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Seedless watermelon coming to grips with facts it will never have kids
New crispy cracker to ease crushing pain from modern life
Man demands to know how many siblings co-worker has
Sea World to discontinue Great White Shark ride
Elf finger found in box of Keebler cookies

Interesting Reads
A conservative economist’s support for Keynes
The Bible is not a science book
Top 10 blown umpire calls
Fred Flintstone’s feet as breaks
Wyatt Earp’s Fourth Wife
How curling stones curl?
A slideshow of Cincinnati’s mosaic murals

On Potpourri
The recent news about Angelina Jolle’s choice of a preventative double mastectomy surprised many. Interestingly, the morning of the Jolle’s news, CNN’s Zoraida Sambolin stepped up to publicize her decision for a double mastectomy after her recent breast cancer diagnosis three weeks ago.

Just finished reading Oracles of Science: Celebrity Scientists versus God and Religion by Karl Giberson and Mariano Artigas (2007). Very interesting profiling six leading scientists who also publish: Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Steven Weinberg, and Edward O. Wilson. I’ll review it later, but a thumbs up. PS: Debra, I haven’t forgot!

I haven’t cooked this recipe in a while, so we just did for a friend. Still, a big thumbs up to Cranberry-Sausage Spaghetti.

Several weeks ago, I mentioned the Cincinnati Ballet doing a production with Peter Frampton to his music. Here’s a review.

Sorry – no Saturday Morning Cartoon feature this weekend.

As my Chocolate and Wine week ends, below are a few short videos fitting for the occasion. Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Chocolate Covered Bacon


Chocolate Covered Jalapenos


Chocolate in Wine (Rosenblum Desiree)

On Language of Faith and Science

To appreciate and understand the layer requires an effort. One must understand science – its processes, its discoveries, and its way of enriching our understanding of creation. However, one must also understand that this understanding is not in conflict with a belief that God created a world and that God doesn’t overrule well-established scientific claims. There, The Language of Faith and Science is a good place to start. (from the book)

The interchange between science and religion is a subject that laypeople don’t jump on with profound interest. Ok – that mean I’m an exception to this rule of thumb.

Several years ago, I decided to tackle the topic on my own, and it has been a fascinating journey. (I’ve written much here.) The first book I read was Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution by Karl Giberson; a physics professor at Eastern Nazarene College and the director of the Form on Faith and Religion at Gordon College. As a historical perspective, his book provides an excellent background.

Since then, my journey included the work of many prominent people in the field. Many titles later, I read The Language of God by Francis Collins, the former head of the Human Genome project and the current director of the National Institute of Health. (My post about this book.)

The Language of Science and Faith (2011) is a joint venture between Giberson and Collins. It’s chapters are in a logical sequence, and each chapter’s content focuses around individual questions. Here are several important item of note:

This book is for Christians who do not see science and faith as archenemies, and want to know more about the interchange between these two disciplines

The book is an excellent starting point, but for anyone seeking more information regarding either the science or the theology, more reading is required. (Yes, I can provide guidance for those desiring so.)

Being that I’ve already completed significant reading on the subject, I appreciate this book’s annotated bibliography – thus look forward to examining some of the online resources.

On Evolution and Church

Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday (this past February) sparked many interesting posts; and I read many. The event also served as the foundation for polls from both Gallup and the Pew Research Center – and I read both. Collectively, I initiated expansion of my own knowledge base by focusing on three books:

  • Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution (Karl Giberson)
  • Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution (Kenneth Miller)
  • Storms over Genesis: Biblical Battleground in America’s Wars of Religion (William Jennings)

Angle Point 1
The primary sources of information for people are schools and churches. In terms of schools, my experiences lead me to believe that science teachers can be divided into groups regarding evolution: Those avoiding it, those teaching it poorly, and those teaching it well. My gut tells me that the latter group is the smallest.

Angle Point 2
I’m convinced that many don’t know how science works; most may even be most.

Angle Point 3
When it comes to churches, there’s no doubt that the congregations against evolution actively educate their members. Meanwhile, congregations who don’t have issues with evolution at the organizational level do NOT educate their flock about the relationship between religion and science, thus perpetuating misinformation held by the public. Christian denominations in this group include mainline Protestants, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics. Interestingly Jews, moderate Muslims, Unitarians, and Buddhists are also supportive of evolution, but I’m unfamiliar with how they address this issue with their members.

Angle Point 4
Yes, some evolutionists are atheists, but not all. Yes, some evolutionists use evolution to say God doesn’t exist, but that’s a small number. There is more support in the religious community that people realize and the fundamentalists don’t speak for all Christians, thus churches should educate their members.

My Goal & Action Plan
At this point, I am concentrating my efforts at the congregation level in the church I attend. I’ve already had Round 1 discussions with one of our pastors about the importance of teaching a course on science and religion because members need to know that evolution is ok and here’s why. I have been promised additional discussion with others. After all, if I can move one domino, maybe others will fall.

The Bottom Line
As science has learned so much since Darwin and Alfred Wallace announced their findings, religious scholars continue to study and learn about the theological perspective. Although the conservative and fundamental Christians selectively point to Genesis to justify their means, I’m still amazed that they give God so little credit.