Archive for June 10th, 2012

June 10th, 2012

Where Alvin Plantinga’s Conflict with Jay Richards Really Lies

by Max Andrews

Where the Conflict Really Lies.jpgReblogged from Alvin Plantinga at Evolution News and Views.

Jay Richards and I agree on a lot, so perhaps we should just agree to disagree on the remainder.But I’d like to offer a brief response to his last response to my response to his review (that’s close, anyway).

In Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism, I used the term “Darwinism” to denote the view or contention that the most important force driving the process of descent with modification is natural selection working on random genetic mutation. And I looked for definitions of “random,” as used in biology, finding that in every official or semi-official definition of “random” I could find, the basic idea is that mutations are random with respect to adaptivity: most mutations are not adaptive, and mutations don’t arise in response to the organism’s adaptive needs in its environment. I said I thought Darwinism, taken this way, is compatible with theism. I believe Jay agrees with that thought. So where do we disagree?

Here’s what Jay proposes as the core of our disagreement:

June 10th, 2012

Loop Quantum Cosmology in the Cosmic Background Radiation

by Max Andrews

Loop quantum gravity/cosmology is one of the newer and leading options for having a scientific explanation of the origin of the universe/multiverse.  I found a very interesting paper by Julien Grain with the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, CNRS/Université in Paris, France.

The main requirement for a quantum gravity proposal is to solve for the pathological big bang singularities and this can be checked by computing the global evolution of the Universe in a quantum cosmological setting. However, it should be stressed out that such a global evolution cannot be probed directly as one cannot extract himself from the Universe to ‘see’ how it evolves in its primary ages. We are stuck inside the Universe and, from the inside, we are able to probe the physics of the early Universe via the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) anisotropies. The origin of such anisotropies are cosmological perturbations produced during a phase of accelerated expansion dubbed cosmic inflation… (See paper).

June 10th, 2012

Existentialism, The Knowledge of God, and The Task of Theology

by Max Andrews

The knowledge of God, it is claimed, comes to us as a gift, and to indicate its distinctiveness by the word ‘revelation’ is  simply to remain true to the phenomenological analysis of belief in God, for such belief testifies that it arises through God’s making himself known to us, rather than through our attaining to the knowledge of him.Of what kind is the knowledge of God, where that which is known towers above us, as it were, and it is as if we ourselves were known and brought into subjection?

The first case is our everyday relation to things, as objects of which we make use or have knowledge.  They are at our disposal, and even by knowing them, we acquire a certain mastery over them; for instance, we can predict natural phenomena and be prepared for them.

The second case is our relation to other persons.  This ‘I-thou’ relation, as Martin Buber has taught us to call it, is of a different order, for the other person is not my object and is not at my disposal.  I know him in a different manner.  The relation here is one between subjects.  It is a mutual or reciprocal relation, founded on the same kind of being–personal being– on both sides

Now it is possible also to envisage a third kind of relation in which there is presented to us Being itself.  In this kind of relation, we do not have the other term of the relation at our disposal, nor do we stand to it in a relation of equality, but rather we are grasped by it, our eyes are opened to it, and we are brough into subjection to it, but in such a way that something of its character is disclosed to us, so that to some extent it becomes known to us.