October 28th, 2013
The following are a list of podcasts that I’ve been following and listening to that have been quite helpful in my philosophical, scientific, and theological studies. The criteria for consideration are based on 1) quality of content, 2) accurate presentation of the material, 3) constructive and respectful criticism of opposing views, 4) frequency of podcast release, and 5) a broad range of topics/issues discussed.
#1. Unbelievable? – Hosted by Justin Brierly with Premier Christian Radio. Unbelievable? is a UK-based public radio program, which airs every Saturday afternoon with an occasional podcast posting mid-week. Justin brings in several leading scholars in theological and philosophical matters and they debate and dialogue particular issues ranging from ethics, comparative religions, the existence of God, science, doctrinal differences, and current events.
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March 30th, 2013
Eleonore Stump recently delivered lectures for BLPR on pain and suffering.
Eleonore Stump is The Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University, where she has taught since 1992. In 2012, Dr. Stump was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among other honors, she is past president of the Society of Christian Philosophers, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the American Philosophical Association, Central Division. She delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen in 2003, the Wilde Lectures at Oxford University in 2006, the Thomas Merton Lecture at Columbia University in 2008, and the Stewart Lectures at Princeton University in 2009. She is the author of numerous articles and books, includingWandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering (Oxford 2010).
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February 14th, 2013
The bulk of my graduate research is focused on the work and thought of Max Tegmark, an MIT astrophysicist/cosmologist, who’s responsible for a tremendous contribution to multiverse models. In honor of Charles Darwin’s 204th birthday he did an article for the Huffington Post, “Celebrating Darwin: Religion and Science are Closer Than You Think.” There are some very interesting survey results regarding faith and conflict between evolution and big bang cosmology.
So is there a conflict between science and religion? The religious organizations representing most Americans clearly don’t think so. Interestingly, the science organizations representing most American scientists don’t think so either: For example, the American Association for the Advancement of Science states that science and religion “live together quite comfortably, including in the minds of many scientists.” This shows that the main divide in the U.S. origins debate isn’t between science and religion, but between a small fundamentalist minority and mainstream religious communities who embrace science.
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October 3rd, 2012
Kiplinger recently did a study on the ten worst college majors. Amongst the list included were anthropology, fine arts, film, studio arts, and sociology. Concerning philosophy and religious studies Kiplinger writes,
Unemployment rate: 7.2%
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 10.8%
Median salary: $42,000
Median salary for recent grads: $30,000
Projected job growth for this field, 2010-2020: not available
Likelihood of working retail: 2.0 times average
Philosophy might improve your mind, but it won’t do much for your pocketbook. In fact, the salary prospects for a philosophy major could be called ascetic. Recent grads make 19% less than young grads from the top 100 majors, and the gap narrows only slightly for experienced workers with degrees in philosophy and religious studies.
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September 16th, 2012
By Hugh Ross
No one approaches the Bible completely free of bias. Mine was a secularist’s assumption that this book, like other texts considered “sacred,” would be easy to dismiss as a culturally important yet humanly crafted document. I did not disbelieve in a Being beyond the universe. I had studied enough to see growing evidence for the universe’s transcendent beginning and, thus, the reality of a transcendent Beginner. I felt no compelling need, however, to find the Bible either true or false.
Some may consider my early attraction to astronomy as a bias, but I see no basis for discounting a researcher’s truth filters — such as the rules of logic and evidence — as if they are inappropriate study tools. So this is where I started. I could not have imagined where my inquiry would lead.
From where I stand today, with full confidence in the truth of Scripture and high regard for the prolific scientific enterprise that sprang from widespread access to the Bible, I cannot help but wonder if something other than exegetical difficulties is fueling the creation controversy. The push to choose either a high view of the Bible or a high view of nature’s record seems to come from a sense of vulnerability — an apprehension that discoverable facts might somehow, someday clash irreconcilably with biblical theology. And then what? I simply do not see that danger as real. God’s constancy and consistency of character, observed in both Scripture and nature, takes it away.
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August 21st, 2012
A reader of the blog recently contacted me about the Magis Center for Reason and Faith. I’ve since added it to the Resources page. A few years ago I was able to listen to Fr. Robert Spitzer give a presentation on the fine-tuning of physics. (I don’t remember if you can see me in the video but I’m in the house right.) There’s a wonderful resource, the Physics FAQ, which I’ve linked below.
The Magis Center of Reason and Faith is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to explaining the consistency between science and spirituality in contemporary physics. In the past ten years, implications of transcendence in physics, philosophy of mathematics, and metaphysics have become more pronounced. Indeed, no other decade in history has revealed more or better evidence for God. So what is this evidence?
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June 13th, 2012
For a greater context and understanding of the current discussion please be sure to read Alvin Plantinga’s most recent book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism. It was published in December of 2009 but I qualified for an early release, I don’t know how, and received my copy November 1st of that year. I finished reading it within a week.
Within the last week or so there has been a lot of discussion between Plantinga, Jay Richards, and William Lane Craig. I recently did a post sharing Plantinga’s response to Jay Richards. The heart of the conflict is defining the terms, primarily ‘Darwinism.’ I don’t really disagree with what everyone is saying on their own terms but I would agree with Jay, that Plantinga and Craig are not using Darwinism in the correct sense. Plantinga uses the randomness in Darwinism, in a theistic context, to me compatible with guidance.
Jay also sent a Question of the Week to Craig concerning the same thing. Be sure to read Jay’s full question but here’s Craig’s response:
Thanks for these trenchant comments, Jay! Lest distressed readers miss the forest for the trees, we agree on the central point: that insofar as a person claims that the evidence of evolutionary biology has shown that the evolutionary process, based as it is on genetic mutations and natural selection, is undirected, purposeless, or non-teleological, he is making a claim that hopelessly outstrips the scientific evidence and so is unjustified.
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