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First Words

From the April 2017 Print Edition

Why Only Us: Language and Evolutionby robert c. berwick and noam chomskymit press, 224 pages, $22.95Perhaps the most sensitive point of contact between religion and science is the issue of human distinctiveness. Christian teaching affirms that there is an “ontological discontinuity” between . . . . Continue Reading »

A New Era

From the June/July 2015 Print Edition

God’s Planet by owen gingerich harvard, 192 pages, $19.95 According to a famous formulation of Stephen Jay Gould, science and religion constitute “non-overlapping magisteria” or “NOMA.” What he meant is that they are separate domains, deal with different questions, and can never conflict . . . . Continue Reading »

Man the Mystery

From the January 2013 Print Edition

From Big Bang to Big Mystery: Human Origins in the Light of Creation and Evolution by Brendan Purcell New City Press, 370 pages, $34.95 Benjamin Disraeli famously asked whether man is “an ape or an angel” and answered that he himself stood “on the side of the angels.” The question, while . . . . Continue Reading »

Chance, by Design

From the December 2012 Print Edition

Christians who accept Darwinian evolution are, it is sometimes said, trying to have it both ways. If evolution is driven by random mutations, we cannot be part of a divine plan. How, the critics ask, can we possibly exist by chance and by design, by accident and by intention? The question of how to . . . . Continue Reading »

Stop Over-Interpreting the Election

From First Thoughts

What does it mean? Not a whole lot. There is now a lot of soul-searching about the direction of the Republican Party and much doubting of its future viability if does not adapt itself in some way to an electorate that has (it is said) fundamentally shifted over the last few decades. I am a . . . . Continue Reading »

Fearful Symmetries

From the October 2010 Print Edition

Since the time of Newton, science has advanced by a strategy rightly called “reductionism.” This method, which explains things by analyzing them into smaller and simpler parts, has yielded a rich harvest of discoveries about the natural world. As a means of analysis, then, reductionism has . . . . Continue Reading »