Scientific law

In their Science & Grace (Crossway 2006), Tim Morris and Don Petcher helpfully define a law of nature as “God’s sustaining of, or man’s description of, that pattern of regularity that we observe in nature as God works out His purposes towards His own ends in HIs covenant . . . . Continue Reading »

Hierarchy and preference

Challenging Cunningham’s suggestion, against Deleuze, that without some hierarchy of goods, there is no way to determine preferences, even for something as basic as diet, Kenneth Surin cited a bumper sticker: The top line says, “I love animals,” and the second “They’re . . . . Continue Reading »


In his Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things , George Lakoff tells about the Australian aboriginal tribe of the Dyirbal, who speak a language that classifies everything into four categories. One of these, “balan,” includes “women, bandicoots, dogs, platypuses, echidnas, some fish, . . . . Continue Reading »

In Defense of Pluralism

The church’s response to Copernicanism is often cited as a textbook example of the tyranny of faith over investigation and reason. Dogmatically committed to geocentrism, the church wanted to shut the door on alternative explanations. The truth, Owen Barfield argues, is very nearly the . . . . Continue Reading »

Lamarck Redux?

In a fascinating review of a recent book on evolution (TNR, Sept 4), Oren Harman suggests that reports of the death of Lamarck, proclaimed in every middle school science classroom for well over a century, may be somewhat exaggerated: Lamarckism “is and isn’t” dead. Insofar as . . . . Continue Reading »

Bacon’s Program

Antonio Perez-Ramos argues in his contribution to the Cambridge Companion to Bacon that while Bacon’s method has been severely criticized, Bacon’s program of human improvement through scientific and technological progress has not been, until the early part of the 20th century (he . . . . Continue Reading »

Interior Senses

Murphy goes into admiring detail describing Thomas’s theory of interior senses in higher animals. Apart from its purely historical interest and the anticipations of later scientific theories, Thomas’s discussion has philosophical and theological interest in its own right. He claims, for . . . . Continue Reading »

Dueling Theodicies

Robert Young claims that the controversy over Darwinism in the 19th century was not so much a religion-v.-science controversy as a duel between competing theodicies. At one level, he argues, “the protagonists in the debate were in fundamental agreement. They were fighting over the best ways . . . . Continue Reading »

End of Modernity?

Iain Provan offers this comment in his Ecclesiastes commentary: “Modern people tend to view the movement of history, as far as human beings are concerned, as being from primeval swamp to divinity. The beginning was unpromising, but quite against expectation the forces of evolution have . . . . Continue Reading »

Darwin’s defenders

It’s hard to pick up a magazine today without finding an article defending Darwin or Darwinism. Many of them are designed to prove that Darwin was not an opponent of religion, and that religion and science can live happily ever after, so long as the wicked stepmothers at the Discovery . . . . Continue Reading »