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 »

Godel’s theorem

Kurt Godel’s incompleteness theorem - the claim that every formal system of mathematics contains an undecidable formula and that a system’s consistency cannot be proven within the system - has been hailed as the mathematical equivalent of relativity and quantum mechanics, evidence, in . . . . Continue Reading »

Darwin and evil

In his 2001 book, Darwin’s God , Cornelius Hunter argues that the theory of evolution was less a solution to a scientific problem than a solution to a moral, theological, and religious problem: the problem of evil. How could one rationally hold to the existence of a good God in the face of . . . . Continue Reading »

Polkinghorne on God’s knowledge

Stephen Barr has a fine review of John Polkinghorne’s recent Science and the Trinity (Yale) in the May issue of First Things . Along the way, he offers some sharp and devastating criticisms of Polkinghorne’s unfortunate acceptance of open theism, which Polkinghorne accepts because, in . . . . Continue Reading »

Brain Death

Caveat: I am no scientist. If details of the following are in error, please let me know. Brain death is one of the conceptual foundations of organ transplantation. If the person from whom the surgeon takes a beating heart is not dead before surgery, he will be dead after and the surgeon will be . . . . Continue Reading »