The Three Fausts

We live in an age of science and technology. To say this means more than acknowledging the benefits we have derived from their accomplishments. Science and technology now claim authority in ethics, metaphysics, and theology. We give to science privilege in settling age-old questions of right and . . . . Continue Reading »

Against Edenism

The future will look very different from the past. The Garden of Paradise will culminate in the City of God—“the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. . . . The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. . . . The city does not need the sun or moon . . . . Continue Reading »

The Church of Darwin

Right from the start, ­Darwin’s theory was about much more than scientific truth. Darwin himself believed that ­evolution by natural selection refuted the idea that nature displayed evidence of purposeful design. Writing near the end of his life, he wrote that “the old argument from design in . . . . Continue Reading »

A New Era

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 »

Exploded into Being by Divine Love

I’ve long been fascinated by cosmology, although my deficiencies as a mathematician preclude my really following the arguments of astrophysicists, high-energy particle physicists, and others exploring the origins of the universe. Yet the fascination remains and it was kindled anew by a May 12 article in the Boston Globe Magazine about Alan Guth, a key figure in current explorations of what happened in the Big Bang, the orthodox explanation for How Things Started. Continue Reading »

Modern Cosmology and Creation

Does cosmology provide insights as to whether or not the universe is created? In a recent interview with Gary Gutting for the New York Times, Tim Maudlin, professor of philosophy at NYU, rejects arguments based on cosmology that seek to show that human beings have any special place: “No one looking at the vast extent of the universe and the completely random location of homo sapiens within it (in both space and time) could seriously maintain that the whole thing was intentionally created for us. This realization began with Galileo, and has only intensified ever since.” Continue Reading »

What’s So Bad About Editing DNA?

We cannot alter a person’s DNA without disrespecting the intentions of the Author and Creator of human life, Matthew Hennessey recently argued. To support this claim, he offered an account of what it means to be an editor: “When I edit, I attempt, to the extent possible, to conform my work to the author’s original intent. I know I must resist the temptation to rewrite every piece to suit my own ear.” For Hennessey, editing is about improving someone else’s writing, not about the editor exerting his or her own preferences. Continue Reading »

Editing Each Other

I am an editor. My job is to improve manuscripts submitted by authors and prepare them for publication. I approach every new piece sceptically. I probe. I attack. I play devil’s advocate. I search for error and dispose of it. Often I rely on instinct. Even when I can’t initially diagnose a problem within a text, I can sense when something’s wrong. In such cases I have to work backward to find the answer. This process can be tricky. Writers have egos. Everyone has preferences. There is no right or perfect way to compose a sentence or structure an argument. Continue Reading »