Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Stephen Hawking Can't Use Physics To Answer Why We're Here

To restate the maxim of Albert Einstein: The problem with scientists is that they make terrible philosophers.

Eric Priest
3 September 2010

Stephen Hawking makes the claim that it is not necessary to invoke God as the creator of the universe and the assertion that physics alone made it.

He may be correct in his first statement, but to rule out a possibly important role for God is in my view unjustified. It is certainly possible that God sets up and maintains or underpins the laws of physics and allows them to work, so that being able to explain the big bang in terms of physics is not inconsistent with there being a role for God.

As a scientist, you are continually questioning, rarely coming up with a definitive answer. The limitations of your own knowledge and expertise together with the beauty and mystery of life and the universe often fill you with a sense of profound humility. Thus, unequivocal assertions are not part of a genuine scientific quest.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jacques Barzun on Science, Facts, and Darwin’s Influence

Jacques Martin Barzun (born November 30, 1907) is a French-born American historian of ideas and culture. He has written on a wide range of topics, but is perhaps best known as a philosopher of education, his Teacher in America (1945) being a strong influence on post-WWII training of schoolteachers in the United States. In 2000 he wrote his popular book From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present.

In 1941 he wrote Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of a Heritage. Below are a few worthwhile quotes from the book:

On Science:

Science as a Delphic oracle exists only in the popular imagination and the silent assumptions of certain scientists. At any given time there are only searchers who agree or disagree. The March of Science is not an orderly army or parade, but rather a land rush for the free spaces ahead. This means a degree of anarchy. Besides, fogeyism, faddism, love of stability, self-seeking, personal likes and dislikes, and all other infirmities of mind, play as decisive a part in science as in any other cultural enterprise.

Darwin, Marx, Wagner, Jacques Barzun, p. 336

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The "Ecclesiastical" Theory of Evolution

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

The Church Fathers, when speaking of the Transfiguration of Christ and the partaking of divine glory, speak of the personal ascent on the mount of the vision of God. It is the constant cry of the Church: "Make Thine everlasting light shine forth also upon us sinners." And in a related prayer in the First Hour we feel the need to ask Christ: "O Christ, the true Light, which illumines and sanctifies every man who comes into the world! Let the light of Your countenance be shown upon us, that in it we may behold the light ineffable." Continual ascent and evolution are needed.