Friday, May 29, 2015

Ivan Pavlov Remembered the Easter of His Youth

By John Sanidopoulos

It appears that even atheists today have a hard time giving up on their former religious traditions, as it was reported this past week where they continue to see some of the benefits of Great Lent even after they have lost faith. In reading this report, I was reminded of another famous atheist who could not altogether abandon the religious traditions of his Orthodox Christian upbringing, especially that of Great Lent and Easter - Ivan Pavlov.

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936), a brilliant Russian physiologist, is most famous for winning the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1904 for his research in conditioned reflex. Before his rise to scientific fame, however, he was a Seminary student in line to be a priest from a devout Orthodox family of eleven children. For six generations, since the time of Peter the Great, the Pavlov men served the Russian Orthodox Church as clergymen. His father, Petr Dmitrievich Pavlov, and his two brothers, both named Ivan, all graduated from seminaries and served parishes in Russia. His father was a respected clergyman who served the Nikolo-Vysokovskaia Church in Ryazan, about 200 miles from Moscow, and his mother also was the daughter of a Russian Orthodox priest.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

How the Myth of the Flat-Earth Dogma Started the Religion-Science War

Matt J. Rossano
September 16, 2010
The Huffington Post

Starting a war on false pretenses is nothing new. But when a few nineteenth-century academicians declared a science-vs.-religion war, they did us all a disservice.

John W. Draper (1811-1882) was born in England into a devout Methodist family. In 1832, he emigrated to the U.S., studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and later became professor of chemistry and biology at New York University and head of the medical school. Along the way he rejected his family's religion and acquired an intense antipathy for Catholicism. Two factors were pivotal in shaping his attitude: the debates over Darwinian evolution erupting shortly after the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, and the reactionary attitude of Pope Pius IX toward liberal progressivism encapsulated in his Syllabus of Errors published in 1864.

In 1874, Draper published The History of Conflict Between Religion and Science, in which he argued that current (nineteenth-century) events were reflective of the totality of Christian history. Christianity was currently opposing progress because it has always been an impediment to science, reason, and progress. An especially egregious example of this was the Church's insistence on a flat earth, a laughable dogma that stubbornly persisted until Columbus demolished it, bravely prevailing despite the ignorant protests of the Spanish cardinals.

Draper, with a little help from Washington Irving, thus popularized the "flat earth" myth, the idea that prior to Columbus there was a widespread, religiously-inspired belief that the earth was flat. Contemporary historians have squashed this myth, with Jeffrey Russell's book Inventing the Flat Earth probably being the most detailed account of how and why it arose. Historian of science David Lindberg summarizes the medieval understanding of the earth and cosmos in his book The Beginnings of Western Science: "At the center of everything is the sphere of the earth. Every Medieval scholar of the period agreed on its sphericity, and ancient estimates of its circumference (about 252,000 stades) were widely known and accepted" (p. 253).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Naturalism, the New Idolatry

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"As the thief is ashamed when caught, so shall the house of Israel be ashamed. They who say to a piece of wood, 'You are my father' and to a stone 'You gave me birth,' they turn to Me their backs, not their faces; yet in time of trouble they cry out, 'Rise up and save us !'" (Jeremiah 2: 26-27).

In truth brethren, they will all be put to shame who do not see beyond wood and stone and, who in their ignorance, say that man is composed entirely of plants and minerals and the same thing occurs to him as with plants and minerals. With their backs turned to the Creator, they are unable to see anything other than creation and, forgetting the Creator, they proclaim creation the Creator. They say that nature created and gave birth to man, that is why man is lesser than nature, lower than nature, the servant in the lap of nature, a slave on the chain of nature and a dead man in the grave of nature. They who speak like that will be shamed when they fall into misfortune and cry out to God: "Rise up and save us!"

Monday, May 11, 2015

Three Tips For Students Studying Evolution

In my high school biology class, I was taught the secularist/materialist view of Darwinian evolution, where the teacher was constantly reminding us that scientific facts leave no room for the "superstitions" of religion, ascribing everything in the universe, including life, to random impersonal forces and chemicals which one day we will understand, but don't quite understand yet. Such teachings brought myself and other fellow students to reject God, till I started studying what science really does say and doesn't say, and seeing how truly limited it is in conveying information, especially about origins. 

Below is a helpful guide written by a critic of evolution to help students studying evolution to also think critically and get a full picture of what science (not necessarily scientists) says about origins, without the philosophical assumptions and based only on the data, if it says anything at all. Often teachers and textbookssay more about evolution and origins than what science actually says intermingling philosophical assumptions. The point isn't necessarily to reject evolution, but to accept what is fact and reject what contradicts the evidence. This is science, after all.

By Casey Luskin

After attending public schools from kindergarten through my masters degree, I learned a few lessons about staying informed while studying a biased and one-sided origins curriculum. My large, inner-city public high school was rich in diversity, and I learned to appreciate a multiplicity of viewpoints and backgrounds. Unfortunately, this diversity did not extend into the biology classroom. There I was told there was one, and only one, acceptable perspective regarding origins: neo-Darwinian theory. As students head back to school this year, I want to share some tips I’ve learned to help students stay informed on this topic: