Monday, July 4, 2011

Very Nicely Done Cartoon Version of Evolutionary Theory.

Here's a great cartoon rendering of the theory of evolution that I found just now from reading Jimpithecus's science and religion blog. In a blog post on June 25 which I only saw today, he links to a great cartoon from another blog explaining the theory of evolution, but in cartoon form, from Darryl Cunningham. Very nicely done indeed.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Katharine Hayhoe: Evangelical Christian, Climate Scientist

A wonderful post at Biologos about a climate change scientist who is also an evangelical Christian. Please be sure to watch all three videos at the link. This video needs to go viral and shatter the false dichotomy between faith and science so prevalent in the popular media.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

An excellent interview with Francis Collins about Science and Faith

Here's the link to the full video of Francis Collins talking about the Human Genome Project, but in this link, he also speaks about the relationship of faith and science. Well worth checking out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

James McGrath and Conspiracy Science

James McGrath has a fascinating piece about the interrelationship between those who believe in Young Earth Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The mindset that drives belief in nonsense science, such as Intelligent Design or Young Earth Creationism, or the anti-Semitic "Protocols" conspiracy theory, seem to all derive from a desire to easily explain the complexity of the world through either arcane conspiracy theories or overly simplistic narratives that use cherry picked parts of history or science in order to preserve a preconceived notion, whether anti-scientific, anti-Semitic, or racist.

This isn't to say that the destructive force of each of these is identical. Those who believe in YEC or ID aren't typically inclined towards violent imaginations or actions, while many who buy into the "Protocols" do harbor a deep seated hatred towards a specific group (in this case Jews). But the consequences of this kind of thinking is to perpetuate a way of seeing the world that is deeply at odds with how it actually works. Real history and real science, while never perfect, have nonetheless given us a reasonable assessment of the role of specific factors in how the world works.

In both cases, whether in science or in history, these conspiratorial ways of seeing reality betray a deep hostility and fear of complexity. In the case of anti-Semites, they fear/hate Jews and project their fears and all of the world's woes onto an easily identified group, and ironically see them as both preternaturally intelligent and demonically evil, even though historically Jews have been consistently the out group no matter where they live outside of Israel, and have suffered terribly because of that.

In the case of science, the YEC or ID perspectives both posit a mechanism that sees any allowance of naturalistic causes to speciation, especially homo sapiens, as being inherently anti-Christian. And beyond this, there is the argument that modern evolutionary (and for some, astronomical) science is a cabal of academic insiders bent on keeping up scientific orthodoxy even in the light of contrary findings which supposedly subvert the basics of Darwin's theory. But this view is once again a conspiratorial way of seeing how science is done.

Both of these camps consistently fail to understand how proper historiography or scientific research is done. Ultimately it's a rather concrete and static understanding of historical and scientific investigation which is deeply Manichean and won't allow either any gray between the black and white, or an apprehensible reality, whether religious, scientific, or historical, between total comprehension or complete agnosticism. It seems reality is lived in the not quite satisfying middle ground of knowing enough to make sense of most of life.