Renewing the Quest – early fall update

I’m back, at least for now. Was quite busy the last part of the summer and just dropped off – though I kept reading (I made the low 70s only, however). I’ll try at some point to quickly post some of the others I read if I have a chance, though it’s more historical at this point.

I didn’t stop reading – I’ve worked on many things. During a weekend in the woods with my wife (hermitage get away), I managed to knock out several things:

Belief in God in an Age of Science by John Polkinghorne. He has an interesting set of arguments for belief in God, including a form of anthropic argument, the argument from mathematical realities underlying the order of the universe and an argument from hope (not merely in the Kantian sense of justice, but in the sense of incompleteness we sense in our lives). He also does some comparisons between science and theology methodologically (both entail critical realism for him), addresses the concern for the problem of evil (a cruciform universe), and describes God’s action in the world in a broadly open theistic sort of way. A worthwhile read with lots of stimulating stuff.

God and Nature: Historical Essays edited by Ronald Numbers and David Lindberg. Lots of interesting stuff here too. The role of Bacon and the 2 book issue; the role of the professionalization of both science and theology in the later disputes, the meager historical evidence for a conflict model between science and theology in most of history, and the origins of modern scientific creationism. Most striking is the fact that most of the early anti-evolutionists (Riley, Rimmer, Bryan) were old earth and some were at least open to versions of theistic evolution. Modern scientific creationism was fathered by George McCready Price, an adventist (defending the writings of Ellen White) and brought from him into the evangelical world through Henry Morris. Now the source of an idea does not disprove it (that would be the genetic fallacy), but it does give one pause…

Summer for the Gods by Edward Larson. A fascinating historical analysis of the Scopes trial. A gripping and insightful read. It’s nothing like the movie!

I guess you can tell what my topic for the next week’s class was.

For fun, I began reading the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. Got through the first several. Not sure what to think. It’s classic, I know, and the role of Amber as the “real world” and other shadow worlds as only partially real worlds (our world is one of them) is an interesting concept. But at least as far as I got, the characters seem to lack any moral grounding – though the main character has a few glimmers. I guess I can’t prejudge the 10 volume series  based on only the first 2.

There’s more, of course, but at least I can document something. I’ll post more later.



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