Monday, April 14, 2014

Is #Cosmos Guilty of "Hellenophilia"?

Sunday night's episode of Cosmos ("Deeper Deeper Deeper Still") taught viewers the same thing many college students learn during their undergraduate - that the ancient Greeks were the first people to think scientifically about the world, because they were the first civilization to jettison religious explanations of nature.  From Thales (pictured) to Democritus, the Greeks sought explanations void of appeals to the gods.  There were concrete benefits to this Greek new way of thinking, no doubt.  It's good that we don't still attribute lightning to the finicky moods of Zeus.  However, the more I've studied the history and philosophy of science, the more I've come to doubt the popular belief that the Greeks were the first to think scientifically.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"After-Birth Abortion": Even More Absurd Than You Thought [CAPC]

Two years ago, many people were shocked by the publication of a medical ethics paper arguing for the permissibility of “after-birth abortion” (i.e. killing a healthy newborn) by two bioethicists, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. Thankfully, no matter where people landed on the abortion issue, most everyone disagreed with Giubilini’s and Minerva’s conclusion. Still, new studies in baby cognition now cast doubt on a key assumption of their argument, which not only confirms the absurdity of their conclusion, but has the additional (and ironic) consequence of making their “ethical expression” unethical. Read the rest of my article over at Christ and Pop Culture.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Is #Cosmos Perpetuating the "Warfare Thesis" of Science and Religion? [CAPC]

The series premiere of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey aired Sunday night. It was beautifully shot and creatively written. As a continuation of the original 1980 Cosmos series, the new Cosmos did not disappoint, particularly in the special effects department. It successfully continues the grand and inspiring vision of the original series. But it did disappoint in another area—its historical depiction of Giordano Bruno. Read the rest of my article over at Christ and Pop Culture.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What Can We Learn From the "First Martyr of Science"? [CAPC]

On February 17th, 1600 A.D., Giordano Bruno, a Dominican priest, philosopher, and mathematician, was condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake by the Roman Inquisition. Among his heresies was the belief in an infinite number of worlds (similar to what physicists today call the multiverse hypothesis). In more recent times, Bruno has become somewhat of a patron saint of atheist and free thought groups, who gather each year at the statue commemorating his death in Rome. Some have even heralded him as the “first martyr of modern science,” claiming he was executed primarily for his belief in Copernicanism, and was therefore an ominous precursor to that more famous martyr of science, Galileo. Looking back more than 400 years later, what can we learn from Bruno’s tragic death? Several things.... Read the rest my article over at Christ and Pop Culture.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Science: It's Worth Doing Badly [CAPC]

A younger student of mine recently remarked, “No one can be good at everything, because then they would fail at failing.” If she had been in my Logic class, I would have given her extra credit for that little gem, but it was Science. And the reason failure was on her mind was because her experiment didn’t yield the results she wanted. She felt like a failure and was trying to comfort herself with a witty proverb.

.... As I reflected on the nature of failure in science, I realized there is an important and meaningful perspective missing in how science is taught and valued in our culture. Read the rest of my article over at Christ and Pop Culture to see what that is.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

16 Reasons Why I Believe In God: (10) Our Moral Intuitions

Everyone lives as though objective evil exists, even people who say it doesn't.  That's why it is not uncommon to find a person who claims to be a moral relativist expressing outrage over, say, social injustice, or the hypocrisy of Christians; because he is not really a moral relativist.  No sane human is.  We all have a deep intuition that there is a real, objective right and wrong.  And, as I argued before, this basic human intuition, if true, implies that God exists.  But our moral intuitions point to God in other unexpected ways, too; and specifically to a personal God.  They show us that (1) there is an objective standard of Good that we are aware of and expect others to be aware of; (2) we feel a sense of obligation to abide by this standard; and (3) we are aware that we fall short of this standard, almost daily.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Do the Scopes 'Monkey' Trial and the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate Have In Common? [CAPC]

On February 4th, Bill Nye the “Science Guy” and ardent young-earth creationist Ken Ham will debate the scientific viability of creationism at the Creation Museum near Cincinnati. By doing so, they will be continuing a long American tradition that began with the infamous Scopes "Monkey" Trial in 1925. Other than being a conflict over evolution, what could these two events possibly have in common? A couple of things actually. To find out, read the rest of my article over at Christ and Pop Culture.