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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Dogmatist scientists need to be reminded, now and again, that the discipline of science is not about absolute truth. So says Robert Winston.
As I was getting ready to go to bed last night I was flickering through the channels on my new TV (well you know when you have a new toy you need to get used to it) I noticed that Robert Winston was the guest on BBC 24 hard talk programme. Winston was answering the question “can we trust the science” (you can still watch the full programme on the BBC iPlayer).
Winston pointed out that in the wake of the recent scandals (i.e. climate gate) there is some unhealthy arrogance among some scientists which is rather damaging to science.
The following words struck me “there is a degree of scientific dogma, when, for example, very strong committed atheist, for example, talk about science being the absolute truth, I don’t think that really helps science, it is rather undermining because science is not just about truth it is about probabilities, it’s about likelihood to some extent, and of course what we know from the science and what I say in this book, of course, is the more we explore the more half truths or part truths we find that the more we find that we actually can’t explain”!
One might also say that the religious dogmatist need to also be reminded that religious dogmas are human constructs that reflect cultural, historic and social context that gave birth to them. Therefore these dogmas need to be re-evaluated all the time, and as such might not be ‘absolute truth’. What do people think?

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Just read an article in the Guardian by Jennifer Abel in which she talks about her ‘healthcare insurance plan’. I thought some of my friends from across the pond might want to comment on this ingenious solution.

“My healthcare plan is called ‘Don’t get sick’ and it’s worked so far. But here’s my emergency back-up plan: marry a(n) European”

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“Truth of redemptive significance is bound to be counterfactual. God, therefore, is bound to be counterfactual. To be sure, the world is full of people who have no need of redemption. They are the wealthy. They will never have a need to criticize God or the way things are”. John Hobbins on his blog in a post where he suggests that only when one is ‘wrestling’  with God and the scripture (and could bitterly disagree and criticise both), one could find the (redemptive?) ‘truth’.  He gives as examples the story of Jacob wrestling with God and Ernst Käsemann’s dislike of Romans 13 after he lost his daughter.

Thanks to James for drawing attention to this post.

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Keith Ward presenting a possible eschatological future for the universe from a Christian theistic perspective:

” This means that what we do in and to this universe has lasting consequence for the world to come. What we create and shape will be present, though transfigured by glory. What we destroy and frustrate will fail to be present as it could and should have been. In that sense, the future world will perhaps always bear the marks of the tragic, of the failure to be what should have been, of absence where there should have been presence, of pain never quite forgotten, even though transfigured by present joy. Nevertheless the goodness of that world will be overwhelming, and it will be the result of what took place in the ontogenesis of this world”.

Keith Ward, The Big Questions in Science and Religion, Templeton Foundation 2008, p. 52.

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“There’s a focus on competition in Darwinism because of the notions of progress and struggle. Now we get into theology and how it influences Darwinism, through the Calvinist view that people who have the greater accumulation of goods have proved themselves superior in the race of life. That for me is a whole lot of garbage that can be chucked. Once you get rid of it, you’re into a different set of metaphors, related to creativity, novelty for its own sake, doing what comes naturally. Instead of the image of organisms struggling up peaks in a fitness landscape, doing “better than” — which is a very Calvinist work ethic — there is the image of a creative dance”.

Brian Goodwin, “Biology Is Just a Dance” from The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution by John Brockman (Simon & Schuster, 1995)

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“Christianity civilized us, up to a point, but we take our comparatively exalted state for granted”. Stefan Beck in his review of David Bentley Hart’s Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies.

By the way, I was away (some might say again!) on holiday. Great camping holiday on the East coast (North Berwick) and Scottish Borders!

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“God is not a fact, God is about meaning and in the pre-modern period people understood that. They did not read their biblical stories for information about what happened in ancient Palestine or information about God”.

Karen Armstrong on BBC Radio 4 Start of the Week 6.07.09 author of The Case for God: What Religion Really Means, 2009.

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