Thursday, October 23, 2014

Videos on Genesis and Science

Today we watched and discussed several excellent videos that deal with the issue of how science is related to Genesis.

Science and Genesis, featuring John Polkinghorne, Alister McGrath, N.T. Wright, and others

Enuma Elish. This Babylonian creation myth contrasts with the Genesis text.

Test of Faith. The videos are not online. You have to buy them. But snippets are available on Youtube

We also discussed "The World as Creation," chapter 3 in Gods that Fail by Vinoth Ramachandra.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Awe and wonder at science

Today I discussed how as a scientist I respond to the awe and wonder of the universe. Here are my slides.

To illustrate the immense scales of the known universe I showed the wonderful movie Powers of Ten.


Creation, Genesis, and the Big Bang

Tomorrow I will give a lecture on Creation and the Big Bang. Here are the slides.

With regard to the scientific evidence for the Big bang and the age of the universe the Wikipedia page has a good description.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Historical interactions between science and theology

On tuesday we will start to look at important historical events. The lecture will be based partly on these slides prepared by Denis Alexander from the Faraday Institute in Cambridge.

In preparation students read the paper, "The Bible and the Emergence of Modern Science," by Peter Harrison. The paper discusses the significance of images such as those of the pelican below.

Introductory lectures on science and theology

Here are the slides for material I will present to the SAIACS apologetics class.

There are three important ideas

1. God's two books
2. Four different models for relating science and religion: conflict, independence, fusion, and complementarity.
  [Here the Faraday paper by Denis Alexander is helpful].
3. Science and philosophy are not the same thing.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Student essays on science and theology

This coming week I am on leave from work. I am back in Bangalore at SAIACS teaching in the apologetics course about the relationship between science and theology. Students will write an essay on one of the following three topics.

a.  Respond to the two statements, “Science and the Bible contradict one another. Christians must believe the Bible and reject science.” You should include a discussion of the idea of “God’s two books”.

b. What is the “Big bang theory”? Review the scientific evidence for it. How is this scientific theory relevant to discussions of the relationship between science and theology?

c. Briefly review one of the historical events (the trial of Galileo, Darwin’s publication of The Origin of the Species, the Scopes trial in the USA) that are sometimes claimed to be evidence of the conflict between science and the Bible. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the actions of Christians in the event.

Here are some tips on writing essays.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Awe and wonder talk

Today I am giving a talk,  "Awe and wonder: science and worship" at the Credo Academy in Stockholm. Here are the slides. It is based on an earlier post.
This is the first time I have given this particular talk and so will be interested to see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Weekend in Stockholm

This week I am attending a scientific workshop on Water: the most anomalous liquid at NORDITA in Stockholm.

On saturday afternoon I attending an event With Heart and Mind, organised by Credo, a Swedish student Christian group affiliated with the International Felllowship of Evangelical Students. Since it was in Swedish I was thankful for the english translation. It was encouraging to see students being challenged about integrating their academic studies with their Christian beliefs.

On Sunday I went to Immanuel church, which has Swedish, Korean, and International (English) congregations.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why should we love learning?

I was honoured that I was asked to write an endorsement for the book
Wouldn't you love to know: Trinitarian epistemology and pedagogy
by Ian Payne, Principal of SAIACS
Ian Payne makes a compelling case that Karl Barth's theology speaks to the philosophy of education; teaching should be driven by love for the student and the subject under God. The learner is transformed for the service of others. The book is a timely antidote to the increasingly utilitarian focus of educational institutions on careers, rankings, and money. Payne’s book is enhanced by his substantial teaching experience, in both the Western and Majority Worlds.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Experiential and dialogical apologetics

Tomorrow we discuss Soren Kierkegaard, experiential apologetics, and a reading from Varughese John's book.
Here are the slides.

Then we look at dialogical apologetics with a reading from the book by David Clark, including taking some points from Alister McGrath's Mere Apologetics.
Here are the slides.

A week from now we will begin to look at the relationship between science and theology. An excellent place to start reading is the introductory book by Michael Poole.
Here is the current version of the slides for the first lecture.

Lectures on reformed epistemology and presuppositionalist apologetics

Tomorrow I discuss reformed epistemology and presuppositionalist apologetics.
The slides are below.

Reformed epistemology argues that belief in God is properly basic [i.e. rational but does not need to be justified by evidence or reason].

Presuppositionalism  emphasises the corruption of reason by sin.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Introductory lectures on apologetics

For the next three days I will be giving some lectures in an MA course Introduction to Apologetics at SAIACS in Bangalore. My co-lecturer is Varughese John, author of a nice book
Truth and Subjectivity, Faith and History: Kierkegaard's Insights for Christian Faith,

Here is the current version of the slides for the first two lectures:

Introduction: 4 types of Western apologetics

Classical apologetics, including classic arguments for the existence of God [ontological, cosmological, teleological, moral].

Saturday, October 4, 2014

You should be skeptical about Scientific American

The cover story of this months Scientific American is "How Big Bang Gravitational Waves could revolutionise Physics," by Lawrence Krauss


It begins:
If the recent discovery of gravitational waves emanating from the early universe holds up under scrutiny, it will illuminate a connection between gravity and quantum mechanics and perhaps, in the process, verify the existence of other universes
Unfortunately, for the magazine, this "discovery" was discredited a few weeks ago. You can read about it here, on Peter Woit's excellent blog, that consistently critiques string theory and the multiverse.

As a scientist, I find the level of hype and speculation masquerading as science that is found in popular science magazines, particularly New Scientist, disturbing. It is quite unrepresentative of what the majority of scientists actually do, believe, and actually know.