Genes, Determinism and God, by Denis Alexander

“For good nurture and education implant good constitutions, and these good constitutions taking root in a good education improve more and more, and this improvement affects the breed in man as in other animals” wrote Plato in his Dialogues. And, ever since, the discussion as to what may be learnt and what may be innate has meandered on, often becoming embroiled in passionate debates laced with opposing ideological positions.   In the 19th century the discussion began to be more informed by new scientific findings, but far from resolving the question, positions if anything became more polarized. “Of all the vulgar modes of escaping from the consideration of the social and moral influences on the human mind”, wrote John Stuart Mill in 1848, “the most vulgar is that

By |2017-07-27T15:04:50+01:00July 27th, 2017|Categories: Blog|

What is Wisdom? Voices from Psychology and Christian Faith

Throughout history, one tends to find at least two categorically different ways in which wisdom is understood. These might be described as a wisdom of knowing, and a wisdom of unknowing.   In Christian terms, we might call these a cataphatic wisdom, and an apophatic wisdom. A cataphatic wisdom relies on knowledge, texts, and accumulated wisdom – what is known and declared to be known. An apophatic wisdom, which recognises what one cannot know, relies on a direct and open kind of awareness. This is what John of the Cross called “the dark night of the soul”, where one leaves one’s knowing behind and plunges into the darkness of the ineffable. The former wisdom relies on longstanding traditions of meaning and knowledge – it represents a tried and

By |2017-06-12T14:19:05+01:00June 12th, 2017|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

Falling Stereotypes Open Up Paths to Cooperation Among Science, Religion – Elaine Howard Ecklund

Professor Elaine Howard Ecklund is a leading sociologist studying the interface of science and religion. Her research has demonstrated the (perhaps) surprising reality that scientists themselves often do not subscribe to the view that science and religion exist in inherent conflict. In this article, Ecklund goes deeper into her sociological findings: while recognizing that scientists and religious believers are often affirming of each other’s pursuits, she also acknowledges the deep suspicions on both sides of the discussion. For example, religious believers often fear that scientific knowledge will challenge core propositions of their respective faiths, or that technological advances will threaten ethical and moral principles valued by various faiths. On the other hand, scientists often view religious groups – and more conservative groups in particular – as refusing to

By |2017-03-10T12:19:25+01:00March 10th, 2017|Categories: Blog|

“Astrobiology, Astrotheology, and Astroethics” by Ted Peters

Outer space prompts the inner soul to ask Big Questions. Despite all the numbers, calculations, and estimations made by astronomers, the scientific mind cannot contain (let alone suppress) the volcanic excitement erupting from within us that is prompted by the unfathomable vastness of the universe. Astrobiologists may look for facts, but what they spawn is exhilaration. We find astrobiologists busy scanning our skies in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, and North America. NASA's Astrobiology Roadmap and Astrobiology Strategy (NASA) orient researchers to the origin of life on Earth, a second genesis of life off-Earth, and the future of earthlings traveling in space. Theologians share in the scientific fervor and are responding on two frontiers: astrotheology and astroethics. We expect that in time versions of astrotheology will arise

By |2017-02-11T18:27:55+01:00February 11th, 2017|Categories: Blog|

Why the Science-Religion Dialogue Matters

A significant series of books has arisen from the conferences and other activities of ISSR since its inauguration in Granada in 2002. The first ISSR book, published 10 years ago, was on Why the Science-Religion Dialogue Matters (edited by Kevin Dutton and myself, published by the John Templeton Press). In the Preface I wrote: This book reflects the conviction that the dialogue between science and religion is of wide social and cultural importance. In many countries there has been a growing separation between science and religion, reflecting a fragmentation of society. The underlying conviction of the contributors to this book is that religion and science each proceed best when they are pursued in dialogue with each other, and also that our fragmented and divided world would benefit from

By |2017-02-22T11:21:12+01:00January 6th, 2017|Categories: Blog|
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