Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Nature of Nature

I'm super grateful for my friend, Catherine, and her Easter gift to me:  The Nature of Nature:  Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science.   The book is edited by her son, Bruce Gordon (see "Coffee with Dr. Bruce Gordon"), and his collegue, William Dembski.

The mammoth book (917 pages excluding endnotes) is a collection of essays by both Christian and non-Christian thinkers on the issue of naturalism, the belief that nothing exists outside of physical matter or nature.   Some notable non-Christian thinkers include Michael Shermer, Francis Crick, Roger Penrose, David Berlinski & Michael Ruse.  Noteable Christians include Bruce Gordon, William Dembski, William Lane Craig, JP Moreland, Alvin Plantinga, & Stephen C. Meyer.  

The debate?  Bruce Gordon explains in his introductory essay:
"A central issue in this interplay between presuppositions and conclusions, one made all the more pressing by recent scientific advances, is whether the universe is self-existent, self-sufficient, and self-organizing, or whether instead it is grounded in a reality that transcends space, time, matter, and energy.  More pointedly, does our universe find its ultimate explanatory principle in matter or mind?"
Some of the articles are way out of my league (e.g., articles on Quantum Physics which, just perusing them is enough to make ones head swim--unless of course, you speak that language), but most are right up my ally in terms of my interests in philosophy, cosmology, & ethics.

What am I looking forward to reading the most?
  • "The Rise of Naturalism & Its Problematice Role in Science and Culture" (Bruce Gordon)
  • "Sauce for the Goose:  Intelligent Design, Scientific Methodology, and the Demarcation Problem" (Stephen Meyer)
  • "Evolution versus Naturalism" (Alvin Plantinga)
  • "Must Naturalists Be Realists?" (Michael Williams)
  • "On the Origins of Life" (David Berlinski)
  • "DNA:  The Signature in the Cell" (Stephen Meyer)
  • "Life's Conservation Law:  Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Info" (William Dembski & Robert Marks)
  • "The Limits of Non-Intelligent Explanations in Molecular Biology" (Michael Behe)
  • "The Chain of Accidents and the Rule of Law:  The Role of Contingency and Necessity in Evolution" (Michael Shermer)
  • "Naturalism and the Origin of the Universe" (William Lane Craig)
  • "Habitable Zones and Fine-Tuning" (Guillermo Gonzalez) 
  • "On the Origins of the Mind" (David Berlinski)
  • "Evolution and Ethics" (Michael Ruse)
  • "Naturalism, Science, and Religion" (Michael Tooley)
As you might guess, this will keep me busy for a long while.  Now, if I only had a reading group to discuss these articles....

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