Faith and Philosophy

Rant on rants on Sheldrake

So, I randomly came across this video by Rupert Sheldrake.

Now, Rupert Sheldrake does have some pretty left-field ideas, but I was quite surprised to hear that this TED talk of his was removed by TED from their site. Sheldrake is a very intelligent person and an accomplished and highly credentialed scientist. Certainly someone to give a hearing to, even if you disagree with what he says.

Anyway, I made the mistake of reading some of the comments. Science fanbois (who know nothing about the philosophy of science) wind me up.

Comments such as the following got me into rant mode:

Effective learning and improving memory and study skills

At the moment I am interested in improving my learning ability, there are lots of tips and tricks around, but what I would like to discover is a systematic and scientific approach. I'm sure there has been lots of work done towards this, but at the moment it is not very easy to find or access. The other question is how to measure if any particular approach is effective. Research around brain game type training systems is still quite sketchy.

What can Jesus teach us today?

Are you good at something? Maybe you have mechanical aptitude, are good with numbers, or music, writing, talking, business, sport, art, problem solving or something else? These are all gifts from God. I'm taking the position here that this is self evident. If you are having trouble believing that God exists, then there might be other things you need to look into first, but perhaps as you learn more about Jesus teaching and how you can learn to be a better person (not just a better person but the best person you can be), you might acknowledge the divine wisdom his teaching contains. Anyway, if you can accept that these gifts are from God, you will see it is from Him through Christ Jesus that we must learn how to master them - for the good of all and the glory of God. Jesus is the master of masters in all spheres of human attainment. This, I understand is a very bold claim to make, especially to the sceptical, but the more you learn from Jesus, the more you realise that it must be true.

New Revision Planned To The NIV Bible Translation

The NIV (or New Internation Version) is the most popular english translation of the Bible, as a result I imagine it is one of the (if not 'the') most sold books in the world - ever! (I think about 300 million copies have been printed).

Still Small Voice

The other night (09/09/2009) I had quite a special experience that drew me closer to God.

10 Great Quotes from Jesus of Nazareth

Here you will find 10 sayings of Jesus that I have collected together. Finding quotable passages from Jesus was not that easy, as most of what is recorded of what he said (in the gospel books: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are either metaphorical stories, or Jesus responding to particular questions that had been put to him. Neither work very well when taken out of context.

Are Science And Faith Compatible?

I came across this interesting article the other day on the CNN website: Collins: Why this scientist believes in God, in which Francis Collins - the director of the Human Genome Project - shares his personal experience on the matter. (He also has a book out: The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief).

So we have possibly the world's leading scientist of the day sharing his personal opinion and experience that it is possible to pursue scientific endeavor and believe in God while maintaining intellectual integrity.

I think that's pretty hard to dismiss, however it seems (from some of the comments) that some of the naysayers will say nay no matter what.

Hearing is Believing?

A short article posted on Is Seeing Believing?, relates to my earlier comments on knowledge in some ways.

The "science is knowing" and "seeing is believing" statements demonstrate the same basic attitude that is overly restrictive, and which misrepresents the real nature of human knowledge and belief.

Maybe 'Science' Isn't the Only Way to Know!

It seems not many people understand how they gain knowledge, or perhaps they are just not honest with themselves. I say this in the context of people suggesting that science is the only way to gain knowledge.

It doesn't take much introspection, for example, for me to recognise that most of my 'knowledge' wasn't gained through pure science or anything approximating the scientific method (whatever that is). I also have good reason to suspect that this is the case for every other human on the planet (including Richard Dawkins).

Is There Hope for Cynical Christians?

Just had a listen to a good lecture by Wade Bradshaw from L'Abri. L'Abri in french means 'the shelter', it is a kind of retreat where people go to ponder the meaning of life and deal openly and honestly with their doubts and questions about faith.

I found the lecture 'Is There Hope for Cynical Christians?' available for download. So as someone who can easily be cynical about most things, it got my attention. I had met Wade when visiting English L'Abri a few years ago, and he had made an impression on me with (among other things) a recital of Italo Calvino over lunch followed by a thought provoking discussion.

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