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Answering Stephen Colbert’s Favorite Atheist Physicist

In a book that was released a few days ago, Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist, critic of religion, and former guest of The Colbert Report, presents what he calls The Big Picture. Neil deGrasse Tyson says the book “weav[es] the threads of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and philosophy into a seamless narrative tapestry. Sean Carroll enthralls us with what we’ve figured out in the universe and humbles us with what we don’t yet understand. Yet in the end, it’s the meaning... Read More

10 Keys on Faith and Science for Christians and Atheists

On one hand, there are marvelous discourses in institutions of higher learning about the ways theology illuminates scientific ideas and, likewise, how science deepens faith. Theologians, philosophers, and scientists come together and talk, even if everyone is not a person of faith. On the other hand, the public presentation of faith and science, mostly on the internet, is a tale of incessant conflict because anyone can pose as an expert on religion or science, despite being nonreligious... Read More

Do Theological Claims Need to be Falsifiable?

Antony Flew’s famous 1950 article “Theology and Falsification” posed what came to be known as the “falsificationist challenge” to theology. A claim is falsifiable when it is empirically testable—that is to say, when it makes predictions about what will be observed under such-and-such circumstances such that, if the predictions don’t pan out, the claim is thereby shown to be false. The idea that a genuinely scientific claim must be falsifiable had already been given currency... Read More

Why Miracles Are Not Incompatible with Science

Skeptics argue that miracles are impossible because the laws of nature are necessary. A miracle, they argue, involves a violation of a law of nature. But the laws of nature cannot be violated. Therefore, miracles must be impossible. One modern skeptic of repute who argues this is Richard Dawkins. In his book The God Delusion, he says, “[M]iracles, by definition, violate the principles of science” (83). Dawkins and other modern skeptics derive this argument from philosophers in the... Read More

Does Science Make God Irrelevant?

Does God still matter? This is the question that seems to be at the heart of the modern debate about God’s existence. Many unbelievers who label themselves agnostic-atheists do not claim definitively that God does not exist. They take the softer position that God probably does not exist, and even if he does exist, he is irrelevant in explaining the universe. As Dr. Richard Dawkins stated in a 2013 Cambridge debate with the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, “Religion... Read More

Trial by Fire: Modernity’s Response to Miracles

Perhaps no single image captures the popular conception of the “Dark Ages” than the idea of trials by ordeal. These infamous trials are the reason we refer to a difficult situation as an “ordeal,” or perhaps a “trial by fire.” One of the most famous depictions of a trial by ordeal is in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. A woman is accused of witchcraft, and rather than gathering evidence or taking any but the most cursory of testimony, an elaborate test is designed... Read More

The Myth of the War Between Science and Religion

For the past several years, I’ve been posting short commentaries on YouTube, probably the most popular website in the world.  I’ve covered everything from movies and music to books and cultural trends, but I’ve given special attention to the New Atheism. Among other videos, I’ve posted three answers to Christopher Hitchens’ book God is Not Great, a brief presentation of some classical arguments for God’s existence, and a response to Bill Maher’s movie Religulous.  As you... Read More

The Salvation of Dog-men and Orangutans

I recently read, with fascination, Michael F. Flynn's article at Strange Notions, entitled "St. Christopher, ET, and the Middle Ages". There, Flynn discusses (among other things) the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and the question of what it means to be "human" (is it a matter of evolutionary descent or something else?). He makes a very interesting case by referring to written Medieval encounters with a race of dog-headed people, which include even the strange story of St. Christopher,... Read More

St. Christopher, ET, and the Middle Ages

It has long been held that the medievals would have been terrified of aliens, regarded them as "demons," and otherwise persecuted them in their religious ignorance and fanaticism, while we wise moderns would recognize them as intelligent and equivalent to humans, deserving of the same consideration as humans. The latter is a self-flattering mythos, but likely no more true than the former. For illumination, we might turn to the well-known science-fiction novel, Eifelheim, but this too... Read More

Is the Shroud of Turin a Genuine Miracle?

In June I had the joy to spend a week in Italy. One reason for my pilgrimage was to venerate the Shroud of Turin. I had been intrigued by the supposed burial cloth of Christ since I was in college, and as I was in England leading a pilgrimage with Joseph Pearce, I did not want to miss the chance of traveling to Turin to see the shroud. I was not disappointed. After taking the high-speed train from Rome, a decent restaurant and an overnight stay, we walked the few blocks from our hotel... Read More

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