The Chess Game Analogy: Feynman on the Laws of Nature

One way that’s kind of a fun analogy to try to get some idea of what we’re doing in trying to understand nature is to imagine that the gods are playing some great game like chess. Let’s say a chess game. And you don’t know the rules of the game, but you’re allowed to look at the board at least from time to time and … Continue reading The Chess Game Analogy: Feynman on the Laws of Nature

“The Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James

William James anticipated the modern debate on the relationship between science and religion, and provided good reasons to take religion seriously. His personal and common sense approach works particularly well within a pluralistic and consumer culture. Choosing a Religion For Yourself First, every human being must face the reality of life, death, suffering, and something beyond ourselves. How do we respond to this reality? James … Continue reading “The Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James

“A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge” by George Berkeley

The Meaning of Reality I was taught from a very young age that reality is what exists independently of human perception and knowledge, and we gain knowledge of reality if and only if our ideas correspond to it. Fantasy is that which has no correspondence in reality, and exists only in the mind of an individual — unless he communicates his fantasy, others have no … Continue reading “A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge” by George Berkeley

The Philosophy of Evolution

A Matter of Identity As an armchair Platonist, I find the philosophy behind Darwinian evolution not only intellectually unsatisfactory, but also self-contradictory. On the one hand, it asserts constant change, that, given enough time and proper conditions, anything can change into anything else; on the other hand, it asserts identity, that there is a “struggle for existence” of the individual and/or group. It is a … Continue reading The Philosophy of Evolution

Witnessing Creation

Creation in Seven Acts In my previous post “A Layman’s Interpretation of Genesis”, I made the point that the Days in Genesis 1 are defined, not by any physical entity, but by divine command. The Days, and time itself, are God’s creation. To give a further illustration, I’d liken the Creation account in Genesis 1 to a seven-act play, and the recurring phrase “there was … Continue reading Witnessing Creation

Finding Adam: A Layman’s Interpretation of Genesis

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9 Preface When I read the Book of Genesis for the first time many years ago, I did it out of scientific curiosity. I was an atheist who believed all religions were superstitions, but I was very curious why many otherwise highly intelligent human beings believed in the existence of … Continue reading Finding Adam: A Layman’s Interpretation of Genesis