Science

Home Waters: Overview

December 7, 2010 | 4 comments
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Home Waters: Overview

George Handley’s Home Waters: A Year of Recompenses on the Provo River (University of Utah Press, 2010) practices theology like a doctor practices CPR: not as secondhand theory but as a chest-cracking, lung-inflating, life-saving intervention. Home Waters models what, on my account, good theology ought to do: it is experimental, it is grounded in the details of lived experience, and it takes charity – that pure love of Christ – as the only real justification for its having been written. It is not afraid to guess, it is not afraid to question, it is not afraid to cry repentance,... Read more »

A Writer on Science and Religion

September 30, 2010 | 12 comments
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In this final installment of this month’s series of posts on religion and science, I will present a different take on things from the perspective of a celebrated writer. Marilynne Robinson won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for her novel Gilead. She also delivered the Terry Lectures at Yale in 2009, resulting in the book Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self (Yale Univ. Press, 2010), from which I draw the following quotations and summaries. Read more »

Science and Religion: Enemies or Partners?

September 19, 2010 | 16 comments
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For the next installment in this set of posts, let’s consider the relation between science and religion. In a mildly tedious but well-organized book, When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners? (HarperCollins, 2000), Ian Barbour lays out four basic forms that the relation between science and religion can take: Conflict (either science or religion is correct, but not both); Independence (science and religion refer to different domains or aspects of reality); Dialogue (where discussions about method, metaphysics, and metaphor can enlighten both scientists and theologians); and Integration (natural theology or theology of nature approaches try to unite some... Read more »

An LDS View on Science and Religion

September 3, 2010 | 36 comments
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Continuing the conversation begun in my earlier post (God and Science), let’s look at the Encyclopedia of Mormonism entry titled “Science and Religion.” It provides a good summary of what might be termed the conservative LDS position on the topic. The article opens on a positive note: “Because of belief in the ultimate compatibility of all truth and in the eternal character of human knowledge, Latter-day Saints tend to take a more positive approach to science than do some people in other religious traditions who also claim a strong foundation in scripture.” While it is true that “Latter-day Saints”... Read more »

God and Science

August 30, 2010 | 22 comments
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The conflict between science and religion is generally overstated. But it is certainly true that science is the matrix that most people of our day — believers or not — use as the basis for understanding the natural world we live in. Atheists and agnostics stop there; believers add a supplemental layer of faith to their view of the universe that includes a doctrine or idea of God and that reflects a view or theory of how God acts (or doesn’t act) in the natural world. So does science strengthen our faith or threaten it? Is it easier or... Read more »

Writings in the Stone

November 24, 2009 | 97 comments
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Writings in the Stone

Some years ago I sat in a Gospel Doctrine class taught by a physician. I mention his profession because I think it matters, as he took the opportunity to deviate from the lesson and condemn in the strongest terms the theory of evolution. He labeled it a satanic concept, one that we must avoid, one that destroys faith. I took a deep breath and then spoke up. I pointed out the numerous statements and scriptures supporting learning from the best books, and pointed to Brigham Young’s statement that Mormonism embraces all truth. It wasn’t the most uplifting class. I... Read more »

The Downstream Principle of Language

September 28, 2009 | 10 comments
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I’m posting this at Times and Seasons as follow-up to a three-part series I wrote here a couple years back (see here, here and here). I’ve cross-posted it over at A Motley Vision’s companion blog Wilderness Interface Zone. September 17th marked the two-year anniversary of the closing of Crossfire Canyon (real name: Recapture Canyon) to off-highway vehicular (OHV) travel. Since then, the canyon has become an even more volatile epicenter of rhetorical and legal power struggles over land use policy. Private citizens, environmental and off-road advocacy groups, and the federal government have all entered dogs in the fight. Read more »

He Is Not in the Desert

September 12, 2009 | 46 comments
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“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; … do not believe it” (NIV Matt. 24:26). Read more »

Grace in the Morning

July 21, 2009 | 25 comments
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This morning I went running with my dog.  Read more »

January 1 of the year 40

July 20, 2009 | 29 comments
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Happy Moonlanding Day! When I was a youth, I read a science fiction book in which dates in the future were figured from the day that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, apparently because the date had such significance in the history of man. Read more »

Things to be thankful for

June 19, 2009 | 11 comments
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If the gravitational constant were just a little bit different than what it is, you would not be here.  Nor, for that matter, would anything else.  So we’ve got that going for us. Read more »

Four sources of the Apocalypse

April 27, 2009 | 46 comments
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With the past two months, I have read — for various reasons — four different novels laying out apocalyptic events within the United States. Here are the novels, in the order I read (or re-read) them, and with the reasons why I read them: – Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (1977): a comet fragments and strikes the Earth in numerous places, collapsing much of world civilization, including the United States. I’ve read this several times before; I saw it cited on a blog (Samizdata) in a discussion on “the best end-of-the-world novels”  and decided to dig... Read more »

Genesis and Geology: A Dialogue

February 18, 2009 | no comments
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Genesis and Geology Read more »

Spooky action at a distance

January 23, 2009 | 21 comments
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I am a total NPR dork. I would LOVE to have Carl Kasell’s voice on my answering machine; when I was in middle school, I felt betrayed when I learned that Lake Woebegone wasn’t a real place; and I admit that I joined Ira Flatow’s Science Friday Facebook group (“for those who love Science Friday. Or Ira Flatow.”). In fact, all my scientific knowledge pretty much comes from either Science Friday or the SciFi channel. That’s essentially my disclaimer before I jump into a discussion of quantum mechanics: my knowledge of quantum entanglement is limited to how much Ira... Read more »

Nature and Cities

December 19, 2008 | 30 comments
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I often find walking in nature a spiritual experience, for want of a better term. Growing up, I think that I found my testimony in part by tramping through the Wasatch Mountains and watching thunder storms roll across the Great Salt Lake. Today, I am likely to have real moments of reverence and gratitude to the divine while watching mist play across the still waters of the James River in the early morning or enjoying the power of a big Atlantic storm slamming into my bit of the world. I realize that there are some real dangers with identifying... Read more »

Paper or Plastic?

September 21, 2008 | 55 comments
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We begin with a quiz. Read more »

Mormons, Politics, and Morality

September 9, 2008 | 63 comments
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Some of the thoughts of a commenter on my last post, got me thinking about Mormons, politics, and morality. My observation is that the issues that set off moral alarm bells for most Mormons are those that deal with issues relating to what I would consider “freedom to sin” or “prohibitions of obvious sins.” Read more »

Changing Conceptions of Zion

September 8, 2008 | 26 comments
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The Mormon conception of Zion has changed dramatically over the past century. Today’s members of the church are likely to define “Zion” as wherever the members of the church are: LDS homes, congregations, and stakes. While the conception of Zion in the 19th century may have included these elements, these Saints were determined to literally be Zion communities Read more »

Meet Your Inner Fish

July 31, 2008 | 9 comments
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I recently read Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion Year History of the Human Body (Pantheon Books, 2008) by Neil Shubin, a paleotologist and professor of anatomy at the University of Chicago. By coincidence, Jared at LDS Science Review had posted the same book in his “Currently Reading” list. Here is our conversation about this interesting book. Read more »

Why Joseph Went to the Woods

November 1, 2007 | 87 comments
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Joseph Smith went to the woods because he wished to know the truth of his existence. Read more »

A Walk into the Moon

October 26, 2007 | 24 comments
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I hope some of you grabbed your moon glasses and stepped outside to have a look at how that full moon lights up the world. Thirty thousand miles closer than usual and thirty percent brighter, tonight this lesser light has a chance to really shine. Read more »

Women Who Know

October 14, 2007 | 45 comments
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… grow tomatoes in their home garden, and lots of them. Men who know grow them, too. Read more »

Crossfire Canyon: A study in conflict, part three

September 28, 2007 | 35 comments
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See Part Two posted 9/27. On September 22nd, I rose early and hiked into Crossfire. Afterward, I stopped at the local market and ran into a women I’d seen at the BLM’s open house, one of the most vocal SPEAR members present that night. We greeted each other and she demanded to know who I was and what my interest in the canyon was. “Are you one of those tree-huggers or something else?” she asked. Read more »

Crossfire Canyon: A study in conflict, part two

September 27, 2007 | 43 comments
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See Part One here. On September 18th, the BLM held an open house explaining the closure to local residents. The BLM’s acting field manager opened the presentation, telling everyone that the purpose of the closure was to stop traffic through cultural sites. It wasn’t intended to be permanent, he said. Read more »