Monday, June 27, 2011

Polkinghorne on miracles

Quoted by Francis Collins in The Language of God:

'Miracles are not to be interpreted as divine acts against the laws of nature (for these laws are themselves expressions of God's will) but as more profound revelations of the character of the divine relationship to creation.'

The embarrassment of the big bang

Francis Collins (the language of God) quotes astrophysicist Robert Jastrow in 'God and the Astronomers' (1992, p107):
'At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.'

Christian faith among research scientists

Francis Collins (The language of God) reports:
In 1916, researchers asked biologists, physicists and mathematicians whether they believed in a God who actively communicates with humankind and to whom one may pray in expectation of receiving an answer. About 40 percent answered in the affirmative. In 1997 the same survey was repeated verbatim-- and to the surprised of the researchers, the answer was very nearly the same' p 4

More about the Anthropic principle

The 'Anthropic principle' is the theory that our Universe was finely tuned and designed for human beings to appear. There are billions of possible combinations of notes, but only Beethoven 9th Symphony. Something similar appears to be happening in creation.

Francis Collins in his book (the language of Godp 144) quotes Stephen Hawking:

'If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in 100 thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present size.' ('Brief History..., p138)

Collins also recommends JD Barrow and FJ Tipler, 'the Anthropic Cosmological Principle' (1986), and reproduces a quote from Freeman Dyson in that book:

'The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.' (quoted in Barrow and Tipler, p318)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why I tell stories to tell the truth

This is a guest post I wrote for the Christian Booksellers Blog

Friday, June 17, 2011

The West Wing

We don't have a TV, so we are discovering the joys of all seven series of the West Wing, for the first time, one episode per night. Fizzing dialogue, passionate characters, just a slight tendency to slip into Democrat-lust-fantasy; wonderful stuff.