The UC Berkeley professor and curator of the Museum of Paleontology discusses evolution and creationism, science and faith- Grace Cathedral
Rev. Alan Jones
Alan Jones, Ph.D., has been dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco since 1985.
Jones was formerly the director of the Center for Christian Spirituality and Stephen F. Bayne Professor of Ascetical Theology at General Theological Seminary in New York City. Born and educated in England, Jones was also on the staff of Trinity Institute of Wall Street's Trinity Church. He became a citizen of the United States in 1975.
Jones is the author of several books, most notably, Soul Making, The Desert Way of Spirituality, Passion for Pilgrimage and most recently, The Soul's Journey: Exploring the Three Passages of the Spiritual Life with Dante as a Guide. He is widely known as a gifted preacher and travels throughout the world preaching, lecturing, and leading retreats.
Kevin Padian is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and curator of the Museum of Paleontology on evolution and faith.
Biological theory that animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations. It is one of the keystones of modern biological theory. In 1858 Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace jointly published a paper on evolution. The next year Darwin presented his major treatise On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, which revolutionized all later biological study. The heart of Darwinian evolution is the mechanism of natural selection. Surviving individuals, which vary (seevariation) in some way that enables them to live longer and reproduce, pass on their advantage to succeeding generations. In 1937 Theodosius Dobzhansky applied Mendelian genetics (seeGregor Mendel) to Darwinian theory, contributing to a new understanding of evolution as the cumulative action of natural selection on small genetic variations in whole populations. Part of the proof of evolution is in the fossil record, which shows a succession of gradually changing forms leading up to those known today. Structural similarities and similarities in embryonic development among living forms also point to common ancestry. Molecular biology (especially the study of genes and proteins) provides the most detailed evidence of evolutionary change. Though the theory of evolution is accepted by nearly the entire scientific community, it has sparked much controversy from Darwin's time to the present; many of the objections have come from religious leaders and thinkers (seecreationism) who believe that elements of the theory conflict with literal interpretations of the Bible. See alsoHugo de Vries, Ernst Haeckel, human evolution, Ernst Mayr, parallel evolution, phylogeny, sociocultural evolution, speciation.
Physics and Theology.
About creators of God.
Everybody creates his God according to his own image and spirit
If triangles made a God they would give him three sides
/ Charles de Montesquieu . Persian Letters, 1721 /
If physicists made a God they would give him
concrete physical parameters.
Which parameters they can be ?
We know that God is something Infinite.
What is ‘INFINITY’ ? Nobody knows.
The conception of ‘ Infinity’ we can find not only in Bible
but in Physics too. Are they equal ? Are they different ?
I think that ‘INFINITY’ is ‘INFINITY’ and can be only one
for every knowledge, for every meaning.
I think there isn’t special ‘INFINITY’ for Bible and special
‘INFINITY’ for Physics. I think the conception ‘INFINITY’
is equal for every part of Science.
Again and again the ‘INFINITY’ appears in many physical
and mathematical problems.
/ Part Physics: Theoretical applications of physical infinity .
It means that ‘INFINITY’ is some kind of reality. (!)
Does Physicists meet God In the Infinite ? (!)
Does God live in the INFINITE ? ( !)
To understand this we need to find the answers to the questions:
1) What is / are the physical parameters of the ‘INFINITY’ ?
2) What is connection between the infinity and the concreteness ?
3) What is connection between infinity and quality ?
4) How to explain the unity and inconsistent character between
the infinity and the concreteness ?
Israel Sadovnik Socratus
Religious fundamentalism has very little to do with scientific illiteracy and it is a pretty much a function of either theological illiteracy or outright theological deceitfulness. Therefor, it can not be solved by the teaching science. It could, however, be solved by teaching proper theology.
That, of course, is the real nightmare of fundamentalists... a populus that is actually told about the fundamentals of theology would rob them of any possible arguments, because all they are dealing with really boils down to insults to God, rather than proofs of the failure of science.
One of the grand historic failures of the Catholic Church has led to a pretty easy playing field for fundamentalists, by the way. When the Church was at the height of its efforts to suppress heretics, commonly known as the time of the inquisition, it wasn't going after science. It was aiming almost completely at heretics with differing theological ideas... of course, these "heretics" were nothing else than people who had strong religious feelings, except, that they did not agree with the authority of the Church. Because of the rather singular events concerning Giordano Bruno, Galileo and Kepler's run-in with a witch hunt over financial matters targeting his mother, the naive modern interpretation is that the Church was anti-scientific. In the 19th and 20th century this misconception has been used to build up a tension between religion and science that did not exists because it can be used easily to deflect from the real conflict in the middle ages, which was between religion and religion.
Today that conflict still exists, even though few people are being formally prosecuted. One can easily find half a dozen pope equivalents with a complete set of cardinals each in every decent town of the US these days. It's the leaders of their churches with their amateur theologians teaching Sunday School. The total religious freedom of this country makes it possible for everyone and their grandmother, and I mean this quite literally, to conjure up their own theological home brew, non-withstanding the centuries of serious thought that have laid the framework for the halfway decent theology that can be learned in any proper theological department of any university in the world. The penalty for this is... absolutely nothing, whereas in the 15th century it would have meant certain prosecution with threat of loss of life, limb and treasure with a few rounds of torture thrown in for good measure.
Fundamentalists of all tastes have therefor basically agreed to disagree on pretty much everything theological, but they have also agreed to keep silent about their disagreement in favor of a public campaign against a "common enemy". Sadly, that enemy is, no, it's not science per se, but truth in general. Truth happens to have this particular quality to it, that there is usually only one version of it which, in addition, does not leave a lot of freedom for interpretation. Fundamentalism, however, needs that very freedom of interpretation to twist facts to its own liking... and there is just not a lot of twisting possible if one loves the truth.
Mankind evolution etc. is it not a wonder that man can discuss the issue. Atheism as a word was evolve from the counter point of the god thing believers.
to whom needs enemies, not out of believe but pure
greed and resentment that other human beings are different and can free from such pragmatic order.
An excellent discusion between two highly credible representatives generating plenty of energy but without the usual spears, arrows, sparks and barbs. It was more like a chess game than a conflagration. Check the links to see Kevin Padian's testimony at the Dover Pa. trial. All in all the discussion leads down a middle road of evolution with the washouts bridged by a god.