Jan. 30, 2006
Feb. 1, 2006

Jan. 31, 2006


Coretta Scott King, widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has died. In some ways, she was a model of how to be the spouse of an activist minister.

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Captive freelance journalist Jill Carroll is seen on a new video. For the regular update site about her at the Christian Science Monitor, click here.

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Here's an opinion that says President Bush isn't "playing the God card" as much as he used to. Is that how you read things?

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I'm going to be quite brief today because I want you to have time to read as much as you can of a transcript of a fascinating conference on science and religion held last month.

EvolutionAs regular readers of this blog know, I've had a long-term interest in the dialogue that science and religion should be having. This conference that produced the transcript to which I'm linking you today was held in Florida and sponsored by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

A University of Georgia historian and lawyer, Edward J. Larson, spoke about the evolution of the evolution debates. Later, prominent journalists questioned him.

So just give yourself a bit of time over the next day or two to give a read to this. I think you'll find it enlightening and helpful. And the more we can do to produce useful discussion about and between science and religion, the better.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

Today's religious holiday: Hijra (New Year), Islam.


Kansas Bob

These two quotes from 'Playing the God Card' were worth the read:

"As religion scholar and writer Stephen Carter wisely argues in his book God's Name in Vain: The Wrongs and Rights of Religion in Politics, faith at its best resists being drawn too far into the nitty-gritty of politics." and

"Faith at its best, at its most powerful, stands outside of culture, Carter argues, where it can best maintain its integrity and prophetic moral force."

Kansas Bob

Didn't expect to read this in "The Biology Wars" article:
"Darwin goes through one long argument, as he calls it, and he shows how evolution can explain so many observations. But he always had trouble fully accounting for complex organs, such as the human eye. Darwin himself called it the antidote to atheism. He could never explain the design argument for irreducible complexity."

Thought that this excerpt accurately portrays the state of evolution in America: "Public opinion surveys invariably find that nine in ten Americans believe in God, just as every survey has found since the 1950s. A recent survey indicated that more than three-fourths of Americans believe in miracles, while another found that nearly half of those surveyed believe "that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years," and that more than three-fourths of the rest believe that God actively guided the evolutionary process."


In regard to Bush playing the God card--he'll do whatever he thinks will get him ahead. I suspect the God card comes and goes as he and his handlers think it benefits them.

Howie Howard

Bill, the evolution conversation is another great find. Thanks for linking us to it.

Larson at one point talks about broad categories of belief - I will quote, and then point out where some (many?) of us fall outside of his boxes.

"MR. LARSON: ...There have always been three categories. There is a category of 40 to 50 percent that believes that God created human beings in their present form directly: specially created them within the last 10,000 years... Then you have the other 50 percent — about two-thirds to three-fourths of them who believe in a theistic evolution — humans were created by divinely guided evolution. The other quarter to a third that believes in a naturalistic process and the ideas someone like Richard Dawkins would present."

Somewhere between the theistic evolutionists and Dawkins (whose work I admire) I stand with faith in a God who does not meddle or intervene in the physical causes of our universe (as theistic evolution would seem to hold).

Perhaps God operates in more of a top-down manner (thinking in layers of complexity, with simple physical causes as "down"), calling and inspiring us towards God-like-ness through experiences, rational thought, observation, dreams, art... on and on, working through the complexity and our ability to receive it.


Andy B.

Where did you find the wonderful picture in this post? And can I use it somewhere?
- Andy B.

Ruth Stokes

As a physical scientist and member of a socially concerned and active congregation, I appreciate having a sharp journalist in our corner.

I am not into deep study of these issues. My favorite book on the subject is Ian Barbour "Issues in Science and Religeon".

I think people like Bush give god a bad name (lc because he and I don't seem to agree on what god we are talking about) Here is my letter that ran in the Tucson Citizen, our afternoon paper. It was written a few days before we invaded Iraq and was published a few days after Bush did.

Bush justifies the need to fight Iraq by pointing out that President Abraham Lincoln did not want to go to war but reluctantly did so to protect our democracy and the values we hold dear.
The conservative Republicans I grew up with in Hyde Park Chicago would cite a more recent Republican president about warfare. President Dwight Eisenhower warned us of the danger of having the military-industrial
powers take over our government.
Bush says he sleeps well because he knows he stands on high moral ground. He reads the Bible, prays a lot and stays in close touch with God.
The clergy (and their flocks) in our interfaith associations read the Scriptures and pray a lot. So does the Pope. But we get radically different answers than Bush does.
What god is he consulting?

Ruth Stokes

oops! Face red
The title of the book should be
"Issues in Science and Religion".

My grandfather Holzinger got a divinity degree at Yale but he was never ordained. Instead he taught Botany at Winona Normal School (now part of U Minnesota). He was greatly respeced in his Congregational church. The minister was very nervous about evolution so he asked my Grandfather who was both honest and tactful to explain it to him. He was reassured that it was no threat.

We could use more dialogue like that.

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