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Friday, 11 May 2007

What to expect from this Blog

The Blog welcome note outlines my objectives for the blog, but I should also provide an explanation on how I expect this conversation to work. First of all I don’t intend to post three times a day like many other blogs. I simply don’t have the time for this and, anyways, the topic is hardly conducive to light banter. For me at least, some of this stuff is really difficult to work through and I need time to formulate these articles. I’ll probably post a longish article once a week or so. In between, I may also provide some quick smaller posts on interesting items I’ve read or links to interesting stories and websites.

Conversation necessarily goes both ways. So I am looking forward to your feedback, either through comments on the site, private emails, or face-to-face conversations. However, many of you, for various reasons, may not wish to actively engage in conversation and would rather simply listen; others may not even wish to go that far. I respect that. For those of you that know me personally, I am not going to force anything. On the topic of Science and Faith, I will not be initiating the conversation beyond what is posted in this blog. Of course, I’m always happy to converse should you initiate a discussion.

For those who do wish to participate, I’m interested to hear your thoughts. What topics would you like to see discussed? What are the most significant questions you have in regards to science and faith? Is the science / faith dialogue a big deal for you personally or something less important? I do have somewhat of a plan for topics that I will cover, but I’m open to suggestions for changing the order or focus.

Some topics that I’m planning to write about include:

  • What is an Evangelical anyways? I’m almost embarrassed by the term because of, among other things, the connotations of right-wing politics and anti-intellectualism. I’ll provide an overview of the Evangelical movement (at least from my point of view. Hint: it’s not “just toned down fundamentalism”) and why I think it’s important to retain the name even if it is somewhat tarnished.
  • Why I believe the topic of evolution is important for Evangelicals. Why we should neither “just ignore those American Fundies and get on with it”, nor “just ignore science and focus on more important things”.
  • What are the various creationist positions?: Confused with all the different types of Creationists? I’ll discuss the spectrum of Christian views on how to reconcile scripture and science. Positions include flat-earth (This belief still exists!), geocentricism, YEC, various OEC theories (day-age, gap theory, progressive creationism), and different flavours of ID and TE.
  • False Dichotomies: Continuing on the theme of Wednesday’s post that we don’t need to choose between creation or evolution.
  • Why I’m very uncomfortable with the Intelligent Design movement: ID has enjoyed huge support among Evangelicals, and significant coverage in both the Christian and secular media since its inception 15 years ago. How can I possibly not support a movement that is trying to demonstrate the natural world infers an intelligent designer?
  • The Scientific Evidence: Some brief overviews of the scientific evidence for an ancient creation, as well as evidence for evolution from the fossils, geographic distribution, and genetics with pointers to links on the web for further reading.
  • Challenges to Evolution: An overview of some of the challenges to evolutionary theory. And here I don’t mean the bogus arguments put forward by anti-evolutionary organizations. There are still some very big unanswered questions that most serious evolutionary scientists will readily admit.
  • Sin, Death, and Evil: A series of posts on the relationship between sin, death, and evil. Ultimately a discussion on theodicy. Ie. If God is all-powerful, all knowing, and perfectly good, why does evil exist? And “Adam and Eve ate the apple so Tsunami’s happen” just doesn’t cut it. This is actually the biggie for me.

I look forward to your input.

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