Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kepler and Intelligent Design; Alan Brill's Interview with David Carr

I learned of some excellent links today:

1. Rachel Held Evans links to an article by Paul Wallace, Intelligent Design Is Dead: A Christian Perspective. The reason that Wallace’s article is good is that it contrasts Johannes Kepler with advocates of Intelligent Design. Both believe in God and maintain that God designed the cosmos. But the difference between them is this: a belief in design inspired Kepler to inquire into the nature of the universe. Advocates of Intelligent Design, by contrast, appeal to gaps in our knowledge to support their belief in a designer, which means that their belief in design discourages rather than encourages inquiry. I appreciated Wallace’s article because many Christian apologists like to appeal to Kepler to argue that theism and science are not mutually contradictory. Perhaps they’re not, when theism promotes inquiry rather than discouraging it and exploiting our gaps in knowledge.

2. Charles Halton at Awilum links to Alan Brill’s interview with biblical scholar David Carr, who teaches at Union Theological Seminary. Carr talks about the fluid scribal transmission of texts in the ancient world (traditions transmitted, and yet changed), and he also straightforwardly addresses provocative and profound questions, such as:

“How is JED + P different from JEPD? What’s the practical difference? Is the work scholars do on the basis of this theory going to be more productive than the work currently done using the older theory? How?”

“How should the average person know who to trust if the field changes so often? What would you tell the simple reader who with their uneducated eyes thinks that scholars are just stating their personal opinions? How is it a scientific field?”

“Do you have any thoughts on revelation? or the separation of history from theology?”

I liked how Dr. Carr called the second question a fair question, before he proceeded to offer a judicious answer. And I enjoyed his answer to the third question, which brought into the discussion his Quaker and Methodist background.

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