Einstein: Know your History

I finished reading The Trouble with Physics by theoretical physicist Lee Smolin. In this book Smolin tackles the current state of physics and its lack of progress in solving the five fundamental questions.albert-einstein It was an interesting read, though if you are not someone who tackles popular works of science I would recommend Brian Greene’s Elegant Universe first.

Toward the end of the book, Smolin laments the inability of the scientific community to jump start another series of great discoveries, like those of the early twentieth century, to help move science forward toward finding the grand Theory of Everything (TOE). He attributes this to an academic system that rewards master craftsman who don’t challenge the current theories, while also failing to promote an environment for seers to flourish. Continue reading

Vulcan Theology: On seeing what we wish to see.

After reading the title, you might be thinking this post will have something to do with Spock. Maybe you are expecting some interesting twist on how this famous character might be related to some aspect of theology. Neither would be correct.Besides, as any reader of this blog would know, I am a huge Star Wars fan with only a passing knowledge of the Star Trek universe.

I have recently completed reading (actually listening to) The Hunt for Vulcan.  It was fascinating. The book, by Tom Levenson, covers the history, and to a lessor degree the science, that began with the publication of Newton’s Principia in 1687 and ends with Einstein delivering his lectures describing general relativity in 1915.

Spock_(Alt)_on_Vulcan.jpg

Spock spoke these words in “The Tholian Web” which aired in 1968

One of the primary characters in the book is the famous astronomer, Le Verrier, credited with discovering Neptune. He was able to accomplish this after noticing that the orbit of the planet Uranus was not following the path that Newton’s laws of gravity required. Analyzing various data and working through numerous calculations he proposed that the cause of the erratic orbit was another planet.

And he was right. Continue reading

Why could God not have made men such that they always freely choose the good?

Why is there so much evil and suffering in the world if the Judaeo-Christian God exists? This question presents us with the challenge known as the logical problem of evil. The solution to this problem, Scripturally and logically, is the high value placed on significantly free (ie libertarian free will (LFW)) people (see post).

Irenaeus

Irenaeus

A common challenge to the free will defense (FWD) is that God could create a world in which significantly free people never “go bad”.  The FWD, as posited by philosopher Alvin Plantinga, however, rests on the idea that creating people with LFW makes such a world impossible (quotes).

God can create free creatures, but He can’t cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if He does so, then they aren’t significantly free after all. … He can’t give these creatures the freedom to perform evil and at the same time prevent them from doing so.

C.S. Lewis would agree with Plantinga, a world in which people are significantly free yet never do anything but good is not possible, even for an omnipotent God. Continue reading