On today’s ID the Future, Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson talks with historian Tom Holland, journalist Douglas Murray, and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer about the decline of theistic faith in the West. Here in Part I of the conversation, the men consider possible causes for the decline of theistic faith. According to Meyer the decline has occurred in the face of increasing scientific evidence for the existence of God. So what gives? Tune in to hear their stimulating exploration of the question, and what each sees as the appropriate response. This material is used by permission of Peter Robinson and the Uncommon Knowledge podcast.
On this ID the Future, host Andrew McDiarmid sits down with historian and philosopher of science Michael Keas to discuss a recent article at Times Higher Education, “My Precious! How Academia’s Gollums Guard Their Research Fields.” The article looks at how scientific progress is being impeded by a culture in which scientists jealously guard their research instead of sharing it. Keas says the problem seems to have gotten worse in recent years but isn’t a new one. He illustrates with the story of Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler. Brahe, a sixteenth-century Danish astronomer, sat on his astronomical research for years, rather than sharing it with Johannes Kepler, his assistant. Kepler only got hold of it when Brahe died unexpectedly shortly after a banquet. The rumor began that perhaps Brahe had been poisoned to free up access to his research, data that eventually allowed Kepler to make his revolutionary breakthrough, his three laws of planetary motion that cinched the case for a sun-centered model of the universe. Keas goes on from there to explain what a later autopsy revealed about Brahe’s cause of death. Then he discusses some modern-day power plays involving evolutionists jealously guarding the Darwinian paradigm against those who would challenge it. Finally, Keas enumerates some of the virtues that can help further the progress of science, including generosity and a humble willingness to listen to criticism. For more surprising facts in the history of science, check out Keas’ recent book, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion.
This episode of ID the Future features the second part of a conversation between Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson and polymath David Berlinski, author of the newly released book Human Nature. In this segment of the interview, Robinson asks Berlinski about a book by Nicholas Christakis, Blueprint, which argues that evolution has endowed us with a genetic makeup that drives human culture toward virtue and progress. Berlinski demurs, pointing to the horrors of the twentieth century and by noting that the virtues Christakis underscores, such as cooperativeness, can also be put to nefarious purposes. The Nazi Party, for instance, “was a marvelous engine of cooperation. All those Nazis cooperated with one another running death camps.” Robinson also asks Berlinski about Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 Regensburg address and the West’s relegating religious thinking, in Peter Robinson’s words, “to the children’s table.” Berlinski says he would frame the situation a little differently: we are today less able to entertain a whole category of arguments we used to be able to entertain — theological arguments. As a habit of thought, theology has receded, but Berlinski says he sees this as temporary. “Theological arguments are not going to disappear, and the fundamental questions they address are not going to disappear either.”