natural sciences

A joined-up cosmos for geniuses?

Recently I wrote about my impression of a predominance of religious worldviews and practices among the most celebrated mathematicians.  I concluded by indicating that I wouldn't be surprised if religious worldviews were more conducive to great advances in maths and other disciplines, because of the way that faith and imagination are involved in discovery.  Today I'd like to explore some slightly more specific ideas about how that might work.  This is very tentative, largely because I'm clearly not one of those mathematical geniuses myself!  But I wan

On the seventh day of Christmas

dinner table awaiting guests

I've always felt sad at the passing of Christmas Day: at how quickly the world moves on to Boxing-Day sales, extinguished fairy lights, discarded fir trees and raucous New-Year revelries.  Perhaps it's partly nostalgia, but I yearn for those past times when the twelve days of Christmas were celebrated in full.  For me, Christmas is worth lingering on, because it's a sign of the world to come.

A Christian view of scientific progress

Christian thinkers have proposed a range of ideas about what science is, ranging from reading the book of God's works and "thinking God's thoughts after Him" to studying how the Universe runs itself if God doesn't intervene.  Views like these were expressed by early modern scientists (Galileo, Bacon, Newton and others) who were Christians of one sort or another, but they needn't be the last word for a theistic perspective on science.

A science of science: Dick Stafleu's 'Theories at Work'

To find a series of books that join up the dots in whole swathes of one's previous education is a wonderful experience.  That's my experience of the writings of philosopher Marinus Dirk Stafleu, which I first discovered a year ago.  His multi-volume project Philosophy of Dynamic Development flows from his career as a Christian studying physics and philosophy: from a PhD in quantum mechanics to teacher-teaching in Utrecht, in his native Netherlands.

Knowing as We Are Known: The Transactional Approach to Science (3)

Richard Vytniorgu argues that to recognise our position in a "dynamic ecosystem" of knowing is to recognise the reciprocal nature of scientific understanding – even, perhaps, that it is made possible by One whose knowledge surpasses all understanding.

A Dynamic Ecosystem: The Transactional Approach to Science (2)

Richard Vytniorgu develops his exposition of a view of scientific progress that recognises the very creaturely nature of our existence. There's no view from nowhere: scientists, like everyone else, are in the midst of the cocktail party of history!

Self and World: The Transactional Approach to Science (1)

billiard balls in motion

Richard Vytniorgu introduces a way of thinking about scientific work by rooting it in its social context.

This is the first in a series of three posts in which I introduce the transactional approach to doing science – an approach which encourages us to position scientific work within a broader matrix of beliefs and values. Although I’m not a scientist, my work in literary theory has brought me into contact with the transactional approach via its American advocate in literary studies and English education, Louise Rosenblatt.

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