Exploring the Grey Areas: Why zoology sometimes hovers on the border of metaphysics – Or, when science and religion is at its best

5751746542_63ab15555f_b
Meerkat Babies by Jon Pinder. Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

We’ve probably all experienced the scenario of the irritatingly good teacher. You ask a perfectly straightforward question, but instead of a straightforward answer you receive a much harder question in return. This is good teaching, but it’s Continue reading

The Evolutionary Roots of Human Moral Freedom

human-995558_1920
Pixabay – CC0 Public Domain

One of our strongest intuitions is that we are in control of our own beliefs and actions. For the philosopher and biologist David Lahti, this freedom is real but imperfect. Rounding off our series on the Faraday summer course, this is the first of two posts on Lahti’s work on different aspects of being human. Continue reading

The Ultimate Reservoir of Wonder: Questions of science and philosophy

© Jeff Schloss
© Jeff Schloss

What happens when scientists team up with full-time philosophers? This is something that Professor Jeff Schloss has been doing for the last twenty years, exploring questions about altruism, morality and human uniqueness. Continue reading

Considering Beauty

Lime tree, microscopic view. K Szkurlatowski, 12frames.eu
Lime tree, microscopic view. © K Szkurlatowski, 12frames.eu

I have often written about beauty here, and Francesca Day mentioned it last week, but without defining the word itself. William Edgar is a musician and theologian based at Westminster Theological Seminary, and in his lecture Beauty Reconsidered he gave a history of the concept of beauty and proposed a form of aesthetics that I think will resonate with the ideals of many Christians working in the sciences.

In the 1960s, it was said anyone who pronounced something ‘beautiful’ was trying to exert power over it. That power was rejected, and the concept of beauty went into hibernation – at least in academic circles in Europe and North America.

It’s impossible, however, to suppress our sense of beauty. In the 1990s, philosophers started Continue reading