Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Blue Sky Nonsense: reviewing “Blue Sky God: The Evolution of Science and Christianity” pt. 1: Morphic Fields and the Works of Christ

Blue Sky God: The Evolution of Science and Christianity by Don MacGregor (book sources)

Fields and Forms

Fields are all around us, yes. MacGregor again harps on about the possibility of unknown forces—while it might be too strong a statement to say these are ruled out, a good deal of effort has been expended by experimental physicists to measure the absence of such things in highly sensitive ways. The gambit of “we don't know that there aren't other forces, so it's totally OK to propose (without evidence) that such unknown forces exist and have major macroscopic effects” is a hallmark of pseudoscience.

Blue Sky Nonsense: reviewing “Blue Sky God: The Evolution of Science and Christianity” pt. 1: Epigenetics, Healing and Prayer

Blue Sky God: The Evolution of Science and Christianity by Don MacGregor (book sources)

“Epigenetics” is the new “quantum”.
dozens of blog commenters

Biology and Energy Fields

If you ask an actual biologist about what “fascinating new insights” there have been in the field recently, you'll likely get a long and varied list; but one thing that won't be on it is “energy fields”. MacGregor, though, has swallowed the pseudoscience hook, line and sinker:

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Blue Sky Nonsense: reviewing “Blue Sky God: The Evolution of Science and Christianity” pt. 1: Quantum Reality and God as Consciousness

Blue Sky God: The Evolution of Science and Christianity by Don MacGregor (book sources)

(Headings in italics are mine, rather than referring to the book.)

Quantum Science and Consciousness, and The Primacy of Consciousness

MacGregor jumps right in the deep end by claiming—before even getting more than 2 pages in—that a “new paradigm suggests that the prime mover in the universe is not matter, but consciousness”. He identifies quantum measurements—i.e. ‘wavefunction collapse’—as necessarily involving conscious minds and presents this as if it were the established and only interpretation of QM that exists. He quotes Max Planck (“This mind is the matrix of all matter”) but via a secondary source that seems to misplace the occasion of the statement. Otherwise the only scientist referenced is Goswami.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Blue Sky Nonsense: reviewing “Blue Sky God: The Evolution of Science and Christianity” pt. 1: Introduction

Blue Sky God: The Evolution of Science and Christianity by Don MacGregor (book sources)

To say that I am not the target audience for this book would be a massive understatement; I was lent it by a family member who wanted my opinion on the ‘Science’ parts. Theologically, this is a book in the much-parodied liberal Anglican tradition (Episcopalian for those in the US); people such as Karen Armstrong, John Selby Spong, Marcus Borg and J.A.T. Robinson feature notably in the bibliography. Obviously I do not propose to criticize it from a theological perspective; but I may have something to say about the ethical consequences of some parts.

Estranged Notions: The Dogmas and Failure of Rational Atheism

Today's post:

The Dogmas and Failure of Rational Atheism

Usual drivel. Criticizes Harris' The End Of Faith as though it were the be-all and end-all of atheist criticism of religion; spouts typical nonsense about things like the Golden Rule (which predates not only Christianity but even Judaism, and was independently stated in philosophies such as Confucianism) and the consequences of atheism.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Estranged Notions: 8 More Keys to the Catholic Environmental Vision

Part 2 of the previous post:

8 More Keys to the Catholic Environmental Vision

Well, it turns out that these two posts would have been better titled “How to maximize the conflict between Catholics and atheists on environmental issues”.

Almost every point here is dangerously wrong either in its understanding of the facts or in its implications for policy (or both).

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Estranged Notions: Can Catholics and Atheists Agree on the Environment?

Today's post:

Can Catholics and Atheists Agree on the Environment?

Really only half a post, because the points covered don't actually lead anywhere substantive; the rest is supposedly coming in another post.

What is this I don't even

I haven't made a practice of posting about random Catholic news/blog posts but this one was just too WTF? to let pass:

What happens when an entire country becomes infested with demons?

Even just the headline of the piece is dripping with insanity.

(This is also the new open thread; the previous one is getting a bit big.)

Friday, 12 June 2015

Estranged Notions: Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will: A Review of Alfred Mele’s “Free”

Today's post:

Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will: A Review of Alfred Mele’s “Free”

Feser attacks a strawman here by focusing on Libet's original experiments only, and completely ignoring the subsequent investigations along similar lines; the Wikipedia article Neuroscience of free will gives a useful summary.

The other issue of course is that “free will” is not exactly a well-defined concept, and “do we have free will” appears to be a wrong question.

(I hadn't previously noticed that Feser had written for that odious organ the City Journal, which seems to exist to distill out the worst of allegedly-‘intellectual’ conservatism and concentrate it in one steaming pile.)

Friday, 5 June 2015

Estranged Notions: How to Prove that Transcendentalism is True

Today's post is Kreeft's next bash at trying to refute reductionism:

How to Prove that Transcendentalism is True

While there is more of an actual substantive argument in this post than the last, the quality of the logic has not improved.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Estranged Notions: Why Reality Includes More (Not Less) Than You May Think

Today's post:

Why Reality Includes More (Not Less) Than You May Think

Kreeft thinks he can refute reductionism by means of inane schoolboy logic ("it's a universal negative claim! there could be a counterexample anywhere in the universe!"). Needless to say this position would be laughed at by any sane philosopher.

However Kreeft doesn't stop digging there; he plunges headlong into vitalism by claiming that "souls" can "defy" gravity—a living person can jump, a dead one generally can't—which makes me wonder whether he thinks that jumping cheetah robots have souls.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Estranged Notions: The 6 Varieties of Atheism (and Which Are Most Defensible)

Today's post:

The 6 Varieties of Atheism (and Which Are Most Defensible)

Unsurprisingly, Feser fails to avoid taking his usual potshots at his bêtes noires, the "New Atheists". Other than that his categorization is quite simplistic (and fascinating in that he doesn't seem to notice that he defines 9 varieties, not 6).