An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Intelligent design links

Ted Davis's article 'Intelligent design on trial' originally published in Religion in the News 8(3) Winter 2006 is now available on-line as a pdf: here.

Peter Williams, a philosopher with Damarius Trust, also has an on-line article on 'Theistic evolution and design in dialogue' at UCCF's apologetic website bethinking. It takes the form of a dialogue between a Christian biologist who advocates theistic evolution, a Christian philosopher who subscribes to ID, and agnostic who is also an IDer and a server in a university restaurant. In part it responds to a critique of ID by Denis Alexander.

Lenten blog on Volf's Free of Charge

Jason Clark has set up a new blog to blog through Miroslav Volf's Free of Charge during Lent. The blog is here.

Sunday, 26 February 2006

Is there a maths gene?

The University of Cambridge Department of Experimental Psychology is looking into the question: Is there a maths gene? At present they are looking for volunteers with Grade A at A-level, or a score of 700 or more on the maths section of the American SAT 1.

The project comprises two phases. In Phase 1 you will be asked to complete an online maths test. This will take about 20 minutes. You will then be asked to invite your siblings to participate, if they also have a Grade A maths A Level. In Phase 2, you will be invited to donate a DNA sample via a simple, quick and non-invasive cheek swab.

Once you and your sibling have both returned a DNA sample, you will be entered into a prize draw to win £250 (or equivalent in other currency) worth of Amazon vouchers to share. The draw will take place once data collection for this project is complete.

All participants must be aged 16 years or over. This study has been approved by the University Ethics Committee, all information remains confidential, and in Phase 2, DNA will be stored anonymously. You may withdraw your participation at any time without having to give a reason.

This though does raise the question - if there is a maths gene, do we screen students before admitting them to A-level maths, or even before going to study a maths degree at university? That would certainly improve retention and achievement! Do genes really determine who we are?

There is no evidence to suggest that genes do determine who we are, although we are influenced by them. If they did determine who we are then someone with a kleptomania gene might be able to plead 'it wasn't me guv, wot did it, it was me genes.'

Baus on societal sphere sovereignty

Gregory Baus has posted a copy of his paper on 'Dooyeweerd's societal sphere sovereignty' on his Reformatische blog. Bruce Wearne has already make some interesting remarks on the paper - see the comments.

Sphere sovereignty (Souvereinitet in eigen kring) is a concept developed by Abraham Kuyper and developed on a more philosophical foundation by Dooyeweerd. It insists that created boundaries have an intrinsic nature that should be affirmed and respected; for example, the church should be the church and not a business, or a school.

Gregory takes Dooyeweerd's conception and applies it to relationships between civil governments, societal communites and institutions.

Saturday, 25 February 2006

Friday, 24 February 2006

More by Seerveld

The wonderful Comment, the magazine of the Work Research Foundation, has another article by Calvin Seerveld . They have made available his piece 'Reading the Bible like a grown up child' as html and as a pdf. In the coming weeks the paper version of Comment will deal with reading the Bible - Gideon Strauss's excellent introduction is here.

Thursday, 23 February 2006

The philosophy and theology of kissing

Cynthia Nielsen's Per Caritem blog has a post on the philosophy of kissing, which includes the following:

Socratic kiss
. Really a Platonic kiss, but it's claimed to be the Socratic technique so it'll sound more authoritative; however, compared to most strictly Platonic kisses, Socratic kisses wander around a lot more and cover more ground.

Kantian kiss. A kiss that, eschewing inferior "phenomenal" contact, is performed entirely on the superior "noumenal" plane; though you don't actually feel it at all, you are, nonetheless, free to declare it the best kiss you've ever given or received.

Ben Myers, inspired by this, at Faith and theology looks at the theology of kissing:

Augustine: You awaken me to delight in your mouth, and my lips are restless until they're kissing you.

Luther: If the Word of God tells me to kiss, then I will kiss—and let the pope, the world and the devil be damned!

Adolf von Harnack: Jesus' own simple teaching about kissing was immediately eclipsed by the early Christians' Hellenistic approach to kissing.

Karl Barth: "I kiss you." There are three related problems to consider here. I kiss you. I kiss you. I kiss you.

Hans Urs von Balthasar
: Kissing is not only true and good, but it is beautiful.

Hans Küng: The Church's approach to kissing is in urgent need of the most radical and most far-reaching reform.

Wolfhart Pannenberg: One's first kiss is a proleptic anticipation of all that is still to come.

N. T. Wright: Every kiss is a dramatic enactment of our return from exile.

Billy Graham: Will you walk down the aisle and kiss me tonight? Will you do it tonight? You many never have another chance—you might be dead tomorrow!

Gerd Lüdemann
: After many years of careful research, I have decided to kiss my faith goodbye.

To which other have added:

Calvin(ism ): Even though you don't deserve me, I chose to kiss you.

Moltmann: A kiss is a present promise of the future hope. Yeah baby!

Karl Rahner
: We are all "anonymous kissers"

Marcus Borg: I'd like to kiss you again, for the first time.

Thomas Aquinas: "There are five ways to prove the existence of a kiss...."

Walter Brueggemann: "There is the kiss and the counterkiss and if one wins, we both lose."

Stanley Hauerwas
: "In the community established upon the principle of nonviolence, the question 'whom should I kiss' never arises - since to refuse to kiss is itself an act of violence. We kiss not because Jesus recommended it, but because in Jesus we discover that God is a kisser. So you'd all better damn well pucker up."

To which we might add:

Dooyeweerd: "Give us fifteen kisses - one for each modal aspect."

Saturday, 18 February 2006

Un blog accidental

Parlez-vous francais? If so then check out my blog in French here.

Science and religion quotes

...if the 'intelligent force' us so darn clever, how do you explain Dagenham?

Neil Willis 'Surfers' paradise' Third Way Winter 2006 29(1): 17

Thursday, 16 February 2006

Nestle get their maths wrong!

According to Nestle the makers of Smarties, Canadians eat enough Smarties to go round the Earth 350 times. A Grade 6 maths class in Ontario decided to put this claim to the test. It seems Nestle were wrong!

You can check their maths: according to Nestle Canadians eat 4 billion Smarties a year - the circumference of the Earth is approximately 40 000 km.

Friday, 10 February 2006

Can you find 30 books of the Bible?

There are 30 books of the Bible in this paragraph. Can you find them?

This is a most remarkable puzzle. It was found by a gentleman in an airplane Seat pocket on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu keeping him occupied for hours. He enjoyed it so much he passed it on to some friends. One friend from Illinois worked on this while fishing from his john boat. Another Friend studied it while playing his banjo. Elaine Taylor, a columnist friend, was so intrigued by it she mentioned it in her weekly newspaper column. Another friend judges the job of solving this puzzle so involving, she brews a cup of tea to help her nerves. There will be some names that are really easy to spot. That's a fact. Some people, however, will soon find themselves in a jam, especially since the book names are not necessarily capitalized. Thruthfully, from answers we get, we are forced to admit it usually takes a minister or scholar to see some of them at the worst. Research has shown that something in our genes is responsible for the difficulty we have in seeing the books in this paragraph. During a recent fund raising event, which featured this puzzle, the Alpha Delta Philemonade booth set a new sales record. The local paper, The Chronicle, surveyed over 200 patrons who reported that this puzzle was one of the most difficult they had ever seen. As Daniel Humana humble puts it, "the are all right there in the plain view hidden from sight." Those able to find all of them will hear great lamentations from those who have to be shown. One revelation that may help is that books like Timothy and Samuel may occur without their numbers. Also, keep in mind, that punctuation and spaces in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude will help you compete really well against those who claim to know the answers. Remember, there is no need for a mad exodus, there really are 30 books of the Bible lurking somewhere in the paragraph waiting to be found.
From Call of Kenya (Jan.-Mar.2006, a quarterly publication of Bible Translation and Literacy, East Africa: Nairobi Kenya.
[HT Peter Ruest ASA Mailing list]

Hans Rookmaaker complete works

Rookmaaker's complete works is now available on CD.

Hans Rookmaaker

There is an interesting piece on Hans Rookmaaker in Jan/ Feb 2006 Books and Culture . William Edgar writes:

During his lifetime, Hans Rookmaaker guided a great host of students into a strategy for understanding their times and working within their society with courage and creativity. His best-selling Modern Art and the Death of a Culture (IVP, 1970) was nothing short of a ground-breaking study of the surrounding culture, both in its threats and its promises. He dared to make sense of the steps to modern art by noting the general trend from a theocentric world to an absurd universe that lay behind the pictures. Malcolm Muggeridge, himself a returned prodigal, gave it a ringing endorsement on the pages of Esquire. Following in the tradition of the historian Groen van Prinsterer, the theologian-statesman Abraham Kuyper, and the philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd, Rookmaaker believed there was a spiritual background to Western painting which was the key to unlocking its meaning. However, unlike amateur attempts to reduce art to philosophy, Rookmaaker led the reader on a visit to hundreds of paintings, writings, and musical numbers, pausing to scrutinize their composition and motifs.

In another article Richard Russell has written:

Dooyeweerd's ideas profoundly influenced Hans Rookmaaker, playing a crucial role in his conversion, explicitly shaping his academic works like Synthetist Art Theories and implicit in his more popular writings like Modern Art and the Death of a Culture. In turn, Rookmaaker introduced Francis Schaeffer to some of Dooyeweerd's themes---a dependency that Schaeffer rarely, if ever, acknowledged.

Also on Rookmaaker:
Tapes available:


Linette Martin Hans Rookmaaker: A Biography (Hodders, 1979)

Laurel Gasque Hans Rookmaaker: An Open Life

A brief bio and description of the Rookmaaker archives held at Wheaton college here.

On Rookmaker

The importance of Hans Rookmaaker

Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker (editor) The Complete Works of Hans R. Rookmaaker (Piquant, 2002/3)


Art needs no justification (IVP, 1978) on-line version

Update: thanks to Gregory Baus the links have been updated and should work now.

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Review of Michael Ruse

The latest edition of Ars Disputadi - the on;ine journal of philosophy of religion - has a 15-page review of Michael Ruse's The Evolution-Creation Struggle by Stephen Craig Dilley. The abstract of the review reads:

In The Evolution-Creation Struggle, Michael Ruse seeks to answer, ‘Why is there so much controversy surrounding evolutionary theory?’ He does so by tracing the historical development of the theory and the two major reactions to it. These major reactions, for and against, are not just views about science, but full blooded ‘rival religions.’ They each have a system of origins, morality, and eschatology. So the conflict over evolutionary theory persists because it is a clash between incompatible worldviews. This review praises Ruse’s analysis on a number of points but also argues that he stumbles in three ways. First, he fails to explain that a key aspect of the origins debate concerns disagreement about the definition of science. Second, Ruse improperly uses his own (problematic) definition of science, with little argument, in order to rule competing views out of science. Third, Ruse misrepresents the epistemology of non-Darwinians as relying on faith, emotion and mystery instead of evidence, and reason.

Sunday, 5 February 2006


Eric Kamphof - the author of the Vollenhoven thesis here - has now started blogging here. He describes himself as:
... an ascetic misanthrope with a great love for people. Go figure. And yeah, I'm a Christian, but the hounds of heaven have sharp teeth, so I'm not terribly triumphalistic about it. I'm into reformational philosophy, post-structuralist feminism and medieval philosophy. It's a disparate mess, but the grand synthesis resolves itself with my deep
interest in philosophical anthropology.

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A creation crisis in Christian colleges?

Is there a creation crisis in Christian colleges? Kurt Wise thinks so.

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Friday, 3 February 2006

History news

Albert Gedraitis has recently started a History news section on his Reformational Clisosophy website. His most recent entry is on Burkean conservatism.

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Eric Kamphof's Vollenhoven thesis now on-line

I have just put up Eric J. Kamphof's ICS thesis on Vollenhoven on-line on the All of Life Redeemed website. It is available as a 183 page pdf here. Eric tells me that the more creative Vollenhovians love it, but the more conservative hate it!

Robert Sweetman writes in the Vollenhoven newsletter:
Eric Kamphof successfully defended his master’s thesis entitled, “The Triunity of Life: On the Unity of the Vollenhovian Project” on 4 October 2004. The thesis represents a very creative interaction with the “English Vollenhoven”. ... The thesis explores whether Vollenhoven’s logic and epistemology might provide a fruitful perspective from which to view the unity of Vollenhoven’s systematic and historical work. But the thesis moves beyond Vollenhoven in taking a number of independent positions on the relationship between normative and structural law, between the law of the Spirit and positive law, and on the nature of the thus-so and the genetic determinations.