Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: The Bible Among The Myths

It is quite common to hear or see people include the Bible as just another piece of ancient near east mythology that may be rejected as having no applicability to reality. John Oswalt decided to investigate this claim and address it directly in his book The Bible Among The Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? (Kindle, softcover, promo video). This book comes to me by recommendation of several people, and the introduction alone sparked great excitement to dig in quickly and deeply. This review will be a chapter-by-chapter summary and will include some of my concluding thoughts.

Part 1: The Bible and Myth
Chapter 1: The Bible In Its World
Oswalt begins by providing the historical context. He takes the reader quickly through Greek philosophy, which was based on the idea that something cannot be and not be at the same time (the law of non-contradiction). The Greek philosophers struggled (and lost) for acceptance of this radical idea in their culture. At roughly the same time the Hebrew idea of a single God, who created the universe, (an idea also unique among cultures of the time) was under attack in the mind of the very people who carried the tradition because of the rising military powers, which affirmed contradicting theologies, that eventually overtook the nature of Israel. However, this "set the stage" for Jesus Christ to come on the scene and bring these two culturally independent yet correct understandings of reality together into one consistent worldview that is now known as "Christianity." A single God, who created the universe, is the metaphysical foundation for the law of non-contradiction that his creation (and the rest of reality, for that matter) adheres to. The Christian worldview was necessary for logic and science to fully develop and fully function (seemingly) independently. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Is Your View Falsifiable?

Introduction
It is quite common to be in discussions about worldviews and scientific evidence and the issue of falsifiability comes up. Usually one side offers several pieces of evidence that they believe shows the other worldview to be false, but the other person has a logical answer to rebut their claims of incompatibility. The skeptic, in frustration, often claims that the opposing view is therefore "unfalsifiable" on the adherent's view. The skeptic believes that the other person is somehow cheating and denying the possibility that their worldview could be falsified. For if something is not falsifiable, then it cannot be considered scientific (and is often labeled as "pseudoscience"). The term "unfalsifiable" is tossed around a lot, but it is unclear whether those hurling it at their "opponents" actually know what it means or how to properly apply it to the opposing worldview (or their own). So today I want to take some time to examine falsifiability to clear up some misconceptions.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Programming of Life

Introduction
"Programming of Life" by Donald E. Johnson (paperback or video) came to my attention fairly recently. The prospect of a case for God's existence being made from my area of training (computer science) especially caught my attention. The fact that the author is formally trained in both information science and biochemistry seemed to give him a unique set of credentials to authoritatively compare the code in DNA to computer programming code. The book is short at only 127 pages (included appendixes) and is divided into nine chapters. This review will be a chapter-by-chapter summary, but should not be confused with providing Johnson's case comprehensively or precisely.