An anthology based on the NATURE OF NATURE conference at Baylor (April 12-15, 2000) has just come out (see the preceding post here at UD). All of the contributors to this anthology who were at the original conference have revised and updated their contributions, so the volume is thoroughly up to date. Many of the presenters at the original conference, however, were not represented in this volume. Mainly this was a matter of space limitations (the volume is even now at 500,000 words). As it is, the original conference had about 30 plenary speakers and another 35 or so concurrent speakers. A detailed description of the original NATURE OF NATURE conference can be found online here (scroll down) and is reprinted below:
THE NATURE OF NATURE:
An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Role of Naturalism in Science
April 12-15, 2000
Is the universe self-contained or does it require something beyond itself to explain its existence and internal function? Philosophical naturalism takes the universe to be self-contained, and it is widely presupposed throughout science. Even so, the idea that nature points beyond itself has recently been reformulated with respect to a number of issues. Consciousness, the origin of life, the unexpected effectiveness of mathematics at modeling the physical world, and the fine-tuning of universal constants are just a few of the problems that critics have claimed are incapable of purely naturalistic explanation. Do such assertions constitute arguments from incredulity – an unwarranted appeal to ignorance? If not, is the explanation of such phenomena beyond the pale of science? Is it, perhaps, possible to offer cogent philosophical and even scientific arguments that nature does point beyond itself? The aim of this conference is to examine such questions.
The building location key for the campus map, which will help you locate each of the sessions, is indicated in parentheses opposite each session on the schedule below. You will find a map of the campus in your conference packet. A brief description of each of the talks is given along with a short biography of each of the plenary and concurrent session speakers.
Bill Daniel Student Center (BDSC)
Cashion Academic Center (Cashion)
Memorial Residence Hall
Conference Registration and Campus Information Table — Cashion 5th Floor
Book Display — Cashion 5th Floor
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12
3:30, Pre-Conference Lecture:
The Herbert H. Reynolds Lecture in the History and Philosophy of Science
Fifth Floor, Cashion Academic Center
“Cloned Sheep, Headless Frogs, Human Futures: Meanings for the New Biology”
Everett Mendelsohn, Professor and Chair
Department of the History of Science
5:30-6:45, Buffet Dinner — Fountain Mall
7:00-7:15, Welcome and Opening Remarks — Cashion 510
Robert Sloan, President, Baylor University
William Dembski, Director, Michael Polanyi Center
7:15-9:45, Plenary Session: The Nature of Nature, Cashion 510
Moderator: Alvin Plantinga, University of Notre Dame
“The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism”
–Robert Koons, Philosophy, University of Texas, Austin
“Must Naturalists Be Realists?”
–Michael Williams, Philosophy, Northwestern University
“Are There Any Sound Arguments for Supernaturalism?
–Michael Tooley, Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder
THURSDAY, APRIL 13
8:00-10:00, Plenary Session: Are Evolution and Naturalism Compatible? — Cashion 510
Moderator: Bruce Gordon, Baylor University
“An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism”
–Alvin Plantinga, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
–William Talbott, Philosophy, University of Washington, Seattle
10:30 -12:30,Plenary Session: Naturalism and the History of Science — Cashion 510
Moderator: Stuart Rosenbaum, Baylor University
“Naturalistic Explanation and 19th Century Biology”
–Everett Mendelsohn, History of Science, Harvard University
“Science without God: Natural Laws and Christian Beliefs”
–Ronald Numbers, History of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison
“Naturalism and Natural Theology”
–Ernan McMullin, Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame
12:30-1:30, LUNCH — MRH
1:30-3:30, CONCURRENT SESSIONS
Session 1, DEBATE: Is There Direction and Purpose in Evolution?
“The Contingent Nature of Evolution”
–Michael Shermer, Well-Known Author, Editor of Skeptic Magazine
“The Direction of Evolution”
–Robert Wright, Well-Known Science Writer
Session 2, Miller Chapel
“Naturalism and the Nature of Philosophy”
–David Yandell, Philosophy, Loyola University, Chicago
“How Can God Do Anything?”
–Evan Fales, Philosophy, University of Iowa
Session 3, Cashion 101
“Application of Mathematics, Naturalism, and Underdetermination”
–Otavio Bueno, Philosophy, California State University, Fresno
“Can Naturalism in Psychology Tolerate the Objectivity of Norms?”
–Terry Winant, Philosophy, California State University, Fresno
“Naturalism and the Problem of Consciousness”
–Todd Moody, Philosophy, St. Joseph’s University
Session 4, Cashion 102
“Scientific Analysis of Paracelsus’ Late Conceptualization of Remedy Underlines Pantheistic Naturalism”
–Béatrice Anner, Pharmacology, Geneva University Medical School, Switzerland
“The Social Construction of Naturalism in 19th Century Debates about the Cambrian Explosion”
–Michael Keas, History of Science, Oklahoma Baptist University
“A Conceptual Bridge Between Intelligent Design and Darwinian Evolution”
–Robert DeHaan, Developmental Psychology, University of Chicago (Retired)
Session 5, Cashion 105
“Solar Ultraviolet Radiation is Finely Tuned to Enhance the Survival of Many Forms of Life”
–Forrest Mims III, Solar and Atmospheric Physics, Sun Photometer Atmospheric Network
“Information, Entropy and the Origin of Life”
–Walter Bradley, Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University
“Does Quantum Theory Pose a Problem for Naturalistic Metaphysics?”
–Bruce Gordon, Philosophy of Science, Baylor University
“Natural Theology: Cosmic Coincidences, Carbon, and Conundrums”
–Allen Utke, Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh (Emeritus)
Session 6, Cashion 107
“The Nature of Nature: A Perspective from Traditional Christianity”
–Rudolf Brun, Biology, Texas Christian University
“Naturalism in New Testament Studies”
–Jay Richards, Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute
“An Evidentiary Challenge to Naturalism: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of the Effects of Remote Intercessory Prayer on Coronary Care Unit Patients”
–William Harris, Medicine, University of Missouri, Kansas City
“The Impotence of the Gap Argument”
–John Mark Reynolds, Philosophy, Biola University
“Is Natural Selection a Biological Designer?”
–Paul Nelson, Philosophy of Biology, Senior Research Fellow, Discovery Institute
“Junk DNA: A Case History in the Interpretation and Reinterpretation of Data”
–Timothy Standish, Biology, Andrews University
4:00-6:00, Plenary Session: Does Science Support Naturalism?
Moderator: Robert Koons, University of Texas, Austin
“Naturalism as a Non-Issue”
–Steven Weinberg, Theoretical Physics, University of Texas, Austin
“Science and Theism: Conflict or Coherence?”
— Henry F. Schaeffer III, Quantum Chemistry, University of Georgia, Athens
6:00-7:30, DINNER — Fountain Mall
FRIDAY, APRIL 14
8:00-9:00, Plenary Session: Biological Complexity I — Cashion 510
“What’s Inevitable in Evolution?”
— Simon Conway Morris, Paleontology, University of Cambridge
9:30-12:30, Plenary Session: Biological Complexity II — Cashion 510
Moderator: Simon Conway Morris, University of Cambridge
“What Counts as Evidence of Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design?”
–Michael Behe, Biochemistry, Lehigh University
“Mysteries of Life: Is There ‘Something Else’?”
–Christian de Duve, Cytology and Biochemistry, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
“On the Evolvability of Gene (and Other) Regulatory Systems”
–Mark Ptashne, Molecular Biochemistry, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
12:30-1:30, LUNCH — MRH
1:30-3:30, Plenary Session: The Origin of Biological Information — Cashion 510
Moderator: Horace Freeland Judson, George Washington University
“DNA and the Origin of Life: Information, Specification and Explanation”
–Stephen Meyer, Philosophy of Science, Director, Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture
“On the Emergence of Semiotic Information in Macromolecular Systems”
–Sahotra Sarkar, Philosophy of Biology, University of Texas, Austin
4:00-6:0, Plenary Session: Cosmology — Cashion 510
Moderator: Robin Collins, Messiah College
“How Well Can We Understand Cosmology with the Principles of Physics?”
–Alan Guth, Theoretical Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Cosmic Evolution as the Manifestation of Divine Activity”
–Howard Van Till, Astronomy and Physics, Calvin College
“Naturalism and the Origin of the Universe”
–William Lane Craig, Philosophy, Biola University
6:30 – 9:30, Conference Banquet and Banquet Lecture — Fountain Mall
Remarks by Donald Schmeltekopf, Provost, Baylor University
“Speculations about Conceptual Blocks”
–Prof. Horace Freeland Judson, Director, Center for History of Recent Science, George Washington University
SATURDAY, APRIL 15
8:00-10:00, Plenary Session: Naturalism and Ethics — Barfield Room, 2nd Floor BDSC
Moderator: J. Budziszewski, University of Texas, Austin
“Naturalism’s Incapacity to Capture the Good Will”
–Dallas Willard, Philosophy, University of Southern California
“Thomistic Natural Law as Darwinian Natural Right”
–Larry Arnhart, Political Science, Northern Illinois University
10:30-12:30, Plenary Session: Naturalism and the Barfield Room, 2nd Floor BDSC
Effectiveness of Mathematics
Moderator: William Dembski, Baylor University
“Effectiveness Without Design: A Naturalist Philosophy of Mathematics”
–Edward Zalta, Senior Research Scholar, Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University
“The Unreasonable Uncooperativeness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences ”
–Mark Wilson, Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh
12:30-1:30, LUNCH — MRH
1:30-3:30, CONCURRENT SESSIONS
“Evolutionary Naturalism and the Reduction of Ethical Demand”
–John Hare, Philosophy, Calvin College
“The Limits of Reductive Materialism: Dualistic Theory in Recent Scientific Accounts of Human Altruism”
–Jeffrey Schloss, Biology, Westmont College
“Can Evolutionary Algorithms Generate Specified Complexity?”
–William Dembski, Probability and Complexity Theory, Baylor University
“Can an Inflationary Many-Universes Hypothesis Explain the Fine-Tuning?”
–Robin Collins, Philosophy of Science, Messiah College
Session 3, Houston Room, BDSC
“Naturalism and Material Objects”
–Michael Rea, Philosophy, University of Deleware
“Teleology, Free Will, and Materialism”
–Stewart Goetz, Philosophy, Ursinus College
Session 4, Lipscomb Room, BDSC
“Science and Naturalism: Life Without Design, Purpose, and Meaning”
–Steven Schafersman, Geology, University of Texas, Permian Basin
“The Design Inference: Methodological Naturalism to the Rescue”
–Robert O’Connor, Philosophy, Wheaton College
“Agency, Explanation, and Evolution”
–Stephen Griffith, Philosophy, Lycoming College
“Can Natural Law Lead Science Beyond Naturalism?”
–Karl Stephan, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachussetts, Amherst
Session 5, Claypool Room, BDSC
“Complex Idea Systems in Biological Organisms and a Conjecture as to their Origins”
–Arne Wyller, Astrophysics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Retired)
“Can a Conscious Universe Obviate Philosophical Naturalism and Vanguard Physical Teleology?
–Richard Amoroso, Philosophy of Mind, Noetic Advanced Studies Institute
“Finding God in Prozac, or Finding Prozac in God: Preserving a Christian View of the Person Amidst a Biopsychological Revolution”
–Michael Boivin, Psychology, Indiana Wesleyan University
Session 6, Cowden Room, BDSC
“The Place of Teleology in Nature”
— James Barham, History of Science, Independent Scholar
“A Problem of Evil for Naturalism”
–R. Douglas Geivett
4:30-6:30, Plenary Session: Neuroscience and Consciousness — Cashion 510
Moderator: David Berlinski, Université Interdisciplinaire de Paris, France
“Current Research Into Consciousness”
–John Searle, Philosophy and Cognitive Science, University of California, Berkeley
“Theism and Nonreductive Physicalism: Why Christians Should Appreciate John Searle’s
Account of the Mind”
–Nancey Murphy, Theology and Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Neurogenesis and Being a Person”
–Howard Ducharme, Philosophy, University of Akron, Ohio
6:30-9:00, Dinner for plenary and concurrent speakers at the Northwood Inn
END OF CONFERENCE
BIOSKETCHES OF PLENARY SPEAKERS
AND A SHORT DESCRIPTION OF EACH TALK:
Larry Arnhart: “Thomistic Natural Law as Darwinian Natural Right”
This paper defends a Darwinian ethical naturalism as part of the natural law tradition of Thomas Aquinas.
Larry Arnhart is Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University. His B.A. is from the University of Dallas, and his Ph.D. is from the University of Chicago. He teaches courses in political philosophy, American political thought, and the philosophy of science. He is the author of three books: Aristotle on Political Reasoning: A Commentary on the “Rhetoric” (1981), Political Questions: Political Philosophy from Plato to Rawls (1987), and Darwinian Natural Right: The Biological Ethics of Human Nature (1998). He is currently writing a book on the biology of natural law from Thomas Aquinas to E. O. Wilson.
Michael Behe: “What Counts as Evidence of Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design?”
Several counterexamples proffered by scientific critics of a theory of intelligent design in biochemistry will themselves be critiqued, and the question of the falsifiability of intelligent design and Darwinism will be explored.
Michael J. Behe was awarded the Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1978 by the University of Pennsylvania. From 1978-1982 he did postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health. In 1985 he moved to Lehigh University where he is currently Professor of Biochemistry. In his career he has authored 40 technical papers and one book, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, which argues that living system at the molecular level are best explained as being the result of deliberate intelligent design. The book has been reviewed by the New York Times, Nature, Philosophy of Science, Christianity Today, and over 80 other publications. Behe and his wife reside near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with their eight children.
William Lane Craig: “Naturalism and the Origin of the Universe”
The paper explores in the light of modern cosmology the Leibnizian question of why the universe exists rather than nothing.
William Lane Craig earned a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Birmingham, England, before taking a doctorate in theology from the Ludwig Maximiliens Universität-München, Germany, at which latter institution he was for two years a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung. Having spent seven years at the Higher Institute of Philosophy of the Katholike Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, he is currently a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. He has authored over a dozen books, including The Kalam Cosmological Argument, Divine Forknowledge and Human Freedom, and Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology, as well as nearly a hundred articles in professional journals of philosophy and theology, including The Journal of Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science. He currently lives in Atlanta with his wife Jan and their two children Charity and John.
Simon Conway Morris: “What’s inevitable in evolution?”
This talk will address problems of constraints versus runaway “experimentation” in evolution, with special emphasis on convergence.
Simon Conway Morris was born 1951, and brought up in London, England. 1969-1972 BSc University of Bristol; 1972-1979 Cambridge, PhD student and then post-doc (Research Fellow at St John’s College) working on the Burgess Shale. From 1979-1983 he was at the Open University, and from 1983-present in the Earth Sciences at Cambridge, where he is now Full Professor and Fellow of St. John’s College. Conway Morris was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1990. He has been the recipient of various prizes, most recently the Lyell Medal of Geological Society of London. His principal research interests are the Cambrian “explosion” and early evolution of animals. He has widening interests in evolution and its implications for theology (and vice versa). He recently gave the Tarner Lectures, sponsored by Trinity College, Cambridge, on these issues. He has an immense admiration for G.K. Chesterton.
Christian de Duve: “Mysteries of Life : Is there ‘something else’?”
In this talk I argue that there is at present no valid scientific reason for rejecting purely naturalistic explanations of the nature, origin, and evolution of life.
Born in England in 1917 and educated in Belgium, Christian de Duve holds MD, M.Sc. and PhD. degrees from the Catholic University of Louvain. He has been professor of biochemistry at the medical faculty of that university between 1947 and 1985 and has, since 1962, been simultaneously associated with the Rockefeller University in New York as professor of biochemical cytology (until 1974) and as Andrew W.
Mellon professor from 1974 until 1988. He is also Founder-Administrator of the Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology (ICP), founded in Brussels in 1974. Christian de Duve’s work has been mainly in the area of cell biology. His discovery of lysosomes and peroxisomes has earned him the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, jointly with Albert Claude and George Palade. He is a member, among other organizations, of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Royal Society.
Howard Ducharme: “Neurogenesis and Being a Person”
This paper argues that recent discoveries of neurogenesis – the generation of new neurons in the adult brain – call for reconsideration of a Cartesian argument on the metaphysical nature of persons.
Howard M. Ducharme is Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Akron. He has written and lectured extensively on the metaphysical implications of contemporary science and the nature of persons, as well as a wide range of bioethical issues. Ducharme received his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. He did a graduate degree in Philosphy of Religion and an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Biology, and Philosophy. Professor Ducharme is also an Editorial Consultant to the Journal of the History of Philosophy, The Journal of Clinical Ethics, and Neurology (Journal of the American Academy of Neurology). He is Director of “2001–The Human Genome Odyssey Conference: The Science, Business, Law and Ethics of Engineering Human Life,” April 5-7, 2001. Related publications: “Personal Identity in Samuel Clarke”, Journal of the History of Philosophy 24 (July 1986): 359-383; “The Vatican’s Dilemma: On the Morality of IVF and the Incarnation,” Bioethics (January 1991):57-66; “Thrift-Euthanasia, In Theory and in Practice: A Critique of Non-Heart-Beating Organ Harvesting,”Law and Medicine, ed. by Andrew Lewis and Michael Freeman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
Alan Guth: “How Well Can We Understand Cosmology with the Principles of Physics?
In this talk I argue that while many properties of the universe remain obscure, much progress has been made in the scientific understanding of cosmology.
Alan J. Guth is the Victor F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Trained in particle theory at MIT, Guth held postdoctoral positions at Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) before returning to MIT as a faculty member in 1980. His work in cosmology began at Cornell, when Henry Tye persuaded him to study the production of magnetic monopoles in the early universe. Using standard assumptions, they found that far too many would be produced. Continuing this work at SLAC, Guth discovered that the magnetic monopole glut could be avoided by a new proposal which he called the inflationary universe. Guth is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Guth continues to work on the cosmological consequences of particle theory, and is the author numerous articles in technical journals and of The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origin (Addison-Wesley/Perseus Books, 1997).
Horace Freeland Judson: “Speculations about Conceptual Blocks”
In this talk I discuss several anecdotes from the history of science that illustrate how preconceptions or expectations have created conceptual blocks to scientific discovery, and further speculate about this phenomenon.
Horace Freeland Judson is Director of the Center for History of Recent Science, and Research Professor of History, at The George Washington University. He calls himself a writer by trade, an academic by accident. In a checkered career, he has been editor, advertising copywriter, book reviewer, theatre and art critic, foreign correspondent (seven years for Time as Arts & Sciences Correspondent in London and Paris), social historian, and author of a number of books. He is best known for The Eighth Day of Creation, a history of molecular biology and its makers from its origins to the early nineteen-seventies. An expanded edition of the book appeared in November of 1996. Other books he has written are The Techniques of Reading; Heroin Addiction in England; and The Search for Solutions. His academic accidents have included nine years as Henry R. Luce Professor at Johns Hopkins University and four years as Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University. He has been a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.Prize in 1987. He is completing a book with the working title Truth’s Trumpet Cracked, about fraud and other misconduct in science, and another, Our Thumbprints in Our Clay, about the technology of the gene.
Robert Koons: “The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism”
I argue in this paper that naturalism (taken as the conjunction of an ontological thesis about what exists and a metaphysical thesis about the nature of intentional representation) is logically inconsistent with scientific realism, given a widely accepted thesis about the practice of theory choice in physics (namely, the preference for a kind of simplicity).
Robert C. Koons is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating from Michigan State University, he attended Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship, receiving First Class Honours in 1981. He received a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1987 from UCLA under Tyler Burge. His first book, Paradoxes of Belief and Strategic Rationality, a study of Liar-like paradoxes in the social sciences, received the Gustave Arlt Prize in Humanities in 1992. His forthcoming book, Realism Regained: An Exact Theory of Causation, Teleology, and the Mind, will be published this summer by Oxford University Press.
Ernan McMullin: “Naturalism and Natural Theology”
In this talk I discuss how one might relate the natural theologies of earlier centuries to the methodological naturalism of contemporary science.
Rev. Ernan McMullin (Ph.D., Louvain) is John Cardinal O’Hara Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. His areas of specialization are the philosophy of science, history of the philosophy of science, and science and religion. Books he has written or edited are: (editor) The Concept of Matter 1963; (editor) Galileo, Man of Science (1967); Newton on Matter and Activity (1978); (editor) Evolution and Creation (1985); (editor) Construction and Constraint: The Shaping of Scientific Rationality (1988); (edited with James Cushing) Philosophical Consequences of Quantum Theory (1989); (editor) The Social Dimensions of Science (1992); The Inference That Makes Science (1992). Some of his recent articles are:”Indifference Principle and Anthropic Principle in Cosmology,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science (1993); “Enlarging the Known World,” in Physics and Our View of the World (1994); “Galileo on Science and Scripture,” in The Cambridge Companion to Galileo (1998); “Cosmic Purpose and the Contingency of Human Evolution,” Theology Today (1998); “Materialist Categories,” Science and Education (1999); “Biology and the Theology of Human Nature,” in Controlling our Destinies (1999).
Everett Mendelsohn: “Naturalistic Explanation and 19th Century Biology”
This talk examines several key 19th Century texts in which a conscious choice is made to limit the forms of explanation to the natural and to actively exclude other types of explanation of biological phenomena.
Everett Mendelsohn is Professor and Chair of the History of Science at Harvard University, where he has been on the faculty since 1960. He has worked extensively on the history of the life sciences as well as on aspects of the social and sociological history of science and the relations of science and modern societies. He is the founder and former editor of the Journal of the History of Biology and serves(d) on the editorial boards of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Social Science and Medicine, Social Epistemology, Social Studies of Science, and Fundamenta Scientiae, among others. He is past president of the International Council for Science Policy Studies and has been deeply involved in the relations between science and modern war as a founder of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Committee on Science, Arms Control, and National Security, and the American Academy of Arts and Science’s Committee on International Security Studies. He was a founder and first president of the Cambridge based Institute for Peace and International Security. He was awarded the Gregor Mendel Medal of the reorganized Czechoslovak Academy of Science in 1991. During 1994 he held the Olof Palme Professorship in Sweden. Among recent publications are the jointly edited volumes, The Practices of Human Genetics (1999); Biology as Society, Society as Biology: Metaphors (1994); Technology, Pessimism and Postmodernism (1993); Science, Technology, and the Military (1988), and numerous articles for academic journals.
“DNA and the Origin of Life: Information, Specification and Explanation.”
DNA exhibits a specified complexity of information content, the origin of which cannot be explained adequately by undirected evolutionary mechanisms.
Stephen Meyer is a professor of philosophy at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. He holds a B.S. in physics and geology from Whitworth College, and an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University. He specializes in the philosophy of biology, particularly origin of life studies, the structure of evolutionary arguments, and the methodological character of the historical sciences. He has published a variety of technical articles in journals and collections, as well as popular ones in the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. Meyer is a fellow of the Pascal Center, and is the Director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.
“Theism and Nonreductive Physicalism: Why Christians Should Appreciate John Searle’s Account of the Mind”
This paper begins by articulating theological, biblical, scientific and philosophical grounds for rejecting mind-body dualism, and then argues that a non-reductive physicalism similar to John Searle’s account of the mind can meet the challenges facing it, and actually is more consistent with the theism of the Semitic religions than the dualism that has long been a part of them.
Nancey Murphy is Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. She holds a B.A. in philosophy and psychology from Creighton University, a Ph.D. in philosophy of science from U.C. Berkeley, and a Th.D. from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley. Her research interests focus on the role of modern and postmodern philosophy in shaping Christian theology, and on relations between theology and science. Her first book, Theology in an Age of Scientific Reasoning, won the American Academy of Religion award for excellence and a Templeton Prize for books in science and theology. She has authored five other books dealing with topics in science, religion and ethics, and co-edited six volumes, two of which deal with the implications of the neurosciences for theology and the understanding of human nature. Murphy is also an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren.
Ronald Numbers: “Science without God: Natural Laws and Christian Beliefs.”
This paper discusses the history of methodological naturalism and the role Christians played in promoting it.
Ronald L. Numbers is Hilldale and William Coleman Professor of the History of Science and Medicine and chair of the Department of the History of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has taught for over a quarter-century. He has written or edited more than two dozen books, including, most recently, The Creationists (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), Darwinism Comes to America (Harvard University Press, 1998), and Disseminating Darwinism: The Role of Place, Race, Religion, and Gender (Cambridge University Press, 1999), coedited with John Stenhouse. For five years (1989-1993) he edited Isis, the flagship journal of the history of science. He is writing a history of science in America (for Cambridge University Press), editing a series of monographs on the history of medicine, science, and religion for the Johns Hopkins University Press, and coediting, with David Lindberg, the eight-volume Cambridge History of Science. He is the immediate past president of the American Society of Church History and the current president of the History of Science Society. A former Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the International Academy of the History of Science.
Alvin Plantinga: “An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism”.
In my paper I argue that the conjunction of naturalism with current evolutionary theory is self-defeating; the probability that our cognitive faculties are reliable, given naturalism (N) and the proposition that our faculties have arisen by way of the mechanisms suggested by current evolutionary theory (E), is low or inscrutable; either gives one who accepts N&E a defeater for the proposition that his cognitive faculties are reliable, but then also a defeater for anything else he believes, including N&E itself.
Alvin Plantinga (Ph.D., Yale), is John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion. Prior to that he taught at Calvin College for 19 years, and has been a visiting professor at a number of places including Harvard, Arizona, Oxford, and UCLA. He specializes in epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. He is the author of numerous journal articles and several books, including: God and Other Minds (1967); The Nature of Necessity (1974); God, Freedom & Evil (1974); Does God Have a Nature? (1980); Warrant: the Current Debate (1993); Warrant and Proper Function (1993); and Warranted Christian Belief (2000).
“On the Evolvability of Gene (and Other) Regulatory Systems”
Complicated gene regulatory systems are constructed by reiterative uses of simple (and rather crude) molecular interactions – they are thus highly “evolvable.”
Mark Ptashne holds the Ludwig Chair of Molecular Biology at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, and is the Principal Investigator of the Gene Regulation Laboratory at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Sciences, and the New York Academy of Sciences. He is the author of over 160 articles in scientific journals and collections, and a book entitled A Genetic Switch, Phage Lambda and Higher Organisms. His work in molecular biochemistry has been honored with a variety of awards, including the Massry Prize, the Lasker Award and le Prix Charles-Leopold Mayer of the French Academy of Sciences (with Walter Gilbert). He was educated at Reed College and Harvard University, and taught at Harvard, where he was the Herschel Smith Professor of Molecular Biology before moving to the Sloan-Kettering Institute in 1997.
Sahotra Sarkar: “On the Emergence of Semiotic Information in Macromolecular Systems.”
This paper analyzes the ongoing controversy about the role of informational thinking in molecular biology and constructs some speculative scenarios for the origin of informational systems from underlying macromolecular reactions during the early evolution of semi-living systems.
Sahotra Sarkar is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director, Program in the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Texas at Austin. He is also a Research Associate of the Redpath Museum, McGill University, Montreal. Sarkar was born 22 October 1961, in Calcutta, India. He attended Columbia University (1977 -82, BA 1981), and the University of Chicago (1981 -89, PhD 1989). He taught at McGill University (1994-1998). Senior Fellow, Sidney Edelstein Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1993); Fellow, Dibner Institue at MIT (1993 -94): Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (1996-97); Resident Scholar, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (1997 -98). He is the author of Genetics and Reductionism (CUP, 1998), and the editor of several books: Founders of Evolutionary Genetics (Kluwer, 1992), The Philosophy and History of Molecular Biology: New Perspectives (Kluwer, 1996), and Science and Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: Basic Works of Logical Empiricism (6 volumes, Garland, 1996).
Henry F. Schaefer III: “Science and Theism: Conflict or Coherence?”
This talk examines the history and current status of the “warfare metaphor” for the relationship between science and theology, and argues that this is not how the relationship should be conceived, illustrating the point by considering the views of a variety of distinguished scientists, both historical and contemporary.
Henry F. Schaefer III was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1944. He received his B.S. in chemical physics from M.I.T. in 1966, and Ph.D. degree in the same from Stanford University in 1969. For 18 years (1969-1987) he served as a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. During the 1979-1980 academic year he was also Wilfred T. Doherty Professor of Chemistry and inaugural Director of the Institute for Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin. Since 1987 Dr. Schaefer has been Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia. His other academic appointments include Professeur d’Echange at the University of Paris (1977), Gastprofessur at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochshule (ETH), Zurich (1994, 1995, 1997), and David P. Craig Visiting Professor at the Australian National University (1999). He is the author of more than 800 scientific publications, the majority appearing in the Journal of Chemical Physics or the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He is the recipient of five honorary degrees. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the London-based journal Molecular Physics and President of the World Association of Theoretically Oriented Chemists. His major awards include the American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry (1979), the American Chemical Society Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award (1983), the Schrodinger Medal (1990), and the Centenary Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (London, 1992). His research involves the use of state-of-the-art computational hardware and theoretical methods to solve important problems in molecular quantum mechanics.
John Searle: “Current Research into Consciousness”.
In this talk I will discuss how we can have an account of consciousness as a natural biological process that occurs in the brain in the way that, for example, digestion is a natural biological process that occurs in the stomach.
John R. Searle is the Mills Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language at the University of California at Berkeley. Born in Denver, educated at University of Wisconsin and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, John Searle began teaching at Oxford in 1956, moving to Berkeley in 1959. He has written ten books and more than 100 articles. His works have been translated into 20 languages.
William Talbott: “Naturalism Undefeated”
In this paper I argue that Plantinga’s argument against naturalism is unsuccessful.
William J. Talbott is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Washington. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Princeton and his doctorate from Harvard. He has published articles in epistemology, moral and political philosophy, and rational choice theory. He is currently working on a book in epistemology, to be titled Learning from Experience, and a book in political philosophy, to be titled Why Human Rights Should be Universal.
Michael Tooley: “Are there any Sound Arguments for Supernaturalism?”
In this talk I shall take a brief, critical look at some central arguments for supernaturalism, and I shall argue that all of them are unsatisfactory.
Michael Tooley is a graduate of the University of Toronto (B.A., 1964) and Princeton University (Ph.D., 1968). He has been a professor of philosophy at the University of Miami and at the University of Western
Australia, and a senior research fellow at the Australian National University, and he is presently a professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the author of three books – Abortion and Infanticide (1983), Causation: A Realist Approach (1987), and Time, Tense, and Causation (1997), as well as the editor of a number of collections on causation and analytical metaphysics. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities, and has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and President of the Australasian Association of Philosophy.
Howard Van Till: “Cosmic Evolution as the Manifestation of Divine Creativity”
In my paper I argue that, contrary to popular rhetoric, evolutionary cosmologies do not eliminate the need for a Creator but instead they entail exceptionally high expectations regarding both the creativity and the generosity exercised by a Creator.
Howard J. Van Till is Professor (emeritus) of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After graduating from Calvin College in 1960, he earned his Ph.D. in physics from Michigan State University in 1965. Dr. Van Till’s research experience includes both solid state physics and millimeter-wave astronomy. During the past two decades he has devoted a considerable portion of his writing and speaking efforts to topics regarding the relationship of science and theology. Having concluded that the usual creation/evolution debate is the product of serious misunderstandings, Van Till’s goal is to encourage a non-adversarial and mutually informative engagement of Christian theology and the natural sciences. He is the author of several books, book chapters, and essays on this theme and has spoken at numerous universities and colleges.
Steven Weinberg: “Naturalism as a Non-Issue.”
In my talk I argue that naturalism is not a doctrine, but at most an attitude, one that is — in every sense — natural.
Steven Weinberg holds the Josey Regental Chair of Science at the University of Texas at Austin, and is a member of its Physics and Astronomy Departments. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences He is the author of Gravitation and Cosmology, The First Three Minutes, The Discovery of Subatomic Particles, Dreams of a Final Theory, and The Quantum Theory of Fields, and has been an occasional contributor to The New York Review of Books and other periodicals. His work in physics has been honored with numerous prizes, including in 1979 the Nobel Prize in Physics and in 1991 the National Medal of Science. Educated at Cornell, Copenhagen, and Princeton, he also holds honorary doctoral degrees a from dozen American and foreign universities. He taught at Columbia, Berkeley, M.I.T., and Harvard before coming to Texas in 1982.
Dallas Willard: “Naturalism’s Incapacity to Capture the Good Will”
In this paper I will argue that intention is the fundamental locus of moral value and, following Kant, that the only unconditional good in the domain of moral values is a good will – something for which no consistent form of naturalism can give an account, or even comprehend. The paper will begin with a discussion of how naturalism and the ethical aspect of human life are to be understood, since these are topics of much present confusion.
Dallas Willard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, where he has been since 1965. He also taught at the University of Wisconsin Madison (1964-65), and has had visiting appointments at UCLA (1969) and University of Colorado (1984). He is the author of Logic and the Objectivity of Knowledge (1984), and The Divine Conspiracy (1998), among other books. He is currently working on a new book, to be entitled The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge: An Essay on Ethical Thought in the 20th Century.
“Must Naturalists be Realists?”
It is argued in this paper that philosophical naturalists do not have to be realists, and in fact they should not be realists. A deflationary approach to metaphysical and truth-related issues provides a superior point of view.
Michael Williams is presently the Charles and Emma Morrison Professor of Humanities at Northwestern University, but will be joining the Philosophy Department of Johns Hopkins University in the fall of 2000. He was educated at Oxford and Princeton, where he received his Ph.D. in 1973, and prior to Northwestern, taught at Yale and the University of Maryland. His areas of specialization are the theory of knowledge, skepticism, philosophy of language, and the history of modern philosophy. He is the author of numerous journal articles and three books, Groundless Belief: An Essay on the Possibility of Epistemology (1977, reissued with a new afterword in 1999), Unnatural Doubts: Epistemological Realism and the Basis of Scepticism (1994), and Problems of Knowledge (forthcoming from Oxford later this year). He is currently working on a new book entitled Curious Researches: Reflections on Scepticism, Ancient and Modern.
Mark Wilson: “The Unreasonable Uncooperativeness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences”
A number of writers (Eugene Wigner; Mark Steiner) suggest that the surprising applicabilty of mathematics to physics poses a “philosophical problem.” In this talk I will survey what might possibly be intended in such a claim.
Mark Wilson (Ph.D, Harvard, 1976) is professor of philosophy and a fellow of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Before coming to Pittsburgh, he taught at the University of California-San Diego, the University of Illinois-Chicago and Ohio State. His main research investigates the manner in which physical and mathematical concerns often become entangled with issues characteristic of metaphysics and philosophy of language; he is currently writing a book on the subject. He is also interested in the historical dimensions of this interchange; in this vein, he has written on Descartes, Frege, Duhem and
Wittgenstein. He has also published a number of recordings of traditional folk musicians.
Edward Zalta: “Effectiveness Without Design: A Naturalist Philosophy of Mathematics”
If we (i) axiomatize the abstract objects that serve as the subject matter of possible mathematical theories, and (ii) argue that the axioms which do this are justified by the fact that they ground the possibility of scientific theories, we can (a) reconcile a platonist philosophy of mathematics with philosophical naturalism, and (b) begin to offer a naturalist explanation of the effectiveness of mathematics in the sciences.
Edward N. Zalta is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University. His research specialties include Metaphysics and Epistemology, Philosophy of Language and Intensional Logic, and the Philosophy of Mathematics. Zalta has published two books: Abstract Objects: An Introduction to Axiomatic Metaphysics, D. Reidel, 1983; and Intensional Logic and the Metaphysics of Intentionality, MIT, 1988) and articles in the Journal of Philosophy, the Journal of Philosophical Logic, Nous, and elsewhere. Zalta has taught courses at Stanford University, Rice University, the University of Salzburg, and the University of Auckland, and has presented talks in various universities in North America, Europe and Australasia. He also designed and serves as the Principal Editor of the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Further information and a list of publications can be obtained from http://mally.stanford.edu/zalta.html.
LIST OF CONCURRENT SPEAKERS
Richard Amoroso, Béatrice Anner, James Barham, Michael Boivin,Walter Bradley, Rudolf Brun, Otavio Bueno, Robin Collins, Robert DeHaan, William Dembski, Evan Fales, R. Douglas Geivett, Stewart Goetz, Bruce Gordon, Stephen Griffith, John Hare, William Harris, Michael Keas, Forrest Mims III, Todd Moody, Paul Nelson, Robert O’Connor, Michael Rea, John Mark Reynolds, Jay Richards, Steven Schafersman, Jeffrey Schloss, Michael Shermer, Timothy Standish, Karl Stephan, Allen Utke, Terry Winant, Robert Wright, Arne Wyller, David Yandell.
ABOUT THE MICHAEL POLANYI CENTER: The Michael Polanyi Center (MPC) is a cross-disciplinary research and educational initiative focused on advancing the understanding of science. It has a fourfold purpose: (1) to support and pursue research in the history and conceptual foundations of the natural and social sciences; (2) to study the impact of contemporary science on the humanities and the arts; (3) to be an active participant in the growing dialogue between science and religion; and (4) to pursue the mathematical development and empirical application of design-theoretic concepts in the natural sciences.