Rogue Scholar Posts

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Published in Quintessence of Dust
Author Stephen Matheson

For five years through 2018, our humanist community, the Humanist Hub*, met every Sunday afternoon at our suite in Harvard Square for fellowship, music, and a speaker. Our advisory board included luminaries of humanism such as Rebecca Goldstein, Steven Pinker, and Dan Dennett. These friends of the organization regularly spoke at Humanist Hub events.

Published in Quintessence of Dust
Author Stephen Matheson

A few days ago I wrote about scientific thinking as an antidote to intuition. Not just an alternative to it, but something like the opposite of intuition. The intentional, energy-consuming move to a systematic deliberative mode of thought is utterly different from the easy and instantaneous nature of intuition.

Published in Quintessence of Dust
Author Stephen Matheson

As I work on a book that will claim that evolution is easy, I have a parallel task of exploring the reasons we sense that it is hard or even impossible. Some of those influences are the result of efforts by religions to maintain dependence on supernaturalism or to defend ancient sacred writings. Some are the result of antipathy to science itself, framed in terms of culture war.

Published in Quintessence of Dust
Author Stephen Matheson

I do apologize for this dull cliche, but I know I'm right about this: change is hard. I don't mean that it's hard to adapt after someone or something forces a change on you. That's true too, but it's not my topic here. I'm talking about this: you want to change, or you need to change, or both. You know what the change has to be. Maybe you know what the first step has to be. It's change, and it's hard.

Published in Quintessence of Dust
Author Stephen Matheson

Last month I wandered over to Evolution News and Views (ENV), a Discovery Institute (DI) blog, and read a piece by Casey Luskin on the topic of human/chimp common ancestry. I saw some stuff I didn't like, and left a comment, and an interesting exchange ensued. You can read it yourself, but here are some of my comments. Continue reading...

Published in Quintessence of Dust
Author Stephen Matheson

Here I'm continuing my discussion of the Signature in the Cell book-signing event at Biola University on 14 May. You'll want to read Parts I and II before reading on. My second question to Steve Meyer was the one question I most wanted to ask him, both out of personal curiosity and because I thought the answer would help demystify many of his claims. The exchange that resulted was memorable – on that, everyone seems to agree.

Published in Quintessence of Dust
Author Stephen Matheson

Last month, I read that Biologos (a Christian "think tank" that advances evolutionary creation) and Reasons To Believe (a Christian "think tank" that advances old-earth creationism) were reporting on a dialogue between their two organizations that was intended "to discuss areas of agreement and disagreement" with a particular focus on "the biological record of the past 700 million years." This is very interesting to me. My position

Published in Quintessence of Dust
Author Stephen Matheson

The Blind Watchmaker is a superb book by a masterful science writer. It's not just a book about evolution, or even about how evolution works. It's a book about how evolution explains design, and more specifically how natural selection accounts for design. As I wrote before, I consider chapter 3 to be the most important chapter of the book.