Nov 24, 2011

New Testament reliability

The number of manuscripts is not the whole story of course, but it's still interesting.

Nov 21, 2011


This is my 300th post. That probably doesn't include the one or two that I've deleted, realising that they were a bit too offensive in hindsight. I think there's some interesting stuff here anyway, along with much that is inane, bizarre or irrelevant. I'm considering starting a new blog which would include the most coherent thoughts from this one, while being more carefully edited and perhaps including some photos of nature rather than wikipedia images, but we'll see...

I quite like Plato, from what little I have read that is attributed to him. I also like Nietzsche in how straight-up he is. This quote relates and contrasts the two, along with the incarnation, in a way that I find quite brilliant.

"Nietzsche loves the real world of ever-changing dynamism over Plato's realm of unchanging forms, but God loves this world more. In fact, in joy he created its diverse forms of life and his providence keeps history's ever-moving, ever-changing dynamism in play. It was not by the self's escape from this world and embodiment to achieve union with the upper world, but by God's becoming flesh that salvation has been brought to the earth.
That which actually happens in this world, not what philosophers argue must be the case should always take precedence. For that very reason, the gospel's claims must be allowed to disorient and reorient our presuppositions about God and the world."

Nov 9, 2011

speeding out of the rat race

talking about time, here's a clip about what happens when you give rats drugs - specifically marijuana and cocaine (not at once though - intriguing possibility however).

I'm currently learning (studying/cramming I guess) about rats and cocaine with relation to neurotransmitter transport. Fun stuff.

Nov 6, 2011

on time (and out of time)

The nature of our nation
abundantly displays
yes, portrays
the beauty of creation

the tui in the tree
flitted and swooped
then settled
- and sang, next to me

mid-gray clouds match the sea
both brooding;
sad, maybe?
- a mood of ambiguity

many gifts, bestowed;
presents presented,
- their giver unknown

mechanical, purported-accidental
watchers watching
the turning
ceaseless timepiece universal

”collocation, self-organisation!”
or quiet indication,
a .. purposed manifestation?

softly conscience whispers
questions, perceives these qualities;
a final
cause? (for thought) - one wonders

Nov 5, 2011

healthy dose of humour

a special humorous cartoon for anyone who reads this blog - it's high quality, I guarantee it

it should say 'gentlemen' though. :(

Oct 26, 2011

thought for the day

If moral improvement has actually occurred over the centuries (if norms of the past were less advanced or ethical than our own), there is a moral standard by which cultures may be judged - there is a standard towards which improvement has occurred.

moral facts exist.

Likewise, if you believe moral improvement has actually occurred over the centuries,

you believe that moral facts exist.

As with anything, you may be mistaken in your beliefs, but nevertheless you believe them. Much as you believe that the sun is a source of heat for the earth. etc.

From whence these moral facts?

Oct 24, 2011

after all, a Christian can't be a real philosopher, right?

the debate over the debate over whether R. Dawkins should debate W.L. Craig has het up.

This is a fair response to it I think.

I am a little tired of the cheerleaders on both sides. Craig is not perfect, but he seems to me a nice enough guy who presents classical Christian apologetical arguments in a rigorous-yet-accessible way to audiences of university students, academics and other interested people. He is a gifted communicator and probably rightly widely regarded as the foremost defender of Christian theism today. His well-publicised debates are backed up with scholarly and popular books and articles, particularly concerning the metaphysical implication of the origin of the universe and the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Dawkins has done some well respected work in evolutionary biology, but his main area of influence has been through his popular science books and of course his more recent railing against religion. He is an effective communicator and like Craig is charismatic with a wide following. However, I cannot take him seriously as an academic outside his field of expertise in biology or as a public intellectual rather than a polemicist, given his reluctance to actually interact with the arguments he claims do not exist or to have refuted . One notable exception was in his debates with John Lennox; yet in these he is widely regarded as having come across as the least persuasive of the two. Supporters of his who have imbibed the 'new atheist' hatred of religion and religious people need to calm down and learn to have a reasonable academic discussion - even with those who pointedly disagree - or they will face accusations of insularism, anti-intellectualism and cowardice.

Religion is here to stay and the New Atheism probably is too in some form; ridicule and invective from either side (as guilty of it as I may be) strikes me as a fairly unproductive route and a highly frustrating one when the actual issues are covered up by personal attacks and ignorant bluster. If anything is to sort out the fundamental misunderstandings contributing so greatly to this cultural divide, perhaps it is numerous instances of friendly chats over coffee, combined with a little prayer and a challenge to actually explore the claims being made by each 'side' for oneself. I for one am happy to engage in this project!

Oct 22, 2011

accidental coincidences

Are the gospels reliable as historical accounts? One line of evidencing bolstering their claims are coincidences between them which were not designed, for instance where one gospel incidentally fills in gaps in what another has reported.

Prof Tim McGrew is an authority on 'evidence', being known as an academic in the field of the philosophy of science. He is also one of the world's foremost experts on historical Christian apologetics (i.e. past apologists) and particularly, apologetics which makes use of historical argument to show the plausibility and truth of the gospel and related claims about Jesus.

This 10 min youtube clip is worth watching, at least taking a peek at to get the gist.

Or for a paragraph summary of the idea, see here:

More on this after exams perhaps.

Oct 20, 2011

truly revealing

Hey procrastinators, check this out - I think you'll enjoy it!

so ..., we throw our pain at this canvas
of life

again and again we throw our pain
at it

and it all seems so random, pointless

and it sloshes and reverberates

but we have fun; break the dreariness
of life!

told it’s all absurd we learn to laugh
at it

but this too is fleeting, shallow,

‘til ... the great Painter flips our canvas

revealing Jesus, the true meaning
of life.

Oct 18, 2011

Experts, experts - get your experts!

I'm intrigued by the fact that everyone else is an expert on the economy (& the effectiveness of the free market and such), but as an economics student I have no idea. Sure, I have various prejudices and suspicions, but in actually arguing something, I'd hardly know where to start. What caused the financial crisis - lack of govt regulation or over-regulation?? Many people making bold claims about this don't seem to even be aware that the alternate possibility is being seriously suggested.

I'm the last person to help out here. And I will very soon have a degree in this stuff, more or less.

God help us all.

Oct 13, 2011

decentralised power structure

In case anyone likes history or, perhaps, navel-gazing. This is from Sydney and I find it interesting how useful history is and how it can repeat itself in some ways. Convergence perhaps (reading Simon Conway Morris' "Life's Solution" has got me thinking along these lines.)

"The idea of a faculty system for the SUEU was broached for the first time in 1945; teams of students to minister in schools and on missions were established in 1946; as well as a more elaborate sub-committee structure for administration. Of course, the danger which these moves were seeking to prevent was that of nominalism ..."

Oct 11, 2011


"You will not be able to extemporize good thinking unless you have been in the habit of thinking and feeding your mind with abundant and nourishing food. ... Take it as a rule without exception, that to be able to overflow spontaneously you must be full."
Charles Spurgeon