Thursday, July 24, 2008

3 Links

I'm currently reading Theism and Ultimate Explanation: The Necessary Shape of Contingency by Timothy O'Connor. I'm very interested in the cosmological argument from contingency, and this book is an up-to-date take on that and related metaphyical issues. I hope to have a post on this at some point but in the meantime here is a review from a naturalist's perspective by Graham Oppy (HT: sideblog at FQI).

I really enjoyed this insightful cartoon posted at Cosmic Variance along with the comments by Sean Carroll (the original source for the cartoon is here). No offense to cosmologists, but for purely philosophical reasons I think it is best to identify the actual world with the observable or causally connected universe (not that I think that's all there is, but because the regions we assume exist beyond the observable have a different ontological as well as epistemological status - see a related post here).

Finally, I want to post a friendly link to the discussion forum at Panendeism, as I understand it, is meant to be like Panentheism, but with the "deism" label stressing that this is a worldview arrived at through reason, without reliance on authority or revelation.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sir John Templeton Dead at 95

Sir John was one of great investors and philanthropists (here is the press release from the John Templeton Foundation site). I had the opportunity to hear him speak a couple of times and I conversed personally with him for a few minutes once (about interest rates and currency markets) and he was extremely insightful.

The foundation’s work, a big part of which looks to bridge religion and science, is sometimes controversial (for more see this old post), but it has funded many worthy efforts, including for example the recent seeding of the Foundational Questions Institute. I hope they continue to fund this kind of scientific research. In terms of critique, my personal wish would be that they divert some funding from religion and theology to non-religiously motivated study of metaphysics and philosophy of science. In any case, I think our progress on the big questions should be better because of the existence of the foundation. So, thanks to Sir John and to those who work at implementing his vision.