Art is uniquely and pervasively human. We know that art has been an important part of human experience from the very beginnings of such experience. But how are we to explain the existence of art and the creative impulse that drives it? This is the 23rd in the series The Case Against Physicalism.

Image: Wikipedia. “Art” created by the famous painting chimp “Congo.” The works created by this primate were heralded as sophisticated art and even Picasso hung one in his studio. Trained elephants also paint as do dolphins and beluga whales and even a bunny named “Bini.” But, is it art? Or is art a uniquely human activity and experience. if so, why does it exist? We explore the difference between a bottom-up physicalist explanation and my own personal explanation based on a top-down belief system.

In this series we are considering whether the universe, life and we who experience it can be best understood from a top-down — a transcendent or “something more” understanding, or a bottom-up — an exclusive physicalist understanding. This discussion is part of the series The Case Against…

This is a response to Graham Pemberton’s latest post continuing an ongoing discussion about the resurrection of Jesus. Graham prefers an allegorical understanding and here I respond to this as an alternative to a historical fact understanding.

Photo by Eric Heininger on Unsplash

Hello Graham, once again you have honored me and my thoughts on these issues with an in-depth and thoughtful response. Hearing your answers to some of my questions and issues raised has helped me gain a better understanding of you and where you stand. For example, the reference to circumambulation is quite helpful (haven’t gotten into the book on Jung yet but looking…

Separation of church and state in our nation has led to the ban against any idea involving intention, design, a creator or God. But science and popular culture are adopting ideas of a multiverse, of superintelligences, of simulated worlds and transhumanism. These include the belief that our world is created and manipulated by an intelligence far beyond our own. Will these ideas also be rejected? Or will they show that the current interpretation of the constitution is unfairly biased? This is the 22nd post in the series The Case Against Physicalism.

Photo by author. A derelict country school house near Pomeroy, Washington. Schools such as this had freedom to teach ideas about science that since have been banned. But, will new ideas emerging from science lead to a rethinking of what can be allowed to be taught in our schools?

What are our public schools allowed to teach about…

Graham Pemberton is one of my favorite writers on Medium. He and I agree on much, but one topic we disagree on is the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. Please read his latest post first:

Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash

Graham, once again I am honored and a bit humbled by your interest in engaging me on the issue of the resurrection. And I am again addressing you directly even though this conversation is open to others to view and comment on.

We agree on many things, it seems, most importantly that the story told by today’s physicalist evangelists is wrong…

Photo by Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash. A recent book called “Return of the God Hypothesis” makes a case for why it appears an increasing number of scientists and philosophers are turning away from the physicalist belief system. Physicalists fret that even the slightest movement in that direction signals an end to science. The debate centers around the idea of Intelligent Design. But, where does this fit?

I’m struggling with the issue of Intelligent Design. Is it science, philosophy or theology? Is it just plain garbage? What would make it fit comfortably in the right category?

One thing that confuses even that question is that the best selling science books today, such as The Blind Watchmaker (Richard Dawkins), Something Deeply Hidden (Sean Carroll) and Until the End of Time (Brian Greene) are exercises in philosophy and a form of theology. But, the authors not only refuse to clarify that they are engaging in philosophy, they positively claim that their explanations are pure science.

Intelligent Design (ID) is…

The 21st in the series called The Case Against Physicalism. In previous posts on Top Down or Bottom Up, we investigated the challenges to science from the facts of beginnings. Here we look closer at the science of the origin of life. We see a key difference between operational science and origins science which helps explain the science community’s aversion to the idea of a cause for life outside of the cosmos.

Photo by USGS on Unsplash. Catamarca Province, Argentina. Were conditions on the very early earth conducive to chemical evolution? Is the process of non-life to life transformation even remotely possible given the huge injection of information?

Will our current scientific studies of the origin of life prove to be the equivalent of alchemy?

Alchemy has a long and noble history. It spans four millennia…

This is the twentieth in the series The Case Against Physicalism. It continues the last post on the beginning of the universe, multiverse, of all things natural. Following the lead of well known physicist and science communicator Paul Davies, we look at options for answers to the question of ultimate reality. Any answer, we find, involves faith of some sort.

Brett Jordan on unsplash.

The way the story goes, science involves fact, religion involves faith. As atheist evangelist Victor Stenger famously said:

“Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.”

Clever. But, is it true that faith divides science from religion…

Image: Unsplash. Physicist Sean Carroll in his eagerness to defend ideas about the Many Worlds Interpretation, the megaverse and string/M theory says the old idea of “falsifiability” must go. In doing so, he inadvertently but effectively argues for the inclusion of Intelligent Design as legitimate science.

Physicist and science popularizer Sean Carroll argues that the idea of falsifiability as a way of defining science needs to be retired. But his argument for this rejection leaves the door wide open to the scientist-proponents of intelligent design.

Carroll, a physicist at California Institute of Technology and the Santa Fe Institute, is one of the most respected voices in physical science communication. His book Something Deeply Hidden is a highly regarded effort to make sense out of quantum mechanics by appealing to Hugh Everett’s Many Worlds Interpretation.

The Edge brings together top thinkers from a variety of disciplines and…

Recently I published an article on the science of the beginning of our universe including the history of that idea and some recent efforts to dislodge the necessity of a beginning and the Big Bang. My favorite Medium interlocutor, Graham Pemberton, published an article to refute my ideas and conclusions. As Graham and I agree on far more than we disagree on, I’m a bit hesitant to dig too deep into areas where we might not agree. However, he poses some interesting questions and some gentle suggestions that my presuppositions or dogma may be getting in the way of understanding…

Graham, if you are interested in looking at more of the scholarship relating to the historicity of the resurrection you may want to check out this site and post:

Also, historian of the first century mid-East, N.T. Wright has written extensively on it. Here is a great one:

Resurrection of the Son of God.

if you would like to point me to some of your preferred sources I'll be happy to check them out.

Gerald R. Baron

Husband, father, grandfather, semi-retired, farm advocate, author, communicator. Deeply curious about science, nature, spirit and history.

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