The Rise of the Podcasts

I know James (RJ) Downard and some of his “cast” a little bit, they’re a friendly bunch and I’m sure it could be an interesting conversation. RJ is very enthusiastic and talks… a lot. Don’t be afraid to interrupt him if needed!


I think all that is an accurate description of my position and stance. In fact, I’ll go further, I think our propensity for religious beliefs is absolutely natural & that our ability to tell stories (including religious ones) is perhaps a big reason for our success. That might be a topic.

On the God of Abraham side of things, a topic on your podcasts might be how critical is it for the belief that there must actually have been a physical Adam and Eve (let alone when they lived). Is that ultimately so core a theological requirement that it becomes a deal breaker, a necessary position that must find corroboration somewhere? A corollary might be the whole notion of “soulish” (which Hugh Ross homes in on), trying to parse through hominids on this point in a way that to my perspective sounds arbitrary and tendentious. This would relate directly to the extent to which our present cognitive architecture (and the societies that result from them) came about by natural means or not.

btw my position is that our unique character consists of our special mix of properties not unique to us, but unique in our combination of them: we are the tool-making species that tells stories, and via language and culture have expanded that in an extended and spectacular feedback loop.


Welcome @rjdownard, it is great to have you here. I’m looking forward to the conversation.

So am I. I think Nathan and I had a fine chat last Wednesday, and ours should be fun too, even more so since you’re coming from a faith perspective I don’t share, so we can pick each others brains to the benefit of those observing.


Non-religious doesn’t really make a community.

Keeping it science related, I see ID as a big issue. And a problem with ID, is that they are not at all clear on what they mean by “intelligence” and on what they mean by “design”. However, most of the time they seem to be hinting at “something like human conscious intelligence” and “something like human planning and design.”

Atheists, agnostics, and even some liberal Christians tend to suggest that man created God in his own image. And what ID folk seem to mean by “intelligence” and by “design” fits this criticism. Why cannot the ID people open their eyes to a broader conception of intelligence and a broader conception of design?

I look around, and I see intelligence throughout the biosphere. But somehow the ID people fail to see that evolution could already be a system of intelligent design.


Perhaps an additional topic, if you want to get into religion.

What has long been a puzzle to me, is the tendency of Christians to be conservative. My own reading of the gospels, is that a Christian should be personally conservative (set high standards for himself), but be socially liberal (forgiving of others). Yet too often I see Christians who are socially conservative but personally liberal.


Thank you!

I think you cannot stress enough the importance of people of faith defending good science, or at least admitting to it. :slight_smile: .


It means most when it comes from non-religious people like many of you here. Perhaps @rjdownard makes that a key point to stress.




In some entirely weird twist of logic, too many of the “Christian” radio stations over the last five decades have married conservative theology with conservative politics, as though the two were somehow joined at the hip. They have almost nothing to do with each other. Perhaps that’s why I have very limited tastes when it comes to listening to them. In any case, having conservative personal values should not delimit your relations with those who don’t; the call to “love thy neighbor” is not always convenient or easy, but it is based upon God’s love for all people.

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I would be interested in what your experience has been in a field that I am assuming has a higher percentage of atheists than found in other professions. Are you often harassed because of your beliefs? Do you feel that your career has been affected by openly speaking about your beliefs? How would you describe the relationships you have with collaborators?

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@rjdownard did you see this? These are great questions.

Why you are opposed to authors such as Alister McGrath and Michael Ruse using the term Darwinism.

Darwinism and the Divine: Evolutionary Thought and Natural Theology

Darwinism and its Discontents

Darwinism in philosophy means a certain brand of atheist. If that is how they use it, no one should dispute it. The issue is with people claiming that modern evolutionary science is Darwinism. This is false.

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That’s so odd, as Lamoureux and others (@TedDavis I think) have stated that Darwin was a theist most of the time when he wasn’t an agnostic–but he objected to being called an atheist, as I recall.

In reading about his struggles, I get profound empathy. It’s a pity how many of us from Christian background demonize him. He was a very honest, self-doubting man who, apparently, tried to do what he could with what he knew.


He became an agnostic after having problems with religious pluralism, and I’m fairly sure he stayed an agnostic for the rest of his life.


Yes, it’s just interesting that so many attribute “Darwinism” as “atheism,” when he wasn’t one.

This reminds me - Would you like to come on my podcast some time? It’s called “This World of Humans” and you can see it here: It’s more of an education initiative than real SciComm, but we try to do both. We produce Teaching Guides for every episode, to help teachers use the podcast (and the featured article) in their science classrooms. Do you have a recent or forthcoming article that you think lends itself well to classroom discussions? (i.e., the key data is not super technical, it’s about something that is not too hard for HS students to grasp the importance and basic mechanisms of, it’s of wide interest, etc.) Let me know!

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Very interested, but will have to postpone till after I get my book draft complete. At that point, I’ll be in touch. Thank you for the invitation.