Veritas Forums the Week Dad Died (January 2018)

So last part of January I did a whirlwind of 7 events in 2 universities, in just 3 days. As crazy as this was to plan for, the Saturday before, late at night, I received a phone call.

My father was in the ER, without a pulse. He had just had a heart attack at home after dinner with friends. They were never able to get his pulse back. He died that day. The next day I was on a flight to California.

After some thought, I decided to do the planned events. Several thousand dollars of changed tickets later, this became an important part of my grieving process. The main events were:

  1. A Veritas Forum at Cal Poly SLO on What it Means to be Human? with a secular scientist.
  2. A Veritas Forum at Cal Poly SLO on Are Humans Special? with Hugh Ross.
  3. A Veritas Forum at UCSB on What it Means to be Human? with a secular grief counselor (and the recent mudslides in view).
  4. A talk on a genealogical Adam, with Hugh Ross in the audience, and some very interesting exchanges afterwards.

There were also two Q&A events, and a scientific talk. Most of this was all recorded. I’ll post links when I can. Deserving of special mention, @Guy_Coe drove down from out of state, and attended every event. It was great meeting him in person.

Then, that Saturday, was the add on event no one wants or expects…

  1. My father’s funeral, where I gave a message.

I’ve included a few photos here. I’ll post the videos when they are available too. I am also happy to answer any questions. In particular, there is reason to think about how the recent working being done on human origins (see genealogical Adam and Buggs) will have an impact at RTB.

Here is an excellent photo of @Guy_Coe with Hugh. Sizing each other up it seems.

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Looks can be deceiving, but it looks like @Guy_Coe could “take him”!

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@Guy_Coe was great to meet. I have to say he was just a pleasure to have during those intense few days. He got to meet Caleb and Victoria too.

What Does it Mean to be Human?

The video for the Veritas Forum from Tuesday night, at Cal Poly SLO with Dr. Ed Himelblau and Dr. S Joshua Swamidass was posted. At least part of what it means to be human is to be lost in the grand questions.

Dr. Himelblau is the artist for the entertaining strip, the Cartoon Lab. He argued we should resist the notion that we are any different than humans. This cartoon is not a commentary on his talk, but a pretty entertaining and incisive example of his cartoon work.

Are Humans Special?

The video for the Veritas Forum from Wednesday night, at Cal Poly SLO with Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. S Joshua Swamidass was posted.

Hugh gives his talk on the fine tuning argument.

I answered in a few ways. In an important sense, it is self-evident that humans are special to one another. However, perhaps the real question is something different, are we special to anyone greater than us? I think we are, and I know this by what I find in Jesus: Is There Evidence for Easter? A Scientist's List. - The Veritas Forum - The Veritas Forum.

We discuss together are similarities and differences afterwards. This was a significant exchange. Looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

Of note, I had a beer with George Murphy last week, one of my favorite theologians, who could not be more different than Hugh Ross in his understanding of God’s revelation and nature (see One of Murphy’s best contributions is developing the theology of God’s hiddenness; if God is hidden in the Cross, we expect much of His work to be hidden in Nature too.

Cannot have much more of a contrast than between Hugh Ross and George Murphy. I find myself, in many ways, between the two. Doesn’t everyone?

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What it Means to be Human?

The video for the Veritas Forum from Thursday night, at UCSB with Dr. Steve Smith (a grief counselor) and Dr. S Joshua Swamidass was posted. This was an intense moment. It was just two days before my father’s funeral, and a couple weeks before several people had died in Santa Barbara in mudslides.

My answer to the question: at least part of what it means to be human is to enter into grief. Other animals grieve too, but we grieve in a different way. It is humanizing, for example, to grieve the loss of Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago, and to grieve the segregation of science (just published on this here, Essay: "Grieve the Segregation of Science" by S. Joshua Swamidass). No other creatures perceive or grieve these things.

This was an emotionally intense and meaningful forum for me. I was thinking a lot about this photo of my father and my son. I was grieving his loss this talk, as I continue to do so to this moment. One difference between grief and depression is that grief usually takes place in public. It was difficult, and meaningful, and formative, to grieve in such a public way, just two days before my father’s funeral.

In the Q&A, I also was able to explain how I am coming to view injustice and original sin. Quoting from a recent article:

In our current moment, liberal theology is uncomfortable with the corporate guilt of “original sin,” but often echoes secular discourse on social justice and systemic injustice. Similarly, conservative theology affirms the doctrine of “original sin,” but resists naming anything but individual actions as sinful. Coming to a common language, perhaps working out the corporate nature of original sin might give us a better account of the segregated world. Instead of echoing or opposing secular rhetoric, we might recover a theological voice on injustice.
Essay: "Grieve the Segregation of Science" by S. Joshua Swamidass

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Though not a Veritas Forum, just a two days later, that Saturday, I had the privilege of giving a eulogy at my father’s funeral. It is personal, but seems so closely tied to these forums. For those that care to know more about me, you can listen in to a private moment here:

Special thanks goes too all involved in these forums who hosted and planned these events. I hope this was as meaningful a time for you as it was for me.

I like your thoughts here and will try to watch that video when I get a chance.
So sorry for your loss, and for this difficult time for you and your family.

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Josh, may the Lord bless and keep you during this difficult time. I’m also sorry to hear about your loss.

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Hi Joshua,

My sincere condolences. I will keep you in my prayers.

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God’s peace.
I also will be praying for you and your family during this time. We may look forward to the day when death shall be no more, and neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

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