The Christian Humanist, Episode #22.1: Science

Our outro music this week comes from Michael Knott’s 1994 record Rocket and a Bomb. The song’s called “Jan the Weatherman.” Hey, “Jan” rhymes with “Dan,” and our special guest this week is tornado chaser Dr. Dan Dawson. He’s kind of a weatherman, anyway.

General Introduction
– Where’s David Grubbs?
– Welcome to our special guest
– What’s on the blog?

Our History with Science
– Dan Dawson dreams of tornadoes
– Michial’s near-failures
– Easy science at Milligan College

Ancient Science
– The four elements
– Aristotle and the geocentric universe
– Methodological contributions
– Rapidly changing science
– A gratuitous shot at 2012

Arab Investigators and Medieval Science
– Why Nathan doesn’t call it science
– Elaborate biology
– Effect on Medieval drama

The Rise of Modern Science
– Reverence for mathematics
– Science as a self-correcting system
– How philosophical is your average scientist?
– “Whatever works”
– No sense of history

The Wizard of Oz
– A history lesson
– Electric tornadoes
– How tornadoes work
– But can we fix it?

Mad Scientists and the American Renaissance
Emerson, Poe, and the War on Science
– Romanticism and the Enlightenment
Hawthorne and the dangers of scientific perfection
– Melville and the unspeakable
– The death of the imagination

Dan Defends Science
– The move toward the holistic
– A sense of mystery
– The end of history
– The myth of progress

A New Kind of Science
– The ecological movement
– Merging the Romantic and the scientific
– Interdisciplinary interaction

Scientific Threats to Christianity
– Hegel, Nietzsche, Dawkins
– Integration by example, not argument
– Learning from the nü atheists
– Are confessing Christians a lunatic fringe?

The Limits of Science
– Physics and metaphysics
– The limits of theology
– The geocentric universe and evolution
– Non-overlapping magisteria
– The natural shift
– Why we’re frustrated with militant atheism and militant creationism

What We Need to Know
– Science is your ally
– The what questions and the why questions

Aristotle. On the Heavens. Trans. J.L. Stocks. Complete Works of Aristotle. Ed. Jonathan Barnes. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1984. 447-511.

—. Sense and Sensibilia. Trans. J.I. Beare. The Complete Works of Aristotle. Ed. Jonathan Barnes. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1984. 693-713.

Bacon, Francis. The Major Works. Ed. Brian Vickers. New York: Oxford UP, 2008.

Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. New York: Signet, 2006.

Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. New York: Mariner, 2008.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Each and All.” Collected Poems and Translations. New York: Library of America, 1994. 9-10.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birth-Mark.” Tales and Sketches. New York: Library of America, 1982. 764-780.

—. “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” Tales and Sketches. New York: Library of America, 1982. 975-1005.

Melville, Herman. “The Lightning-Rod.” Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales, The Confidence-Man, Tales, Billy Budd. New York: Library of America, 1985.

—. Moby-Dick. New York: Norton, 1967.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “Sonnet—To Science.” Poetry and Tales. New York: Library of America, 1984. 38.

Sagan, Carl. Contact. New York: Pocket, 1997.

Snow, C.P. The Two Cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993.

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