IAN BARBOUR: Granddaddy of This Movement
Well, last night we launched the teleseries,“The Advent of Evolutionary Christianity: Conversations at the Leading Edge of Faith,” with the elder statesman of this movement, Ian Barbour. If you missed the broadcast, be sure to click the “Listen Now” tab on the top right of the menu bar above, and listen at your convenience.
As I knew he would be, Ian was masterful!
For those unfamiliar with Ian and his work…
Ian Barbour is an American scholar on the relationship between science and religion. He has been credited with creating the contemporary field of science and religion.
He received his B.Sc. in physics from Swarthmore College in 1944, his M.Sc. in physics from Duke University in 1946, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago in 1950. He earned a B.Div. in 1956 from Yale University’s Divinity School. Ian taught for many years at Carleton College, with appointments as professor of religion and as Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and Society. He has held emeritus honors there since 1986.
In his 1966 groundbreaking book, Issues in Science and Religion, Ian laid out a series of well-crafted arguments involving issues in epistemology, language, and methodology. Together, these provided conceptual common ground for the science and religion dialogue. He has been exploring these and other cutting-edge ideas ever since.
From the outset, Ian Barbour used the term “critical realism” to stand for the specific set of arguments he laid out in 1966. Most scholars in the field have adopted the term.
Ian gave the Gifford Lectures from 1989 – 1991 at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. These lectures led to two books, Religion in an Age of Science and Ethics in an Age of Technology. In 1999 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, in recognition of his efforts to create a dialogue between the worlds of science and religion. He is also the author of three other acclaimed books, Myths, Models, and Paradigms; Nature, Human Nature, and God; and Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues.
For videos of interviews with Ian Barbour conducted by Robert Kuhn for PBS, go to: http://www.closertotruth.com and in the Search box on the top right, type: Ian Barbour.
Ian lays a solid foundation for the conversations to come. He covers a lot of territory. I encourage you to listen to this interview more than once and share it with others.
Here are a few of my favorite Ian Barbour quotations from our conversation:
“The media like a good fight. They pick out the extremes and they leave out all the people in the middle who believe in both God and evolution.”
“There are important things to learn from science—that theologians need to learn.”
“Many religious insights can be reformulated within this new and exciting context offered by science—that is, in light of a 4 billion year-old Earth and a 14 billion-year universe. … The concept of God needs to be reformulated.”