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Charles Freeman replies to James Hannam

November 9th, 2010

Christianity brought the concept of absolute theological truths, many ring-fenced as “articles of faith” which were unchallengeable.… Read the rest

James Hannam replies to Charles Freeman

November 9th, 2010

The secondary purpose of the book is to deal with the old myth, no longer accepted by historians, that the Church held back science at every turn.… Read the rest

The Distortions of Google

August 20th, 2011
How distorted the Google system can become as a means of finding helpful and objective knowledge.

Trouble rears its

May 19th, 2011

James Hannam reiterates that religion and science have always been quite matey despite what Some People say to the contrary.

…today, science and religion are the two most powerful intellectual forces on the planet. Both are capable of doing enormous good, but their chances of doing so are much greater if they can work together. The award of the Templeton Prize to Lord Rees is a small step in the right direction.

Well religion is one of the most powerful intellectual forces on the planet if by “intellectual force” you mean “force that interferes with humans’ best intellectual skills,” but I suspect that’s not what Hannam wants us to take away from his happy thought.

He has some critics on … Read the rest

Blatant discrimination against a Christian

February 17th, 2011

When is it ok to decline to hire a particular person for a scientific job and hire someone else instead? James Hannam says not when the particular person in question is a creationist. For why? For because that is a religious belief, and it is the particular person’s right to have a religious belief and that right is trampled on when someone else is given the job as director of the student observatory at the University of Kentucky. Martin Gaskell was the best guy for the job as any fule kno and so it was no fair to give that job to someone else.

[T]he mere fact he was sympathetic towards creationists and kept an open mind about evolution appears

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When is it ok to “discriminate” against creationists?

February 17th, 2011

By hiring someone else for a science job. James Hannam says never.… Read the rest

Gentlemen: declare your agenda

November 12th, 2010

There are a couple of indignant people replying to my and others’ comments on Charles Freeman’s reply to James Hannam at the New Humanist. They are indignant about my claims about the Templeton connections and possible agenda of some of the historians who write about Science ‘n’ Religion. One uses the pseudonym “Thiudareiks,” which is Theodoric in Saxon or Old German or something, so I don’t know anything about that one. But the other is one Humphrey Clarke, who…

has a long admiring review of the very book at issue at a blog called Quodlibeta, or Bede’s Journal. Who else blogs there? Why…

James Hannam, that’s who. So far Humphrey Clarke hasn’t bothered mentioning that fact. Ho hum.… Read the rest

Science and absolute theological truths

November 9th, 2010

Charles Freeman replies to James Hannam’s reply to Freeman’s criticism of Hannam’s book God’s Philosophers.

My most important point, and one that Hannam does not even address in his response, is that, in comparison to the Greeks the natural philosophers operated within the context of a much more authoritarian society. Christianity brought the concept of absolute theological truths, many ring-fenced as “articles of faith” which, as Hannam notes, apparently with approval, were unchallengeable.

That has to have been a considerable stumbling block, surely.

As intellectual life evolved in the Middle Ages, no one quite knew where the boundaries lay, the threat of heresy was used all too widely in personal power struggles between opposing factions and individuals and the ultimate

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The closing of the Western mind

November 6th, 2010

I’m reading Charles Freeman’s very interesting The Closing of the Western Mind, and in a nice bit of serendipity I happened on a long review he did of James Hannam’s God’s Philosophers at the New Humanist. Hannam is a Catholic and an apologist, and his book is apparently what one would expect from a Catholic apologist.

Yet for Hannam Catholic authority is never the problem. “However sympathetic we might be to his [Abelard’s] plight, the fact remains that he brought most of his problems on himself. His blatant hypocrisy and breathtaking arrogance ensured that he had a ready supply of enemies who were quite happy to see accusations of heresy to bring him down”. (P.59) Hannam has no understanding

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Charles Freeman reviews “God’s Philosophers”

November 4th, 2010

Hannam has no understanding of the intellectual inhibitions that arise from ring-fencing large areas of knowledge as “faith.”… Read the rest

Say anything

June 15th, 2009

James Hannam re-states his case in a comment on It’s not a majority vote issue.

[L]ooking back, a clear lesson seems to be that the accommodationists got things done. So even if Coyne and Myers are right (and of course, I don’t think they are) about the incompatibility of religion and evolution, prior experience suggests that they should nonetheless respect differences and even hold their noses for the good of science. No one would expect them to hide their views. But at the moment, they give the impression that they are partisans for atheism rather than for evolution.

The first question is: what things did accommodationists get done, and what connection did the accommodationism have with the getting things … Read the rest

It’s not a majority vote issue

June 14th, 2009

James Hannam is confused about accommodationism.

As the battle between creationism and evolution heats up, some atheists, like Jerry Coyne, have been insisting that it is really a battle between religion and science. Coyne resists any accommodation between religious and non-religious scientists…In order for his position to make sense, he needs to show that there is some sort of existential conflict between religion and science. So it is unfortunate for him that the historical record clearly shows that accommodation and even cooperation have been the default positions in the relationship.

No, that’s not right. It would perfectly possible for the historical record to show that and for the accommodation still to be philosophically incoherent. Coyne’s claim is not that Read the rest