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Yet another Thomas Society Fellow

August 27, 2009

Ahoy matties,

Allow me to introduce the newest member of the Thomas Society, Patrick Truitt. And, he is an honest to goodness scientist!

Patrick Truitt received his B.S. in physics, mathematics and computer science from Gordon College and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a postdoctoral researcher at Ohio State, specializing in experimental condensed matter physics. A Christian and a methodological naturalist, he is interested in the relationship between faith and science.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2009 10:05 am

    Gosh, I feel stupid after reading your resume.

  2. ptruitt permalink
    August 27, 2009 10:31 am

    Ah, but I’m secretly jealous of those who go to seminary.

  3. AdamK permalink
    August 27, 2009 10:38 am

    I can’t imagine anything more interesting, nor anything I understand less, than condensed matter physics. I hope Dr. Truitt talks about it some here. One or two pure science posts would be great.

  4. YorkshireSkeptic permalink
    August 28, 2009 10:55 am

    I second that motion!

  5. August 29, 2009 6:27 pm

    I would love to hear more about ‘methodological naturalism’. I assume that I understand what it means, but I’d like to see it elaborated on by Dr. Truitt, if he pleases.

  6. Patrick Truitt permalink
    August 29, 2009 9:15 pm

    It was mostly a play on you and Matt being ‘metaphysical naturalists’. And I wanted to make clear that I assume natural causes to explain the results of experiments. Also, people don’t need to refer to me as Dr. Truitt. Patrick will do just fine.

  7. August 30, 2009 11:58 am

    I’ve heard before that some Christians use naturalism as a model to understand the world, but then not actually accept it as being true. I was just curious if it was something like that.


  8. Andrew permalink
    August 30, 2009 3:57 pm

    Plantinga really needs to stay away from biology – he’s so far out of his depth that it’s not funny.

    Trying to argue that the acceptance of common descent represents an anti-theistic (rather than pro-evidence) bias, as he does here:

    So suppose we separate off this thesis about the origin of life. Suppose we use the term ‘evolution’ to denote the much weaker claim that all contemporary forms of life are genealogically related. According to this claim, you and the flowers in your garden share common ancestors, though we may have to go back quite a ways to find them. Many contemporary experts and spokespersons–Francisco Ayala, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Gould, William Provine, and Philip Spieth, for example–unite in declaring that evolution is no mere theory, but established fact. According to them, this story is not just a virtual certainty, but a real certainty.11 Now why do they think so? Given the spotty character of the evidence–for example, a fossil record displaying sudden appearance and subsequent stasis and few if any genuine examples of macroevolution, no satisfactory account of a mechanism by which the whole process could have happened, and the like12–these claims of certainty seem at best wildly excessive. The answer can be seen, I think, when we realize that what you properly think about these claims of certainty depends in part on how you think about theism.

    The fact is, though, that common descent is accepted not because biologists reject alternative theistic explanations, but because the evidence is NOT “spotty” but in fact is totally overwhelming.

    Even outspoken theists like Ken Miller and Francis Collins accept that the evidence says that common descent is true and that no mechanisms other than physical laws are needed to explain the results; but Plantinga has bought into the intellectual fraud of “intelligent design”, and so can’t possibly admit that he’s misrepresenting the entire field of biology in his article.

  9. August 30, 2009 4:19 pm

    That’s only the beginning…

    This interview is literally breath-taking at times (and not in a good way).

    I hope to write an in depth critique of Plantinga for the blog sometime. Maybe before he comes to OSU.

  10. Andrew permalink
    August 30, 2009 4:35 pm

    I’m reminded of Dembski’s approach to mathematics, where the mathematical language is used not to actually produce useful results, but merely to obfuscate the fact that the desired conclusion has been smuggled in early on.

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