Posted by: crewsnr | March 16, 2009

Readings and Questions for McGrath

Hey Everyone:

Hope everyone had a great break!  Here are some questions to prepare everyone for class tomorrow. 

Pages to Read:

35-48 Selfish Gene                                              

49-72 Paley’s Watchmaker                          

82-118 Proof and Faith                                        

119-128 Cultural Darwinism and Memes           

139-151 Dialogue between Science and Religion

158-159 Conclusion    


Basic Comprehension Questions:

1.      According to Dawkins, what is the definition of faith (look on page 84)?  What is McGrath’s definition of faith?

2.      What is Paley’s Watchmaker theory? 

3.      How does Darwin, Dawkins, and McGrath each respond to Paley’s ideas?

4.      What is the difference between i-culture and m-culture according to F.T. Cloak?

5.      What is the radical theory change in science?

6.      What are the differences between a gene, a phenotype, and a meme?

7.      Does this rejection of genes and memes appear to be a sufficient explanation of our distinction from other species? What makes humans unique?

8.      Are science and religion at war currently?  Have they ever been?

9.      Can we provide a purpose for our existence that genes cannot?


Analytical/ Discussion Questions:

1.      Does the fact that McGrath is a Christian who converted from atheism make his arguments more valid?  Does McGrath present a convincing argument?

2.      Is belief in God positive or negative for human well-being?

3.      Is religion itself destructive?  Or is the abuse of religion the true destructive force?

4.      What happens when you apply Darwinian evolution to disciplines outside of science, like sociology and religion?  Is this dangerous?

5.      Does science take away one’s “awe” of the world?  Does science discourage faith in the supernatural?

6.      How can evolution be seen as the outcome of the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators? How does this understanding contribute to Dawkins’ understanding of a non-purposeful existence?

7.      Is this rejection of genetics compatible with Christianity? Or is it a rejection of biology that results in dualism (Our minds are “above” or more important/significant than our bodies)? What are the consequences in medical ethics? What are the consequences on theologies of the body and human persons?


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