Posts by Richard Gunton

candles

Reflecting on what Advent might mean for my work, I ended up looking at the connection between teaching and research. About half of this Advent wraps up my first semester of teaching (in a job I recently began), and the other half will give a little more time to pursue research tasks until Christmas is fully here.

The drama of Scripture in 7 acts

Forming a Christian Mind 2018 took place a week ago - and an important sequel is planned for Feb 2019.

Where does science come from?  Historically, the predecessor of what we now call the sciences was natural philosophy, which was, evidently enough, a branch of philosophy.  But when we study science at school and university, it's rare to hear much mention of any continuing dependence on philosophy.  We seem to study lots of scientific "facts": about the universe, the solar system and the earth, about impacts and reactions, about microbes, plants and animals, and about humans and society.  We gradually get introduced to experimental methods as ways of testing hypotheses and perhaps to demonstrate the tentative nature of scientific conclusions (after all, school science experiments rarely give textbook outcomes!).  Eventually we're told about scientific models and sometimes even about some

Bank of England and Royal Exchange Panorama

For the last 18 months I've been a research fellow on a project about financial stability that's run by a small consultancy firm.  Since I was trained as a biologist and have done nearly all my academic work so far in ecology, and in universities, this has been both a steep learning curve and a great adventure.  The story of how I came to make this transition, moving from university into a business environment, will be for another time. Here I want to share some reflections firstly on my move into a new discipline and secondly, briefly, on financial economics itself.

XKCD caricature of the Frequentist approach to statistical inference

Knowledge is a special kind of belief, and the science of statistics provides one approach to gaining knowledge. So does faith have any direct connection to statistics? [1]

The FiSWES project began in 2015 by taking a critical look at the ecosystem services framework for nature conservation, and the ideas developed by that small Christian working group are now bearing fruit in a new context. I began a fellowship last year with a group called the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN), where I've been developing the ecosystem valuing framework for use in policy evaluation.  My fellowship is about "putting values into evaluation", and I want to tell you how it's going.

Diagram linking God's word to scientific research via the entities subject to it

"Science" means "knowledge" according to its Latin root, and that is what the pursuit of science is popularly supposed to deliver.

There is a point of view from which it looks implausible that research in any field could continue indefinitely, century after century, endlessly discovering new things about reality.  But if Christ's kingdom will never end, there's a case to be made that cultural development, finally freed from sin, will continue forever under His reign. Might not the created order, once more fully disclosed in the New Creation, be worthy of ongoing scholarly research into eternity?

Picking up my series on Christian philosophy in diagrams, I want to share an idea that really excites me at the moment - inspired by Andree Troost's "What is Reformational Philosophy?", which I've just finished reading. Perhaps not everyone finds diagrams as wonderful as I do, but they have a great ability to present complex ideas all at once, in the simultaneity of a page or screen.

As part of our series on the idea of a Christian university - and in these tense times of academic "industrial action" - I want to share a review of "What are Universities For?" by Stefan Collini (Penguin, 2012). 

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