By Hannah Zarr
Originally appeared in PHC's Herald 03/21
Patrick Henry College
Dr. Jay Richards
Jay Richards, the author of Money, Greed, and God—a book that all PHC students read in Economics class—will be speaking about “The Privileged Planet” and “Why Science Matters to People of Faith” at the Pensmore Dialogue on Science & Faith, April 4-5, at Patrick Henry College.
Richards is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and has lectured worldwide, heading up TV documentaries such as “The Privileged Planet,” “Call of an Entrepreneur,” and “Birth of Freedom.” Richards has also spoken on Larry King Live about the topics of science and God.
During Pensmore, Richards hopes to help people easily understand complicated scientific concepts by focusing on the cosmic questions. Richards believes that “science, at its best, has to do with ‘what does the universe testify to?’” Since nature is God’s creation, we should expect to find that nature testifies to God, and it truly does if people look at nature with an open mind, he said.
Richards said that he is interested in the boundary questions—the boundaries between science and philosophy. The topic is exciting, he said, because not a lot of academic work has been done on the boundary questions. There is “open territory for exploration,” he said. Richards gave an example of a “boundary question:” science has now been able to show that the universe had a beginning, so we know more about the history of the universe. However, science does not fully address why the universe even exists in the first place. That question crosses the boundary of science and becomes a philosophical and theological question.
Since he works with the Discovery Institute, Richards is also heavily involved with the Intelligent Design (ID) movement. He said the ID argument doesn’t get you all the way you want to go in helping lead people to Christ since the argument can work with any form of theism. Nonetheless, he thinks it is still important to make the ID argument because it can dismantle materialism. Leading people away from materialism, he said, can help bring them a “heck of a lot closer to the God of Christianity.” He believes other arguments, such as the reliability of Scripture, are still needed alongside the scientific argument for a Designer.
Some PHC students got a preview of Richards last Friday night. The Alexis de Tocqueville Society (ATS) hosted him for a coffee shop lecture. Sarah Henderson, a senior political theory student and events coordinator for ATS, said that Richards was “down to earth,” and his lecture was very understandable because he talks in simple terms without dumbing it down. “He was such a humble man, yet you can tell he is brilliant,” she said.
Richards said he is looking forward to coming back to PHC for the Pensmore Dialogue because he enjoyed his visit here last week. Henderson is excited that Richards will be returning to speak at Pensmore “because he is able to communicate professionally and academically without using all of the intellectual jargon that makes the argument convoluted.” If he does use more complicated concepts, she said, he makes sure to explain it first.
Don’t miss Richards at 2:15 p.m. on April 4, and 10 a.m. on April 5. REGISTER NOW FOR THE PENSMORE DIALOGUE ON SCIENCE & FAITH.