Larry Crockett remembers a friendly debate with philosophy professor Bruce Reichenbach about realism/anti-realism in science in their senior seminar. ”I could sense unusual student excitement as Bruce and I debated whether, for example, laws of nature are part of nature or are human artifacts. At the conclusion of class, one student grinned broadly and said, ‘That was fantabulous!’”
I attempt to do genuine education with ideas that are perennially germaine rather than training for what is currently in vogue. I believe students learn from me how to be an engaged and engaging student for life and hence will be better prepared to meet the unprecedented challenges coming our way. I like to think of myself as a teacher of skilled improvisation or, as I like to put it, “academic jazz.”
I have published two books, Universal Assembly Language (McGraw-Hill) and The Turing Test and the Frame Problem (Ablex), and was part of a committee which produced a third, Teaching and Learning in Honors, from the National Collegiate Honors Council.
My principal area of research now is science and religion, from a computer science perspective, which is unusual since scientists who go into this area usually do so from physics or biology. More specifically, I am interested in the interplay between computer science, religion, philosophy of science, and narrative.
I have been selected an “Honored Faculty Award” three times by the senior class at Augsburg. I received an Outstanding Teaching Award at an earlier institution. I have received two National Science Foundation Grants and a Templeton Teaching Prize in Science and Religion (with Bruce Reichenbach). Early in my career, I received a Rockefeller Fellowship for graduate training and did some work at Princeton.
Music plays a large role in my life since I am a guitarist and a banjo player in a local bluegrass group. I am an avid motorcyclist and own several motorcycles. My father’s family comes from the Appalachian area and includes some American Indian ancestry. If my grandfather had enough Tennessee moonshine, he was certain we had Davy Crockett as an ancestor. Politically, I am a “soft” Libertarian, which means I never have any worry about whether my candidate will win! Most people assume that label means right-wing or conservative, but that is a misunderstanding of the movement.
I directed the Honors Program for 16 years and have taught in the Program for most of my time here. While I do not serve a parish currently, I am also a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota.
What courses do you teach at Augsburg? In which program(s)?
Honors 120 Scholar Citizen (2 sections each fall, Honors Program) and 220 (Formal Systems), CSC 160 and 210 (Computer Science); PHI 365 (Dept. of Philosophy); REL 120 (Science and Religion). I occasionally teach a seminar on pragmatism with Lars Christiansen. I spend the plurality of my time with the Honors Program and am a dedicated inter-disciplinarian.
- B.A. Pacific Lutheran University
- M.A. Pacific Lutheran University
- M.Div. Luther Theological Seminary
- Ph.D. University of Minnesota
- Universal Assembly Language (1986)
- The Turing Test and the Frame Problem (1994)
- Teaching and Learning in Honors (2000)
- “The Serpent’s Trail: William James, Object-Oriented Programming, and Critical Realism” (Zygon, June, 2012)
- “Appearance and Reality,” The Other Culture: Science and Mathematics Education in Honors (NCHC monograph series, Buckner and Garbutt, ed., fall 2012)