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Why Christians Should Embrace Science

Why Christians Should Embrace Science

First, of course, we should ask why anyone should embrace science*.

It’s not because:

  1. Science is perfect
  2. Scientists are without biases and always produce objective truth
  3. The results of science are never in error
  4. Science can decide everything for us

I’m reminded of the quote, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Frequently people object to science on the basis that it isn’t perfect. A history of discovery of new things can also be portrayed as a history of error. Obviously, if you discover something a new, better theory, it means that something you believed before was wrong. The interesting thing, the critical thing, is that it is science that corrects the errors of previous science.

So the reason I suggest for embracing science is this: It works.

You are reading this on an electronic device that is the result of applying scientific theories. Those scientific theories replaced other, less robust theories, and thereby enabled the invention of new technology. Life expectancy is increasing because, however often medical science may be in error, it’s much better today than it has ever been before.

I was interviewing my 98-year-old mother two years ago regarding her experiences as a nurse. She graduated from nursing school early in World War II. When we discussed vaccinations she got very emotional. “How could anyone want to go back to the time before these vaccinations were invented/discovered?” she asked. I tell this because we have people who think that science has made errors in the formation of vaccinations that have caused very negative side effects. I actually believe these ideas are wrong, and that vaccinations are safe, but even if there were problems, we would still be far ahead because of those vaccinations. People simply have no concept of what things were like before.

But this also illustrates a simple issue with science. If a scientific theory is wrong, it is more scientific study that will demonstrate the problems and potentially point the way to better solutions. That’s how progress has been made over the years. Unfortunately when people perceive problems with the scientific consensus, even imaginary problems, they often decide that since science isn’t perfect, as far as they can tell, they might as well go for something else—anything else—that might promise a solution.

These solutions are invariably more dangerous than the status quo. Unless, of course, they are generated and tested by valid scientific study. Science is not perfect, but it is the best means of finding better solutions than it has already found.

If you don’t believe that, simply ask yourself if, arriving at an airport, you were given the opportunity to fly on an aircraft designed according to the consensus of the best aircraft design, or one designed by someone who rejected aeronautical science, and which had not been tested by methods standard in the industry.

Even a test pilot would definitely want an explanation of why he should expect the second aircraft to fly.

Yet we choose the second option in many cases regarding our health and also regarding public policy.

Now I’m not proposing that we stick with consensus science despite the evidence. There’s a good way to challenge a scientific theory, and that is to gather good data and challenge it. Yes, scientists are people like the rest of us and may resist change to a cherished or simply comfortable position, but unlike theologians (sort of like me), they do have a history of moving en masse to a new position based on the evidence.

As an aside, there is the great illustration of a philosopher (or metaphysician, etc, see this) who is like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn’t there. The punch line? Under the same circumstances, the theologian will locate the cat. Science demands the actual cat, as it should.

And that’s why we should embrace it. Science is good at studying actual black cats and determining when they aren’t there.

But what does this have to do specifically with Christians embracing science? Well, I could again say, “It works!” That’s a good reason. If you want to live a long time, you should pay attention to science and its results.

Speaking from the perspective of theology, though my field is biblical studies, we have the simple and repeated statements of scripture, such as Genesis 1:1-2:4a, Psalm 8: 3-4, Psalm 19:1-6, and Psalm 33:6-9. These form a foundation of much of scripture. The idea that God is the creator underlies pretty much all theology. How creation was accomplished is much more a subject of debate, though I actually think it is not something for theologians to debate based on the Bible (or other sacred texts) and religious tradition. Rather, how creation occurs is a scientific question and should be investigated as such.

Why do I say this? One of the principles I try to teach regarding studying the Bible (or any text, for that matter) is that if you ask it questions it is not trying to address you will likely get skewed answers, if not totally false ones. How far your question is separated from the intention of the text is going to determine how far you are from understanding what the text conveys.

Let’s take the Samuel-Kings books (2 of each), for example. There’s a rather simple historiography behind these books. If you obey God you will be blessed while if you rebel, you will fail. So the story of these kings, while it contains a variety of additional data, is focused generally on displaying this theme. Occasionally the history gets in the way of the theme, such as in 2 Kings 14:23-29, where Jeroboam II is described as one who did evil, yet the author must explain the upswing in Israel’s fortunes during his reign.

Modern historians are very interested in precise chronology, but other than general lengths of reigns, the author lacks this perspective. Many efforts have been made to work out the chronology based on the numbers provided, but efforts have somewhat questionable results. The reason is simple. It’s not that the writer is careless in general; it’s that this isn’t his main concern.

To get a bit further off track, let’s consider 1 Kings 7:23, in which the “bronze sea” is described as having a diameter of 10 cubits but a circumference of 30 cubits. This would result in a value for Π (pi) of 3.0. Now we all know it’s 3.1416. Well, not so much. I just punched it into Google and I got 3.14159. So far as I know, nobody has calculated an exact value for pi. You just round it somewhere that works. Lots of arguments have resulted from 1 Kings 7:23. How could God make such a mistake? Well, God didn’t. The author of Kings, collecting his data from various sources, used a very loose round figure. He had no intention of passing on the value of pi.

For a Bible student, this is only a problem if you’re expecting the text to tell you things that the authors didn’t know and didn’t particularly intend to convey. There’s another lesson, however. The Bible isn’t a mathematics text. If you want to know the value of pi, you go where the knowledge is, and that’s the physical universe. I recall being instructed in math class to measure some circles with a flexible measuring tape and calculate the relationships. I didn’t get it right, but I got it close enough for the purpose. The value of pi is not a revelation needed in scripture; it’s there in the physical world.

Theologians refer to this as “general revelation” as opposed to “special revelation,” such as what we get in scripture. Christians often tend to think of special revelation, the Bible, as somehow more reliable. But the fact is that we have many interpretive steps between the text and the resulting doctrine, and this difference has resulted in many different denominations and even different faiths. Yet I hear Christians complain about medical science not getting its act together and agreeing on the details of healthful living in all cases (though they’re very good, we want to demand perfect), while at the same time being totally comfortable with the massive variety of Christian doctrine, all claiming to be based in the same scripture.

But special revelation, scripture, suggests that God breathed both it and also the physical world. The scientist studies God’s word as truly (or even more so) as does the theologian or biblical scholar. If we don’t believe that, we don’t really believe the scriptures. The real issue is not which is better but what each variety of revelation actually is intended to do.

So, if you want the value of pi, please measure some circles, or just go to a math text. If you want to meditate on God’s activities in human lives, read scripture. And/or take the time to encounter some of God’s creations we call people.

* I use “science” throughout as a general term for the study of the natural world with an intention to produce repeatable and objective results.

Check the Data: Vitamin Supplements

Check the Data: Vitamin Supplements

This study highlights a number of things I like to emphasize. One, of course, is something I’ve thought since I managed the Staff O’ Life Nutrition Center in Columbus, Georgia when I was in my late teens. Eating a good diet is a better plan than using cabinet’s full of supplements. Fortunately for me, the store was operated by people who took the same view.

Featured image credit: © Lindamstyle
ID 12998694 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

But you also need to read each study carefully. News articles—and this is a news story, not the text of the study—tend to put the most exciting material up front. Since people often don’t read to the end of an article, often stopping at the headline, they can get very slanted ideas.

At the end of the article, you get this quote:

A minor limitation in the study could be seen to be its broad focus. John Funder, from Monash University, points out that the study does not suggest vitamin or mineral supplements are useless in clinical cases where a patient actively needs those supplements.

This is why people think studies are inaccurate or that they should ignore science as contradictory. What this study suggests is not that nobody needs vitamin supplements. It is that supplements taken by a broad population without a specific need identified, do not increase longevity. So if your doctor finds you need a supplement, this study should not be used to resist taking that supplement. As an example, my dad (an MD) told me that Vegans can have a B12 deficiency, so if I was to stay away from all dairy products, I should consider taking a supplement. This study isn’t a refutation of his statement. He’d agree with the study in general.

Further, study study notes a potential negative impact of taking Niacin. Again, this is a general finding over a large population, not screened for a need for Niacin. If you are deficient, I suspect your doctor would urge you to take the supplement.

So I see it as a valuable lesson in both eating, maintaining your personal health, and how to read news stories.

Oh, and yes, most important: This isn’t the study. It’s a news story about the study. Note the link to the abstract of the actual study at the end. That link is both valuable in itself and also as an indicator of the diligence of the story writers. Beware unsourced information!

Would I Publish a Creationist Book?

Would I Publish a Creationist Book?

creation-5I’ve been promoting the creation book set from my company, Energion Publications. The authors of this set of books all support the theory of evolution. In fact, the contribution made by these books, I think, is that they are talking about how we should live in light of a belief that the “how” of creation, at least with respect to life, is by means of biological evolution. (This could have been a post over on the Energion company site, but since it’s also so much about my own beliefs, I thought I’d post it here.)

Here’s a clip:

Herold Weiss is a biblical scholar and is talking about creation and creationism from the biblical and theological point of view. It was his book Creation in Scripture that got the book set started.

“For creationism I have no use.” I publish that. I’m also a known advocate of excluding creationism from the public school classroom. I’m a board member of Florida Citizens for Science. So we know where I stand on the issue. I’m a theistic evolutionist, though I don’t like that term.

So would I publish a creationist book?

Short answer: Yes.

Now for the longer answer.

I’m often asked this question by people who wonder just how far to the liberal side of the spectrum I’ll go in terms of publishing. In this case, considering how strongly I’m identified with one side of the issue, we have the opposite question.

The easy way to figure out the general answer to this question is to read the company’s short doctrinal statement. As you read that statement, remember several things:

  • Energion Publications is not a church. Nobody is asked to sign or affirm this statement
  • We judge manuscripts, not authors. I have been asked about things an author said on his web site and whether they “fit.” That’s not my concern.
  • There are many issues of definition in even that short doctrinal statement. For example, amongst our authors we have quite a number of definitions of what the word “inspired” means with relation to scripture.
  • It does provide a general guide to let us focus on an audience

Having said that, if a book falls within that statement, we’ll consider it. Does creationism fall within those parameters? Absolutely.

So the longer answer is again, yes. But remember that this openness to publish covers a large number of other issues as well.

Why are all our books on creation written by those who accept theistic evolution? Again, a simple answer. Those are the ones that were submitted and accepted.

Aha! A snag! What our hypothetical questioner would probably like to know is whether this manuscript, the one he or she has in hand, expending from days to decades, would be considered for publication and what its chances would be. Would the fact that I have a firm position on the issue prejudice me against that manuscript?

Without doubt my beliefs influence what I do. But one of my beliefs is that the best thing to do with theological disagreements is to discuss them, entering into genuine dialogue. I consider creationism to be a very live theological debate and one on which we should be having dialogue in the church. I think actual dialogue on this subject is rather rare, but I’m ready to promote it.

In fact, I see myself as a publisher in the role of an advocate for advocacy. So if I publish a book on creationism I will also put every effort into marketing it.

That doesn’t mean that I will bend over backwards to accept the first manuscript on the topic that I get. I have been studying this subject since I first learned to read, and so I have a very good feel for the literature.

Let me provide an example. Dr. Kurt Wise, who earned his PhD under Stephen Jay Gould at Harvard, is a creationist. He wrote the book Faith, Form, and Time. The link provided is to my review. It’s a good book. I disagree with practically every word in it. I don’t see those two statements as contradictory. I consider it the best statement of a Christian creationism as is available for a popular audience. Wise starts from the premise that Genesis teaches a young earth and a literal creation week, so we must follow from that point and discover the science that proves God right. I disagree with that premise.

If you can send me a manuscript that is as good as that one (good luck!) I’m bound to publish it. And there are lots of other manuscripts that would be good. For example, looked at from the point of systematic theology, how does a young earth or a literal creation week (or both) fit into a doctrinal pattern? What other pillars of the faith lean on those concepts? One could write some excellent systematic theology in that area, and consequently argue with our existing volume, Creation: The Christian Doctrine, which argues that those are not important. It happens I agree with the latter book, but that won’t prevent me publishing a rebuttal!

Now if I had a category for science, which I don’t, I would require that material in it be reviewed by qualified scientists. That would be another matter. I don’t think modern creationism has yet earned a place at the scientific table, and I’m not the one to offer that place. It must be offered by scientists who are active in their disciplines. I’d have a team of them as readers if I were a science publisher. But the biblical, religious, and theological debate is very relevant and active.

For those who are interested, I didn’t become convinced that the earth wasn’t young or that the creation week wasn’t literal by studying biology. In fact, I never took a college course in biology. I’m not going to judge one’s biological pretensions. Well, unless they violate elementary principles, that is. It was through study of the scriptural material that I became convinced it was not possible that God was intended to provide either the “how” of creation or the timeline of earth’s history.

There’s a great deal of open territory for studying biblical studies and theology involved in that!

I can’t help but finish with some pictures that illustrate how thoroughly indoctrinated a creationist I was. These are pictures of the “Eden to Eden Timeline.” You can see in the second image that we were taught that the date of creation was 3957 BC, a correction of the more common 4004 BC. Students added pictures and colored maps as we worked our way through the Bible, entirely guided by this timeline.

Eden to Eden Timeline
The title indicates the topic. It starts with creation and ends with recreation. Everything is on a timeline, though the time of the final events is left open.
Eden to Eden Timline - Antediluvian Period
You can see the date of creation represented here and also the proposed date for the end of this period with the flood.
Timeline - Antediluvian period
This shows how the timeline spread out. I did this outside by the fence, so it’s a bit scraggly. In our classroom we had the whole thing stretched out around the wall. Click on it for high resolution.
Todd Wood – the Evolutionist?

Todd Wood – the Evolutionist?

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had started reading Dr. Todd Wood’s blog (using the title Another Honest Creationist). The reason I call Dr. Wood honest (as opposed to some other creationists) is that he acknowledges that young age creationism relies on the Bible and specifically on a particular understanding of the early chapters of Genesis.

I find it difficult to believe that someone can be a young earth or young age creationist on any other basis. The scientific evidence is simply much too strongly against it. Dr. Wood, like Dr. Kurt Wise, admits that there is substantial evidence for evolution, yet they accept young age creationism because that is what they believe the Bible teaches. I disagree on their interpretation of Genesis, but I can respect their stand and their honest statement of their reasons for taking it.

Of course some other young age/earth creationists don’t like this approach. They believe that there really is no evidence for evolution and that there is some sort of conspiracy amongst scientists to pretend that evolution is true even though, they say, it is not.

One of these, Joseph Mastropaolo, offers a $10,000 prize for evidence of evolution, and sends e-mails out to people and then if they don’t respond, he puts them on a list on his web site.

All of this is fairly standard stuff in the creation/evolution debates, althought Mastropaolo’s twist of requiring his opponents to put up $10,000 of their own money, thus making this all more of a bet than a prize is interesting. I think that the prize offering thing is generally the last resort of those whose pockets are empty, but it’s all pretty common.

But what’s humorous is that Mastropaolo sent an e-mail to Dr. Wood asking him to put up some evidence and then added him to the list of non-responding evolutionists.

He says:

170. Dr. Todd C. Wood, of Bryan College, who wrote, “There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it.” Upon request and with the incentive of unlimited $10,000 grants for his Center for Origins Research, he did not send any evidence. Can it be that there is no scientific evidence to support evolution? Can it be that Todd C. Wood uses brass and bluff like the other 363,000 anti-science evolutionists worldwide? (12-30-09)

So a young age creationist who is working on building evidence for creationism is now an example of an evolutionist. Who ever would have imagined it?!

James McGrath on James A Herrick

James McGrath on James A Herrick

There’s at least one benefit to regularly reading certain blogs, and that is that you get comfortable with the topics on which you trust that particular blogger. It’s impossible to check everything or to read even a tiny fraction of the books I’d like to read, so this is very helpful.

One of the blogging voices that I have come to trust on religion and writing about religion is James McGrath of Exploring our Matrix, and he has just reviewed James A. Herrick’s book Scientific Mythologies. That’s a book that would quite possibly make it to my reading list, and indeed many of the things in the review show that it’s a topic I would appreciate. Yet the result of reading the view is that I won’t be bothering too soon.

The review itself, however, is well worth reading. Words like “myth” and “mythology” get thrown around quite loosely, and McGrath cites quite a few examples of this from the book he is reviewing.

All of which is my very long winded way of telling you to go and check out his review.

Unseemly Glee at the Unknown

Unseemly Glee at the Unknown

What is it that makes Christians frequently rejoice when told that something is unknown?

I received an e-mail today from Breaking Christian News, which discusses odd coincidences or perhaps weird happenings amongst organ transplant recipients. Now bluntly I don’t see that there is enough here to get excited about. I think the writers grossly underestimate the potential for personality change when one undergoes a traumatic experience, such as a major surgery. The illness before, the concern, and then the effort of recovery all make a very large impact. If one assumes changes in the personality of recipients, it would then not be all that unlikely that in some cases these changes would find some connection to the organ donor.

But all of that could be studied. My hunch that this isn’t outside of the range of reasonable probability could be proven right or wrong. If proven wrong, one could study the process and the potential exists to determine just what is going on and how it works. In other words, this set of observations might either prove not to be significant, or could provide the basis for further research.

The BCN article cites Dr. Danny Penman:

In his article entitled, Can We Really Transplant a Human Soul? Penman writes, “Virtually every doctor and scientist will tell you the heart is a mere pump.” But now, “A few brave scientists have started claiming that our memories and characters are encoded not just in our brain, but throughout our entire body. Consciousness, they claim, is created by every living cell in the body acting in concert…Our whole body, they believe, is the seat of the soul; not just the brain. (BCN source is this article in the Daily Mail

Now my point is not my personal feeling about this, which is admittedly not an educated opinion. I know very little about this field. My secondary point is that a scientist with one of the proper specialties, when confronted by this information would either use his existing knowledge to dismiss it if that was proper (for example, he knows the broader statistical picture, and thus knows that this is not significant) or he would find it significant, and then ask, “How does this work?”

My primary point, however, is that many Christians, represented here by Breaking Christian News, have quite a different reaction. They don’t seem to think of the possibility that this represents a question to be answered. Rather, they hope it’s a mystery that science cannot solve.

While as Christians we know how God created man in His image, it is nevertheless fascinating to see the scientific world confront the mysteries of life in a way that points to the power of an Almighty God.

But this article doesn’t describe science confronting anything. It reveals speculation. At best, it would reveal questions that research ought to answer. This is the attitude that lies behind the God-in-the-gaps argument. It puts spirituality and religion where our ignorance lies. There is little reason to complain when skeptics describe religion as anti-knowledge if we place our most important ideas in areas of ignorance.

This particular case is only an example. I’m confronted regularly with claims that science cannot possibly discover some particular thing, such as a natural explanation for the origin of life. These claims are not made in a neutral tone, nor are they made with disappointment that there is a boundary to knowledge. They are made with glee. Those who make them are glad that they have found something that science cannot do.

I think there is a ignorance, fear, and envy represented by this type of claim.

Ignorance, because people don’t understand what science does. Science explores the natural world. As long as something is in the natural world, don’t put up a stop sign. It won’t work. But science is not the study of everything. Excluding the supernatural, science cannot, as such, tell us what our ethical goals and standards should be. It can enlighten us as to the side effects of our decisions, and thus help us make ethical decisions. Science is also not designed to study the supernatural.

Fear, because people don’t understand science. Scientists constantly discover and explain things that appear to the uninformed to be things that ought to be true mysteries. Ignorance reacts to what it does not know with fear. This is a good example of the difference between “is” and “ought.” We ought to investigate the unknown rather than cower away from it with fear. The instinct of many people is to avoid the danger as long as possible, a course of action that often results is greater disaster later.

Envy, in that science explains things that used to be in the field of religion. Now they appear to be the province of very intelligent people. I see this type of rejoicing whenever people perceive that religion has “gotten a point” against science.

The bottom line here is that ignorance is, well, ignorance, and thus is in constant danger of being overthrown. If we, as people of faith, truly believe that God is the ultimate creator of everything, that reason behind all the reasons, the “uncaused cause,” then we ought to rejoice at those who use their divinely created brains to discover more and more about God’s creation.

I’m certain that God isn’t threatened. If he’s big enough to be the final cause, he can handle people figuring out where the seat of consciousness is in one species of creature on one planet in one solar system in one rather unexceptional galaxy. So it must be that some people of faith feel threatened. That, I suspect, can only come from not trusting God to be God, in other words, from seeing God as less than the creator of everything, as someone who might be dethroned by the next discovery.

Or perhaps it’s just personal envy that someone else knows more than we do. Could be!

Convincing Yourself of Falsehood

Convincing Yourself of Falsehood

. . . or perhaps of less than complete truth.

Some years ago when I was in the Air Force I had a roommate who was an excellent software engineer. At the time I was a serious hobbyist programmer, so occasionally we would work together on projects. I remember a case in which he had a routine that would work when run under the debugger but would hang when run normally. After checking all the options either of us could think of, he could not conceive of any reason why it would do so.

At this point, being more ignorant, and thus less certain that all the bases were covered, I suggested putting a delay into the routine at that point (I believe we used something like 1/100th of a second eventually). He didn’t want to do it at first, largely because it would solve the problem (if it worked) without actually discovering what the real problem was. Finally he did try it, it worked, and he released the code in that form, because he never did find anything.

Now the point isn’t that I was a better programmer; I wasn’t. It’s not that I was more clever; I’m not. It’s simply that, lacking the ability to check off all the boxes I had to try some considerably less logical options, one of which worked.

It’s very easy to convince ourselves that we have covered all the bases on a subject, or that the evidence for something we believe in very fervently is much stronger than it is. In fact, I suspect that the single most common reason why people accept a particular piece of evidence as reliable is that it supports a conclusion they like.

I mention this because of a discussion about lying in science and other matters. Larry B made an interesting comment here, and expanded on it over at Quintessence of Dust.

This all reminded me about a comment a political science professor once made to me when discussing conspiracy theories. “Never attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by human stupidity.” I think he got that from someone else, but I’m not sure who. After reconsidering all this material, I might just paraphrase that to “Never attribute to lying any statement that can be explained by stupidity and/or the overwhelming desire to believe.”

Perhaps Dr. Matheson’s term “folk science” is the best term after all.

The Quest for Absolute Certainty

The Quest for Absolute Certainty

When I was a teenager, I was very involved in electronics, something that has stuck with me. My first real efforts at understanding science came in working with electricity. One day I was discussing the theory of electricity, and specifically how it “moves” through a circuit with my father, also an electronics hobbyist. We had gone through electrons moving from one atom to the next, and the reasons why some things are better conductors than others, and why some things are so bad as conductors that they are insulators. This all applied to some circuit or another I wanted to build.

Then my father dropped a bombshell. “You know this is all a theory,” he said.

“What do you mean by theory?” I asked. To me at that point a theory was something not so well established. There were facts and then there were theories. Facts were good, theories were not so good.

“Well,” he continued, “we don’t actually observe subatomic particles in motion. We don’t know that an atom looks like those drawings you have.”

“So we don’t really know any of this? What good is it then?” Of course I well knew that I could build circuits based on it, but teenagers aren’t required to be logical with a parent.

“The theory does what it’s supposed to. It explains what we observe. It works. That’s all it has to do.”


But somewhere deep inside I was upset. I liked my little pictures of atoms. I wanted to believe that they were just that way, and that if I could get a good enough microscope, I could actually observe those little electrons doing their thing. Now electricity is based on very good theory, and it does work. My dad was himself a young earth creationist, though we never discussed that much. I suspect now that he was more along the Kurt Wise type–there may be substantial evidence for evolution, but the Bible says otherwise, so we must believe–only he never felt the need to work on a real theory.

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Random Designer IV

Random Designer IV

This is a continuation of my series blogging through the book Random Designer by Dr. Richard Colling. The previous entry is Random Designer III.

In chapters 9-11, Dr. Colling continues to present the basics of evolution and the history of life on earth in language that is comprehensible to the layman. I’m very glad to have found this book, if nothing else than for the clear explanation of what’s involved in the theory of evolution and the basic outlines. There is a certain amount about faith in this first section, but primarily these chapters are about the process of evolution and the history of life on earth, and the level of evidence involved.

Chapter 9, titled “The Platform of Life” discusses the basic genetic material that all creatures have in common and how changes occur. The basics of evolution, mutation and natural selection are introduced. In chapter 10 we go on to discuss good, bad, and neutral mutations, and how cells manage to copy accurately. There is a balance between changes and stability that allows life to continue to diversity.

Chapter 11 moves from a discussion of the mechanics and the details of cells and looks at the age of the earth and how life has developed. One thing that I noticed was that for 2 billion years bacteria were the sole inhabitants of the earth. I had known this, but it just hadn’t struck me before. The process of developing an oxygen atmosphere took a long time. In addition, I hadn’t realized that the cells had to develop a way to deal with one byproduct of oxygen.

Dr. Colling strongly emphasizes the strength of the evidence for all of this, including the lines of evidence from multiple fields. This may contradict a literal reading of Genesis, but it is clearly true, and thus we need to examine how we understand the scripture passages.

This takes us to Part II which deals with the issues of faith and evolution. I am likely to end up blogging more on that part than I did on this.

Links for 12/7/07

Links for 12/7/07

Here a just a few things I think my readers might find interesting, but that I won’t get much time to comment on:

  • Human events has an article on intelligent design by a conservative who doesn’t think much of it. In fact, he thinks the main stream media cover it because it’s embarrassing to conservatives. “The Left believes, correctly, that Intelligent Design is a political loser, and so they gleefully attempt to hang it around the neck of every right-of-center movement from libertarian neo-conservatism to isolationist populism — shouting all the while ‘See, the American Taliban has come for your children! Elect a Democrat before it’s too late!'” — It’s an interesting perspective! (HT: Panda’s Thumb)
  • It’s not really about evolution, but Carl Zimmer has his 100th picture of a science tattoo
  • Steve Martin has the fourth in his series of articles on Polkinghorne quotes, in which we find this quote (from Martin, not Polkinghorne): “Many Christians, I think, put too much stock in the implications of scientific discoveries.” Hmmm! It leads one to think!
  • I’m just getting all my RSS subscriptions updated on my new computer or I would have gotten this one earlier, but this post by Dr. Steve Matheson is too good to miss. He looks at a Discovery Institute showcase piece by Jonathan Wells, and shows it’s serious problems. The answer seems to be that there was a testable hypothesis in the article, but it proved wrong, and didn’t have anything to do with ID in the first place. In addition, any article that calls Jonathan wells “a former developmental biologist” can’t be all bad!
  • And in the obligatory link to something I wrote, my fictional God-Talk Club gets into ID while discussing homeschooling in my latest post. Remember that those posts are for fun and practice, though I do welcome responses either to presentation or to content.

There are very few things that haven’t been moved to the new computer, imported, or otherwise sorted out. For those who my have missed the post I switched not only to a new CPU but to a new operating system. I’m now using Ubuntu Linux, after trying it on a separate machine for a few months. I’m thus far very happy with the results. Having the old machine on the same network has made moving stuff pretty easy.