Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Hubble Telescope

March 26, 2010

Looking at pictures taken through the Hubble Telescope makes for a marvelous trip.  As the earth fades into the distance, our solar system fades into the distance, and eventually our galaxy fades into the distance.  Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is so fantastic in its beauty.  I thought it would be a milky white cloud on a black background, but it has color.  Amazing!  Then as the Milky Way fades into the distance, other galaxies appear, and they, too, have color.  As they fade into the distance, we see something like the electron cloud of an atom, as it is portrayed by artists.  Countless galaxies form a colorful cloud around something that appears to be in the middle of it, yet is invisible.   350 Billion galaxies are in this cloud!  Its just unfathomable.  Children would see it with wonder in their faces.  How many of us have any of that wonder left, or do we just say “ho hum, so all of this just happened, maybe someday scientists can tell us how.”  Children see the infinite mystery, and wonder Who did it.  That would explain why Jesus said unless we become like little children we will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.  Maybe the door to Heaven has a key called worship!!

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Stonehenge and Purpose

October 7, 2009

Once upon a time I proposed the possibility that Stonehenge could have been caused by natural processes.  There are many stone circles throughout Europe which formed during the Ice Age, when the freezing caused ice to form in circular patterns, moving earth and stones in the process.  I hypothesized that the power of glaciers, which is massive, could have forced these stones into a circle, and forced some, not all, the lintel stones to rest across the upright stones.  Then as the ice melted some stones were left balanced and some were left on the ground.  I got lots of protests.  One was that these stones were a special kind of rock that had to be brought to the site.  One was that the lintel stones had to be fastened into place.  One was that these stones seemed to have a purpose.  These arguments implied design and hence, a designer, not some natural processes.  I actually agree that Stonehenge was designed.  Yet to be consistent, lets look at what is often said about a cell.  Even the simplest cell has specialized material, amazing complexity, purpose in every component, and the ability to ensure survival of the species through reproduction.  Yet, probably the majority of scientists would say the cell came about through natural processes over time. 

A cell screams design in its every part, yet science would deny a designer.  They wouldn’t likely deny a designer for Stonehenge, but for the cell they reject a designer.   The designer of the cell would have to be God.  It certainly isn’t random processes, and it certainly isn’t a human designer.  Yet scientists refuse to believe in a designer whose intelligence is greater than their own.  The writer of the Psalms said “The fool says in his heart there is no God”.  The definition of a fool is one who cannot recognize obvious evidence.

Will We Ever Understand Everything?

July 4, 2008

Someone commented recently, and I can’t remember where I saw it, that this generation feels entitled to answers to everything.  Our scientific progress has been so great we now just expect we should be able to understand it all.  If we don’t understand it today, it just needs more research, and we’ll surely understand it soon.  We think we can get it all figured out, and then we will replicate what is there, and do it even better our way.  We are, as I’ve said before in another post, in our adolescence as a civilization.  Teenagers master electronic gadgetry better than their parents, and then assume they know more than their parents about everything–never mind the wisdom that comes with age and experience.  Humankind is in much the same stage today.  We just assume we will comprehend the what and how of everything, and we’re much smarter than humans have ever been.  What if we’re wrong?  What if our brains are of an eventually limited capacity and we begin to discover things we can’t understand?  We are so arrogant, shaking our fingers at God, and demanding He explain himself to us, or pounding our chests saying everything is explainable without Him, so He probably doesn’t even exist.  As humans, we haven’t yet reached the age and experience level where our wisdom kicks in.  We haven’t yet realized how much we don’t know, don’t understand, and maybe never will understand.

Along a similar train of thought, is the faulting of God for human suffering.  People say “I can’t believe in a God who would allow these things to happen, so I don’t believe in God at all.” When I was young, this was where faith stepped in, and I just stubbornly clung to the idea that God was more vast than I could understand, and somehow He knew what was best even if it looked all wrong to me.  Then I became a parent and two things happened.  One of our children required surgery, and the child was old enough to comprehend there would be pain and to be scared.  And that child said to me “Don’t let them do it if you love me.”  Now this surgery would save the child from future disability, but he couldn’t comprehend that, and it broke my heart.  Another time our baby had to have a procedure done that would be potentially lifesaving, and I cried in the hallway as the baby cried in the room.  I thought I could understand then, something of how a God of love hears these questions of “why”.  When the child suffers and is incapable of understanding the reason, and you are a loving parent, you cry too.  And when your rebellious young adult child who “knows it all” starts climbing “fools hill”, and you just know what they will suffer because they won’t listen–you cry again.

Nonni

Thoughts on “Expelled”

May 2, 2008

It seems from the blogs I’ve read, “Expelled” opponents go ballistic– as though accepting even the possibility of a designer means we’re letting a fundamentalist Christian theocracy take over all our institutions.  Funny, I saw the movie and didn’t get that idea at all.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  It seems they are simply asking for academic freedom in academia.  Ben Stein isn’t a Christian, after all, and neither were at least half of the people interviewed.  I wonder if the bloggers in question even saw the movie.  I doubt it.

I Saw Expelled Recently

April 29, 2008

I saw Expelled recently, and can understand why the atheist blogs are in such a snit over it.  It does have quite a ring of truth to it.  I can personally testify that someone I love was blacklisted from University teaching positions because he had a link to an Intelligent Design website on his personal website.  Like some of the people interviewed on Expelled, he got interviews, but the interviewer wanted to argue against Intelligent Design, not interview him.  They also mentioned visiting his personal website.

 

If academic freedom is so restricted—and it is restricted to political correctness in fields other than biology, how will we remain the innovative thinkers the world has always depended on?  How can we advance if so many fields of inquiry are closed to study?  Another person I love has been a university professor, and I am amazed at the stories of shunning and downright harassment of those who don’t tow the politically correct line.  I’m nearly convinced academic freedom is gone from most American Universities. 

 

I thought the link to Nazi Germany was frightening.  Ideas have consequences, and part of  Nazi ideology was about the superman who would evolve if inferior people were eliminated from the gene pool.  It isn’t too far away, judging by the selective abortion we’re already practicing in this country.  Scary thought for those older folks like me who may one day require care—wonder if I’ll just be “put away” by my government.

 

I thought Richard Dawkins was interesting—especially his “moral” condemnation of the “Old Testament God”.  How silly to call a God you don’t believe in a whole bunch of derogatory names—especially since making moral judgments falls in the realm of religion, which he says he doesn’t believe in.

 

What about the statistical evidence for the unlikelihood of evolution happening through random processes?  That question was never answered.  Also, what about the intermediate steps between amino acids or even proteins and a living cell?  No one answered that question either. 

 

Lastly, if our bill of rights is based on “our creator” endowing us with certain inalienable rights, what will happen to our freedom when the creator has been expelled from the country?

Lost Sense of Wonder

April 28, 2008

 

 

Some people can look at a delicious meal and see calories, fat grams, carbohydrate grams, how much it cost, whether it was organic, and how it was prepared.  Other people just enjoy it and thank the cook.  I think we humans fall into these two categories about a lot of things.  We have, in our scientific age, lost our sense of wonder.  People look at this wondrous universe and reduce it to molecules, genes, chemistry, laws of physics, and so on ad infinitum.  They can’t just seem to enjoy the beauty of a wildflower field, a sunset, the ocean, the mountains, babies, and feel thankful.  Beauty is somehow about taking the whole package and appreciating it.  If you pick something to pieces and analyse all the separate parts, something is lost.  So, everything being as it is, its all in the way you look at it.  I will pick apart where I must, but for most of life, I want to enjoy, drink it in, and be thankful…very thankful.

 

Nonni

Science and God

April 27, 2008

I cannot take credit for this piece.  Someone e-mailed it to me, however I thought it was worth sharing for the thought it may provoke.

 

Science vs. God

“Let me explain the problem science has with Jesus Christ.” The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

“You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?”

“Yes sir,” the student says.

“So you believe in God?”

“Absolutely.”

“Is God good?”

“Sure! God’s good.”

“Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?”

“Yes.”

“Are you good or evil?”

“The Bible says I’m evil.”

The professor grins knowingly. ” Aha! The Bible!” He considers for a moment.

“Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it . Woul d you help him? Would you try?”

“Yes sir, I would.”

“So you’re good…!”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

“But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.”

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. “He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?”

The student remains silent.

“No, you can’t, can you?” the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

“Let’s start again, young fella Is God good?”

“Er…yes,” the student says.

“Is Satan good?”

&nb sp;The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. “No.”

“Then where does Satan come from?”

The student : “From…God…”

“That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?”

“Yes.”

“So who created evil?” The professor continued, “If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.”

Without allowing the student to answer, the professor continues: “Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?”

The student: “Yes.”

“So who created them?”

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. “Who created them? There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.

“Tell me,” he continues onto another student. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son? ”
< BR> The student’s voice is confident: “Yes, professor, I do.”

The old man stops pacing. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?”

“No sir. I’ve never seen Him”

“Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?”

“No, sir, I have not.”

“Have you ever actually felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?”

“No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”

“Yet you still believe in him?”

“Yes.”

“According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?”

“Nothing,” the student replies. “I only have my faith.”

“Yes , faith,” the professor repeats. “And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.”

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of his own. “Professor, is there such thing as heat?”

“Yes,” the professor replies. “There’s heat.”

“And is there such a thing as cold?”

“Yes, son, there’s cold too.”

“No sir, there isn’t.”

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. “You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lo west -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Abs olute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.”

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

“What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?”

“Yes,” the professor replies without hesitation. “What is night if it isn’t darkness?”

“You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the me aning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?”

The professor begins t o smil e at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. “So what point are you making, young man?”

“Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.”

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. “Flawed? Can you explain how?”

“You are working on the premise of duality,” the student explains. “You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.”

“Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a mon key?”

“If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do”

“Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?”

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

“Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?”

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

“To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.”

The student looks around the r oom. “Is there any one in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?” The class breaks out into laughter.

“Is there anyone here who has ever heard t he pro fessor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelled the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir. So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?”

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. “I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.”

“Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,” the student continues. “Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?”

Now uncertain, the professor responds, “Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”

;To this the student replied, “Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God.

God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”

The professor sat down.

We Live on a Knife Edge

April 13, 2008

I said I’d share something I thought was awesome when I first saw it.  I have been reading bits and snatches of and about John Polkinghorne, and I say bits and snatches, because the man’s intellect is such that I am swimming in deep water.  However, this paragraph jumped out at me.

Its from his book One World, published in 1987 in London by SPCK, pgs 57-58

“In the early expansion of the universe there has to be a close balance between the expansive energy (driving things apart) and the force of gravity (pulling things together.)  If expansion dominated then matter would fly apart too rapidly for condensation into galaxies and stars to take place.  Nothing interesting could happen in so thinly spread a world.  On the other hand, if gravity dominated, the world would collapse in on itself again before there was time for the processes of life to get going.  For us to be possible requires a balance between the effects of expansion and contraction which at a very early epoch in the universe’s history (the Planck time) has to differ from equality by not more than 1 in 10 to the 60th power.*  The numerate will marvel at such a degree of accuracy.  For the non-numerate I will borrow an illustration from Paul Davies of what the accuracy means.  He points out that it is the same as aiming at a target an inch wide on the other side of the observable universe, twenty thousand million light years away, and hitting the mark!”

*[I don’t know how to make the little 60 on my computer–what am I doing reading a book by a former professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University?] 

Anyway, hope this is as awesome to you as it was to me.

Nonni

Intelligent Design?

March 28, 2008

I’ve been studying the logic of the atheistic scientists who scoff at Intelligent Design.  If they are right, and you can’t infer a designer simply because something seems to have a design, then how can we so easily accept that Stonehenge was formed by some ancient civilization.  There’s certainly nothing to point to that.  There is no history, no evidence of the civilization, and it seems that to infer it was formed by humans is all based on the fact that it aligns with the sun at the solstice.  Isn’t that an argument based on design?  Why not just be strictly scientific and theorize natural causes such as movement by glaciers during the Ice Age, or that specific types of rocks arose in certain places during earth upheavals?  Why go to the extreme of theorizing about how men moved the rocks, etc, and were knowledgeable about astronomy?  Isn’t that delving into irrational belief, based on the evidence we have?

Michelle

Web Page Can Wreck Your Job Search

March 26, 2008

I found the webpage that can wreck your job search if you are looking to teach biology at the university level.  If you have this link on your personal webpage, it can be curtains for you in academia.  Its www.reasons.org.  If you are job hunting, your name shouldn’t be on any web pages or blogs–yes, they do look you up and research you in advance of your interview, just as you should do your homework and research the place you’ve applied.  Freedom of thought is more prevalent in the real world than on campus, apparently.

 I do mean to post some of Nonni’s things in the next two weeks if I get a chance.

 Michelle