Posts belonging to Category Science



The Bible is to Theology as Creation is to Science

I found the following diagram helpful in understanding the tensions that sometimes exist between science and Biblical faith.

Bible:theology::Creation:Science
                            Bible:theology :: Creation:science
              (The Bible is to theology as creation is to science)

The diagram distinguishes between: 1) Scripture and theology, and 2) creation and science. Scripture is God’s Word and therefore free from error. The physical creation is God’s work and therefore will never be in conflict with God’s word. However, theology is man’s study of Scripture, just as science is man’s study of creation. As such, theology and science are both susceptible to error and can be in conflict with each other.

Thus when science and theology conflict, we should not rush to judgment about which side is wrong. Rather we should continue to test our theology against the evidence of Scripture and our science against the evidence of the physical world. When we get our theology and science correct, there will be no conflict between the two.

I like this model because it affirms:
    1) the truth of God’s word,
    2) the order of God’s world, and
    3) the value of both theological and scientific endeavor.

Note: The diagram comes from David Heddle, associate professor of physics at Christopher Newport University. Heddle is currently teaching a Sunday School class on science and faith at Grace Baptist Chapel in Hampton, VA. He is posting his weekly notes online at GBC Sunday School. You can find an outline of the series here.

Related post: God’s Providence and Scientific Investigation

Intelligent Design 3-DVD Set

Interested in learning more about intelligent design? Campus Crusade is offering the following three DVDs exploring intelligent design as a set for $29.95 (sale ends June 30th). I ordered these last week and received them in the mail yesterday. I was going to wait to post until I had viewed them, but the sale ends this month and I don’t know when I will get to them. Here are video clip previews for each of the DVDs.

Unlocking the Mystery of Life

Unlocking the Mystery of Life transports you into the interior of the living cell to explore systems and machines that bear the unmistakable hallmarks of design. Discover the intricacy of a microscopic bacterial rotary motor, which spins at 100,000 rpm. Within the nucleus explore the wonder of DNA, a thread-like molecule that stores instructions to build the essential components of every living organism. It is part of a biological information processing system more complex and more powerful than any computer network.

The Privileged Planet

We now know that a rare and finely tuned array of factors makes Earth suitable for complex life. We depend on our planet’s oxygen-rich atmosphere, its large moon, its planetary neighbors, and its precise location within the solar system and Milky Way galaxy. But the story does not end here. For the same factors that make a planet like Earth hospitable to life also provide the best conditions for scientific discovery.

The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel

In The Case for a Creator DVD, Strobel re-examines the theories that once led him away from God. Highlighted by spectacular computer animation, The Case for a Creator DVD is a remarkable film in which you’ll encounter the mind-stretching discoveries from cosmology, cellular biology, DNA research, astronomy, physics, and human consciousness.

HT: Between Two Worlds

Powers of 10 Video

Here is a great video showing the relative sizes of things in the universe, first zooming out by powers of ten beyond the borders of our galaxy, and then zooming in by powers of ten right down to the quantum level. This short film was produced in the 1970’s by Charles and Ray Eames for IBM.

Video length: (9:02)

Related posts:

Ruben’s Tube – A Visual Sound Wave

    Ruben’s Tube

My son is taking physics this year, and we came across these neat video demonstrations of the Ruben’s Tube, also known as the Standing Wave Flame Tube. The first Rubens tube was created in 1904 by German physicist Heinrich Rubens. Rubens drilled 200 small holes at 2 centimeter intervals into a 4-meter-long tube and filled it with a flammable gas. After lighting the gas, he noted that a sound produced at one end of the tube created a standing wave the same wavelength as the sound being made.

Seeing we couldn’t do this experiment ourselves safely at home, these videos were the next best thing. Enjoy!

Here is one from Flash Forward (video length: 2:48):

 
And here is one from Mythbusters (video length: 1:57):

Ben Stein Expelled Roundup

Updated with new links:

Ben Stein’s new movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, came out this weekend, and the reviews are all over the map. Here is a roundup of links both positive and negative, and somewhere in between!

The Good:

The Bad:

The Ugly:

Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

Albert Einstein on the Evidence of a Creator

Albert Einstein’s response when asked by an interviewer if he was an atheist:

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)“I’m not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.” (First published as “What Life Means to Einstein,” Saturday Evening Post, October 26, 1929. Quoted in Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe; New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007, p. 386.)

Source: Kairos Journal (subscription required)

At Least It’s Not Condition 1 Weather!

I live in New England where we are expecting our first major snow storm of the season — 6 to 10 inches of the heavy, white sticky stuff coming our way this afternoon. Today as I am shoveling and throughout the winter, I will just keep reminding myself, “At least it’s not Condition 1 Weather!”

What is Condition 1 Weather, you ask? Just take a look at this video of a weather station in Antarctica.

(Video length: 1:03)

Official Definitions:

  • Condition ONE – any one of the following is true:
    • Wind speed greater than 55 knots
    • Visibility less than 100 feet
    • Wind-chill worse than -100F
  • Condition TWO – any one of the following is true:
    • Wind speed between 48 and 55 knots
    • Visibility better than 100 feet but less than 1/4 mile
    • Wind-chill between -70F and -100F
  • Condition THREE – anything that is better than Condition TWO.
    • Condition THREE means normal, good weather!

Related posts:

HT: Presurfer

The Inner Life of a Cell

Here is a fascinating video called The Inner Life of a Cell. (This is the shorter version with accompanying music. There is also a longer version available with narration.) I first saw this video about a year ago and was glad to find it on the Internet again.

(Video length: 3:10)

The animation was produced by BioVisions at Harvard University. BioVisions is based on a collaborative community of Harvard scientists, teaching faculty, students, and multimedia professionals. It is directed by Dr. Robert A. Lue, who founded BioVisions with support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Harvard University.

The potential of multimedia in the area of biology education has yet to be fulfilled. Indeed, multimedia as a means of imparting biological information is years behind its use in other areas such as entertainment. BioVisions is meant to close this gap by combining the highest quality multimedia development with rigorous scientific models of how biological processes occur.

You can find more information about the project at Studio Daily.

HT: The Presurfer (which has the longer version with narration)

Dynamic Periodic Table of Elements

If you are taking chemistry (like my son is), then you may find the Dynamic Periodic Table of Elements interesting. It is an interactive table with many helpful features.

HT: Evangelical Outpost

10 Worst Disasters of the Century

Popular Mechanics lists the 10 worst disasters of the century (occurring in the United States):

(more…)

God, Quantum Mechanics, and Chaos Theory

Mr. Dawntreader has another excellent post today in his series of articles on the book, Science & Faith: Friends or Foes? by Dr. C. John Collins.

Whereas quantum mechanics and chaos theory both suggest randomness in the world, the Bible reveals a sovereign God who is in control of the universe. So how does one reconcile the findings of quantum mechanics and chaos theory with a sovereign God?

My own hunch – and it is not much stronger than that – is that quantum mechanics is a model, and that it shows what the world acts like at its lowest level; but that we may well have reached the limits of our ability to know things with more precision than quantum mechanics allows.

But in any case quantum mechanics in itself . . . does not undermine the traditional Christian picture of the world with knowable natural properties behaving in a predictable and understandable way, under the rule of a wise and holy Creator. This is true for at least two reasons.

First, however spooky quantum theory may sound, it is highly mathematical: and this shows that the world is still intelligible, since that is just what mathematics is for.

Second, we experience the world at a much larger scale than the one quantum mechanics describes. And at this level, “ordinary physics” – Newton’s laws and all that – describes everything quite well. So we experience the world at a level that combines the tiny quantum effects, and all the goofiness gets washed out. (Collins, Science & Faith, p.223)

Mr. Dawntreader then goes on to discuss chaos theory using weather as an example.

It is terribly difficult to predict weather. There are simply too many factors. The initial condition is far to difficult to measure. The output is nonlinear. Weather is therefore a chaotic system. Hence we use predictions based on probability instead of knowing exactly what will happen based on natural laws.

Does this undermine a biblical worldview?

Hardly. This is nothing more than a math problem that is too difficult for us to solve at present. Nothing more, nothing less. If we could precisely measure the initial conditions and every single factor, we could precisely say what tomorrow’s weather would be.

In conclusion, neither quantum theory or chaos theory presents a serious challenge to a biblical worldview.

I encourage you to read the full article at the Dawn Treader site.

Related post: God’s Providence and Scientific Investigation

God’s Providence and Scientific Investigation

I am enjoying reading Mr. Dawntreader’s articles on the book, Science & Faith: Friends or Foes? by Dr. C. John Collins. Dr. Collins is an Old Testament professor at Covenant Theological Seminary. He has his undergraduate and first graduate degrees in engineering from MIT, and a Ph.D. in lingusitics from the university of Liverpool. He is also an expert in Hebrew.

I especially liked this article on the topic of God’s involvement in this world and its effect on science.

In theological terms, this falls in the area of study called providence. How involved is God in the natural world? If he is heavily involved, does it make the study of science pointless?

Collins unpacks God’s involvement in the world by stating the classic Christian understanding of God’s providence. God created real things with real properties (i.e. natures) each with the possibility of causing things. God ceased creating but goes on maintaining and governing. That is, he keeps his creation doing what it is supposed to be doing …

This raises a question. Does God do everything?

In a sense, yes. In a sense, no. God directly governs this world. His purposes are holy, wise and thoroughly good; and he sees to it, that in the end, his purposes stand. The reason the laws of physics work is because God keeps them working day after day. They serve his purpose. So God is directly involved in all of creation daily. However, God created a universe with a web of cause and effect and things that have natures … and one of the properties of those natures is to cause things. In that sense, God did not write this blog post. Mr. Dawntreader did …

Is it still possible for Christians to study and learn about the natural world if God is so involved in it? Of course it is, and we should learn as much as we can. In fact, it is because God sustains this world and gives it order that forms the basis and foundation for studying it.

I encourage you to visit the Dawn Treader site to read the full article, plus the earlier articles on the book as well. This looks like an excellent book on science and faith, and I have added it to my “books to read” list.

Related post: The Bible is to Theology as Creation is to Science