Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Digging Through the Trash


Remnants of the Monolith of Silwan, a tomb dating to the time of Solomon's Temple. It was once thought to be the burial site of Solomon's Egyptian queen.


Archaeologists are interested in ancient trash heaps which they call "middens." They tirelessly shift through rubbish heaps to discover pieces of broken pottery (shards), fragments of bone, broken tools, and other castoffs. These finds reveal a great deal about the daily life of the local residents.

Very old trash heaps have been found dating to about 8000 BC in Turkey, at Jericho in Israel, and ancient manuscripts have been found at the dump in El-Bahnasa, Egypt. Another ancient landfill is being excavated on the eastern slopes of Jerusalem's "City of David" or the area know as Silwan. The trash found here tells archaeologists what life was like for people living in Jerusalem during the Early Roman Period (100 BC-100 AD).



Looking south into the Kidron Valley from the southeast corner of the Temple Mount. Photo shows the Arab town of Silwan.


The trash digging at Silwan is under the direction of Tel Aviv University archaeologist Yuval Gadot. His team is bringing to light pieces of history when Jerusalem was under Roman rule, the Temple stood, and Jesus preached about the eternal kingdom and foretold His death and resurrection.

Godot reports that the garbage layers on Jerusalem's eastern slopes are more than 36 feet deep in some places. He explains that "the garbage layers could potentially shed light on the dietary habits, trading practices, and vocational diversity of the ancient residents of Jerusalem."

The huge scale of the dump suggests that Jerusalem had a trash collection system. The Jews were careful to avoid contact with human waste, urine, blood, bones, and dead animals. Likely, there was a caste of trash collectors who were regarded as necessary, but not respectable by Jewish ritual standards. In India, for example, trash collectors and street sweepers are the lowest caste and called "untouchables."

Related reading: Jerusalem PilgrimageA Place Called Oxyrhynchus



Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Disconnect Between Evolutionary Theory and Reality



These coccoid Staphylococcus cells move very easily and can reproduce aggressively. 


Organic scientists have long speculated that the shape of an organism is correlated to its movement (motility). Human anatomical structure correlates to our walking upright. However, when tested scientists have found that this is not a law of biology. Science adjust by formulating new hypotheses when theory and reality do not align. This is the case in the study of  the shape of bacteria.

The research of Stuart Humphries “has produced evidence that these theoretical predictions don’t match reality, at least in this group of bacteria, and it therefore makes a major contribution to our understanding of the evolution of bacteria.”

In this article, Darwinian scientists discuss the surprising shape of bacteria. Some go so far as to admit that "Darwinian theory is broken and may not be fixable."

Read the article on Bacteria Evolution here.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Technology-STEM Discovery Course



SPRING 2018
Alice C. Linsley

The Middle School elective called "Technology-STEM Discovery"exposes students to 15 sciences and asks them to integrate their learning with Bible through the use of technology.

The students read, discuss, and complete projects on topics in agriculture, anthropology, archaeology, architecture, astronomy, biology, climate studies, earth science, forestry, genetics, linguistics, materials science, medicine, navigation, and zoology.

The Technology-STEM Discovery course has three components:
Component One: Computer Skills, History of Technology
Component TwoChristians in STEM throughout History
Component Three: Bible Technology Cards
Component One: Typical topics include:

The Power of the Internet
Digital Citizenship
Google Docs
Internet Research/Search Engines
Style Sheets
Chrome Books
Creating and Managing a Blog


Individual Technology Project

Each student selects a branch of science and conducts research on this science. The student also completes all the Bible Technology Cards related to this field of science. The research will be used to prepare a Power Point slide show or a Google slide show. The student will present this to the class. This project takes about 8 weeks to complete.

Component Two



Students are not aware that an estimated 60% of pioneers in STEM have been Christians. Component Two introduces them to some of these people. Each week we will read about and discuss a different person in class.

Francis Bacon 1561-1626
Johannes Kepler 1571-1630
Blaise Pascal 1623-1662
Georges Cuvier 1769-1832
Michael Farraday 1791-1867
James Clerk Maxwell 1831-1879
George Washington Carver 1864-1943
Robert Runnels Williams 1886–1965
Roger John Williams 1893–1988
Georges Lemaître 1894–1966
Austin L. Hughes 1949-2015
Raymond V. Damadian
Ian H. Hutchinson

Hildegard of Bingen 1098-1179
Mary Anning 1799-1847
Agnes Giberne 1845-1939
Mary Celine Fasenmyer 1906-1996
Chris Templar
Faith Tucker
Katharine Hayhoe
Ann Marie Thro
Jennifer Wiseman
Robin Pals-Rylaarsdam
Nola Stephens


Component Three

Students select a card from the Bible Technology Card Box. The cards address topics in 15 fields of science. Each card provides background information and context for students to research up to 3 questions per card related to science, technology, engineering and math in the Bible. Students are to complete 12 cards per semester (or 6 cards per quarter). The cards are color coded as follows:

Agriculture/Horticulture - sea foam green
Anthropology - gold
Archaeology - blue
Architecture - pink
Astronomy - bright green
Biology - blue
Climate Studies - purple
Earth Science - black
Forestry - teal
Genetics - red
Linguistics - brown
Materials - bright yellow
Medicine - orange
Navigation - white
Zoology - salmon

You will find answers to the Bible Technology Cards by clicking on the links below. The articles are listed under the branch of science. Be sure to check the "related reading" at the end of the articles for further information.

Agriculture/Horticulture
Horticulture in the Ancient World
Threshing Floors and Solar Symbolism
Olive Oil Production in the Ancient World
Herbs Used for Healing in the Bible

Anthropology
The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 1)
The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 2)
The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 3)
The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 4)
The Social Structure of the biblical Hebrew (Part 5)
Confirmation of Biblical Populations
Getting the Facts About Human Origins
The Rising Star Expedition
Rising Star Expedition Update
Science in Progress: The Rising Star ExpeditionNoah's Sons and Their Descendants
More About Noah's Descendants
Nahor and His Descendants
The Marriage and Ascendancy Pattern of Abraham's People
The Mighty Men of Old
The Pyramid Builders
The Genesis King Lists
The Antiquity of the Edomite Rulers
Two Named Esau
Edom and the Horite Ha'biru
Priests, Shamans and Prophets
Three-Clan Confederations and Twelve-Clan Confederations
Some Marks of Prehistoric Religion

Archaeology
The Stone Age
Symbols of Archaic Rock Shelters
Artifacts of Great Antiquity
David's Zion Found
Digging Through the Trash
Jerusalem Virtual Pilgrimage
What Are Bullae?
3000 Year Temple Seal
Yahu Seals
Purity Seal From Herod's Temple
2400 BC Tomb of Purification Priest (Also read this.)
Sudan is Archaeologically Rich
Sixteen Pyramids Unearthed at Kushite Cemetery
70,000 Year Settlement Found in Sudan
Why Nekhen is Archaeologically Significant

Architecture
The Pillars of Solomon's Temple
Shrine Cities Were Sun Shrines
Monuments of the Ancient Kushites
Kushite Shrines
The Temple of Winged Lions
Tumuli of the Ancient World
Petra Reflects Horite Beliefs
Prehistoric Obelisk Found in Judah
Circumcision and Circles of Standing Stones in the Judean Hills
Horite Temples
The High Places
The Shrine City of Nekhen
77,000-Year Settlement in Sudan
Europe's Oldest Prehistoric Town Unearthed in Bulgaria
The Trapezoid in Ancient Architecture
Sheep Cotes

Astronomy
Saros Cycles and Eclipses
The Sunlight Cycle in the Northern Hemisphere
The King Planet's North Pole Has Changed to Gold
The Celestial Dance Observed by the Magi
Who Were the Wise Men?
Horite Expectation and the Star of Bethlehem
The Sun and Moon as a Binary Set
The Sun and the Sacred
Ancient African Astronomers
Threshing Floors and Solar Symbols
Solar Imagery
A Tent for the Sun
The Sun and the Sacred
The Sun and Celestial Horses
Dung Beetle and Heaven Lights
Marcus Byrne: The Dance of the Dung Beetle

Biology
Genesis Has No Evolutionary Framework
Questioning the Common Ancestry Hypothesis
What is Meant by the Term "Kind" in Genesis?
Cambrian Explosion: The Binary Feature Signals Greater Diversity
The Genetic Difference Between Humans and Apes

Climate
Evidence of a Wet Sahara
Mega-Lake Chad
Mega-Nile
Katherine Hayhoe on Climate Change
Climate Cycles Indicate a Dynamic Earth
Two Environmentalists Knock Heads
Climate and Wealth Redistribution
Climate Change and Human Innovation
Antarctic Ozone Hole Smaller
America's Wake Up Call on Climate

Earth Science
The Pillars of the Earth
Volcanic Eruptions
Earth's Magnetic Pole Reversals
Reversals of Polarity: The Magnetic Flip
Afar Rift
The Lake Suigetsu Varve
Walking Rocks
The Atacama RockTumbler

Forestry
Trees in Genesis
The Trees of Prophets
Trees as Boundary Markers
The Judean Nut Palm
What Happened to the Cedars of Lebanon?
Antarctica Once Had Baobab Trees
The Fig Tree in Biblical Symbolism
Congo Basin Forest Ecology
Amazon Basin Forest Ecology
Theories About the Tree of Life
The Tree of Weeping
Earth's Oldest Trees

Genetics
Genetic Types: A few basics
Haplogroups of Interest to Biblical Anthropologists
R1b Profile of 64% of European Men
Ashkenazi Represent Judeo-Khazar Admixture
The Sub-Saharan DNA of Modern Jews
DNA Confirms Mixed Ancestry of Jews
A Kindling of Ancient Memory
The Bible and the Question of Race
80,000 Year Ancestor of Chinese Men

Linguistics
What is a Phoneme?
Phoneme Study Pinpoints Origin of Modern Languages
Early Written Signs
Ancient Canaanite Inscriptions
Symbols of Archaic Rock Shelters
The Urheimat of the Canaanite Y
Is Hebrew an African Language?
The Aleph as Ox/Bull Head
Technology to Preserve Languages on the Verge of Extinction
Conversation about the Beginning of Spoken Language
Navajo-Ket Linguistic Connection
Dr. Nola Stephens on Linguistics and Faith
The Generative Divine Word

Materials
Archaic Shell Technology
"Easter" Eggs in Antiquity
Brick Making in Antiquity
Bronze Serpent on Moses's Staff
Stone Work of the Ancient World
Textiles of the Ancient World
Stone, Shell and Egg Technologies
Noah's Ark
The Religious Symbolism of Gold
The Gold of Ophir
Kushite Gold
A Silver Lining at Abel Beth Maacah
Paradise of Ancient Memory
Afro-Asiatic Metal Workers
Red and Black Smiths
Why Zipporah Used a Flint Knife
Afro-Asiatic Metal Workers
Ancient Miners Venerated Hathor

Medicine
Medical Care in Ancient Egypt
Physician-priests of the Ancient World
Prehistoric Humans Used Plants Medicinally
The Ancient Nubians Used Antibiotics
Neolithic Medical Care
Herbs Used for Healing in the Bible
Dental Health of Ancient Sudanese

Navigation
Noah's Ark
Pythons Used for Sea Navigation
The Ancient Egyptians were Seafaring
4500-Year Harbor at Wadi al-Jarf
Boats and Cows of the Nilo-Saharans
When the Nile Was a Mega-River
Swimming and Diving: Activities of Archaic Peoples
Boat Petroglyphs in Egypt's Central Eastern Desert

Zoology
Dogs in the Bible
The Animals on Noah's Arc
Dung Beetle
The Ostrich in Biblical Symbolism
The Rooster in Biblical Symbolism
Religious Symbolism of Long Cow Horns
Why Cows Were Sacred in the Ancient World
Cows of the Proto-Saharans
The Fatted Calf
Jesus: From Lamb to Ram
Elephants in the Time of Abraham
Abraham's Camels
Sea Birds Use Sense of Smell to Navigate
Celestial Horses
Noah's Birds
The Lion and Judah
Animal Totems Used to Trace Ancestry


Additional helpful reading:

INDEX of Topics
Who Laid the Foundations of Science and Technology?
Using the Bible to Test Hypotheses
When is the Evidence Sufficient?
Why Biblical Anthropology?
INDEX of Topics at Biblical Anthropology
INDEX of Topics at Just Genesis
The Key to Science and Scripture Alignment
Ancient Seats of Wisdom
Science and Technology in the Ancient World
The Oldest Known Calculator
Find Answers to Bible Technology Cards
Ancient Shrine Cities
Medicine in the Ancient World
Tumuli of the Ancient World
Clepsydra, an Ancient Time Device
The Sand Hourglass or Clepsammia
How Globes Are Made
A Brief History of Map Making
How Telescopes are Made
Ancient Textile Technologies


Getting Started With Bible Technology Cards


Students are required to complete 12 cards before the end of the semester. Most will complete this requirement as part of their individual project on a branch of science.

The Bible Technology Cards are arranged alpha-numerically in the blue box. The answers are found in online readings which are indexed here. Usually, it is not helpful to Google the questions because they deal with highly specialized material.

Here is what you are to do:
  • Pick a card.
  • Read the card. Most cards have 3 questions for you to answer.
  • Write the first question in the Bible Technology section of your Technology-STEM Discovery notebook. 
  • Label the notebook entry.  Examples: BTC#2 - Materials, or BTC #5 - Archaeology.
  • Look for the answer to the question by clicking on a title that has key words that appear on the card. For example, if the card deals with silk production, click on the article Silk Production 8000 Years Ago
  • Sometimes you have to look for answers under "Related Reading" at the bottom of the blog posts.
  • Write the second question, and find the articles that deal with this.
  • Write your answer in the notebook.
  • Write the third question and find the articles that deal with this.
  • Write your answer in the notebook.
Turn your notebook in for a grade after you complete each Bible Technology Card. Place the notebook of the chair next to the teacher's desk.

The cards are color coded as follows:

Agriculture/Horticulture - sea foam green
Anthropology - gold
Archaeology - light blue
Architecture - pink
Astronomy - green
Biology - dark blue
Climate Studies - purple
Earth Science - black
Forestry - teal
Genetics - red
Linguistics - brown
Materials - bright yellow
Medicine - orange
Navigation - white
Zoology - salmon


Agriculture/Horticulture
Horticulture in the Ancient World
Threshing Floors and Solar Symbolism
Olive Oil Production in the Ancient World

Anthropology
Confirmation of Biblical Populations
Getting the Facts About Human Origins
The Rising Star Expedition
Rising Star Expedition Update
Science in Progress: The Rising Star Expedition
Noah's Sons and Their Descendants
More About Noah's Descendants
Nahor and His Descendants
The Marriage and Ascendancy Pattern of Abraham's People
The Mighty Men of Old
The Pyramid Builders
The Genesis King Lists
The Antiquity of the Edomite Rulers
Two Named Esau
Edom and the Horite Ha'biru
Priests, Shamans and Prophets
Three-Clan Confederations and Twelve-Clan Confederations
Some Marks of Prehistoric Religion

Archaeology
The Stone Age
Symbols of Archaic Rock Shelters
David's Zion Found
Jerusalem Virtual Pilgrimage
What Are Bullae?
3000 Year Temple Seal
Yahu Seals
Purity Seal From Herod's Temple
2400 BC Tomb of Purification Priest (Also read this.)
Sudan is Archaeologically Rich
Sixteen Pyramids Unearthed at Kushite Cemetery
70,000 Year Settlement Found in Sudan
Why Nekhen is Archaeologically Significant

Architecture
The Pillars of Solomon's Temple
Monuments of the Ancient Kushites
Kushite Shrines
The Temple of Winged Lions
Petra Reflects Horite Beliefs
Prehistoric Obelisk Found in Judah
Circumcision and Circles of Standing Stones in the Judean Hills
Horite Temples
The High Places
The Shrine City of Nekhen
77,000-Year Settlement in Sudan
Europe's Oldest Prehistoric Town Unearthed in Bulgaria
The Trapezoid in Ancient Architecture
Sheep Cotes

Astronomy
The Sunlight Cycle in the Northern Hemisphere
The King Planet's North Pole Has Changed to Gold
The Celestial Dance Observed by the Magi
Who Were the Wise Men?
Horite Expectation and the Star of Bethlehem
The Sun and Moon as a Binary Set
The Sun and the Sacred
Ancient African Astronomers
Threshing Floors and Solar Symbols
Solar Imagery
A Tent for the Sun
The Sun and the Sacred
The Sun and Celestial Horses
Marcus Byrne: The Dance of the Dung Beetle

Biology
Genesis Has No Evolutionary Framework
Questioning the Common Ancestry Hypothesis
What is Meant by the Term "Kind" in Genesis?
Cambrian Explosion: The Binary Feature Signals Greater Diversity
The Genetic Difference Between Humans and Apes

Climate
Mega-Lake Chad
Mega-Nile
Katherine Hayhoe on Climate Change
Climate Cycles Indicate a Dynamic Earth
Complex Climate Changes
In Search of Green Arabia
When the Sahara Was Wet
Saving the Animals in Times of Flooding
Antarctica Once Had Baobab Trees
Volcanic Eruptions and Climate
South American Glaciers Growing
Climate Data Fudge Factor
Kansas Bill Calling for Objectivity in Climate Science Fails
Reality Climate Ideologues Won't Face
Climate Change and Genesis
Lower Solar Irradiance, Higher Atmospheric Temps?
Climate Cycles and Noah's Flood
Climate Studies and the Book of Genesis
Genesis and Climate Change
Two Environmentalists Knock Heads
Climate and Wealth Redistribution
Climate Change and Human Innovation
Antarctic Ozone Hole Smaller
America's Wake Up Call on Climate

Earth Science
The Pillars of the Earth
Volcanic Eruptions
Earth's Magnetic Pole Reversals
Reversals of Polarity: The Magnetic Flip
Afar Rift
The Lake Suigetsu Varve
Walking Rocks
The Atacama RockTumbler

Forestry
Trees as Boundary Markers
Trees of the Bible
The Trees of Prophets
What Happened to the Cedars of Lebanon?
The Judean Nut Palm
Antarctica Once Had Baobab Trees
The Fig Tree in Biblical Symbolism
Congo Basin Forest Ecology
Amazon Basin Forest Ecology
Theories About the Tree of Life
The Tree of Weeping

Genetics
Genetic Types: A few basics
Haplogroups of Interest to Biblical Anthropologists
R1b Profile of 64% of European Men
Ashkenazi Represent Judeo-Khazar Admixture
The Sub-Saharan DNA of Modern Jews
DNA Confirms Mixed Ancestry of Jews
A Kindling of Ancient Memory
The Bible and the Question of Race
80,000 Year Ancestor of Chinese Men

Linguistics
What is a Phoneme?
Phoneme Study Pinpoints Origin of Modern Languages
Early Written Signs
Ancient Canaanite Inscriptions
Symbols of Archaic Rock Shelters
The Urheimat of the Canaanite Y
Is Hebrew an African Language?
The Aleph as Ox/Bull Head
Technology to Preserve Languages on the Verge of Extinction
Conversation about the Beginning of Spoken Language
Navajo-Ket Linguistic Connection
Dr. Nola Stephens on Linguistics and Faith
The Generative Divine Word

Materials
Archaic Shell Technology
"Easter" Eggs in Antiquity
Lead Contamination of Water
Brick Making in the Ancient World
Stone Work of the Ancient World
Stone, Shell and Egg Technologies
Noah's Ark
The Gold of Ophir
Kushite Gold
A Silver Lining at Abel Beth Maacah
Paradise of Ancient Memory
Afro-Asiatic Metal Workers
Red and Black Smiths
Why Zipporah Used a Flint Knife
Afro-Asiatic Metal Workers
Ancient Miners Venerated Hathor

Medicine
Medical Care in Ancient Egypt
Prehistoric Humans used Plants Medicinally
The Ancient Nubians Used Antibiotics
Neolithic Medical Care
Herbs Used for Healing in the Bible
Dental Health of Ancient Sudanese

Navigation
Noah's Ark
Pythons Used for Sea Navigation
The Ancient Egyptians were Seafaring
4500-Year Harbor at Wadi al-Jarf
Boats and Cows of the Nilo-Saharans
When the Nile Was a Mega-River
Swimming and Diving: Activities of Archaic Peoples
Boat Petroglyphs in Egypt's Central Eastern Desert

Zoology
Dogs in the Bible
The Animals on Noah's Arc
The Ostrich in Biblical Symbolism
The Rooster in Biblical Symbolism
Religious Symbolism of Long Cow Horns
Why Cows Were Sacred in the Ancient World
Cows of the Proto-Saharans
The Fatted Calf
The Red Heifer
Ram Symbolism of the Ancient World
Jesus: From Lamb to Ram
Elephants in the Time of Abraham
Abraham's Camels
Sea Birds Use Sense of Smell to Navigate
Celestial Horses
Noah's Birds
The Lion and Judah
Animal Totems Used to Trace Ancestry

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018's First Total Lunar Eclipse




The first eclipse of 2018 will be a total lunar eclipse on Jan. 31. It is popularly referred to as a Blue Moon. Such a skywatching event hasn't happened for more than 150 years. The eclipse will be visible in the evening sky to people living in central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and in southwestern Australia.

Blue Moons happen about once every 2.7 years.

Read more about it here.



Saturday, December 16, 2017

Reading the Bible as a Christian



Map shows the dispersion of the R1b people out of Africa.

Alice C. Linsley

This is the third installment in a series of articles of the Bible and Science. In Part 1 we considered this question: If Scripture is reliable and the empirical method is valuable, shouldn't the two work together for those who want to understand the Bible?

It is an error to think that biblical assertions cannot be tested by science. The Bible makes extraordinary assertions that can be found to align with the findings of different fields of science: anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, climate studies, DNA studies, linguistics, etc. In an age when it is generally assumed that the Bible is nonsense, identifying the alignments is an essential task of Christian apologetics.

Approaching the Scriptures with an empirical eye involves noticing details that clarify the context and the meaning. We should note that Nimrod was a Kushite kingdom builder (Genesis 10:8) because this speaks of the Kushite migration out of the Upper Nile Valley, something that has been confirmed by DNA studies of Haplogroup R1b.

Linguists and Bible scholars have noted that many of the roots (radicals) found in the early chapters of Genesis are Nilo-Saharan roots and date to a time when the Sahara was wet. This suggests that Noah, Nimrod’s great grandfather, probably lived in Africa during the time when it was prone to floods. That would make Noah a Proto-Saharan ruler. Interesting information has come forward about Proto-Saharan rulers. They kept royal menageries, and the animals were brought in pairs, a male and a female, in hopes that the species would reproduce.

The anthropological tools of kinship analysis have identified the rulers of Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36 as historical persons with an authentic marriage and ascendancy pattern. Their kinship pattern is identical to that of Moses’s family. This suggests that Cain, Seth, Lamech, Noah, Methuselah, Abraham, Sheba, Seir the Horite, and Moses share a common ancestral tradition.

Archaeological research reveals that this common ancestral tradition expressed itself in burial practices that suggest the hope of resurrection and immortality. Among those practices are the mummification of rulers, burial in red ochre (an archaic symbol of blood), and monumental tombs and temples with entrances aligned to the rising sun.


In Part 2, we focused on the relation of faith and science, and considered this question: Does faith play a role in scientific research and how Christians interpret data?

There is no doubt that faith informs our worldview and we filter data through a faith template. We may argue over questions of inerrancy, human agency, seeming contradictions, etc., but most Christians are confident that the Bible has been divinely superintended over the centuries. If we believe that the Bible is divinely superintended, we may trust that the biblical data can stand up to empirical investigation.

Attitude is important when reading the Bible. If we approach the text seeking ammunition to fight for a cause, we will fail to understand the divine message. If we approach in arrogance, we will find nothing of real value. The best stance when approaching the Bible is humble inquiry, as a beggar seeking entrance to the King’s palace.

In this installment, we explore how a Christian should read the Bible in the face of secular challenges.

Focus question: In an age that challenges the assertions of the Christian faith, how should Christians read the Bible?

The short answer is that we should be like the noble Bereans who investigated the Scriptures to see if these claims be true (Acts 17:11). Investigation means digging deep into the text, not reading a commentary on the text. It means questioning the text, not taking it for granted. It means recognizing that the Bible does not answer all questions, only the essential ones. It means making a lifelong pursuit of the mysteries of God that are hidden in Jesus Messiah. True students of the Bible are like scientists for whom every answered question leads to new questions. Discovery leads to further discovery.

Anselm of Canterbury approached truth with the right attitude. He wrote, “For I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe - that unless I believe I shall not understand.”


The Hubris of Scientism

Arguments among Christians arise over a text or a doctrine when people insist that their interpretation alone is the correct one. Such dogmatism is not unique to Christians. We find it among scientists who believe that science alone confirms truth. This “Scientism” was exposed as fraudulent by the late Dr. Austin Hughes in “The Folly of Scientism” (The New Atlantis, Feb. 2012). He wrote:
When I decided on a scientific career, one of the things that appealed to me about science was the modesty of its practitioners. The typical scientist seemed to be a person who knew one small corner of the natural world and knew it very well, better than most other human beings living and better even than most who had ever lived. But outside of their circumscribed areas of expertise, scientists would hesitate to express an authoritative opinion. This attitude was attractive precisely because it stood in sharp contrast to the arrogance of the philosophers of the positivist tradition, who claimed for science and its practitioners a broad authority with which many practicing scientists themselves were uncomfortable.
The temptation to overreach, however, seems increasingly indulged today in discussions about science. Both in the work of professional philosophers and in popular writings by natural scientists, it is frequently claimed that natural science does or soon will constitute the entire domain of truth. And this attitude is becoming more widespread among scientists themselves. All too many of my contemporaries in science have accepted without question the hype that suggests that an advanced degree in some area of natural science confers the ability to pontificate wisely on any and all subjects.
Of course, from the very beginning of the modern scientific enterprise, there have been scientists and philosophers who have been so impressed with the ability of the natural sciences to advance knowledge that they have asserted that these sciences are the only valid way of seeking knowledge in any field. A forthright expression of this viewpoint has been made by the chemist Peter Atkins, who in his 1995 essay “Science as Truth” asserts the “universal competence” of science. This position has been called scientism — a term that was originally intended to be pejorative but has been claimed as a badge of honor by some of its most vocal proponents. In their 2007 book Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized, for example, philosophers James Ladyman, Don Ross, and David Spurrett go so far as to entitle a chapter “In Defense of Scientism.”

Today the challenges to our Christian faith are so great that we can’t be complacent about the claims of Scripture. We must counter ignorance of the text with clear and concise evidence. If a claim is true there will be evidence to that effect. Investigate the claim! We can no longer accept something by faith. We must also confirm it by every possible means, and God will help us in the pursuit of truth.

Christians are to demonstrate that the Bible is more than an account of irrelevant past events. We do this by reading the Bible daily and reflecting on its application. We do this by taking it as our primary authority for faith and practice. If we are to rise to the challenges of secularism and scientism we must also read empirically. That means identifying and verifying the accuracy of biblical data so that the world may know that the supernatural message of the Bible is written everywhere in the natural world (Romans 1:20). As St. Jerome reminds us, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ!”


Related reading: Ian Hutchinson on Faith and Science; When is the Evidence Sufficient?; Always Be Prepared to Give an Answer; The Bible and Anthropological Investigation


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How Plants Find Water



R. RELLÁN-ÁLVAREZ ET AL/ELIFE 2015

Plants are familiar. We live with them, tend them, and rely on them for food and materials. We take them for granted and fail to recognize that plants are amazing.

Vertebrates develop in wombs or eggs, but plant roots respond to outside environments, revealing sensitivity to life-sustaining elements around them.

José Dinneny wants us to see plants as stranger things. He says, "They’re able to integrate information and make coherent decisions without a nervous system, without a brain."

Dinneny studies how plants find water. He and his colleagues developed a system to observe plant growth called GLO-Roots. It makes roots in soil easier to watch because the roots glow as they spread through the soil. Computer analysis of images tracks where root tissues luminesce as various genes turn on in the underground observatory, giving researchers clues to how roots detect and respond to their environment.

Read more here.