Friday, January 28, 2011

Welcome to Jurassic Park

When I was a child, I was really into dinosaurs.  (Alright, let’s admit it, I’m still really into dinosaurs).  I had stacks of books about them, both fiction and non-fiction.  I spent literally hundreds of hours among the crushed-up gravel of our driveway, finding the remains of ancient sea life embedded in the limestone.  I even found two large, complete, perfectly fossilized snail shells along the shore of Lake Erie, and to this day they number among my most prized possessions (not dinosaurs, I know, but I’ll take what I can get).  There was something about dinosaurs that sparked my imagination, that opened up undreamed-of possibilities, that showed me that I was a bit player in a story far larger than anything I could conceive. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Lazy Baker: A Love Story

Since this blog is brand new, I am attempting to set up a routine: every Tuesday publish something light and fun, and every Friday (or Saturday) publish something a bit meatier.  In that light, I offer you a modern-day parable.  Wrap yourself up in a warm blanket, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and let Uncle Morris read you a bedtime story.  (Oh, and in case you wish to purchase the above terrifying picture, the least I can do is link to the site I stole it from.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Arguments Creationists Should Never Use, As Declared by Creationists

There was an interesting article recently promoted by Creation Ministries International (CMI), a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) organization, entitled Arguments We Think Creationists Should NOT Use.  I found many of the statements to be quite surprising, with some significant implications for the future of the YEC movement.  You can read them below; I intend to talk about their implications in my next post.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Symphony of Science

After that massive 'Chaos and the Deep' article, my brain is fried.  So instead, enjoy an entertaining music video featuring real scientisits stating metaphysical perspectives to a catchy beat. You can view more at Symphony of Science.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chaos and the Deep (Part 3 of 3)

'By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.' (2 Peter 3:6)

Tehowm and Creationists
Now that we have flogged the image of tehowm to death (but hopefully gleaned some insights along the way), it is time to relate all of this back to the relationship between evangelicalism and science.

Chaos and the Deep (Part 2 of 3)

The heavenly ocean and the earthly ocean  
Genesis 1:6 reads ‘And God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters (mayim), and let it divide the waters from the waters.’

It is difficult for us to think like an ancient human.  We are taught the water cycle at an early age.  We give our children books entitled ‘Why is the sky blue?’  But the Hebrews did not have access to the same knowledge we have today.  When they looked at the sky, they saw, just beyond the horizon, a vast blue, so far away that even the sun seemed to be contained by it.  At night they saw lights twinkling in the sky against a deep black.  There is only one thing on earth that is vast and blue: the ocean.  And where does rain come from?  The sky.  It only made sense that this blue sky was in fact a heavenly ocean.

Chaos and the Deep (Part 1 of 3)

‘Go, and speed; Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain.’
- Chaos to Satan, Paradise Lost, Milton

‘…darkness [was] upon the face of the deep…’ (Gen 1:2)

How are we to read Genesis 1?  Some evangelicals argue that a plain, literal reading of Genesis is the only truly Christian way to understand it – anything less invalidates the very authority of Christ.  Genesis 1, they argue, was revealed to us as a guide to the how of the Creative process.  Yet the very opening of Genesis delivers a fairly decisive blow to this notion, with the enigmatic phrasing of ‘the deep’ and ‘the waters’.  It is the purpose of this article to plumb the depths of this mysterious image used throughout scripture, and in the process to challenge some long-cherished beliefs of evangelical Christianity.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

James McCosh - America's first pro-evolution preacher

It is often assumed by Creationists (and scientists) that the religious reaction to Darwin's Origin of Species was one of hostility.  The infamous Huxley-Wilberforce debate (1860) and John William Draper's History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (1874) were certainly instances of this anti-evolution attitude, and the popularity and political power of the Anti-Evolution League of America (1924) is an historical fact.  And yet, the reaction among many religious leaders was more varied than popular history would suggest.  Take, for example, James McCosh (1811-1894), a Scotsman and supporter of the evangelical Free Church of Scotland, who reigned as President of Princeton from 1868-1888, and who was considered to be one of the world's pre-eminent defenders of the faith.  And listen to the shock Lippincott felt when he wrote, in an 1880 article in the American Naturalist, 'It appears that Dr. McCosh, one of the ablest defenders of the Christian faith against the attacks of modern infidelity, is a pronounced evolutionist! '

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Challenges of Evangelical Evolutionism

Are evolution and evangelical Christianity compatible?  That is the ultimate question that I will be asking in future postings to this blog.  The answer, in my mind, is a resounding yes - the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, but so is my experience of God.  These two truths, then, cannot contradict one another.  There must be a harmony between them.  This harmony, however it gets worked out, is generally known as theistic evolution.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Here We Go Again...

I am a Christian, and I am a scientist.  But mostly, I am just bored out of my mind.  Which is why I have decided to start this blog, featuring my half-coherent ramblings on the intersection between science and faith.