Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Continued from the “scientific” “theory” of intelligent design thread

I’ve no answer to Steve’s question regarding the possibility of our creator being a bug-eyed alien. There’s so many variables in the topic of creation that it is hard for me to give it much thought one way or another. I’m content being a God fearing Christian who satisfies his appetite for understanding our creation with a little Bible reading here and there and the occasional Discovery channel show I can roll my eyes at. Ultimately, I can’t say that I understand the battle between evolution and the Bible beyond the social or political implications that evolution (and other scientific ideas) have on the church. While I see no real apparent contradiction between Darwin and Genesis (I wouldn’t know where to begin as science and religion talk in two different languages even though they may say the same thing) I can understand the Church’s desire to maintain its authority over such issues in this earthly realm, regardless of whether it is right or wrong to do so. You can see the scientific community doing the same thing now in regards to global warming as well as evolution.


Steve said...

Working on a longer repsonse... for now I shall offer up the following rebuttal:

The church talking about science from a position of authority is similiar to Frank Zappa (or perhaps it was John Cage) commenting about writing about music... it's very similiar to dancing about architecture.

Me, I like to dance about architecture a lot. But I don't try to tell people to go out and kill other people because they don't like the architecture I'm dancing about.

Regarding Science and the authority to talk about global warming... since global warming is a measurable phenomena... I would say it's entirely within the realm of science to comment on it.

If perhaps it was caused by angering the weather gods, or Satan and his minions were behind it... then maybe not. But since it seems to have been caused by us, God's Special Little Monkeys (whoops! I meant Very Lucky Little Monkeys) then therefore it's still in the realm of science.

More on Science and Morality in another post.

Jeffrey Hill said...

Theology regarding our creation is not meant to be science, so far as I know. However, like science, religion does try to explain the unknowns in and out of this world. The point I was trying to make is that when science began to cover the natural order of things that hitherto had been solely covered by religion, then the religious institutions – not the religion – felt their authority was in peril and acted defensively. From their point, it wasn’t just a matter of the earth going around the sun, but of a sort of domino effect that might undermine everything else they proclaim. And then where would the religious institution be? With hindsight, such defensiveness seems foolhardy. As mentioned before, I do not see much in the way of contradictions between the Bible and today’s scientific theories, though subsequent Church doctrine may be another matter. So why can’t religion absorb new information and interpret it in a way favorable to its beliefs? Lord knows that Christianity has done so before. And is it necessary for us to reconcile everything before accepting it, when we realize there’s vast voids in our knowledge. For example, protesting the teaching of evolution in schools because it seems contradictory to Genesis seems like a mistake to me, especially since it may be possible to fit the latter into the former.

Okay, now I’m rambling.

As for global warming – I’m unaware of any strong evidence that humans are causing it. And I’ve heard report after report on NPR covering the topic. From my understanding, there are natural cycles that the earth goes through and any sort of increase in global temperature can just as easily be associated with that as it can with human activity. While human activity can certainly be a part of the warming, I must disagree with Steve that it seems to have been caused by us. Scientist can certainly query the matter and make hypotheses, but for the scientific community to conclude that humans are the cause of global warming knowing as much (or as little) as we do now seems like bad science. Is it kosher to stifle industry and commerce in order to implement something like the Kyoto Protocol when evidence suggesting its positive effects would improve the environment is pretty flimsy? An alarming number of people in the world think so. I’m surprised at how many Americans are willing to take measures that will certainly harm our business interests for a possible-to-unlikely benefit elsewhere. Also, what does improving the environment mean? We know that, generally speaking, natural changes produce winners and losers. So if the earth gets warmer and the ocean levels rise and we lose New Orleans, the chief producer of ju-ju beads, as a result…well, is that so bad if, on the flip side, Arizona is transformed into a garden spot producing bountiful harvests? Is it at all possible to stagnate the earth and its cycles?

My belief is that if humans are causing the earth to heat up to a point where changes need to be made, we will do so when it becomes advantageous to us – not before. A fair and free market will ensure that prudent measures are taken. But many scientist believe in global warming, regardless of how strong their case is, and have convinced politicians to take premature action to reverse it. Again, that just sounds like bad science.