Science: March 2005 Archives

Allthings2all has put together The Science and Christianity Showcase, an excellent collection of posts from Christian bloggers about the relation between science and Christianity, excluding anything on creation and evolution at least partly because a recent Apologetics Carnival dealt with that subject (but I get the sense it's also because all these other issues tend to get sidelined by creation/evolution whenever the topic of Christianity and science comes up). Since there was no expectation that submissions should be recent posts, I submitted my All Creation Groans from almost a year ago. Three posts struck me as worth highlighting:

Sun and Shield has a nice overview of the main themes throughout scripture on the use of our abilities to make things and to explore and learn about God's cration, thus providing a basic biblical theology of science and technology. As with anything good, people can use it as an instrumental bad, and he spends some time listing some ways that can happen, with examples of each from the biblical record.

Blogotional develops some of the same themes, focusing in on the value of science for the Christian as a way to explore what God has done.

A Physicist's Perspective also covers some of the same ground. One intriguing argument in his post is that what we do in science is something God commanded Adam to do before the fall. He also emphasizes the rationality of the world and the God who made it, which encourages us to use science as a rational means of understanding it.

wacky search of the day: ralph nader preterist

ridiculously exaggerated search of the day: 1000 reasons why premarital sex is bad

Both of those were actually yesterday, but that's when I put most of this post together.

Mirror Test

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Psychologists have a test that's generally agreed to show whether a child or an animal has self-consciousness. Someone will put a red dot on their forehead while they're asleep and then see what happens when they look in a mirror. If orangutans, say, can put their hand on their forehead when they see a red dot on the forehead of the image of the orangutan in the mirror, it's supposed to show that the orangutan is thinking, "Hey, that's me, and I've got a red dot on my forehead."

I've been thinking about this, and I'm not so sure. Doesn't it really just show that they expect a correlation between things in mirrors and things that we know mirrors reflect? I wonder about this as I see my kids learning to identify themselves in the mirror. They might easily first get the concept that the things in the mirror match up with the things outside the mirror, long before they start thinking "that's me in the mirror". So why are these tests supposed to tell us that orangutans, gorillas, and chimps have self-consciousness? Maybe they do, but I can't see how this test should show that.

Update: Chris says there are other experiments that do show this (see comment below). If so, my point still stands. You need to have a different experiment to rule out the possibility I presented.

Dory at Wittenberg Gate takes on old-earthers in one of the best presentations of the difficulties with old earth interpretations of Genesis that I've ever seen. I respect Dory greatly, and I think she's got one of the best Christian blogs out there. I have to disagree extremely strongly with her on this issue, though. It seems to me that her normally careful argumentation just isn't present in this post. She argues that the Bible seems to present death as a consequence of the fall, and the old-earth view seems to require death before the fall. I'm not 100% sure of either of those claims, but it's the hardest argument for the old-earth view to deal with. She also presents problems with two of the common views of making Genesis 1:1-2:3 fit a long time frame, but those two views don't seem to me to be the primary views Genesis scholars have. They view those strategies to be just as out of touch with the literary structure of the passage as the 24-hour day view is. Finally, she says an old-earth view threatens the foundations of the gospel, and it's here that I'm really worried about what she's saying, though it's consistent with what she says that she isn't accusing anyone of denying the gospel.

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