It is important in science that authors avoid ad hominem attacks, faulty logic, sloppy handling of data, straw man arguments, switching definitions mid-argument, and using prejudicial definitions and arguments. Published in Origins n. 58.
THE RAINBOW IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD
by Leonard Brand and Ernest SchwabLoma Linda University
If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make any sound? This question can be the basis of humorous arguments, perhaps just for the sake of arguing! But when we bring an understanding of the physiology of the human brain and sense organs into the picture, the question becomes…
How should the Bible and natural science be related, explained, or studied? At least two positions seem possible. On the one hand, there are those who hold that a conservative understanding of the Bible and the findings of science cannot be harmonized. On the other, there are those who believe that conclusions drawn from the two disciplines can be harmonized to fit into one overall view of the world.
The argument to design is that nature shows evidence of design but does not attempt to identify the designer. The argument from design is that the design seen in nature is best explained as the result of a specific designer, most often the Christian God. Published in Origins n. 57.
Whenever religion and science have a dispute about some question of fact, religion always loses. So goes a common belief. The implication is that religion should never make any factual claims, as it has no contact with reality. For some religions, such an assertion is irrelevant, as these religions do not make any claims about the physical universe. But for biblical Christianity, such an assertion would be fatal.
Many models have been proposed that tend to blur some of the contrasts between the biblical and naturalistic theories. A number of attempts have been made to develop intermediate models in which elements of the biblical story of creation are mixed with elements of the scientific story of origins. All of these models share the biblical idea that nature is the result of divine purpose and the “scientific” idea of long ages of time, but all suffer from serious scientific problems or are entirely ad hoc and conjectural.
This article provides a state-of-the-art appraisal of ancient Near Eastern chronologies in Mesopotamia and Egypt. It focuses on recent developments in both fields by assessing the current astronomical and historical bases for these chronologies and addressing the relative nature of chronology before the second millennium B.C. It documents the trend over the past sixty years to shorten the historical chronology of the Near East. Published in Origins n. 58.
A collection of short commentaries on scientific papers published in 2003, covering topics such as frog biogeography, moas, the hoatzin, magic bullets in creationism, intelligent design, gene duplication, snail variation, Cambrian lagerstatten, extraterrestrial impacts, hotspots, carbonates, mitochondrial Eve, pseudogene function, mutations in bacteria, fossil diversity patterns, feathered dinosaurs, the fossil Microraptor, intermediate fossil Ichthyostega, problems with the evolutionary tree, and mitochondrial DNA differences. Published in Origins n. 58.
In the current debate between theology and science, many of the issues seem insoluble and irreconcilable. The conflict has indeed been great at times in my own mind and experience as a student. I would like to share my perspective and journey as a student in both areas.
There is more to design than complexity. I am proposing that it is time to advance beyond an analysis of complexity, fruitful though that has been. We are able to expand the scope of design arguments to include the existence of beauty, which points to design of a different kind.
When all is said and done we are forced to answer the question that Yahweh posed to Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?." We are forced to admit that when it comes to origins, the entire human race is ignorant. The only way to pacify our ignorance is by exercising faith. The question is, “In what will you place your faith?”
Revelation, rather than reason, is the source of explanation and truth for those who believe in God and his revelation in Scripture. The Bible's words and inner logic, however, still need interpretation. That is why we need to place all Christian theologies, including Adventist theologies, under careful methodological criticism to make certain we understand biblical thinking on its own terms and not from hermeneutical presuppositions defined by philosophy, science, and culture. Only then can we say in practice that the Bible is the foundation of truth.
The concept of a monotheistic God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, not a plurality of capricious gods, suggested the universality, consistency and coherence of His creation. Among the contingently created beings were humans created in God's own image. This led to "the idea that we lesser rational beings might, by virtue of that Godlike rationality, be able to decipher the laws of nature."