by Denyse O'Leary
Can scientists can be just plain wrong? Well, for example, they were wrong when they believed, for millennia, that our universe is eternal. In The Science of God, Schroeder recounts,
From the time of Aristotle, 2,300 years ago, scientific theory held the universe to be eternal. The unchanging stellar pattern of the heavens was shining evidence of this eternity. ... Through the early 1960s in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, two thirds of leading U.S. scientists surveyed believed it. For 3,300 years, since the revelation on Sinai, the Bible denied it, steadfastly claiming there was a beginning to our universe. (page 22)
Many people, and certainly not all of them scientists, wanted the universe to be eternal because a beginning of time and space implies a Beginner (and therefore, probably, a God). However, the general view espoused by the Book of Genesis turned out to be correct and Schroeder, of course, does not think that accidental.
Schroeder addresses the six days of creation in a way that I had never heard before: Instead of concerning himself about whether the days were 24 hours or great ages, he points out that light (as in "Let there be light"), strictly speaking, is free from time. At the speed of light, no time is observed to pass. (page 53ff).
For example, suppose a supernova approaches the earth for 170 000 Earth years. It is finally visible after all that time. But for the light itself, no time has passed. "Light, you see," Schroeder explains, "is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities."
He assumes that the creation of the universe itself is seen from the perspective of light:
Though the comparative, ordinal form of the numbers was used for all the other days (second, third, etc.), Genesis used the absolute cardinal form for day one because it was viewing time from the beginning of time, a perspective from which there was no other time for comparison.
The opening chapter of Genesis acts like the zoom lens of a camera. Day by day it focuses with increasing detail on less and less time and space. The first day of Genesis encompasses the entire universe. By the third day, only Earth is discussed. After day six, only that line of humanity leading to the patriarch Abraham is discussed. The Bible realizes the entire universe still exists. But its interest now rests solely on one line of humanity. This narrowing of perspective, in which each successive day presents in greater detail a smaller scope of time and space, finds a parallel in scientific notation. (page 62)
Genesis, he believes, uses the same technique as science, looking at progressively smaller fragments, in a universal base known as natural log e, best known from the curve of the nautilus shell.
Indeed, most of the book is a defense of the practical usefulness of the Genesis account of our origins:
Of all the ancient accounts of creation, only that of Genesis has warranted a second reading by the scientific community. It alone records a sequence of events that approaches the scientific account of our cosmic origins. (page 80)
Christians will find Schroeder's approach somewhat different from more culturally familiar defenses of Genesis, but his insights into the original meanings of Hebrew words are instructive.
And what of the dinosaurs that the Bible does not mention? What about them? Schroeder admits, at last,
Though the Bible is eerily true and filled with wisdom that would not have been known widely, if at all, when it was written, nowhere does it claim to have all the answers. The Bible may be the primary source for claiming that a purpose underlies our existence. But understanding the cause of that purpose can only be found, as Maimonides stated so many centuries ago, in a knowledge of the physical world. (page 70)
So the dinosaurs are left to the paleontologist's trowel after all.
Next: Part Four: Self-organization - not random, but shaped to fit a preordained program
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).
No Pingbacks for this post yet...
|<< <||> >>|
Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at