Saturday, July 23, 2005

A Brief History of Nearly Everything

A science teacher at our local high school gave me her copy of this book because it is her favorite book. I was honored that she would let me into her world.

I liked it because it wasn't just "here's what is true." It is a history of the history of discovery. He starts with the first discovers (of say the atom, cells, evolution, the age and structure of the earth), then he adds what the next guy found and so on and so on. He adds the behavior and temperament of the scientists (or even more often it was just an interested amateur who made the discoveries.)

The last section of the book (473 pages for the whole book) is on evolution. This is an area which I have done little to no reading, but am irritated that the Creationist side seem to usually just want to sweep into oblivion with no real discussion.

What I found interesting in his book (and he gives no indication of being a Christian) is that about 25,000 years ago, humans as we know them appeared. Scientists want to think they evolved from apes but there are no real links. We don't have a lot of evidence.

There were another kind of human before that (neadertal for one -- no, I didn't mistype and forget the h. It is neandertal.). There was also an age where life beyond bacterial life seemed to just explode.

I don't expect a scientist to say, "Well that was where God stepped in." I expect a theologian (amateur though I am) to step in and say, "Perhaps that is where God stepped in."

The Bible seems to talk (vague that it is) about the earth preexisting. "1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." -- Genesis 1:1-2 So God created it, it developed for a while, and then God did some more work.

Interesting.

6 comments:

Gil said...

I'm curious, you made the comment "the Creationist side seem to usually just want to sweep into oblivion with no real discussion."
What is it they want to sweep into oblivion and not really discuss? It seems to me that over the last 20 to 25 years at least, the creationist side has been almost begging and pleading for honest debate and discussion, but cannot get a hearing in the public marketplace of ideas.

Brian said...

First of all, I like it when my friends keep me honest. Second of all, I must apologize because I don't know. I haven't read much on either side. Please accept this retraction.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with Brian's statement in that most Christians are not concerned with scientific facts, rather, they are in touch with what they "know" to be true, whether that be from personal experiences with God, or sheer faith.

A lot of Christians really never contemplate these issues at all, and would likely be quick to dismiss scientific facts that "seem" to conflict with the Bible. Or, they really don't understand the science anyway. The same thing can be said about non-Christians who blindly dismiss Creationism.

Anonymous said...

BTW--that was me

rob smith

Gil said...

I agree that many Christians are not concerned with scientific facts; neither are they concerned with Biblical facts/principles... and never contemplate these issues.

In other words, many Christians (and non-Christians) are intellectually lazy...add to that spiritual laziness for the Christians. If that is the case, there seems to be two courses of action for those in leadership positions: leave people in a state of non-concern, or attempt to stimulate or cause people to think.

There is quite a bit of material from a scientific creationism perspective that goes beyond simplistic rhetoric and provides detailed and rational interpre-tation of the physical data.

There are a few nut jobs out there, but for the most part, if you take time to look around, the people doing research and writing books take a very scholarly, scientific, and logical approach to the discussion.

I guess the question that needs to be answered is, Is this an important issue...or not?

Anonymous said...

Agreed. When I was 16 I could not get enough of the stuff. I would read any creationist book I could and debate anyone I could--thinking I was an expert. In reality I was far from an expert and really a fool. I "thought" I had the answers. A little bit of information made me dangerous so to speak.

Now, all this stuff is just annoying as it does not matter to me. I even get annoyed by anti-evolution or creationist bumper stickers. I think it annoys me because I don't think it does anything to expand the kingdom.

rob smith