5/1/2017Call for Papers deadline for “The American Experiment: A Republic, If You Can Keep It”
6/22/2017 » 6/24/2017Genetic and Reproductive Technologies, Deerfield, IL
6/24/2017 » 7/1/2017“The ‘Wicked Problem’ of Climate Change?” Star Island, Portsmouth, NH
7/7/2017 » 7/14/2017Summer Seminar on Intelligent Design, Seattle, WA
7/19/2017 » 7/22/2017“Religion, Society and the Science of Life,” Oxford, UK
"I don't think that there's any conflict at all between science today and the scriptures. I think that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we've tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren't meant to say, I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man.
...I personally believe it's just as easy to accept the fact that God took some dust and blew on it and out came a man as it is to accept the fact that God breathed upon man and became a living soul and it started with some protoplasm and went right on up through the evolutionary process. Either way is by faith and whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man's relationship to God.
Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, 1997. p. 72-74. Used copies of this book are currently available on Amazon for a song.
I’m still baffled by the lack of a coherent thread in this series. I can’t figure out how one episode leads to the next in a systematic way. It started with cosmology in the first episode, then jumped into evolution and now back to 17th century astrophysics. They are all useful topics, but it seems to be a set of short stories rather than an overall theme.
This episode presents the message that knowledge, at least scientific knowledge, provides freedom from fear. This immediately brought to mind Jesus’ words in John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV) Perhaps the subcontext in the episode is an implicit message that it is scientific knowledge and truth that leads to freedom, not religious truth.
In this episode the setting is the fear of comets. It shows how ancient human civilizations saw patterns in the celestial lights that guided them in their lives. For example, the sun and the stars signal the change of the seasons. The anomalous lights called comets, from the root word for having long hair, were thought to be omens of great misfortune. Most of the episode recounts a simplified story of the development of classical mechanics in the 17th century which explained the paths of the comets, thereby removing their connection to misfortune and the need to fear them.
Consistent with the lesson on comets, Tyson focused on Edmund Halley in telling the story of how Isaac Newton’s work became public, giving Halley credit for persuading Newton to publish the Principia, despite the ongoing feud between Newton and Robert Hooke. I’m not fond of the cartoon graphics used to portray this history since it seems to trivialize these giants in the field.
Tyson made it clear that Newton had engaged in two other efforts, besides his calculus and mechanics. His work in alchemy and the Bible, Tyson tells us, ended in failure while only his scientific work endured. While it is true that we seldom consult Newton’s theological works today and that Newton was not a Trinitarian, it seemed that Tyson was content to leave the impression that a study of the Bible was in a category with alchemy rather than with the true knowledge of science. There really seems to be a thread of scientism that unfortunately may be the unifying message of this series.