Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Big Science

by Dan Jones


Science has undoubtedly produced an immeasurable number of benefits for mankind and I am most certainly not anti-science.

After all, countless diseases have been all but eradicated and we enjoy longer, healthier, and more productive lives than any people who have ever lived on this planet precisely because of science. (Well, except back in the days of Adam and Enosh and Methuselah and Noah. Oh and Shem and Peleg and Nahor and Abraham.)

In 1820, Hans Christian Orsted discovered that a current passed through a wire will deflect the needle of a compass. This became the basis for subsequent discoveries and inventions including the electric motor and (eventually) the very device you are using to read this blog—and the one you use to listen to Kinship Christian Radio.

In 1859, Louis Pasteur conclusively proved that life does not spontaneously generate from non-life, which lead to our current understanding of germs, bacteria, and disease. He is why, to this day, milk is pasteurized before you buy it in the store.

In 1953, Crick and Watson discovered the helical structure of DNA and opened our eyes to the incredible complexity and the enormous amount of information stored in the genetic code of every living creature from the tiniest virus to the 120-ton blue whale.

Science has been so successful at making our lives better and discovering things that there are people alive today who refuse to believe in God precisely because science cannot prove His existence.
(Although just four years ago, after 40 years of research and an estimated cost of $13.25 billion, science did prove with 99.999% certainty the existence of the Higgs boson, a.k.a. “the God particle”—but scientists hate that name.)

But the thing is, science is a human endeavor.

And science can absolutely verify that human beings are fallible.

We make mistakes. We have biases. We’re easily swayed, deceived, corrupted and just plain flat-out wrong about all kinds of things.

Remember when science told us not to eat butter because it was bad for us—and then later told us to go ahead and eat butter because there was bad stuff in margarine? It turns out that debate was never really solved.

The same thing happened with eggs.

And then, there’s the dark chocolate scam.

Just last year, the media was all abuzz with the health benefits of eating dark chocolate, claiming that consumption of the delightful treat could even help you lose weight!  As it turns out, a scientist intentionally fed the media (pun intended) bogus information for the express purpose of pointing out how easily the media is deceived by junk science.

And then we have the revelation that science is subject to greed and corruption and political pressure just like any other human endeavor and even the peer review process may not be a completely effective way to prevent errors. There is a fascinating article on the subject here: http://theweek.com/articles/618141/big-science-broken

And no one can dispute that despite what many consider our vast and lofty knowledge is but a tiny, perhaps even infinitesimal, fraction of all that there is to be known.

When I consider all the things we don’t know that the God who spoke the universe into being does know, it seems to me that we are like a toddler playing on the living room floor who has managed to stack one wooden block on top of another and proudly proclaimed that he knows how the pyramids were built.

Which is another thing we still don’t know.

Today’s Praise
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7 NIV)





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