But due to tests coming up in Calculus and Chemsitry, I will not be posting for the next couple of days.
Archive for October, 2008
Nowadays, creationism is rarely viewed according to its definition: the believe that there is a God who was directly involved in the Creation of the universe. That definition would include me. Although I don’t believe in poof, poof all animals and people, I believe God worked through the mechanism of evolution (however, don’t confuse that with intelligent design; I will get to that later). Most people see creationists as those who insist on a literal translation of the first chapters of Genesis. These are actually the Young Earth Creationists; they believe that the 6 days of Creation were 24 hour intervals, so the earth must be less than 10,000 years old. Also, they believe that everything was created by individual acts of Creation. Although the YEC normally belive microevolution: how small changes in a species can occur in a species through natural selection, they do not believe in macroevolution: how one species evolves into another.
I already spoke about this, so I will keep it brief. How can you trust a literal interpretation of the Genesis stories if they are so different? Also, would you say that Psalms should be taken literally (wisdom is a woman!). Even St. Augustine said Genesis was more of a morality play than a history. Many people see this is a way of defending God from science. But He does not need help. He is the greatest scientist and He would not be offended by our questions. In fact, he gave us this intellect; let’s use it.
This explanation really angers me. When presented with the evidence of fossils, many YEC will say that God placed them there to fool us, so it would appear that the universe is older. Why is God playing Willy Coyote? Lewis Black said it best when he said:
By attacking the fundamentals of nearly all sciences, you are only widening the gap between scientific and spiritual views. YEC does more damage than good to faith, as it makes us look stupid.
First off, lets divide up atheists into two groups, strong atheists, and agnostics. It is important to show the differences between the two. Atheism has not really been a big player in the world until the eighteenth century when people wished to rise above the oppressive authority of the government and the church. But at the time, there was no big hubbub about it. Even Newton, a great scientist, published more articles about God than physics.
Atheism gained major fuel after Sigmund Freud made some comments about God. Today, prominent scientists like Richard Dawkins argue against God. He has several arguments. First, he claims, there is no need for God, as evolution accounts for all of life. Although this argument does prove that God did not magically make all living organisms, it does not disprove the idea that God worked out His creative plan through evolution. His second argument is that religion is irrational. I find this interesting because Dawkins claims that science demands atheism, but this goes beyond the evidence. If God is outside of nature, you cannot use science to prove or disprove God. Also, his definition of faith is flawed: blind trust in the absence of evidence. This does not fully encapsulate faith. Surely, arguments by CS Lewis and Thomas Aquinas proves that serious thinkers can intensely believe in God. Finally, he argues about all the bad created by religion. As I already mentioned, however, despite the evil, have not great things been done? Also, how do you pin that on God; is it not humans being imperfect containers for God and Moral Law?
Agnosticism is the belief that knowledge on God’s existence cannot be achieved. Note that agnosticism can, but does not need to be, a cop out. It should only be affirmed after a full consideration for and against the existence of God, and just about everyone who considers themselves agnostics do not do this. Science cannot be used to justify discounting the great religions of the world, which rest upon history, moral philosophy, and the evidence of human altruism. It is very deceitful and vain to say that you know for sure one way or another, as even people of great faith had doubts, but saying you know that God does not exist is just as wrong.
Alright, I don’t want to rush things, but I want to try to get back into the swing of things. I will attempt to continue my series tomorrow.
We all know about asparagus, a green vegetable in the lily family. However, only some notice an interesting side effect of eating this veggie, about 50% actually. Only people with a certain gene (I have no clue which) can produce this odoriferous excretion. Soon after consumption, people will notice their urine emitting at pungent odor. This of course is only temporary, but interesting.
Scientists are still not quite sure which set of chemicals or amino acids contained in asparagusactually cause the smell. The stalks themselves do not acquire a similar odor as they are prepared, so whatever happens most likely happens during ingestion or digestion. Experts believe that those with a certain gene produce a digestive enzyme which breaks down the asparagusinto various amino acids. One of those compounds is called methyl mercaptan, which is the same chemical which gives a skunk its defensive smell. But that is about as far as the consensus goes. One group believes that asparagusbreaks down quickly in the body and an enzyme releases methyl mercaptan, this eventually goes through the kidneys and are excreted as a waste product in the urine.
Others suggest that the asparagus smellis created by another amino acid compound called thioesters. There is also an amino acid called asparagusic acid, which is found naturally in asparagus. If these compounds are broken down and mixed with the genetically-created enzyme in certain concentrations, the results could be a strong smelling urine.
This smellis actually considered to be good news by most doctors, however, because it proves that the asparagus eater’s kidneys are functioning as they should. But if you are still frightened, be not afraid. I too am plagued by stinky asparagus pee.
I have not found any reason to blog as of late and cannot force myself to do so. I have decided to take a sabbatical, so to say.
Well, I don’t want to waste a great post on a day where I get my lowest numbers of traffic, so I will save that for tomorrow. Anyway, I suppose some background on this series is needed.
I am a scientist. I love science. It offers us a view into the inner workings of the universe. I also have been instilled with a deep faith in God. But now, it is under siege. Many scientists cannot say that they believe in God because of public humiliation. Also, during my short life, so far, I have been through some experiences that have caused me to question my faith.
I found a book: The Language of God by Francis Collins, the leader of the Human Genome Project, and his journey of discovering God. These posts are based on several works, but feature mainly his ideas which struck a chord with me. Please, check it out. It is a great book. Other books I will be using are St. Augustine’s Confessions, just about every C.S. Lewis book out there, including The Problem of Pain, The Great Divorce, and Mere Christianity, of course, the Bible, and Rabbi Harold Kirschner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
Posted in science, tagged Astronomy, Catholic, Christian, Church, Creatonism, Darwin, evolution, Galileo, Genesis, God, Reason, Religon, science, Solar System, Spirituality on October 17, 2008| Leave a Comment »
Why People Don’t Like Darwin
Many people say that evolution cannot be possible. They have never seen one species turn into the other.One of the main problems many people have with the theory of evolution is that it requires you to understand long periods of time involved in natural selection. People can’t understand this. But if God is timeless, then why can you claim that He is real. So stop it.
Alright, most creationists believe in a literal translation of Genesis: the story of how God created everything. But if a literal translation was intended, why are there two stories that do not fit together? Here is the order in the first:
Day 1: Sky, Earth, light
Day 2: Water, both in ocean basins and above the sky(!)
Day 3: Plants
Day 4: Sun, Moon, stars (as calendrical and navigational aids)
Day 5: Sea monsters (whales), fish, birds, land animals,
creepy-crawlies (reptiles, insects, etc.)
Day 6: Humans (apparently both sexes at the same time)
Day 7: Nothing (the Gods took the first day off anyone ever did)
and behind door number 2:
Earth and heavens (misty)
Adam, the first man (on a desolate Earth)
Eve, the first woman (from Adam’s rib)
So obviously this should be taken as a poetic or allegorical description! Also, if you think that God created the earth in 6 days, then could those 6 days not be millenia upon millenia? Is not God beyond time?
Another example of religions not believing science happened to Galileo. Galileo realized that his observations regarding bodies in space could only be true if the earth moved around the sun, a conclusion also realized by Copernicus. This kinda angered the Church, which argued on some very shaky biblical reasons (“The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved,” and “The Earth is set in its foundation.”). In actuality, most of the criticism in his time was from a few fringe lunatics who somehow got control of the politics. Most seemed to be reasonable enough. Anyway, Galileo was put under house arrest. The Church under Pope John Paul II said that this was wrong and pardoned him. A couple centuries too late. This story is an excellent example of how not believing science due to Biblical stories is a kick in the butt in the long run. St. Augustine said it best, “If we claim something is true due to the Holy Scripture, but then if they find mistakes, we are rejected as unlearned men. How then can we truly believe in the hope of eternal life and the kingdom if we have rejected the light of reason?” Just as a final note about Galileo, he remained a Christian until his death, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who gave us sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use”
Next time: Atheism