Posts Tagged ‘science’

Good Heavens

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Like many of you, I avidly read the newspaper accounts of new astronomical discoveries. I was particularly pleased recently by the news that two neutron stars had been observed as they collided. The results in astrophysical terms were as predicted, and scientists couldn’t have been more pleased.

I can’t begin to explain exactly what all this means. Dark matter and black holes are mysteries to me–layperson terms for almost inconceivably complex mathematical equations.

Yet as a person who believes in a Creator God, I find these discoveries deeply satisfying. I know that the universe could just “happen” to exist. I just can’t believe that this all occurred by chance. “The heavens declare the glory of God…” —J. Douglas Ousley


Sapiens

Monday, July 24th, 2017

On the recommendation of a friend, I recently read Yuval Noah Hariri’s Sapiens–a long and fascinating look at humanity, past, present, and future. Although it does not, in my view, treat religion fairly, the book is well worth reading.

As far as the future of Homo sapiens, Harari makes an interesting observation about the brave new world of bioengineering. He notes that if it becomes possible to bioengineer the human body to eliminate the effects of aging, that development won’t automatically lead to human happiness. For the first people to live indefinitely will be envied by those still age normally. And the elite who profit from bioengineering will still be afraid of accidental death.

Even utopias have their downsides. At least, this side of Heaven. —J. Douglas Ousley


Not so Incompatible

Monday, January 9th, 2017

I recently heard a talk by the noted Episcopalian spiritual writer, Barbara Cawthorne Crafton. Mother Crafton read from her new book, The Also Life, which offers insights into the relationship between science and religion.

This is, of course, a vast topic. Many theologians with little knowledge of science make unconvincing claims about whether it clashes with faith; many scientists with little knowledge of religion make equally ignorant claims.

Mother Crafton takes a poetic tack, which is surely an approach worth pursuing. She spoke of the eternal presence of God as a way in which we share life (the “also life,” not the afterlife) with those whom we love who have departed this world. You can’t exactly put that thought into the language of modern physics, but the poetry of the Eternal Now (as Paul Tillich described God) is accessible to Christians who also accept the claims of modern science. —J. Douglas Ousley


Dark Matter and Dinosaurs

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

A new book by Harvard physicist, Lisa Randall, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs proposes a link between the mysterious “dark matter” near our galaxy and the extinction of the dinosaurs. The argument is complicated but, in essence, Randall argues that the dark matter occasionally (every 30 million years or so!) knocks asteroids orbiting our sun off course. It was one of these asteroids that hit the earth and caused the massive global cooling that killed off the large dinosaurs.

Randall’s book is straight (and very clearly-written) science. But the religious reader can’t help noting that once again, an apparent advance in science has made the universe look even more complicated than we thought. Professor Randall apologizes for the complication–but Christians may suspect that the marvels of creation will lead to wonder at the universe God has made. —J. Douglas Ousley