Articles » Philosophy
Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley’s Faith Journey
A recent list of the 100 most important “scientific discoveries that changed the world” lists Rick Smalley’s discovery of Buckyballs (English, 2014, p. 13). But who was this man? Richard (Rick) Smalley (June 6, 1943-October 28, 2005) was Professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy at Rice University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996 (along with Sir Harry Kroto and Robert Curl) for the discovery and research on a new allotrope (form) of carbon. He called this unique soccerball-shaped molecule buckminsterfullerene, nicknamed buckyballs. Soon a more comprehensive category called fullerenes was proposed to include nanotubes. Read the rest of this entry »
Book Review – No Christian Silence on Science
SCIENCE FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
by Margaret Helder
Reviewed by: Jonathan Dykstra (Editor, Reformed Perspective)
From the title onward, No Christian Silence on Science is a clarion call to Bible-believing, six-day creation upholding Christians to stand up and be counted. It’s much more than that too. The author, Margaret Helder, has written for the Creation Science Dialogue and Reformed Perspective (the magazine I edit) for years, and if you’ve read her there, then you know Dr. Helder approaches God and His creation with awe, and teaches us how to tackle evolution without fear. This book is very much an outgrowth of that work. This, then, is intended to equip us, so we will be able to give a ready defense of our faith, and fortify us, so we will continue to trust in God, even when we face the attacks that will come in this predominantly Darwinist and secular field. Read the rest of this entry »
Wonderful Weekend with Dr. Baumgardner
Geophysicist Dr. John Baumgardner came to Edmonton after having delivered lectures in the Lower Mainland of B.C., and in Calgary. In Edmonton he delivered four lectures to large appreciative audiences. In all his presentations Dr. Baumgardner set the context by declaring that in our society today, secular science is used as a weapon to draw young people away from their early Christian training. Dr. Baumgardner illustrated this with images of five castles, strongholds deployed in a battle against the knowledge of God. These strongholds are Darwinian evolution, uniformitarian geology, big bang cosmology, materialist philosophy and radioisotope dating methods. During this lecture series in Edmonton, our guest speaker touched on materialist philosophy (Friday evening), Darwinian evolution (Saturday morning and afternoon) and uniformitarian geology (Saturday evening). Read the rest of this entry »
Zero Tolerance for “the Creator”
A prominent biology journal has withdrawn a research article which it had published a few weeks previously. The sole reason was three references to the “Creator” in connection with the structure and function (design) of the human hand. Retractions or withdrawing scientific articles from publication used to be almost unheard of. In recent years however such events have become increasingly common. The most common reason is that the information contained therein was falsified or fraudulent (made up). Read the rest of this entry »
The Living Cell: Frankly Created
We hear all the time about how complicated living cells are. It makes us think that such entities were designed to work as they do. People who support the idea that all things came about by natural processes, however, do not want to think that there is a mind behind what we see in all living creatures from microbes up to the largest, most complicated organisms. These latter people want to show how the living cell developed spontaneously, without any direction. So they want to demonstrate that there were early cells which were much much simpler than what we see today, cells that could have appeared through natural processes. These scientists want to demonstrate that the barriers to spontaneous development are not too high. Read the rest of this entry »
Johann Kepler: The Founder of Modern Astronomy
German astronomer and mathematician Johann Kepler (1571 –1630) was a central figure in the 17th century scientific revolution. He was not only the founder of the physical astronomy discipline, “the first astrophysist,” and an outstanding scientist, he was also a committed Christian (Morris, 1998, p. 33; Gingerich, 1993, p. 305). Kepler is best known for discovering the three laws of planetary motion that provided a foundation for Isaac Newton’s theory of universal gravitation (Dao, 2008, p. 8). The problem that motivated the discovery of his three laws was observational astronomy did not support the circular orbit belief, and Kepler was able to determine why. Read the rest of this entry »
Surviving Advanced Courses in Science
It is not just the Bible believing Christians who base their interpretations of nature on their worldview, so too do the secular scientists. It so happens however that the worldviews of these two groups, and thus the assumptions used in interpreting nature, are totally different. The most obvious assumption of the Christians is that God’s work and character are evident in nature. Mainstream scientists alternatively assume that God will never be revealed in nature, but only matter and processes. Read the rest of this entry »
Review of Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels (book)
Like Alice of Wonderland fame (in Through the Looking Glass), who found that she had to run extremely fast just to stay in the same place, so also it is hard to maintain an up-to-date understanding in science. The scientific journals constantly churn out new articles with new information and arguments. Keeping up to date is hard work! But it is extremely helpful to have an understanding of current issues in science and their significance. This makes the new book Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels (Robert Carter, Editor) and its companion DVD of the same title, extremely relevant. Read the rest of this entry »
One More Use for DNA
Over the last decade, everything has become digital. We don’t capture images on film anymore, but in digital files. We don’t send letters, we send email messages. We don’t buy books, we download documents to an e-reader. Every organization has a website. Information is at our fingertips, but the whole system is extremely fragile.
The problems with our digital storage technologies are twofold. The data don’t last once they have been laid down and must be transferred to keep them fresh, while the technology for storage and reading keeps changing. An amusing example of this is NASA, which in the early 2000s, found that it was unable to access data from the space program of the 1960s and 1970s. So there they were, scouring internet auction sites to find second hand eight-inch floppy drives which could read their priceless data. Similar events of loss or near loss happen all the time. In 2009 when Yahoo! closed their GeoCities server, a huge amount of data was lost, perhaps “the most amount of history in the shortest amount of time, certainly on purpose, in living memory.” Nobody seemed to notice, but if these had been paper documents which were lost from a library, the outcry would have been anguished indeed. The take home lesson is that as a digital society, we need better systems to store and read data. In view of this, some scientists have turned their attention not to a new system, but to a tried and true system, much better than modern devices. Enter DNA to the discussion. Read the rest of this entry »
Why We Care about Design
An interesting new book has appeared which features questions and answers and discussion on design in nature. The author informs us that there are two ways to interpret the amazing details of how creatures survive and reproduce in their environments. Firstly, we can consider if the component parts of the organism, or even a whole organism itself, actually fulfill a purpose. If the characteristics promote the success of the creature, then the answer is yes. Next we can ask ourselves what might be the best explanation for the fit of the creature with its environment. It is the case that people intuitively link such purpose with intelligence planning, declares the author. Thus we can conclude that the creature was designed for its role in nature. Here we see an inescapable example of God`s work of design since design flows from a real designer. Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes Thinking Can Make You Unpopular!
It was Rene Descartes (1596-1650) who famously said “Cogito ergo sum” or “I think, therefore I am.” Obviously thinking at that time was an activity held in high esteem. And we might suppose that thinking is a skill that we all appreciate today too. That however is not necessarily so. Consider for example the recent case of American philosopher of science Thomas Nagel. You might expect that thinking is what philosophers are paid to do. That is what Dr. Nagel thought too. Read the rest of this entry »
Fruit Fly Shenanigans
The experiment with fruit flies was basically uncomplicated. Any university student could have carried it out providing they could identify and count the various mutant forms. But there was more to the issue than mere counts of fruit fly offspring. The study was supposed to, and had long been considered that it in fact did, support a key idea of Charles Darwin. More than sixty years had passed since the fruit fly work was published. Subsequent to publication in the new journal Heredity in 1948, few people paid much attention to the study until it was quoted favourably in 1972 and 1994 as supporting Darwin’s idea of sexual selection. Those references conferred celebrity status on the work and many citations followed. But then in 2012 a study was published which questioned not only the 1948 work, but also a major component of Darwin’s theory of evolution. However the reasons and issues surrounding the new study are not what we might hope or expect. It is important to remember that scientists draw conclusions in keeping with their world view and there is more diversity in world views in science than one might imagine.
Why Does Anyone Celebrate Origin of Species?
Perhaps one of the most famous books in the western world is Darwin’s Origin of Species, published in 1859. Most people with an interest in science, will remember that 2009, the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the publication of this book, was marked by celebrations which were frequent and fervent. It seems fair to ask therefore precisely why this book merits such attention. Read the rest of this entry »
Wonderful Taste of Evidences
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a small, easy to understand, nicely organized book about the global flood that could serve as a starting place for understanding this issue from a Biblical and scientific point of view? Well look no further… Answers in Genesis has produced just that; a handy little book called “A Pocket Guide to… The Global Flood”. Read the rest of this entry »
Do You Want to Think More Clearly?
Jason Lisle, Ph.D., graduated in astronomy from the University of Colorado. After years of experience in teaching and conducting research in solar astrophysics, he wrote Taking Back Astronomy: the Heavens Declare Creation (2006) which was aimed at junior high to adult readers. Now he has written The Ultimate Proof of Creation: resolving the origins debate (2009). Read the rest of this entry »