An artist can appreciate the beauty of a flower. Can a scientist? Or, does the scientist get lost in detail and analysis, forgetting to enjoy the sheer beauty of what he or she is studying? That’s the question Richard Feynman leads with in this video, arguing that knowing something better just adds to our appreciation of its beauty. Looking closely at the flower doesn’t mean that we miss its beauty; it means that we get to see aspects of its beauty that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
As he was talking, I was struck by how similar this is to theology. Many worry that theology turns God into an object of analysis. Theologians study God like a beetle under the microscope, forgetting exactly how amazing and beautiful this wondrous God actually is. And, I’m sure that happens. But, that’s not theology. If theology is about reflecting deeply on who God is so that we get to know him better, it should only lead to a deeper appreciation of his beauty. Theology is about looking closer.
This is really just the first two minutes of the video. In the rest, Feynman discusses scientific knowledge and doubt in an uncertain and mysterious universe. And, he comments on why he finds all religious explanations unsatisfying.
Check it out. If nothing else, the pictures in the video are stunning.
- The New York Times reports on a recent gathering of scientists who met to discuss what and where the Garden of Eden might have been – kind of – in “A Romp Into Theories of the Cradle of Life.”
Darwin speculated that life began in a warm pond on the primordial Earth. Lately other scientists have suggested that the magic joining of molecules that could go on replicating might have happened in an undersea hot spring, on another planet or inside an asteroid. Some astronomers wonder if it could be happening right now underneath the ice of Europa or in the methane seas of Titan.
- Scot McKnight has begun a series on Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.
Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa prove — not contend — that students are not learning what they should, professors are not doing all they could, administrators are not focused on education enough and, as if that weren’t a glassful, society is and will continue to suffer is something isn’t done about it.
- Fred Sanders offers a fascinating look into pop culture with “Born This Way (so Raise Your Glasses, All You Fireworks).“
Three hit songs in the last few months have pushed the same message: You are awesome. You’re awesome just the way you are, even –no, especially– if you don’t fit in.
- Brian LePort offers his thoughts on what “rapture” means in 1 Thess. 4:17.
My take on the passage is that it refers to our meeting Christ in the air to welcome him to his earthly rule. If this is a “rapture”, fine, as long as it is not confused with the popular idea.
- Rod has started what looks like a fascinating series on Firefly & Theology. (If you’re not familiar with Firefly, it was an outstanding scifi series on Fox that sadly only made it through one season, though it was later made into a movie.)
- The Gospel Coalition has launched a new resource on Preaching Christ in the Old Testament that looks very interesting.
- And, here’s an explanation of how to win at rock-paper-scissors every time.
- James McGrath offers a very nice review of Science, Creation and the Bible: Reconciling Rival Theories of Origins by Richard F. Carlson and Tremper Longman III
- Mark Goodacre points out a BBC 4 series on the King James Bible that looks like it could be interesting.
- Matt Flannagan begins a series called “Fallacy Friday” with a post on What Is an Argument?
- According to one recent study, even thinking that you’ve had alcohol can impair memory and judgment. I wonder if that means that thinking you haven’t had alcohol even when you have would lead to improved memory and judgment?
- And, here’s a list of 17 Things You Didn’t Know about Seinfeld.
Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors—to a striking extent—still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice?
- Thomas Kidd asks Is Evangelicalism Standing the Test of Time? The “Fundamentals” at 100.
How much has the evangelical movement changed in the past 100 years? A quick review of The Fundamentals suggests that evangelicals 1) have shed some unfortunate biases of those bygone days, 2) continue to struggle with similar intellectual issues, most notably evolution, and 3) retain a common message of grace through Christ.
- In a Wired editorial, “Wake Up Geek Culture. Time to Die,” Patton Oswalt argues that the internet makes it to easy to be a geek and that is detrimental for creativity and culture.
I’m not a nerd. I used to be one, back 30 years ago when nerd meant something.
- In a NYT piece, Charles Griswold discusses the nature of forgiveness.
forgiveness is neither just a therapeutic technique nor simply self-regarding in its motivation; it is fundamentally a moral relation between self and other.
- Denny Burk offers a few plans for reading through the Greek NT in one year.
- And, if you’re looking for help with your resume, apparently RezScore is a webapp that will grade your resume and offer free advice for improving it. It sounds like it’s worth checking out.
Here’s a great infographic rating 18 popular movies according to how many “bad science” errors they made. I wonder if they could come up with a similar infographic for “Bad Science in Theology.”
In a recent Huffington Post article, Michael Zimmerman contends that Intelligent Design arguments are fatally flawed. He begins by pointing to recent research suggesting that “the human genome is incredibly imperfect, or, in other words, very far from being intelligently structured.” From here he goes off on a bit of a diatribe against the intellectual bankruptcy of intelligent design, contending that it’s basic arguments are flawed (e.g., irreducible complex systems) and betray an ignorant retreat from scientific progress.
I have a couple of questions here, and I’d like your thoughts on both of them:
- What do you think of the new evidence suggesting that there is more imperfection in creation than might be suggested by intelligent design proponents? How would you assess such evidence and what will you do with it in your own system?
- What do you think of intelligent design in general? Do you find arguments from design convincing? Do you appeal to them in your own conversations with people?