Janice Boekhoff
 

Fun Science Fact

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ID 2856989 © Kelpfish | Dreamstime.com

The giant squid has the largest eyes in the animal kingdom. Their eyes can be up to 10 inches across–the size of a dinner plate! Most likely, they use these huge light gathering eyes to search the dark depths of the ocean for the hulking shape of their main predator, the sperm whale. A recent study suggests the giant squid can detect a moving sperm whale from almost 400 feet away.

Doesn’t that picture make you want to go give it a big giant kiss?

Reference: http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-photos/largest-eye-world-giant-squid

Science versus Faith, part 2

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© Kurt | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Last week, we discovered that a belief in earth origins (a historical science) requires faith in a theory (see Science versus Faith, part 1). We can’t prove the origin of the earth like we can prove the effectiveness of the polio vaccine.

Many geologists and paleontologists don’t like to hear their science labeled as a belief system—sounds too fluffy, too unscientific—but it’s true nevertheless. For instance, we can prove the earth is round, not flat, but we can only prove that for the recent past. Perhaps the earth started out flat and then became round later (please don’t leave a comment saying I’m crazy—I’m not suggesting this is true, just making a point). Anything we say about the past involves assumptions, even if it’s the assumption that the past is like the present.

The same principle holds true for recorded history. I recently watched a program that claimed King Tut was murdered by his sister so she could take over the Egyptian Kingdom. A little while later, I found an article that said he probably had temporal lobe epilepsy and died at a young age because of it. Can any of this be proven? No, because we have no eyewitnesses and the evidence (in this case King Tut’s mummy) can be interpreted in several ways.

Similarly, the origin of the earth cannot be proven. You must choose which theory to believe. So what theory do you have the most faith in?

faith  noun ˈfāth : strong belief or trust in someone or something

From Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, faith requires a strong belief in something. Most geologists and paleontologists have a strong belief in evolution and an old earth. Most would say their belief is based on scientific evidence. And yet, we’ve already established the true definition of science doesn’t apply here (see post from last week).

At this point, some people may bow out of the conversation, saying there’s no way to prove how the earth was created (which of course is true on this side of heaven), but what fun is it to ignore the questions? God made us with brains that question and hearts that long to discover His world.

Certainly, there’s evidence to examine (and we will look at some in later posts) and what the evidence says is the subject of much debate. I’ve discovered, in my years as a creationist, that the same evidence is interpreted in different ways, based on your starting place. If you believe God created the earth, there is plenty of evidence to support it. If you believe in evolution, you will find evidence to support that, as well. So where does that leave us?

In a tug of war between two competing theories. And both require a leap of faith. Do you believe in the man-made theory of evolution or what God says He accomplished in the Bible? Where will you put your faith? My choice will always be with God.

How do you feel about the scientific ‘leap of faith’ required to study earth origins? What origin do you put your faith in and why? All thoughtful and respectful comments will be displayed.

Devotion

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

Isaiah 26:3-4

Do you ever have those moments where time seems to fast forward? Where you’re looking into the eyes of your five year-old and instead of her humming the tune to itsy bitsy spider, suddenly you see her with a pink colored braid, humming the tune to a Lady Gaga song and asking to borrow the car.

I’ll be honest, those moments freak me out.

I’ve spent a lot of time wishing life would take us to the next stage—happy to be done with baby food, ecstatic to be out of diapers, grateful when they can put on their own shoes. But the speed at which it all flies by scares me. Although, I intend to enjoy all the stages of their lives—praise the Lord, I’m not to the teen years yet (I’m praying for those of you who are)—I sometimes get scared about their future. When the fear sneaks up on me, I remember to rest in the fact that God is eternal. My kids, whether they are 5, 15 or 25, can put their confidence in the same God as me.

Dear Father, thank you for your steadfast ways. Our security and our hope come from you, not our feeble attempts to manage our own lives. Remind us that you are changing us to become more like you, not the other way around. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Fun Science Fact

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© Trichopcmu | Dreamstime.com

God invented gears before any engineer could ponder the idea.

The first mechanical gears found on a living organism are located on the hind legs of the nymph stage of the leafhopper. Leafhoppers can jump at a speed of up to 9 miles per hour, which requires precision in the take off. Both legs must push off at exactly the same time, otherwise the nymph leafhopper will spin out of control. Since nerve impulses can’t travel fast enought to accomplish this, how does the leafhopper keep it together?

God created tiny curved gears between the animal’s legs. When one leg begins to move, the other is caught by the gear and forced to move in unison. A perfect design from a perfect creator.

Source: (2014). Gear up.  Answers Magazine, 9(1), p. 13.

Science versus Faith, Part 1

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© Max Blain | Dreamstime Stock Photos

When I was in elementary school, I memorized the definition of science. You probably did, too. But as I made my way through high school, college and even became a scientist myself, that definition of science changed along the way. I didn’t notice or question it until much later, but when I did, I realized there are two different types of science.

One type is experimental science (sometimes called hard science) and the other is historical, or earth origins, science. Each type of science has its own challenges and both try to answer different questions. Experimental science answers the questions we have about our planet and ourselves in the here and now. Things like: How can we cure cancer? How much force is required for this rocket to break out of the atmosphere? Is this volcano going to explode soon?

In contrast, the historical sciences focus on what has happened on the planet in the past. Both are referred to as science, but only one fits the definition of science that most of us memorized in school. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:

sci·ence   noun ˈsī-ən(t)s : knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation

Science helps us learn through experiments and observation. This works great in the experimental sciences, like biology, physics or medicine. But what about the historical sciences? Did anyone observe how the world was created? Can we design an experiment to test how we think the world was created? Can we recreate the conditions under which life first formed?

The answers, of course, are no, because the historical sciences don’t fit the true definition of science. This was a difficult realization for me because somewhere along the path to my geology degree, I adjusted my definition of science to include the historical sciences. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to say geologists and other historical scientists don’t observe what they see and develop theories, but we must remember that’s what they are—theories. And they will stay theories, because we will never be able to test them the same way we test the measles vaccine or the design for a new airplane.

This is why any belief in earth origins requires a certain amount of faith. Faith in a particular theory. Faith in the assumptions behind the theory (because there are always assumptions).

I’m sure you caught the key word. Faith.

More to come on faith and science next week. Please share your thoughts on faith and how it relates to science by leaving a comment.

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