Wednesday, June 1, 2016


For a period in my youth I was about eight years old.

It was our tradition to have my grandfather over for Sunday dinner. One Sunday, after dinner we were sitting around the table discussing Weighty Subjects. My grandfather had been reading a book called "The Bible as History" (I believe the first edition by Werner Keller). Shortly, my father and grandfather began a deep discussion of something called a "virgin birth".

Now, I was eight years old and I knew about virgins. Someone had told me that a virgin was "a lady who is not married". Therefore, I was mightily confused. Of course you can have a baby without being married! What's the big deal? And, besides that, this Mary in the story had a husband.

I was squirming.  I sat there and listened to the discussion. These two men are not stupid. There is obviously some substance to this topic. Oh, how I struggled not to interrupt.

This was long before I heard of Mark Twain's adage: "Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to say something and remove all doubt."

In this case, remaining silent led me to be viewed as "well mannered" and "respectful".

As soon a I could, I went to my room and got the dictionary. I discovered that I had been lied to.  Blatantly. I had been given certain background information that was just plain wrong, and had (almost) tried to apply it to a real-world situation.

I understood that adults lied to children to make a point, or to tell tales, or or to engender joy and amazement - like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. But this was a simple definition for a word used in the real world without any subtle nuances. And they lied to me about it for no good reason.

Ronald Regan famously said "Trust, but verify". I think that the Great Communicator was occasionally needlessly verbose and insufficiently reductionist.  I say: "Verify".


There are those who insist on finding a conflict between Science and Religion.

Consider: There is no mention of dinosaurs in the Bible. So, just exactly what is the Aramaic word for dinosaur, anyway? To presume divine revelation of the whole history of Creation also presumes that a human being can remember it and write it down. To claim that the Bible contains the entire revealed knowledge of Creation is the height of hubris.

A benevolent God will reveal knowledge as we are able to understand it.

The Bible discusses day and night. There is nothing about the earth moving. Obviously, it is the sun and stars that move. Are you blind? That is all you need to know for now.

But, as we get a little older we become better able to explore Creation. We discover wonders. We tease understanding from Nature around us.

There is no special place in God's eye for ancient shepherds.

Evolution is an expression of Divine Will. A benevolent God will not want His creatures to suffer. In order to "be fruitful and multiply", they must be able to adapt and be comfortable in new environments. This adaptability is called evolution and is a Wonder of Creation.

To say that a modern scientist who struggles to understand new subtleties of Creation is somehow irreverent or less holy than previous generations does a disservice to everyone and denies the true grandeur of Creation.

New Divine Revelation is always available for anyone who will look carefully at the world around them. How can new, deeper Wonders be less divine than ancient ones?

This is the purpose of Science: to discover truths of Creation.

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