The Clash of Science, Culture, and Religion


I am trying to clean off “my desktop”.

Academic Freedom

There was a report in “Inside Higher Ed” about an adjunct that lost her position after going public with threats made against her after she took against the stand for the separation of church and state. – http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/05/29/adjunct-loses-courses-after-going-public-about-threats-she-received#.T8T4EkS5eM8.email

I am becoming more and more convinced that there is a movement both against science and education in general in this country. We are seeking to turn our schools into factories that turn out mindless automatons rather than individuals who will seek solutions to existing problems and problems that haven’t even popped up.

There are many people in society today who are arguing for a plan that will in the end hurt them. You hear individuals who want to reduce taxes to the point where the Federal Government cannot operate yet they will not consider the fact that the military-industrial complex is a part of the Federal Government. We will cut funds that help people but keep spending money on those things that hurt people. That, at least to me, seems counter-productive.

See “The Nature of Academic Freedom” for additional thoughts on the topic of academic freedom.

Scientific Thought

As a member of the Methoblog, I get a summary of all the posts, including my own that get posted to the Methoblog. (If you are a Methodist blogger and not part of the Methoblog, you really are missing out on spreading your thoughts and knowing what others are thinking – go to http://methoblog.com/3_0/submit-your-blog/ to submit your blog.)

Among the postings the other day was a note from Dave Faulkner (“Big Circumstance”) about a lecture that Scot McKnight gave at BioLogos“With a Tear in His Eye”. While my focus is on chemistry and the development of scientific thought, I have to also consider the view that comes from the pulpit as well. I think that the point that McKnight makes about the need for pastors to have an understanding of scientific thought is a critical one. The comments to this post are well worth reading.

I have encountered students who have a similar crisis as described in the talk – where the physical evidence before them contradicts what they are told they have to believe in order to hold onto their faith. The challenge before us is not to make them choose which to follow but to help them understand what each side is telling them.

I have also encountered students for whom science has eliminated the need for a god – see “A Particular Moment in Time” – but when you put science in the place of religion, you create some alternatives that should not exist. There are links in “A Particular Moment in Time” that deal with scientism and the creation of a scientific religion.

Astronomical Observations

I live in the part of the country that didn’t see the annular eclipse of the Sun the other day but I have seen several solar eclipses so I didn’t let that bother me. I cannot recall if I even heard of the transit of Venus across the Sun back in 2004 so I hope the weather will allow me to carefully observe the transit on June 5th. For more information on this interesting astronomical occurrence and the precautions one needs to take, go to “Everything You Need to Know: Venus transit on June 5 – 6″. Check out “What’s the best way to view the June 5 – 6 transit of Venus safely?”; remember that you never look directly into the Sun and there really isn’t any amount of protection that will protect you (what one might use to observe an eclipse will not necessarily work for a transit).

My favorite science museum, The Exploratorium, will have an on-line feed – http://www.exploratorium.edu/venus/

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