Friday, February 15, 2008

Feeling a bit callous

Lately, I've been feeling a bit cynical, jaded, and have responded by being downright sarcastic. On a personal note, this has much to do with a few situations going on at work. I look at the plight of man, and have determined that the prognosis is not good.

I had a meeting on site today with a contractor trying to clean up someone else's mess. But that someone else won't pay said contractor until the mess is cleaned up. And when you throw a few other parties in there (one with authority and no scruples, one without authority and ready to throw the book at them -- literally) and a dash of greed, one really cannot discuss the situation without being incredibly terse about the whole thing. Because I see it for what it is: sin. It's hard to have compassion on a group of lost, squabbling men, even though I am bound to.

To add to the cynicism, I was looking at a favourite site of mine, Weather Underground. It sounds edgy; it's really not. It just has much more information than I could ever use, and I appreciate that. Their members post pictures, a few of which are astrophotography. Under the photo of the M81 and M82 galaxies, we find this statement: "A reddish glow is visible on either side of the galaxy. This is a feature of the violent nature of M82. About 40 million years ago, M81 passed by M82, and the gravitational shock wave from this near-collision caused gas clouds within M82 to collapse triggering incredible amounts of star formation. As the most massive new stars began to die off, large numbers of supernovae explosions wracked the galaxy adding to the chaos."

Yes. Looking at that picture, I can see how that would be true. Because none of us were there to witness it. Or were we? They seem awfully confident in their assurance that it did indeed happen.

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. -- Romans 1:18-23

So, what caused this story about collisions and chaos to be the new truth? In grad school, I took a few classes from a lady who had an affinity to Thomas Kuhn's book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In this book, Kuhn lays out a framework for the way science is shaped by discoveries, and the path from theory to knowledge. It is actually a very interesting book, and if you have a moment, I think you should read it.

Kuhn notes that all science has aberrations in it, and those aberrations are noted as such. Until those aberrations begin to line up, and a theory is developed. Eventually, that theory can completely replace the earlier theory, but this is no small thing. Hence, he refers to the overthrow of an earlier idea as a "revolution". Consider the geocentric vs. heliocentric view of the solar system. I'm a little rusty on my history, but weren't people dying because of that?

But to be honest, those experiments are being performed by humans. Data is culled by humans. We are fallible. We can ignore good data. And we can take aberrations and try to fit them into a current paradigm.

Really, the book does a better job of explaining this than I do. The bottom line is that when you have a paradigm, a framework without a Holy God, without sin, without the need for a Saviour, you are starting off with the wrong approach to a lot of things. Your paradigm is wrong, and I'm referring to this solar system statement above, and I'm going to try to get my point across for once. If you have a bunch of unregenerate men trying to understand the universe without the above paradigm of the existence of the world, you will get data put in the wrong categories, including good data thrown out as aberrant because it does not fit within the current paradigm. You will end up with something like the chaos theory and global warming.

If you want a reason to not trust scientists (because, really, I cannot trust myself, and neither should you), read this book.


Post a Comment

<< Home