Friday, July 22, 2016

GPS and Digital Technology

Many 21st century residents are highly attuned to technology as an instructional tool to plumb previously unknown mysteries of how our God-created world works and how man has harnessed its working features. The modern world supplies ample opportunity to study scientific advances occurring at an ever accelerating pace. 

Recently our automobile trip to a family reunion in Georgia gave us reason to examine popular current and past technologies and how our reunion attendees utilize them. Of 28 reunion attendees, 12 were “middle aged” Gen Xers, born between 1966 and 1981. The Digital Revolution began just before most of these Gen Xers were born. Most of them barely recall the onset of compact disc (CD) technology in the early 1980s. It was always part of their lives. CD technology was an important turning point in the Digital Revolution which has revolutionized our lives in multiple ways.

One of the family reunion Gen Xers was our daughter. About ten years ago she informed us she had just purchased a GPS (Global Positioning System) for her car. She explained it was able to pinpoint her location with a moving visual graphic of her car superimposed on her local street at that moment, complete with instructions on how to arrive at her programmed destination. For me, a member of the Silent Generation, born 1925-1945, it was merely one more example of a novel technological “digital miracle.” The days of awkward unfolding of paper maps and squinting at the maps’ fine print were a thing of the past.

The Digital Revolution is barely a half-century old. Until then all transmission of voice, image, and data was analog. In contrast, today almost all such communication is digital. What does analog mean? Parents of today’s Gen Xers were raised on analog media. It simulated what occurred when we perceived audible sound varying in frequency (pitch) and amplitude (loudness) in a constant modulation. This means pitch and loudness gradually and constantly changed to produce our perception of sound. Likewise, visual images consisted of a constant modulation of light waves in their frequency (color) and amplitude (brightness). Several decades ago vinyl records reproduced sound with physical grooves on the record to physically match and reproduce the pattern of sound waves in air. Vinyl records were, therefore, a physical analog of actual sound, producing an analog sound recording. Video cameras also used analog technology until recently. The color hues and image brightness recorded on the video tape matched the natural modulation produced by the external object.

GPS technology is one of the “newest kids on the block,” joining the ongoing flow of the Digital Revolution. All family members used their smart phone GPS apps to arrive at Georgia’s Lake Lanier. One week later, barely 24 hours after their departure, family members from six states had arrived home, their GPS units at the ready. Although GPS signals from three different satellites arrive at Earth by electromagnetic microwave radiation, digital mapping technology has enriched the Digital Revolution to provide modern society with life saving benefits. Airborne digital camera systems capture images of terrain and create mosaics of the earth surface features using plentiful related information from other sources.

What does a digital camera system do? It breaks images into thousands of tiny individual portions of discrete information rather than reproducing the smooth, continuous flow of sound or light information from old fashioned analog recording devices. Each of the thousands of individual portions known as a byte is usually digitally represented as a series of eight binary digits, either 0s or 1s. In this manner, information is represented symbolically. Later it is translated to more familiar auditory and visual stimuli with little loss of fidelity. Most people cannot tell the difference between an analog reproduction and a digital reconstruction of the original sound or light stimulus.

The advantages of digital technology over analog are enormous. Computers digitally store far more information now than was ever possible several decades ago. Digital technology has enriched our lives beyond the wildest imagination of the five family seniors raised as members of the Silent Generation. Our younger reunion goers were not nearly as astonished. We now live in the Information Age, an outgrowth of the Digital Revolution. 

The prophetic Book of Daniel contains a passage referencing the knowledge explosion in end times of Earth existence. Recognizing that human knowledge has been on the increase for hundreds and thousands of years, we perceive the current explosion as extraordinary. The passage in Daniel 12:4 concerning the explosion of knowledge has been interpreted as a clear reference to the stress inherent in end times. It is worthy of contemplation in terms of the positives and negatives of the Digital Age, also known as  the Information Age: “But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge” (NIV). One might wonder if the proliferation of information and the increase of knowledge gives us cause for concern or for thankfulness. Perhaps it is a cause for both.            




Thursday, July 14, 2016

God's Positioning System

Our post title is a play on the popular term GPS—Global Positioning System. Summer is the active season for vacations and family reunions, sometimes in distant locales. Travel by automobile is not nearly the same challenge as decades ago. One travel accessory was the inevitable set of roadmaps and Trip-tiks. In our day many still feel secure with old fashioned folded road maps. These travel aids are still useful for supplying automobile occupants with the big picture of where they are going, how long the trip will take, and other calculable details. But the traditional reliable printed guides have been replaced by GPS screens on the dashboard. Even better, GPS I-phone apps provide incredible capabilities.

In 1978 our military launched their first GPS satellite powered mainly by solar energy. Currently there are 24 GPS satellites orbiting 11,000 nautical miles above earth. Each satellite orbits the earth at 18,000 mph. In order to pinpoint a precise three-dimensional spot on earth to 15 meter or better accuracy we must know the accurate, instantaneous distance to four different orbiting satellites.

The exact distance between the GPS satellite and the GPS receiver on the ground must be calculated. From 11,000 nautical miles a microwave signal travels between the GPS receiver and the satellite it is tracking. The microwave signal takes about 0.06 seconds to travel this distance. Microwaves travel at the known speed of light. The distance between the GPS satellite and the GPS receiver on the ground may then be calculated by multiplying the exact time taken for the signal to reach the ground times the speed of light, known to be 186,000 miles per sec. This supplies the distance between the two devices. Geometrical calculations take over in a process called trilateration.

The I-phone screen reveals its wonders each second of highway travel. A portion of the landscape, complete with in-scale graphics of local streets, roads, parks, and water bodies, scrolls down the screen along with a symbol of your vehicle moving forward along the highway at speeds matching your real speed. Each position of your vehicle on the screen represents your instantaneous position as calculated by the trilateration described above. Positioning information is renewed many times per second. In addition to display of instantaneous ground position, movement, speed, and projected arrival times, GPS technology has applications to agriculture, reconnaissance, guided missiles, emergency response, and many others.

Our omniscient God is aware of all physical locations in the universe at each moment. In addition, he knows the spiritual location of all humans. We must search for our spiritual location. God provides accessibility to himself. “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being…” Acts 17:27-28 (NIV).

In terms of our physical location modern humans now have instant access to this information. Through the wonders of the electromagnetic spectrum an unlimited array of different wavelengths is able to transfer energy and information from distant places at the speed of light. Through modern technology we have learned to harness electromagnetic energy such as microwaves and blend other scientific discoveries to produce the full scope benefits of our GPS devices. Alexander Graham Bell’s initial invention of the telegraph was demonstrated in 1844 in a light speed communication between Washington and Baltimore. The coded message was “What hath God wrought?” That message still remains appropriate today with increasing frequency.    



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Creation Care

Our Creator has designed a physical world demanding precision fine tuning of hundreds of systems to be comfortably and healthily habitable. These physical systems with all their cosmic and geological magnificence could be perceived as a work of grandeur even if humans did not exist. Creation’s purpose, however, would be unfulfilled without the presence of humanity as its crowning creative achievement. Considering earth’s millions of diverse species, none comes close to a conscious grasp of the beauty and complexity of the created order and how its systems function. No living creature possesses the ability to comprehend the workings of the physical environment. Living creatures respond to their environment by searching for physical satisfaction—food, comfort, and yielding to their instinctual drives. Any knowledge of ontology, the study of existent entities, and metaphysics, the study of being beyond the physical, are unknown to any creatures beneath man.

Humanity was in view in the mind of God before the sequence of creation events was initiated. Genesis 1:26 quotes God as saying “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” As an eternal and omniscient being, God, the Creator of heaven and earth, created the physical system of heavens and earth with its living plants and animals as a grand prelude to his ultimate creative goal—man. In the mind of the Creator even man’s ultimate spiritual redemption was conceived before the beginning of time (I Cor. 2:7, II Tim. 1:19, Tit. 1:2). Without man the purpose of creation would be unfulfilled. We imagine that God’s plan for the ultimate existence of man in his image and his joy in creating man would have been imperfect and incomplete. The physical systems of the cosmos and Planet Earth would have been magnificent, but there would have been no humans present to comprehend reality and appreciate the beauty of the systems.

As humans we are capable of determining the most opportune manner in which to alter our physical system in accord with God’s Genesis mandate to “subdue the earth.” Early man learned how to progress beyond the hunter-gatherer stage. He learned how to fashion tools, how to acquire complex building strategies, and in modern times, he discovered the use of digital technology based on physical realities such as ubiquitous natural and man-made electromagnetic radiation. With such advanced intellectual capability to fashion our environment have come both beneficial and detrimental changes to our environment. Never was the command to “subdue the earth” to be used more responsibly than in our modern times.

Several of our recent posts have centered on climate change. Our “subdue the earth” strategies have not all had desirable effects on our atmosphere. For example, in the last decades of the 20th century our population suffered several detrimental atmospheric events. Acid rain was the name given to the effect of release of oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, mainly gases released into the atmosphere from the burning of coal. These gases formed acidic reactions in the air and soil which were proved to harm some plants and fish, especially in the US northeast. Another effect was the depletion of atmospheric ozone composed of three chemically joined oxygen atoms. The natural atmospheric ozone shield prevented UVB radiation from passing through to earth’s surface. UVB could cause increased skin cancer, plant damage, and harm to the plankton population. Ozone was degraded by certain man-made aerosols such as refrigerants accumulating in the atmosphere. The good news is that these two problems have been partially remedied to repair this man-made atmospheric pollution by treatment of released gases and substitution of less harmful chemicals. We are on track to solving these problems more completely in the future. The cost has generally been less than anticipated.

By far the most difficult environmental issue is climate change. The issue is complex and overstated by a large contingent of commentators. The problem may not be solved by heeding alarmist pronouncements that we must spend literally trillions of dollars to find alternate energy sources in coming years. There is sharp disagreement that increased CO2 concentration will truly result in harmful warming of earth’s climate in view of thousands of climate subsystems—feedback mechanisms we still do not understand. Benefits of a slight warming of climate and slightly increased CO2 levels may be more beneficial than harmful in light of advantages of slightly elevated global warmth and enhanced growth of food crops. There is intense disagreement that imposing astronomical costs of fossil fuel substitutes will be effective in reducing global temperature even a small amount. Third world countries will suffer the most harm because they cannot afford to implement this unproven remediation scheme. It would drive these nations into increased poverty in the face of our desire to help the world’s poor. 

We must intensively study and pray over these issues for answers laden with wisdom from our Creator (James 1:5).   

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Forced to Agree

Students of climate science encounter an interesting term—climate forcing. Our earth climate had been “forced” naturally into warmer conditions by increased solar radiation in distant geologic history. In effect, the sun became brighter and warmer. More recently earth’s climate has been temporarily “forced” by several significant volcanic eruptions into cooler temperatures. Many climate forcings have been observed and attributed by climate scientists, but many forcings occur that climatologists do not yet understand. Our blog has frequently discussed a popularly publicized climate forcing—the addition of CO2 to our atmosphere by anthropocentric (man-caused) consumption of fossil fuels, especially in the last 200 years. This forcing has raised atmospheric CO2 about 40%, from just over 0.03% to about 0.04%. This CO2 trace gas is vitally important for the life on Planet Earth. It comprises 1/2500 of the composition of the atmosphere.

Our readers would agree that our population is heavily divided on the effects of this important greenhouse gas. It has been politically elevated to cause célèbre status. Some say we must take immediate steps to reduce CO2 emissions because Earth is in dire short- and long-term danger. Others state that increased CO2 has been a benefit to increased agricultural production and its harmful effects are substantially overstated. These statements are mere tip-of-the-iceberg concerns and talking points. There are dozens of additional issues. Climate alarmists wish to force us to agree with them and implement their proposed climate solutions post-haste.

Our culture is becoming more fractured by climate concerns as well as controversies on how to address them. Recently the global warming alarmists have elevated their attack strategy. Some politicians have placed those who disagree, often termed “climate skeptics,” on notice. They will be subjected to legal prosecution under RICO—the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act. Congress designed RICO in 1970 to target organized crime. It is true that US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island used the term “civil” RICO to characterize his campaign on the floor of the senate, but claimed he is targeting only “fraud.” Legally, fraud is defined as, “Intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage.” We implore our readers to study this complex issue carefully.

E. Calvin Beisner, founder and national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation has published many informative statements concerning the activities of opposing climate change camps. He correctly states that the science of  global warming is far from settled. Our blog position agrees with Beisner that while minor warming has occurred coincident with increased release of CO2 in the past two centuries, the earth is nevertheless “a place to thrive.” Planetary temperatures have risen and fallen many times in previous thousands of years in conjunction with many usual and unusual climate events. But in the past 200 years, Earth’s population has increased seven fold with wondrous agricultural, technological, and scientific advances. The misinformation that droughts, floods, heat waves, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other spikes of unpleasant weather different from recognized ideal conditions are abnormally multiplying is not statistically defensible. 

When damaging weather events occur our media are prone to mention global warming as causative in most of their reporting. Such mentions increase the drama of their story. Read deeper into their accounts and one finds references to many past weather occurrences equal to or worse than the current weather events. For example, one of our recent posts referenced the severity of the US heat and drought of the 1930s which far exceeded heat and drought events since then. Two hurricanes which traveled up the US east coast in 1954 were both more intense than Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The 1960s witnessed ten destructive east coast hurricanes.

Cornwall spokesman Beisner was skewered by Sen. Whitehouse as the founder of a “phoney baloney industry front called the Cornwall Alliance.” Recently Beisner mailed a packet to supporters claiming “Earth’s climate system is one of the most complex natural systems ever studied. It consists of thousands of subsystems—feedback mechanisms—most of which we still don’t understand. We don’t know how strong they are, in some cases even whether they increase or decrease warming or the balance of benefits and harms from it.” Beisner had decried “the direct attack of the rights to freedom of speech and the press.” He claimed such an attack was “horrifically bad for science.”

Now, progressive liberal politicians are intent on forcing Beisner and his numerous soulmates to back away. Which of the thousands of climate change scholars are right? Which are wrong? Do Beisner and many other scientists intentionally misrepresent established facts of science? Do we still respect the truth? Does the group of eighteen  Attorneys General in our United States intent on launching RICO investigations primarily deserve the innocuous title of “AGs united for clean power?” Or do they support the goals of partisan politics on climate change issues?

We request wisdom from our Heavenly Father concerning this difficult issue.     



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Unsettled Science

Two groups were organized in 2005 in response to the perceived environmental challenges posed by climate change. We highlight these two groups, pointing out similarities and differences. The Evangelical Climate Initiative is composed exclusively of 300 evangelical leaders in the United States sharing concern about environmental stewardship. The Cornwall Alliance For The Stewardship Of Creation is a conservative public policy group also focusing on environmental stewardship. It boasts 1500 diverse signatories from prominent religious groups. Each organization has claimed the high ground of stewardship for our planet and each continues with its mission. The similarities are not as striking as the differences. Both organizations are energized by the topic of global warming.

The global warming issue divides many residents of the US and the world. Among many noble ideals for the stewardship of creation lurks the issue of how to remedy potentially disastrous global warming. This issue is laden with complexity far beyond warming due to human consumption of fossil fuels and the concomitant release of additional CO2 into the atmosphere. There is widespread agreement that release of any additional CO2 does indeed contribute to slight atmospheric warming owing to its properties as a greenhouse gas. As a result of this knowledge, CO2 has been designated a “pollutant,” albeit a minuscule component of the atmosphere. The recent convoluted regulatory ruling of CO2 as a “pollutant” highlights the emotionally charged politics attending the conversation. CO2 remains vitally important for earth’s plant life.

We have selected passages from each group’s major declarations. The passages highlight a profound difference in theological and scientific analyses. From the Evangelical Climate Initiative: “Even small rises in global temperatures will have such likely impacts as: more frequent heat waves, droughts, and extreme weather events such torrential rains and floods; increased tropical diseases in now-temperate regions; and hurricanes that are more intense. It could lead to significant reduction in agricultural output, especially in poor countries. Low-lying regions, indeed entire islands, could find themselves under water.”

From the Cornwall Declaration On Environmental Stewardship: “While some environmental concerns are well-founded and serious, others are without foundation or greatly exaggerated…..Some unfounded or undue concerns include fears of destructive man-made global warming, overpopulation, and rampant species loss.” 

Another Cornwall passage (An Evangelical Statement on Global Warming) states, “We believe Earth and its ecosystems, created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence—are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history. We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid.”

After only a cursory study of the points made in the above declarations, we long for deeper and detailed truth concerning global warming in the mind of the public. We perceive public resistance to a quest for depth. It is much easier to fall back to one’s preconceptions and philosophical bias. If we have become enamored by the politically correct, simplistic responses to climate change, we will ignore the effects of thousands of climate subsystems known as feedback mechanisms. Even climate experts do not understand many of the feedback mechanisms and whether in the long term global warming is increased or decreased. As I read the voluminous research on the complex subject of climate change, I am determined to encourage individual study of complex climate issues among our readership. Without unbiased, intentional study, most people simply reinforce their previously held positions. Above all we must recognize that our Creator is the author of the physical venue we call our home. This awareness is the beginning of wisdom in climate issues.

Linked below is a previous blog posted in 2012. Click on “older posts” or “newer posts” to scroll through our previous offerings on climate change.




Friday, June 24, 2016

Enduring the Heat

Our somewhat warmer 2016 Northern Illinois winter and spring may call attention to the issue of climate change in a few residents’ minds. But as I write, the southwestern United States bakes in oppressive, record-breaking heat. As usual, the anthropogenic climate change subject receives much attention at such times. Imagine daytime temperatures of 115º to 120ºF. Triple digits are common across several states, accompanied by the scourge of fire. This heat wave is caused by a “heat dome.” Air is trapped by the upper atmosphere in one location and circulates within the dome like a convection current in an oven.

Many fascinating short and long term events enrich our climate. These events are minimally related to the popular current obsession with anthropogenic climate change. A few years ago our severely frigid winter was attributed to a cycle called the arctic oscillation (AO). Some poked fun at global warming enthusiasm after living through the effects of that year’s AO, but their enthusiasm may have waned when the next heat wave occurred. Heat domes and arctic oscillations are but two examples of numerous local and global weather phenomena. Weather researchers have identified the features of our complex, dynamic planetary weather and climate systems in great detail. Our current post’s purpose is to remind readers that unusual weather trends and cycles have been noted for thousands of years. The cycles have contributed more to human enrichment than to human detriment. Our wondrous planet is a place for humans to thrive.

The current southwestern heat wave will wind down in a few days. A relatively recent heat/drought event occurred in the US during the decade of the 1930s. It is remembered as historically momentous. The 1930s ushered in a decade of unprecedented heat and drought over much of the country. It persisted for years and was known as the “Dust Bowl” event. 1930, 1934, and 1936 were particularly hot and dry. Wikipedia states “The 1930s are remembered as the driest and warmest decade for the US and the summer of 1936 was the most widespread and destructive heat wave to occur in the Americas in centuries.” The current obsession with climate change pales in significance.

Cutting through the concern about anthropocentric climate change, aka global warming, is a distressing fact. Far more people on this planet die of cold weather than of warm weather. In 2015 the British journal The Lancet “analyzed data on more than 75 million deaths between 1985 and 2012. Of those, 5.4 million deaths were related to cold, while 311,000 were related to heat.”

The current discussion about anthropogenic climate change owing to increased CO2 release from consumption of fossil fuels provides more stress for contemporary earth residents than many other causes for concern. Opinion and emotion generated from this issue ranges across an exceedingly broad spectrum. The solutions offered extend from indifference to militant activism and from offering no remedial funding to truly budget busting remedial funding. This response occurs in the face of considerable uncertainty concerning our complex natural climate system. The prediction of human disaster based upon the CO2 factor alone in light of thousands of interacting climate subsystems, is an example of the fallacy of oversimplified cause, also known as the fallacy of the single cause. The issue is far from settled science, notwithstanding the strident claim that the science is settled. 

We have offered several dozen blog posts on this issue, especially in 2012. It is a politically charged subject, generating more heat than light. Linked below are three previous posts which address some of the complex issues.

Our secular and religious cultures have produced diverse analyses of civilization’s most significant problems. Many of these relate to dire warnings of environmental disasters, past, present, and future. We do not minimize such warnings; neither do we overstress their importance. Either approach locates reality in an out-of-balance fashion. Our interpretation of Romans 8:22-25 leans away from characterizing our creation as primarily “broken.” Verse 22 states “the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Some interpreters see a fallen physical creation in this verse. We envision the entire epistle of Romans including verse 22 in relation to man’s spiritual redemption—God’s provision of salvation through Jesus Christ and his plan of righteousness for humanity. In terms of God’s plan for spiritual wholeness, we have presented our planet’s physical venue as a beautiful divine setting for achievement of God’s ultimate goals for mankind. In this light we submitted this post:




Monday, June 20, 2016

Scientists Ask--Is God Dead?

In 1966 there was a famous Time Magazine story asking “Is God Dead?" The thought of the death of God could have been interpreted in several ways. Did a pre-existent God cease to exist? More likely, the meaning of the title was captured by the thought that our culture had created no need for God. Science had answered many vexing questions related to our home planet. The universe’s age and expansion rate had been discovered with remarkable precision, due largely to Alan Sandage, the most influential astronomer of the last half century. Many of his findings were published not long before the Time article appeared. Science had matured and now addressed issues formerly reinforced primarily by natural theology.

In the immediate years before the article was published we had been apprised of a remarkable revelation of the structure of DNA, the template of genetics, followed shortly by news concerning how DNA’s digital code produces the thousands of proteins required for the building of eight million unique species. In our opening paragraph we referred to the precision of cosmologists concerning the age of the universe. The DNA discoveries left many bio-scientists feeling empowered with their newfound knowledge. Had God died? Time’s editors decided to pose the provocative question. There was little need for the Creator now that humanity had discovered some of His previously unrevealed secrets.

We had discovered a wealth of knowledge concerning the workings of the universe and the secrets of life on the planet. Owing to an explosion of scientific knowledge, in the popular mind God was no longer necessary in describing our universe or exulting in a Creator responsible for its existence. Effectively, therefore, the Time editors shocked the world by asking, “Is God Dead?”

The Time article was not explicitly focused on the secularization of science. There were many other cultural and theological changes discussed. On the 50th anniversary of the article, we point out that science has acquired even more cultural secularization. In 1966 science supposedly had reduced the need for religion to explain the natural world. My personal experience recalling the novel offerings in high school biology courses during the 1960s aids my recollection of a sea change in bio-science education of that time. The new BSCS biology courses achieved rapid elevation to prominence in secondary bio-science education. They stressed evolution as a scientifically endorsed belief. “Is God Dead?” our high school scholars may have asked. The question seemed significant as science provided detailed knowledge of genetics. 

Since 1966, the situation has worsened. God is less important today than at any time in recent memory. Creationism and Intelligent Design theories in Earth’s living things draw scorn, even among some Christian scientists and theologians. Various commentators such as Robert Mohler of Southern Baptist Seminary have stated that the “post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crises threaten the very heart of our culture.”

A friend recently called my attention to an article in American Thinker by Deanna Chadwell, professor at Pacific Bible College. We quote Ms. Chadwell’s blog “Science and Limits” as she discusses the impact of God having been removed from science. In former times, “Science…had once been the method by which curious people had learned about God’s creation. But the science we now have has forbidden God to have any part in experimental hypotheses. Even when the evidence clearly points heavenward, the presence of a creator cannot be considered.” For our current generation, science has suffered from displacement of God together with a wide array of cultural values. Whereas God could be credited with the order and design of our cosmos and life forms, now we credit materialistic naturalism. Methodological naturalism (MN) is the religion of most scientists, displacing God in any experimental hypothesis. Naturalistic explanations rule; theistic explanations are in retreat. This phenomenon parallels the withdrawal of most expressions of biblical theism in public life, not only in the domain of science.

Chadwell continues, “Yet science can explain very little, and that is disappointing to a generation of materialists. If all that is, is merely matter, then science should be able to answer all our questions. If there is no God, in the Judeo-Christian sense of the word, and no supernatural forces operate in this universe, then science should be able to formulate hypotheses, construct experiments, repeat those experiments with similar results and, either adjust the initial assumptions, or conclude they were correct to begin with. It should be doable. But it’s not.” 

The author of “Science and Limits” further exults in “some of the marvels of this world that science can address only in a shallow and mechanistic manner.” We offer a quick catalog highlighting the author’s thoughtful musings: Hummingbirds are specifically designed so as to make random mutation appear to be a silly explanation. They vary their metabolic rate drastically, rotate their wings in a helicopter hover, and retract their long insect-seeking tongue into a channel that winds around its skull. Owls fly in almost absolute silence, but science cannot explain how it got that way. No one knows what goes on in the chrysalis soup of a butterfly, let alone how four stage metamorphosis works to produce the ultimate wonder of an adult. Migration skills guide animals, sans GPS or map directions, on multi-thousand mile travel sagas to locate their destinations with pinpoint accuracy. Monarchs accomplish this feat without having traveled the route in several generations. What about the mystery of life itself? How do the presence of brain waves with electrical impulses distinguish a live creature from one that is not alive? What is the “ethereal self?” What is the nature of a living human soul? How does science explain mysteries of the hard sciences such as the incredible fine tuning of hundreds of physical constants?

Many scientists have succeeded in shutting out the awareness of God in professional science discoveries. When science succeeds in explaining the many mechanisms by which our earth’s physical and biological systems operate, they inadvertently call attention to the God who authored the systems. Many systems, however, have not yet been explained by science. We anticipate a future day when science professionals may conclude that methodological naturalism is inadequate to explain many phenomena. Rather, they may recognize God as an explanatory controlling force for phenomena they are able to explain as well as phenomena they are unable to explain. God is supernatural but he has power to author and sustain natural events.

In the closing paragraph of “Science and Limits” Chadwell noted, “God is not dead, but mankind is getting good at shutting Him out of all of our understandings.”