Monday, August 22, 2016

Science Appreciation for Kids

Endearing photos of grandchildren may now be instantly shared by grandparents hundreds of miles away. Last week we were apprised of the capture of “Cray-Cray,” a two inch long crayfish proudly named by our 4-year old granddaughter, Juliana. Their neighborhood pond and stream produced the healthy little crayfish. It resided in a plastic bowl for several days before we arrived to baby sit our three young grandchildren. Our granddaughter agreed that Cray-Cray would be happier if returned to his natural home. There he would have access to his natural food—water plants, worms, insects, plankton, and a variety of other foods, according to our internet search. The trip to the pond and back provided a wealth of wonderful object lessons from the world of nature.

On the way to the pond and stream we passed a small tree from which a noisy dog-day cicada was broadcasting its familiar late summer mating message. Grandpa posed the possibility of finding the singer in order to get a closer look while he sang his love song. He did not actually hope to find him because these insects tend to shield themselves in foliage or move carefully around the tree branches in order to remain out of sight. But thankfully, this particular cicada was oblivious to us. After tracking his musical rendition we found the colorful insect perched upon a small branch in surprisingly plain sight about eight feet up. Pointing him out at close range with a stick did not deter him from singing. He sang uninterrupted for several minutes. Grandparents shared an exciting first time experience with their grandkids.

A few hundred feet beyond we arrived at the neighborhood pond. A large dragonfly sailed close to our heads on the way. It was time to plan our strategy for gently returning Cray-Cray to his watery home. When Juliana picked him up she was pinched by her pet who had assumed a defensive posture. Grandpa was hard pressed to assure her that he had been pinched many times in the past by crayfish chelipeds (front legs bearing the claw) without permanent injury—so…not to worry! Soon we devised a strategy for letting Cray-Cray walk off one of the stream’s flat rocks on his own: Mission accomplished.

More adventures awaited us in the clear stream as we observed openings between the water plants. Juliana spotted a polliwog and little fish and unsuccessfully attempted to catch them. Grandpa posed the question, “What do polliwogs become?” He had to answer his own question: “They become frogs or toads.” Juliana wondered, “What do little fish become?” The answer: “Bigger fish.” While we were considering other questions suggested by the stream environment, we were careful not to overkill the children’s curiosity with too much detail. For example, perhaps Grandpa’s comment that some of the flat rocks in the stream were formerly mud or other sediment before they hardened into rock may have been an unnecessary detail.

Throughout the visit to the stream there were numerous opportunities to credit God as the Maker of all sorts of creatures we were observing—cicadas, dragonflies, crayfish, polliwogs, little fish, and the bigger fish the young boys were catching with their parents. Our 4-year old Juliana’s comments affirmed her belief that God made many different animals and plants and that they are all designed wonderfully. We noticed that each and every birch leaf beside the stream was virtually identical with every other birch leaf, but different from leaves of other types of trees. 2-year old Torren was a quieter, but interested observer during the pond visit.

The return trip home was mostly uphill. The children noted that navigating uphill on their balance bike or regular bike was a struggle. Grandpa does not miss opportunities to remind young children of gravity as both a facilitator and inhibitor: a facilitator if traveling downhill; an inhibitor if moving uphill. It is not too early to encourage children to think about the benefits and challenges of gravity. After we returned to the house, neighbors brought over several newly found milkweed caterpillars to share, soon to morph into a chrysalis and later an adult monarch butterfly. Metamorphosis is a glorious natural process in the world of living things. It is possible to pique young children’s interest in these processes and present them as superb ideas in the mind of our Creator.

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Many of our past posts have made reference to children’s belief in God as reinforced by their observation of the physical creation. The most recent post is linked here:

On the “SEARCH THIS BLOG” link on our blog site, entry of the word “CHILDREN” and clicking “SEARCH” will produce several dozen relevant and helpful posts with reference to CHILDREN.  





Saturday, August 20, 2016

Science in the City

Approaching New York City by automobile, bus, train, or aircraft we are struck with the architectural engineering technology applied in the city’s physical construction. Most visitors are impacted by the aesthetic grandeur of the skyline. Soon they experience a close-up immersion into the city. An abundance of additional sensations surround the tourist—close-up sights, sounds, olfactory, and gustatory delights. Modern science enhances the visitor’s experience at every turn.

In our previous post we compared the city of ancient Rome with modern New York City. Architectural and structural technology were used by the ancients to a remarkable degree. The Colosseum and Pantheon were marvels of engineering for their time. Contemporary travels to NYC, however, reveal a very different set of experiences in city life. Our modern experience would have been startling for the Romans were it possible to transport Roman residents to modern times.

The city experience of the 21st century has its foundation in startling events of the past four centuries. The beginnings of the scientific revolution were marked by a revised approach to the investigation of natural phenomena. It was an epistemological revolution resulting in revision of beliefs and practices. We have previously discussed the agricultural, industrial, and sanitary revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries. These supplied impetus for the remarkable world population explosion from one billion to over seven billion souls in the past 200 years. At the risk of oversimplifying complex scientific history, we mention but two startling discoveries and innovations: the theory of electromagnetism championed by James Clerk Maxwell in the latter half of the 19th century and the digital revolution of the 20th century.

In looking back at the history of humanity, we may have trouble visualizing how cities such as ancient Rome could manage their affairs without knowing the nature of the electromagnetic spectrum, much less applying its potential for the enrichment of their lives. In our time waves of electromagnetic energy enable hundreds of types of communications at the speed of light. Cities of the modern world would be unable to function without man-generated radio, television, radar, microwaves, and countless other electromagnetic frequencies operating at thousands of different wavelengths. Our ability to use and generate these waves powers our modern way of life. Seldom do we contemplate life in the city just after our country was born or life in ancient Rome. Communication was by unamplified voice, gestures at a distance, and written and oral messages borne by painfully slow messengers.

The purpose of communication is transfer of information. Since mid-20th century we have entered the Digital Age, also known as the Information Age. Virtually unlimited information can be accessed quickly, applied, and stored. The Digital Age we entered in mid-20th century was powered by recent computer technology. It has blended with knowledge of the electromagnetic spectrum first understood in the 19th century. Our culture benefits significantly as we apply our newfound knowledge.

We are concerned about the obsession with cell phone technology. As we navigated the streets of New York City recently, we noticed many residents were speaking on or manipulating their iPhones or cell phones as they walked along the streets. This may be characterized as overload—immersion in a surfeit of information, much of it unnecessary. We understand the meaning of Marshall McCluhan’s famous phrase, “The medium is the message.”

Advanced iPhones provide audible phone communication, texting, media such as television and radio, email, internet, and even our personal banking statements, creating constant multitasking potential at the tip of our fingers. These devices are ubiquitous as we sit in a waiting room, ride the subway, or walk down the street. Personally, I initially welcomed the potential to be in instant communication with my wife or other family members at a moment’s notice almost anywhere on the planet. On the negative side, however, traditional social interactions have been supplanted by interactions with this digital medium.

The “miracle” of our use of cell phone technology developed in the last few decades may have suppressed our appreciation of how it works. In my personal teaching experience decades ago I enjoyed creating student wonder at the reality of invisible electromagnetic waves passing through our classroom and our bodies every moment. At that time I used radio and television waves as object lessons: Their portable radios or TV receivers could prove the reality of their teacher’s claim. In the 21st century my classroom object lesson could include trillions of additional electromagnetic waves pulsing through our bodies. One iPhone call would demonstrate the truth of their teacher’s assertion. Beyond understanding the modern iPhone’s functional capabilities, we wonder if we could generate enough student interest in how the iPhone actually works as well as how it works for us!

We leave this question with our readers: Does our culture’s success with the wonders of science point to the genius of the Creator of all physical phenomena such as the electromagnetic spectrum and its relevance to the Digital Age? Or does our culture’s scientific success signal only the human genius of scientists? Our blog seeks to establish the superiority of the the genius of the God of Creation. 





Monday, August 15, 2016

Progress of Millennia

New York City is a mainstay of family vacations to the United States Northeast. This city is unique for its multiple tourist attractions and has been dubbed the cultural and financial capital of the world. In many decades of residence in New Jersey just a few dozen miles west of this great city, our family had never visited for multiple consecutive days, much less enjoying two overnights a few blocks from Times Square, the “Crossroads of the World.” This intersection is arguably the world’s most visited tourist attraction, hosting 39 million visitors in a given year. The fame of New York City is legendary, not overshadowed by the sometimes conflicting metrics of most visited, most popular, most fascinating, or other superlatives describing cities of our modern world.

This marvelous city was home to a few tens of thousands of people before 1800, had grown to one million in 1870, and now boasts 8.5 million residents in its five boroughs. It has always been the most populous city in the US and retains that distinction to this day. Historically, New York is a relatively recent arrival on the world map along with many other densely populated world cities since the global population explosion began two centuries ago. 

The recent visit to New York City was reminiscent of our stay in Rome, Italy in 2011. Rome was the first world city to achieve a population of one million residents in its heyday around the time of Christ. Rome experienced a serious depopulation in the intervening centuries due to a multitude of factors, but in modern times it has regained its former glory and its population now numbers 2.8 million. We will contemplate two architectural wonders of the ancient city of Rome and their parallels in modern New York City. The two wonders of ancient Rome, the Colosseum and the Pantheon, provide interesting counterparts in New York City’s new Yankee Stadium and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in northern Manhattan.

The ancient Colosseum, an architectural wonder even for its day, was built from 72-80 AD with slave labor and the efforts of skilled Roman artisans. It was the venue of gladiator games and other public spectacles. Concrete and vaulted arches were an innovation. It was financed partly with treasures from the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD and accomplished with slave labor from Jews captured in that event. Imagine—in the Colosseum there were no loudspeakers, video cameras, or giant video screens for instant replay, or to quickly replay events for judges to determine the accuracy of athletic officials’ on-field calls many miles distant. The Colosseum’s vast network of rooms, passageways, and tunnels supplementing the main arena find an analogy in passageways and refreshment venues surrounding the beautiful grassy playing field of the New Yankee Stadium, built from 2006-2009. We wonder, however, if Colosseum patrons felt they were deprived as spectators in the first century AD.

The Pantheon was conceived by Emperor Agrippa around the time of Christ. It was destroyed by fire, reconstructed, and dedicated by Hadrian about 126 AD. Originally the Pantheon was intended as a “Temple of Every God.” Its dome is 141 feet above ground and is still the largest non-reinforced concrete dome in the world, 23 feet thick at the base of the dome and ranging to two feet thick at its summit. The engineering genius of that era provided a progressively lighter composition of concrete from the dome’s base to its summit to allow for ideal weight bearing. In my personal view, the Pantheon, standing for two millennia, is one of the most astounding wonders of architectural technology and engineering, even in the present day. Professional engineer David Moore has written, “Today, no engineer would dare build this structure without steel rods. Modern codes of engineering would not permit such mischief.” The Pantheon was converted to a Christian church in the 7th century.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in northern Manhattan is spectacular for different reasons. This enormous 601 foot long Episcopal cathedral was begun in 1892 and is far from completion. It is doubtful the structure will ever be completed, because the need for maintenance and repair far exceeds the requirements for completion. The emotions we experience upon perceiving such monuments to God’s gifts range across a wide spectrum. Our family sojourn in New York City and Rome enabled us to contemplate the physical, intellectual, and spiritual gifts our Creator has bestowed ever since the creation of humanity in the image of God.   


Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Startling Irony

Irony is defined as a state of affairs or an event that seems contrary to what one would expect. Our focus on the proliferation of data and the resultant increase in knowledge resulting from the recent Digital Revolution triggers a question concerning beliefs of professional scientists: With the exponential increase in scientific understanding of our world and their ability to rapidly expand the use of technology, how has belief in God as the Creator of all things and the fount of knowledge been affected?

Statistics point to a startling irony. In a 1998 survey of American Academy of Science members, only 7% possessed a personal belief in God. Other organizations report a smaller percentage of scientists possess a personal belief in God. Science professionals demonstrate far less belief in God as creator and sustainer than non-scientists. Scientists are familiar with fine tuned physical constants governing our universe as well as characteristics of matter and the laws of nature. They did not invent the constants, characteristics, and laws. Rather, they discovered and applied them. God created the matter, as well as the constants, characteristics, and laws. In effect, the Creator of all things instructs scientists, “Now, go to work. I have supplied the raw materials and your tool kit for discovery and application.”

Science is not an invention of men. It is God’s gift to men. Humanity is no more intelligent now than he was in the days when the Old Testament Book of Job was written, but we are currently awash in technological advances. The Scientific Revolution beginning in the 16th century was supported by the collective discovery of many gifted giants of scientific intellect. The Digital Revolution or Digital Age, often called the Information Age from mid-20th century to the present, was coincident with the population explosion of the last two centuries. It is a startling irony that belief in God has generally decreased among science professionals. 

We do not diminish the wondrous achievements of gifted human scientists including those who possess faith in God and those who do not. But we are troubled by the tendency of the vast majority to favor self-recognition and self-empowerment over a creative entity beyond themselves. If there is justifiable pride in their accomplishments, we commend them. We are saddened, however, by unbelief which prevents acknowledgement of the Creator governing and sustaining “all things.” Increased knowledge of science need not undermine belief in God. Instead, it should enhance belief.

A similar irony relates to the popular conception reported by Christianity Today that “Overall, people with high IQs and test scores are less likely to be religious.” CT cautioned against placing too much weight on these findings. There may be an implicit bias in their reporting. Sociologist Frank Furedi correctly questions the value of such a project where “science research turns into advocacy research.” Many argue that smart folks including scientists reject religion, but scripture disputes that statement: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” (Psalm 111:10 NIV) 

The disbelief of the majority of secular scientists is troubling. In contrast, a famous Psalm 19 passage addresses an observable theological truth: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4 NIV)



Friday, July 29, 2016

Message of the Medium

Marshall McCluhan (1911-1980) coined a amusing play on the title of his famous best seller, “The Medium Is the Message.” In humor, McCluhan once substituted “massage” for message. The Medium is the Massage recognized that visual or print media could “massage” human awareness and leave a profound impact on an individual’s perception of reality. The letter substitution was originally a printing error. Since McCluhan’s death in 1980, his work has received increased attention owing to the expanded impact of audio, visual, and printed media. In particular, we consider how modern media have been impacted by the overwhelming effects of the Digital Revolution. McCluhan’s thesis was prophetic long before the widespread results of the Digital Revolution became an overwhelming phenomenon of our modern life.

McCluhan stated, “New technologies have a gravitational effect on cognition.” He railed against print technology and media such as television almost a half-century ago. Wikipedia reports, Media…“plays a role not by the content delivered over the medium, but by the character of the medium itself.” We wonder how Marshall McCluhan would characterize today’s ubiquitous social interaction via e-mail, cell phones, texting, and instant on-demand entertainment available to contemporary young people and adults if he were yet alive.

As wonderful as the science of digital technology is, we must strive to balance its positives with its sometimes frightful negatives. Digital media supplies wonders such as our ability to be in instant audio and visual communication with our loved ones virtually anywhere in the world, to activate our GPS unit safely guiding us to our destination, to access stores of vital information, and to take advantage of distance learning, to name only a few. The negative consequences are at least worth contemplating with equal diligence. We wonder about influences on personal time allotment, cognition, comprehension, and thinking ability. What are the subtle effects of having the media embed itself in the message as McCluhan cautioned? 

The DuPont Corporation established a new slogan in 1999—“The Miracles of Science.” Surely we must acknowledge that the modern Digital Revolution qualifies as a “miracle of science.” It accomplishes the so-called miracle by utilizing digital wonders similar to the body’s neural systems and information codes in DNA in body cells. 

Other applications of the expression “The Medium Is the Message” exist in our past blog discussions of life origins and existence. For example, we may consider cell material containing DNA composed merely of ordinary atoms of elements and compounds the physical medium of all life. To the metaphysical naturalist, the medium of physical matter, atoms and molecules, comprises the ultimate message, since he sees physical matter as “all there is.” He believes spiritual entities such as God do not exist. Some scientists may acknowledge the existence of God, but as a practical matter, God may as well not exist. The philosophy of methodological naturalism (MN) is an epistemological protocol of the science profession in all of their investigations. In light of scientists’ metaphysical beliefs or philosophical epistemological protocols, therefore, the medium of self-created, self-existent, and self-sustaining matter is their ultimate message.

Creationists, in contrast, see the God of Judeo-Christian scripture as the ultimate executor of a dual message: God is (1) the creator of physical matter and (2) the author of DNA’s incredible ability to produce life embodied in physical matter. In short, God is the Creator of all things—the divine “Message of the Medium.” 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Creative Coding

The Digital Revolution has the imprint of codes wherever we look. Codes are languages and are evidence that an intelligent agent had substantial input into the digital coding process. Not often when we use a digital device do we consider the significance of the coding phenomenon. The phenomenon today is rather like breathing air. Our air breathing example, however, is remarkable in itself. All of its processes are a source of wonder. We must insure that our sense of wonder includes giving glory to God for sustaining mundane events.

As we research the phenomena of the Digital Revolution, we discover we must dig more deeply into examples of how intelligent agency makes digital technology possible. Examples may be readily explainable on a technical level, but we may be left wondering how digital technology is intelligently contrived.

In our past posts we have discussed how computers, CDs, smart phones, and a host of other devices utilize digital coding. Instead of the smooth modulations of frequency and amplitude by which our eyes and ears perceive sound and light energy, digital technology enables our devices to receive familiar sound and light signals as multiple digits of discrete binary signals represented by “ons” or “offs.” The simplest binary scheme represents the energy stimuli as 0s or 1s. An 8-digit binary code may appear as 01010011. In pre-Digital Revolution days, we may have wondered, “Could it be this simple?”

In a digital electronic series of bytes, eight consecutive ons or offs, or even bytes of sixteen or thirty-two ons or offs, the signals must be converted to the equivalent of analog—smooth modulations of frequency and amplitude for sound, and smooth modulations of color and brightness for vision in order to be meaningful for human senses. Our ears hear in analog, not digital; our eyes see in analog, not digital; our ability to read words occurs in analog, not digital.

Physical sound, changes of pitch and variations of intensity, are encoded as simple streams of binary digits. A 440, the tuning standard for musical pitch, represents 440 high pressure regions passing a given point per second. The digital readout represents these regions. In Media Essentials, A Brief Introduction, we read, “In digital audio recording, digital audio is directly recorded to a storage device as a stream of discrete numbers, representing the changes in air pressure for audio and chroma and luminance values for video through time.” Video coding is aided by a process using the same principle. It is termed gamma encoding. Written text is encoded to represent a repertoire of characters. It is the most straightforward and easily grasped form of encoding.

The process of assignment of eight digit bytes (or more) to represent air pressure, light waves, or characters and their subsequent translation is clearly a project of an intelligent mind. All codes originate with an entity possessing intellect. We cite two examples of physical codes operating in humans as well as in all living things. The principles of coding and its intelligent origin are even more incredible in their wonder-inspiring outcomes—the neural code and the DNA code.

Mechanical pressure waves striking the ear, electromagnetic energy impinging on the retina, the pressure of physical touch on the skin, and many other bodily sensations trigger “action potentials” in millions of neural conduits to the brain. Most simply, these are described as “spikes,” also called action potentials or nerve impulses—temporary reversals of electrical polarity rapidly traveling down the length of the nerve fibers. This “spike” may be compared with a switch which is either on or off, or digits 0 or 1 having only two values.

Electrical spikes traveling down millions of neurons is coded information. Our brain is able to decode the neural signals, making them intelligible as meaningful sound, vision, or other stimuli. How our conscious brain accomplishes this task is the subject of intense research in physiology. Scientists have learned much concerning the process, but many answers are shrouded in mystery, known only by the Creator of the Code.

The DNA code is arguably the most awe inspiring code governing living things on this earth. DNA is essentially a giant molecule possessing a digital code. Only two nucleotides, molecular assemblages in the DNA molecule known as base pairs, exist on the helical DNA molecule. These base pairs occur on the DNA ladder in a specific binary digital order. The occurrence of three specific nucleotides in a certain grouping signal that one of twenty amino acids should be produced and assembled into thousands of different proteins—building blocks of the human body. Scientists have discovered what happens in the production of a new living entity, but in their discoveries of how it happens they come up short. Many coding secrets have been revealed, but the secrets of life are multidimensional.

The DNA code is recognized by scientists as a language as are other codes. All languages come from a mind. Information theorist Perry Marshall has clearly articulated these proposals in the last few years. He poses the Atheist’s Riddle: “Show me a language that does not come from a mind.” Psalm 139:14 reveals additional truth: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (NIV).   



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.