Global Warming Posts at Scientific American’s Blog

For those of us who follow the global warming debates, there have been some interesting blogs on the Scientific American web page. The first post was called “Are You a Global Warming Skeptic?” and it has 170 comments that reflect the range of arguments against human-caused global warming. The follow-up post is called “Are You a Global Warming Skeptic? Part II,” which is a summary of the arguments in the comments from Part I.

I’m not committing either way on the global warming debate, but this is a refreshing break from the “All scientists are convinced by global warming” vs. “Global warming is a socialist enviro-wacko plot” nature that the discussion can degrade into.

Grace and Peace

Galactic Double Helix

Science story of the week: Cosmic ‘DNA’: Double Helix Spotted in Space, reported at Space.com.

Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered a massive gaseous nebula near the center of the galaxy that is slowly spinning and shaped like the famous double helix of DNA. The Space.com article uses the phrase: “What we see indicates a high degree of order.” It also states, “The double helix shape is commonly seen inside living organisms, but this is the first time it has been observed in the cosmos.” Some in the Christian blogosphere are quite excited about this, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

Christians have jumped on this as one more evidence for the existence of a designer. Well… yes, as all creation points in one way or another to its Creator. This cosmic gas cloud, however, does not point to the Creator of the universe in the same way that biological molecules, such as DNA, do.

The double helix recently discovered in space apparently owes its existence to intense magnetic fields which occur near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. It occurs because matter and energy are obeying laws of nature, such as the laws of magnetism. High degrees of order occur throughout the universe, in things like mineral crystals or whirlpools, as matter and energy obey different laws of nature. Does this point to a creator? Yes, as those laws, the matter, and the energy had to come from somewhere.

This is different from what we see with biological DNA. The living world reveals a type of order and complexity that is not present in things like nebular double helices and mineral crystals. Unlike information-bearing biological molecules, the order in these non-biological structures is explainable by the laws of physics and chemistry.

For now, I am willing to look at the double helix nebula much like I look at patterns produced by erosion and deposition in a stream and say, “Wow, that’s pretty cool.” I look at the complexity of a cell, with its DNA and all the systems that surround it, and say, “It is absolutely incredible that one could believe that this came about apart from the work of a Creator.”

Grace and Peace

Botany Photo of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day has been a favorite of mine for some time. There have been several other attempts at “Science Picture of the Day” sites, but they have all fallen short, at least in my mind. Botany Photo of the Day, however is an excellent site, with a beautiful image from the world of plants every day. Just as “the heavens declare the glory of God,” (Ps 19:1 ESV), so also do the plants declare his glory. The only shortcoming of the site is that it is not aimed as much at a general audience as is the Astronomy Picture of the Day, and this somewhat reduces its educational value.

Grace and Peace

Introduction Q&A

Q: With tens of millions of blogs already out there, why am I creating another?

A: Because I have something to say, and hope I can say it better than much of what is out there.

Q: What will this blog be about?

A: My interests are broad, so I might comment about anything. But the focus will be on science, science education, and Christianity.

Q: What are my qualifications to write on these topics?

A: I have an M.S. degree in Geology, and am working as a science teacher at a school for children of missionaries.

Q: Why the title “The Earth is Not Flat?”

A: Some people lump anyone who believes that God created the universe in with flat-earthers. An example of this is the editorial “Okay, We Give Up” in the April 2005 edition of Scientific American, where Intelligent Design is lumped in with a belief in a flat Earth and other untenable positions. The Bible, however, doesn’t teach that the Earth is flat, and this has never been a position of the church.

Q: Will anybody read this?

A: I have no idea. Perhaps I’ll make my students read it from time to time.