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A Pot of Tea is Boiling

Last week my six-year-old asked me if there was ever a negative year.  I wasn't sure what he was asking.  He was wondering when the earth was made and if that was a negative year.  I explained that there were no negative years.  As you go back in time, you go from 1 A.D. to 1 B.C. and then keep counting upwards.  "So when was the world made?" he asked.  I had to wiggle a little but responded that we don't know exactly when the world was made.

Then today he asked, "Were Adam and Eve and the dinosaurs alive at the same time?"  I said that we don't really know because the Bible doesn't talk about dinosaurs.  Without any hesitation he suggested a solution to this lack of knowledge: "Just look it up on the internet."  I explained that scientists who study dinosaur fossils, etc. think that they lived millions of years ago.  "So that would be before Adam and Eve," he said.  I agreed and again emphasized the problem that the scientists who study dinosaurs can't really study anything about Adam and Eve and the Bible that tells us about Adam and Eve doesn't really address dinosaurs.  Then he said, "Wouldn't it be funny if they found Adam and Eve's bones?!?"

Both of those questions (year the earth was made and did dinosaurs live with Adam and Eve) were actually asked of Lisa, but her response is "Go ask you dad."

There's an interesting interview on Salon with John Haught, author of the forthcoming book "God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens".  He uses the metaphor of a boiling pot of tea to explain how he reconciles faith and science:

...I approach these issues by making a case for what I call "layered explanation." For example, if a pot of tea is boiling on the stove, and someone asks you why it's boiling, one answer is to say it's boiling because H2O molecules are moving around excitedly, making a transition from the liquid state to the gaseous state. And that's a very good answer. But you could also say it's boiling because my wife turned the gas on. Or you could say it's boiling because I want tea. Here you have three levels of explanation which are approaching phenomena from different points of view. This is how I see the relationship of theology to science. Of course I think theology is relevant to discussing the question, what is nature? What is the world? It would talk about it in terms of being a gift from the Creator, and having a promise built into it for the future. Science should not touch upon that level of understanding. But it doesn't contradict what evolutionary biology and the other sciences are telling us about nature. They're just different levels of understanding.

At the end of Haught's interview, he's asked whether or not as a Christian he believes the resurrection actually happened.  He doesn't give a straight answer.  Instead, he argues that science is not adequate for addressing questions of such importance.  When pushed, he admitted that he does not believe that a camera would have captured anything when Jesus visited his disciples after the resurrection.  That answer seems like one that would be unsatisfying to most Christians and atheists alike.

Haught is a big fan of Jesuit paleontologist named Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  Coincidentally, I recently listened to a Science Friday segment featuring the author of a recent biography about Teilhard de Chardin.

Recent Haircuts Inspire Fun

Last week I took the boys to get their holiday haircuts.  When we got home, they took off their hats, and we were inspired to get out the gel and hairspray...and take a few photos.  We also googled Harry Connick, Jr. so that Elliot could see the resemblance.  Some photos (more on Picasa):






Soccer and TKD

Elliot had a big day today.  He spent three hours this morning testing for his green belt.  Lisa said the board-breaking was a bit of a challenge for him...but so it was for the adult who was testing for the same belt too.  He made it to the soccer field just as the game started.  He played really well despite being tired and having almost nothing for lunch...running all over the field, scoring a goal and also playing some great defense.  Hardly any balls made it past mid-field on his watch.  Here are some photos:




Fall Soccer

The boys are playing soccer again this fall.  Last Saturday Finn scored his team's only goal, and Elliot scored 2 of his team's 3.  Here are some photos of Finn in action:








Being chased by Goliaths, Finn actually fought them off and scored in the above series of photos...




Fall Harvest Festival

The weekend before last we spent a few hours at the Fall Harvest Festival at the Chippewa Nature Center.  Some of the more memorable observations were of the guy scraping and preparing the skin of a bear that had been killed in the UP a few days before, Prairie Pete and Miss Sarah portraying early Michigan settlers, and the folks plowing the field with plows pulled by oxen.  We learned that the difference between cows and oxen is that oxen have been trained to pull the plow.

Here are a couple photos of the boys helping to back apple butter.




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