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Genesis 1-3 from a scientist

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Title: Genesis 1-3 from a scientist


1
Genesis 1-3 from a scientists viewpoint
  • Ard Louis
  • www-louis.ch.cam.ac.uk/postgrad/
  • www.cis.org.uk
  • www.faraday-institute.org
  • www.cpgrad.org.uk
  • Department of Physics
  • University of Oxford

2
Crossing cultures?
  • Many scientific and religious sub-cultures
  • scientists v.s. normal people
  • culture is often caught not taught
  • We need the global church

Words Customs Traditions Behaviour Beliefs Values
Assumptions
3
The Bible
  • B The Bible, as originally given, is the
    inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God.
    Christians must therefore submit to its supreme
    authority and sufficiency, both individually and
    corporately, in every matter of belief and
    conduct.
  • South East Gospel Partnership DB

4
Biblical or cultural?
5
Interpreting the Bible
  • What kind of language?
  • What kind of literature?
  • What kind of audience?
  • What kind of context?
  • The antidote to bad interpretation is not no
    interpretation, but good interpretation, based on
    common sense guidelines
  • G. Fee and D. Stuart, How to Read the Bible for
    All It Is Worth, Zondervan (1993), p17

6
God created and sustains the world
  • In the beginning, God created the heavens and
    the earth Gen 11
  • All things were made by him, and without him ws
    not anything made that was made John 13
  • For by him Christ all things were created
    and in him all things hold together Col
    116,17
  • The Son is the radiance of Gods glory
    sustaining all things by his powerful word Heb
    13
  • You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive
    glory and honor and power, for you created all
    things and by your will they existed and were
    created, Rev 411

7
Biblical language of creation
  • He makes springs pour water into ravines it
    flows between the mountains the wild donkeys
    quench their thirst Psalm 104 10,11 (praising
    Gods creation)
  • "Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy
    the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their
    dens or lie in wait in a thicket? Who provides
    food for the raven when its young cry out to God
    and wander about for lack of food? Job 3839-41
  • For behold, he who forms the mountains and
    creates (bara) the wind, and declares to man
    what is his thought, who makes the morning
    darkness, and treads on the heights of the
    earththe Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!
    Amos 413
  • Natural processes are described both as divine
    and non-divine actions
  • 2 perspectives on the same natural world

8
Science studies the Customs of the Creator
  • If God were to stop sustaining all things the
    world would stop existing
  • Donald MacKay, The Clockwork Image, IVP
  • An act of God is so marvelous that only the
    daily doing takes off the admiration
  • John Donne (Eighty Sermons, 22 published in
    1640)
  • Miracles are not God intervening in the laws
    of nature they are God working in less
    customary ways
  • Whether by ordinary or extraordinary ways,
    God is in charge.
  • Science can only study the ordinary or
    customary ways that God works.

9
Genesis 1-3
Genesis 11-23 In the beginning God created the
skies and the earth. The earth was without form
and void And the Spirit of God was hovering over
the waters. Day (yom) one God created day and
night Day two God made the sky (firmament)
between the waters Day three God made dry land
and vegetation Day four God made Sun and
Moon (greater and lesser lamps) he also made
the stars (sic!) Day five God made Sea creatures
and flying creatures Day six God made Land
animals. God made Mankind (adam) Male Female in
Gods image Day seven God rested from his work.
  • Genesis 24-25
  • In the day (yom) that the Lord made the earth and
    the skies before any vegetation or rain.
  • God formed the man (adam) out of the dust of the
    earth (adama)
  • God planted a garden eastward in Eden, where He
    put the man
  • God made out of the ground every tree grow that
    is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The
    tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good
    and evil were also in the garden
  • God took man and put him in the garden of Eden to
    tend and keep it.
  • God commanded the man not to eat of the tree of
    good and evil for in the day (yom) that you eat
    of it you shall surely die.

10
Genesis 1-3
Genesis 11-23 In the beginning God created the
skies and the earth. The earth was without form
and void And the Spirit of God was hovering over
the waters. Day (yom) one God created day and
night Day two God made the sky (firmament)
between the waters Day three God made dry land
and vegetation Day four God made Sun and
Moon (greater and lesser lamps) he also made
the stars (sic!) Day five God made Sea creatures
and flying creatures Day six God made Land
animals. God made Mankind (adam) Male Female in
Gods image Day seven God rested from his work.
  • Genesis 24-25 cont.
  • God said It is not good that man should be
    alone I will make him an ally comparable to
    him. The LORD God brought every beast of the
    field and every bird of the air to the mans to
    see what he would call them. .. But for the man
    there was not found an ally comparable to him.
  • God caused the man to sleep, and took his side to
    make a woman. The man called her wo-man, for she
    was taken out of man.
  • For this reason a man will leave his father and
    mother and be united to his wife, and they will
    become one flesh.

11
What kind of literature?
  • Genesis 1-23
  • Phrases that occur 10 times
  • 10 times God said (3 for mankind, 7 for other
    creatures)
  • 10 times creative commands (3 x let there be
    for heavenly creatures, 7 x let for world
    below)
  • 10 x To make
  • 10 x According to their kind
  • Phrases that occur 7 times (heptads)
  • and it was so
  • and God saw that it was good
  • Genesis 12-3
  • Phrases that occur 3 times
  • God blessed
  • God created
  • God created men and women
  • Other numerical patterns
  • Intro 11-2 contains 21 words (3 x 7) and
    conclusion (2 1-3) contains 35 words (5 X 7)
  • Earth is mentioned 21 times and God 35 times
  • -- see e.g. H. Blocher In the Beginning, p 33
    or E. Lucas Can We Believe Genesis Today , p 97

12
What kind of literature?
FRAMEWORK VIEW
  • SHAPED
  • Day 1
  • The separation of light and darkness
  • Day 2
  • The separation of the waters to form the sky and
    the sea
  • Day 3
  • The separation of the sea from dry land and
    creation of plants
  • INHABITED
  • Day 4
  • The creation of the lights to rule the day and
    the night
  • Day 5
  • The creation of the birds and fish to fill the
    sky and sea
  • Day 6
  • The creation of the animals and humans to fill
    the land and eat the plants

Day 7 The heavens and earth were finished
and God rested
13
What kind of literature?
  • Gen24-7 -- more patterns
  • These are the generations
  • of the heavens
  • and the earth
  • when they were created
  • in the day that the Lord God made
  • the earth
  • and the heavens.
  • Chiastic structure (C. John Collins, Genesis 1-4
    PR (2006))
  • When no bush of the field was yet in the
    land and no small plant of the field had yet
    sprung upfor the Lord God had not caused it to
    rain on the land, and there was no man to work
    the ground, and a mist was going up from the
    land and was watering the whole face of the
    ground then the Lord God formed the man of dust
    from the ground and breathed into his nostrils
    the breath of life, and the man became a living
    creature.
  • A completely different emphasis!

14
What kind of literature?
  • More like Revelation than like Luke
  • But very clear in its teaching e.g.
  • God created the world
  • Creation is good
  • I Tim 4 1The Spirit clearly says that in later
    times some will abandon the faith and follow
    deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2
    Such teachings come through hypocritical liars,
    whose consciences have been seared as with a hot
    iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order
    them to abstain from certain foods, which God
    created to be received with thanksgiving by those
    who believe and who know the truth. 4 For
    everything God created is good, and nothing is to
    be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
    5 because it is consecrated by the word of God
    and prayer.

15
What kind of literature?
  • More like Revelation than like Luke?
  • But very clear in its teaching e.g.
  • God created the world
  • Creation is good
  • Man is made in Gods image
  • Mankind (adam) has fallen into sin
  • A promise of redemption (seed of woman)
  • MANY! More things
  • No problems with perspecuity on doctrine

16
What kind of literature?
  • Is it chronological?
  • "Now what man of intelligence will believe that
    the first and the second and the third day
    existed without the sun and moon and stars?
  • Origen 185 - 254 First Principles, 4.3
  • On this subject there are three main views.
    According to the first, some wish to understand
    paradise only in a material way. According to
    the second, others wish to take it only in a
    spiritual way. According to the third, others
    understand it both ways, taking some things
    materially and others spiritually. If I may
    briefly mention my own opinion, I prefer the
    third
  • Augustine of Hippo (354-430) De Gen. ad litt
    VIII, 1. (on the literal interpretation of
    Genesis)

17
Jewish Commentators
  • the sages agree that the creation of this earth
    and sky was a single divine event and not a
    series of distinct occurrences spread out over
    six or seven days
  • N.M. Samuelson, Judaism and the Doctrine of
    Creation, CUP (1994) p115
  • The text does not point to the order of the
    acts of creation the text does not by any
    means teach which things were created first and
    which later it only wants to teach us what was
    the condition of things at the time when heaven
    and earth were created, namely, that the earth
    was without form and a confused mass
  • Rashi (1040-1105), Commentary on Genesis
  • Many more examples, e.g. Maimonides (1135-1204)
    etc

18
Writers of the Fundamentals
  • One of the original Fundamentalists
  • There is not a word in the Bible to indicate that
    in its view death entered the animal world as a
    consequence of the Sin of man.
  • When you say there is the six days and the
    question whether those days are meant to be
    measured by the twenty-four hours of the suns
    revolution around the earth -- I speak of these
    things popularly. It is difficult to see how
    they should be so measured when the sun that is
    to measure them is not introduced until the
    fourth day. Do not think that this larger
    reading of the days is a new speculation. You
    find Augustine in early times declaring that it
    is hard or altogether impossible to say what
    fashion these days are, and Thomas Aquinas, in
    the middle ages, leaving the matter an open
    question.

James Orr 1844-1913
19
The Bible and Science
  • All truth is Gods truth, so, properly
    interpreted, science and the Bible cannot
    contradict
  • The Bible must not be placed under any other
    authority! no authority, even one at the apex of
    the scientific world, may impose his authority on
    the Bible in order to dictate how it is to be
    understood, even with the best intentions.
  • Instead of an authority, however, a ministerial,
    servant-role apears possible. .. The knowledge
    derived from the observation of reality
    (science) would help us to understand the
    language of the Bible better.
  • Henri Blocher In the Beginning IVP (1984) p 25

20
The Bible and Science
  • The lesson of Galileo, , should remind us that
    careful observation of the natural world can
    cause us to go back to Scripture and reexamine
    whether Scripture actually teaches what we think
    it teaches. Sometimes, on closer examination of
    the text, we may find that our previous
    interpretations were incorrect.
  • Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology IVP (1994) p
    273

Wayne Grudem
21
The Bible is not a science textbook
  • The whole point of scripture is to bring us to a
    knowledge of Christ --- and having come to know
    him (and all that this implies), we should come
    to a halt and not expect to learn more.
    Scripture provides us with spectacles through
    which we may view the world as Gods creation and
    self-expression it does not, and was never
    intended, to provide us with an infallible
    repository of astronomical and medical
    information.

John Calvin 1509-1564
22
Advice from Schaefer
  • We must take ample time, and sometimes this will
    mean a long time, to consider whether the
    apparent clash between science and revelation
    means that the theory set forth by science is
    wrong or whether we must reconsider what we
    thought the Bible says.
  • Francis Schaefer

Francis Schaefer 1912-1984
23
History of life on earth
earth forms from space dust
  • Grandeur of God?
  • humans -- last 2 seconds of 24 hr day
  • not unlike astronomy the heavens declare the
    Glory of God - Psalm 19
  • What is man that you are mindful of him? --Psalm 8

24
History of life on earth
  • Does where we come from determine who we are and
    how we should live? controversy?

25
Aside Defining Evolution
  • Evolution as Natural History
  • the earth is old (/- 4.5 Billion years)
  • more complex life forms followed from simpler
    life forms
  • Evolution as a mechanism for the emergence of
    biological complexity
  • generated by mutations and natural selection
  • (note most Christians agree that God created
    this mechanism)
  • Evolution as a big picture worldview
    (scientism)
  • George Gaylord Simpson
  • "Man is the result of a purposeless and
    materialistic process that did not have him in
    mind. He was not planned. He is a state of
    matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a
    species of the Order Primates, akin nearly or
    remotely to all of life and indeed to all that is
    material."
  • or Richard Dawkins
  • "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually
    fulfilled atheist.

26
Christian approaches to emergence of biological
complexity
  • Origins does where we come from determine who we
    are and how we should then live?
  • Christian approaches
  • Young Earth Creation Science
  • Earth is about 10,000 years old
  • Genesis 1,2 are historical in the modern sense
  • mainly in the last 50 years
  • Progressive Creationism
  • Earth is old
  • Complexity came about through miracles
  • Varied views on exegesis of Genesis
  • Theistic Evolution
  • Earth is old
  • Complexity came about through normal processes of
    God
  • Genesis 1,2 are theological (framework view
    --prose poem)
  • Intelligent Design
  • All the above views are strictly creationists
    and believe in intelligent design
  • Capital ID is a more recent movement, could be
    YECS, PE, or TE.

27
Case studyIs the earth old?
  • Science is a tapestry -- you can pick at a few
    strings, but that doesnt break the whole cloth
  • Radiometric dating (many overlapping isotopes)
  • ice cores
  • up to 8000 years -- volcanoes like Vesuvius
  • up to 740,000 years
  • Milankovitch cycles
  • Tree rings
  • All these methods (when used properly) agree.
    There is no scientific controversy
  • http//www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html

28
Case study Is the earth old?
Milankovitch Cycles here seen in 420,000 years
of ice core data from Vostok, Antarctica
research station.
29
What kind of literature?
  • Strong internal hints at elevated prose, more
    like Revelation than like Luke
  • Two separate narratives (tablets)
  • Numerical patterns
  • Thematic patterns
  • A common understanding of church fathers, early
    Jewish commentators and early Evangelical
    leaders.
  • Main theological teachings are crystal clear
    (perspicuity)
  • Physical interpretation less so -- there science
    can take a servant role and help you decide.
  • We must be very careful not to import our own
    cultural biases into interpretation

30
AsideEmergence of Humans?
e.g. at what age is a child spiritually
responsible to God? John Stott on Homos Divinus
  • Advice from C.S. Lewis
  • When the author of Genesis says that God made man
    in His own image, he may have pictured a vaguely
    corporeal God making man as a child makes a
    figure out of plasticine. A modern Christian
    philosopher may think of the process lasting from
    the first creation of matter to the final
    appearance on this planet for an organism fit to
    receive spiritual as well as biological life.
    Both mean essentially the same thing. Both are
    denying the same thing -- the doctrine that
    matter by some blind power inherent in itself has
    produced spirituality.
  • (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock Eerdmans (1970), p
    46)

31
Advice from Billy Graham
  • "I don't think that there's any conflict at all
    between science today and the Scriptures. I think
    that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many
    times and we've tried to make the Scriptures say
    things they weren't meant to say, I think that we
    have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a
    scientific book. The Bible is not a book of
    science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and
    of course I accept the Creation story. I believe
    that God did create the universe. I believe that
    God created man, and whether it came by an
    evolutionary process and at a certain point He
    took this person or being and made him a living
    soul or not, does not change the fact that God
    did create man. ... whichever way God did it
    makes no difference as to what man is and man's
    relationship to God.
  • - Billy Graham quoted by David Frost
  • Source Book - Billy Graham Personal Thoughts of
    a Public Man (1997, p. 72-74)

32
Warfield on evolution
  • B. B. Warfield (1851-1921). A biblical
    inerrantist as evolutionist. Livingstone DN, Noll
    MA, 1 Isis. 2000 Jun91(2)283-304.
  • The theological doctrine of biblical
    inerrancy is the intellectual basis for modern
    creation science. Yet Benjamin Breckinridge
    Warfield of Princeton Theological Seminary, the
    theologian who more than any other defined modern
    biblical inerrancy, was throughout his life open
    to the possibility of evolution and at some
    points an advocate of the theory. Throughout a
    long career Warfield published a number of major
    papers on these subjects, including studies of
    Darwin's religious life, on the theological
    importance of the age of humanity (none) and the
    unity of the human species (much), and on
    Calvin's understanding of creation as
    proto-evolutionary. He also was an engaged
    reviewer of many of his era's important books by
    scientists, theologians, and historians who wrote
    on scientific research in relation to traditional
    Christianity. Exploration of Warfield's writing
    on science generally and evolution in particular
    retrieves for historical consideration an
    important defender of mediating positions in the
    supposed war between science and religion.

B.B. Warfield 1851-1921
33
C.S. Lewis
  • When the author of Genesis says that God made man
    in His own image, he may have pictured a vaguely
    corporeal God making man as a child makes a
    figure out of plasticine. A modern Christian
    philosopher may think of the process lasting from
    the first creation of matter to the final
    appearance on this planet for an organism fit to
    receive spiritual as well as biological life.
    Both mean essentially the same thing. Both are
    denying the same thing -- the doctrine that
    matter by some blind power inherent in itself has
    produced spirituality.......
  • Does this mean that Christians on different
    levels of general education conceal radically
    different beliefs under an identical form of
    worlds? Certainly not. For what they agree on
    is the substance, and what they differ about is
    the shadow. When one imagines his God seated in
    a local heaven above a flat earth, where another
    sees God and creation in terms of Professor
    Albert North Whiteheads philosophy, this
    difference touches precisely what does not
    matter.
  • (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock Eerdmans (1970), p
    46)

34
The Westminster Confession's doctrine of the
clarity of Scripture (17) goes hand in hand with
its inspiration, infallibility, and authority.
Yet it implies that not all parts of the
Scriptures are equally clear or full. Here we
must follow Calvin's great motto that where God
makes an end of teaching, we should make an end
of trying to be wise.(11) With Augustine and E.
J. Young, the revered teacher of our senior
faculty members, we recognize that the exegetical
question of the length of the days of Genesis 1
may be an issue which cannot be, and therefore is
not intended by God to be, answered in dogmatic
terms. To insist that it must comes dangerously
close to demanding from God revelation which he
has not been pleased to bestow upon us, and
responding to a threat to the biblical world view
with weapons that are not crafted from the words
which have proceeded out of the mouth of God.
Westminster Theological Seminary
http//www.wts.edu/news/creation.html
35
More reading
  • www.cis.org.uk
  • www.faraday-institute.org
  • The Design of Genesis -- The Briefing Oct 2006
    (ask Tom)
  • Henri Blocher In the Beginning IVP (1984)
  • Ernest Lucas Can We Believe Genesis Today, IVP
    1989
  • Paul Marston Understanding the Biblical Creation
    Passages, Lifesway (2007) -- via www.cis.org.uk
  • C. John Collins, Genesis 1-4 A Linguistic,
    Literary, and Theological Commentary, PR (2006)
  • Derek Kidner, Genesis Tyndale Old Testament
    Commentary, IVP (1967)

36
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37
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38
The Bible...
  • The Bible
  • God created the world
  • Nature attests to Gods qualities (Rom 1, Psalms)
  • God sustains the universe
  • Biblical language of Divine action (God sent the
    rain)
  • Bible is not a science textbook, but ...
  • world has a beginning
  • stars, sun, and moon are not Gods etc...

39
Biological self-assembly
  • http//www.npn.jst.go.jp/ Keiichi Namba, Osaka
  • Biological systems self-assemble (they make
    themselves)
  • Can we understand?
  • Can we emulate? (Nanotechnology)

40
Biological self-assembly
viruses
  • Self-assembled from identical subunits
    (capsomers).
  • Characteristic number T.
  • Capsid T 12 pentamers, 10(T - 1) hexamers.

41
Self-assembly of computer viruses
Computer viruses?
Monte-Carlo simulations stochastic
optimisation http//www-thphys.physics.ox.ac.uk/us
er/IainJohnson/
42
Self-assembly with legos?
43
Thinking Christianly about biological complexity
....
  • Wonder and Worship
  • Fearfully and wonderfully made ...

44
Christian approaches to emergence of biological
complexity
  • Origins does where we come from determine who we
    are and how we should then live?
  • Christian approaches
  • Young Earth Creation Science
  • Earth is about 10,000 years old
  • Genesis 1,2 are historical in the modern sense
  • mainly in the last 50 years
  • Progressive Creationism
  • Earth is old
  • Complexity came about through miracles
  • Varied views on exegesis of Genesis
  • Theistic Evolution
  • Earth is old
  • Complexity came about through normal processes of
    God
  • Genesis 1,2 are theological (framework view
    --prose poem)
  • Intelligent Design
  • All the above views are strictly creationists
    and believe in intelligent design
  • Capital ID is a more recent movement, could be
    YECS, PE, or TE.

45
The Bible and creation
  • The Bible
  • God created the world
  • Nature attests to Gods qualities (Rom 1, Psalms)
  • God sustains the universe
  • Biblical language of Divine action (God sent the
    rain)
  • Bible is not a science textbook
  • world has a beginning
  • stars, sun, and moon are not Gods etc...

46
Church fathers and non-chronological
interpretations
  • What man of intelligence, I ask, will consider
    as a reasonable statement that the first and
    second and third day, in which there are said to
    be both morning and evening, existed without sun
    and moon and stars, while the first day was even
    without a heaven
  • Origen 185 - 254 (First Principles, 4.3)
  • Augustine

47
AsideEmergence of Humans?
e.g. at what age is a child spiritually
responsible to God? John Stott on Homos Divinus
  • Advice from C.S. Lewis
  • When the author of Genesis says that God made man
    in His own image, he may have pictured a vaguely
    corporeal God making man as a child makes a
    figure out of plasticine. A modern Christian
    philosopher may think of the process lasting from
    the first creation of matter to the final
    appearance on this planet for an organism fit to
    receive spiritual as well as biological life.
    Both mean essentially the same thing. Both are
    denying the same thing -- the doctrine that
    matter by some blind power inherent in itself has
    produced spirituality.
  • (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock Eerdmans (1970), p
    46)
  • See also Can we believe Genesis today,IVP (UK)
    Ernest Lucas
  • http//www.ivpbooks.com/product/1844741206.htm
  • see also www.cis.org.uk/resources/books/books.shtm
    l
  • In the Beginning The Opening Chapters of
    Genesis, Henri Blocher, Leicester Inter-Varsity
    Press, (1984).

48
Advice from Billy Graham
  • "I don't think that there's any conflict at all
    between science today and the Scriptures. I think
    that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many
    times and we've tried to make the Scriptures say
    things they weren't meant to say, I think that we
    have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a
    scientific book. The Bible is not a book of
    science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and
    of course I accept the Creation story. I believe
    that God did create the universe. I believe that
    God created man, and whether it came by an
    evolutionary process and at a certain point He
    took this person or being and made him a living
    soul or not, does not change the fact that God
    did create man. ... whichever way God did it
    makes no difference as to what man is and man's
    relationship to God.
  • - Billy Graham quoted by David Frost
  • Source Book - Billy Graham Personal Thoughts of
    a Public Man (1997, p. 72-74)

49
History of life on earth
earth forms from space dust
  • Grandeur of God?
  • humans -- last 2 seconds of 24 hr day
  • not unlike astronomy the heavens declare the
    Glory of God - Psalm 19
  • What is man that you are mindful of him? --Psalm 8

50
History of life on earth
  • Does where we come from determine who we are and
    how we should live? controversy?
  • --OUTLINE --
  • Thinking about science
  • Mechanism and meaning
  • Nothing buttery
  • Scientism and the limits of science
  • God of the gaps and miracles
  • Thinking about biological complexity

51
Mechanism v.s. Meaning
  • Conflating mechanism and meaning is origin of
    most confusion

why is the water boiling?
52
Nothing Buttery
humans are collections of chemicals
53
Nothing Buttery
humans are collections of chemicals
54
Nothing Buttery
humans are collections of chemicals
55
Scientism
  • The cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever
    will be

Carl Sagan, Cornell U
The most important questions in life are not
susceptible to solution by the scientific method
Bill Newsome, Stanford U.
56
Limits of Science?
  • Science is a great and glorious enterprise - the
    most successful, I argue, that human beings have
    ever engaged in. To reproach it for its inability
    to answer all the questions we should like to put
    to it is no more sensible than to reproach a
    railway locomotive for not flying or, in general,
    not performing any other operation for which it
    was not designed.
  • -- Sir Peter Medawar, The Limits of Science,
    (Oxford University Press, Oxford (1987))

57
God of the gaps?
  • that couldnt have happened by natural means
    --gt God into the gap
  • When we come to the scientifically unknown, our
    correct policy is not to rejoice because we have
    found God it is to become better scientists
    Prof. Charles Coulson, Oxford U

58
Science studies the Customs of the Creator
  • God only present through interventions?
  • God present in the whole thing?
  • For by him Christ all things were created
    and in him all things hold together Col
    116,17
  • The Son is the radiance of Gods glory
    sustaining all things by his powerful word Heb
    13
  • If God were to stop sustaining all things the
    world would stop existing
  • Donald MacKay, The Clockwork Image, IVP
  • An act of God is so marvelous that only the
    daily doing takes off the admiration John Donne
    (Eighty Sermons, 22 published in 1640)
  • Nature is what God does (St. Augustine of Hippo)
  • Miracles are not God intervening in the laws
    of nature they are God working in less
    customary ways

59
Newton and the planets
  • This most beautiful system of the sun, planets
    and comets could only proceed from the counsel
    and dominion of an intelligent being.
  • Sir Isaac Newton

60
Newton and the planets
18th century Orrery from a London coffee house,
used to show the perfection of the orbits, which
reflect Gods perfection
61
Leibnitz objects
  • For, as Leibnitz objected, if God had to remedy
    the defects of his creation, this was surely to
    demean his craftmanship
  • John Hedley Brooke, Science and Religion, CUP
    1991, p147

62
Leibnitz objects
  • And I hold, that when God works miracles, he
    does not do it in order to supply the wants of
    nature, but those of grace. Whoever thinks
    otherwise, must needs have a very mean notion of
    the wisdom and power of God

63
Laplace and Napoleon
  • Mécanique Céleste (1799-1825)
  • Napoleon Why have you not mentioned the creator?
  • Laplace "Je n'avais pas besoin de cette
    hypothèse-là.

64
Chaos and the planets
  • Our understanding of the Solar System has been
    revolutionized over the past decade by the
    finding that the orbits of the planets are
    inherently chaotic. In extreme cases, chaotic
    motions can change the relative positions of the
    planets around stars, and even eject a planet
    from a system.
  • The role of chaotic resonances in the Solar
    System, N. Murray and M. Holman, Nature 410,
    773-779 (12 April 2001)

65
Science and Beauty
A Scientist does not study nature because it is
useful he studies it because he delights in it,
and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If
nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth
knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing,
life would not be worth living.
Henri Poincaré 1854 1912
66
History of life on earth
  • Does where we come from determine who we are and
    how we should live?
  • --OUTLINE --
  • Thinking about science
  • Mechanism and meaning
  • Nothing buttery
  • Scientism and the limits of science
  • God of the gaps and miracles
  • Thinking about biological complexity
  • Language matters!

67
Aside Defining Evolution
  • Evolution as Natural History
  • the earth is old (/- 4.5 Billion years)
  • more complex life forms followed from simpler
    life forms
  • Evolution as a mechanism for the emergence of
    biological complexity
  • generated by mutations and natural selection
  • (note most Christians agree that God created
    this mechanism)
  • Evolution as a big picture worldview
    (scientism)
  • George Gaylord Simpson
  • "Man is the result of a purposeless and
    materialistic process that did not have him in
    mind. He was not planned. He is a state of
    matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a
    species of the Order Primates, akin nearly or
    remotely to all of life and indeed to all that is
    material."
  • or Richard Dawkins
  • "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually
    fulfilled atheist.

68
Language Random or stochastic?
  • Random mutations and natural selection...
  • Stochastic (Monte Carlo) optimisation
  • e.g. used to price your stock portfolio .....

69
Lego blocks or clay?
  • Evo-Devo Lego Blocks
  • pax6
  • sonic-hedgehog
  • shaven-baby
  • tinman
  • Endless Forms Most Beautiful The New Science of
    Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom.
    S.B. Carroll (Blackwell Science 2005)

70
Why so few genes?
Mycoplasma genitalium (483) (300 minimum?)
E.coli (5416)
S. cerevisiae (5800)
Drosophila Melanogaster (13,500)
C. elegans (19,500) P. pacificus (29,000)
H. sapiens (22,000)
71
Why so few genes?
We share 15 of our genes with E. coli
25 yeast
50 flies
70 frogs
98 chimps
72
Gene language
Why are there so few genes? complexity comes
from the interactions gene networks systems
biology
transcriptional network for yeast Saccharomyces
cerevisiae
73
Gene language
  • Genes are trapped in huge colonies, locked
    inside highly intelligent beings, moulded by the
    outside world, communicating with it by complex
    processes, through which, blindly, as if by
    magic, function emerges. They are in you and me
    we are the system that allows their code to be
    read and their preservation is totally dependent
    on the joy that we experience in reproducing
    ourselves. We are the ultimate rationale for
    their existence.
  • Denis Noble --
  • The Music of Life Biology Beyond the Genome (OUP
    2006)
  • Genes swarm in huge colonies, safe inside
    gigantic lumbering robots, sealed off from the
    outside world, communicating with it by tortuous
    indirect routes, manipulating it by remote
    control. They are in you and me they created us,
    body and mind and their preservation is the
    ultimate rationale for our existence.
  • Richard Dawkins --
  • The Selfish Gene (1976)

74
Contingency v.s.deep structures Re-run the
tape of evolution?
When you examine the tapestry of evolution you
see the same patterns emerging over and over
again. Gould's idea of rerunning the tape of life
is not hypothetical it's happening all around
us. And the result is well known to biologists
evolutionary convergence. When convergence is the
rule, you can rerun the tape of life as often as
you like and the outcome will be much the same.
Convergence means that life is not only
predictable at a basic level it also has a
direction. Simon Conway Morris Life's Solution
Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe (CUP,
2003)
75
Convergent Evolution?
Convergent evolution in mechanical design of
lamnid sharks and tunas Jeanine M. Donley, et al.
Nature 429, 61-65 (6 May 2004)
76
Convergent Evolution
  • North America
  • Placental Sabre-toothed cat
  • South America
  • Marsupial Sabre-toothed cat

77
Convergent Evolution
compound eye
camera eye
78
Convergent Evolution?
  • Enormous number of examples ... from proteins to
    vision up to societies to intelligence.
  • Are rational conscious beings an inevitable
    outcome?

79
Origins and biological complexity
  • Science is fun
  • Nature is full of self-assembling things
  • Science and Faith - big, fun questions
  • Origins lots to still figure out

80
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