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Meditation 485
On Christian scientists

by: Kaye Madison

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I find Christian scientists to be somewhat of an oxymoron. Or at the very least slightly contradictory in terms.

Talking with my Christian friend in science class today it became apparent that in order to be Christian you must ignore or chose to ignore the art of scientific deduction. Scientific deduction (or extrapolation) makes up a huge part of the type of science issues that dispute Christianity. My Christian friend is a vehement scientist and loves the entire scientific process, so I find her perplexing.

Using the scientific process, one can follow the universe's expansion backwards through time to the big bang. (Again, the presumptuous art of extrapolation) Using scientific deduction one also concludes that radiocarbon dating is accurate, therefore proving (I use the term loosely) that the Earth is indeed billions of years old. To my scientifically enamored friend, I say this:

Either she believes that carbon dating is right; therefore the Earth's age is positively ancient (proving that the bible leaves a huge gap between genesis and everything else). Or that something changed during the course of humanity's life that altered our chemical makeup. Basically, Carbon dating measures the amount of degraded Carbon-14 in a fossil. Because all living things have one part per million (within the element carbon) carbon-14, and carbon-14 degrades at a specific rate, we can measure how old a fossil is by how much carbon-14 is missing.

My point simply is: We know carbon-14 degrades to half its size every 5730 years. That's been proven as well as any scientific fact can be. We also know that because a fossil's carbon amount has to have a certain percentage of carbon-14 in it, the amount missing indicates exactly how much time has passed. THAT is fact, as much as any fact can be proven in the scientific world. But then, there are a few factors we can't be sure about. Like whether the element carbon (a thousand odd years ago) had the same percentage of carbon-14 as it does today. But then, how likely is it that the very nature and behavior of atoms changes over time? Science declares that it doesn't. Radiocarbon dating is widely regarded as a realistic way to glean information from fossils.

So Christians can't realistically be scientists in that theoretical area, the area of probable hypothesis and deduction. Because a huge part of science is accepting and using deduction to make educated guesses before trying to obtain proof.

To believe in using that method for unproven theories, one must believe in the likelihood of continuity. (I.e.- carbon's makeup always being the same, or the universe's outward motion always being the same.) But this of course negates the bible's representation of time continuity, which means we've missed out on a huge portion of history. It also means that there was indeed a big bang at some point in the past.

It is just an opinion of mine, after all the definition and role of a scientist (or the scientific method) changes from person to person. I see science as 10% fact, 90% theory. It is what makes the subject so exciting to me. But for my friend there are so many Christian debacles that relate the basic generic method that I cannot possibly see how her brain stands it. However, apparently it does. She has never expressed a contradiction of the facts and her philosophy. She plans to be scientist.

If any Christian scientists happen to read this, I encourage a response. I find the enigma interesting and would appreciate any oppsing insight.