Science and Religion – Reconciling the Conflicts by David M. Barker
I was fairly interested in receiving this book, since my leanings are significantly more towards the science and logic parts of life than the faith based intellect. I wish I had the spiritual gift of faith, but I really do not. My faith has come through struggle, study, putting unresolved questions on a shelf to be revisited later with new eyes and wisdom.
Being a fairly substantial book with 523 pages including an extensive index, glossary , bibliography and three Appendixes, it would take many words to share my thoughts and insights. Therefore, I’ll simply take a FEW, with emphasis on the few, of them and share as a taste of why I think that anyone who has difficulty with one of any of the questions between science and sacred records, ought to read this book; and I do believe it will benefit anyone with some of those questions.
- Carbon Dating
- Comets, Asteroids and Meteorites
- Continental Drift
- The Flood
His sources are thoroughly vetted and he has done his homework. His manner of writing really pressed me to ask my own questions instead of the sort that just tells you ‘such and such’ is truth and you simply have no option but to see things the way of the author. He feels more like a mentor who is asking questions still, and finding more information that deserves the light of day. I like that. I detest being told what to think or how to go about forming an opinion.
This could well-summarize much of the main ideas behind all the facts Barker deliciously and forthrightly offers. From John Widtsoe – Evidences and Reconciliations p 153 –
“The failure to differentiate between facts and inferences is the most grievous and the most common sin of scientists.”
A few thoughts then. In the section of Dating, this is a bit of the conclusion, which is well-thought-out and supported in the previous chapters.
“In spite of the large number of dating techniques used in science today, many are so heavily reliant on assumptions as to render them spurious in spite of the confident manner in which they are cited. “
Adam and the Garden. – He came up with the same conclusion that I’ve felt since I was young. Which
of course made me more apt to rely on more of his conclusions moving forward.
If Adam really fell from a paradisiacal state at about 4000 BC, any estimations of dates prior to that time are simply guesswork based on untestable assumptions.”
The flood: I found it fascinating how he explains about the list of kings and their reign. Pp 234. He explains the crazy reign-lengths listed for the Sumerian Kings by delineating that the Sumerians used a number system with a base of 60! That changes everything, and explains a lot. That was just one of many little facts that we don’t take into consideration when we compare the far-past in terms of what we now experience and use as reckoning.
There are 17 pages I have dog-eared, and I expect that is far too many to share in this medium. So I’ll pick and choose just three more.
“The colorful pictorial representations of the earth down to its center may be seen in any number of science programs. They seem so clear and convincing, but what is really known of the bowels of the earth?” . . . from The Planet Earth – – The Unknown Interior: “Our knowledge of the interior of he Earth is scanty and is based entirely on indirect evidence. No human activity has explored more than a minute fraction of the vastness beneath the surface.” (Journey to the Center of the Earth notwithstanding!)
Yet when scientists actually were able to drill deeper, they found so much heat that they had to stop a full 2 kilometers shorter of their goal for fear of melting their equipment entirely. Large quantities of fluids were are big surprise to those drilling and most scientists. Bottom line, we don’t know. We assume a lot from what we do know, which is not a bad thing in and of itself, but the problem comes, when those theories end up being taught as absolute truth and become religion-like to those more willing to accept them.
Pp 247 – “Geologists say mountains were formed gradually over millions of years. Native peoples say their ancestors saw mountains form in their lifetimes. It’s a choice between speculation and hearsay.”
History or Myth?
Just one title of his section here will suffice:
History: Unbiased Facts or Selective Descriptions?
I also loved this, another personal pet peeve: He speaks on page 284 of the “Biblical 40-years periods”. There are twelve occurrences of them, however there are zero occurrences of 31-39 years or 41-49 years anywhere that isn’t someone’s age.
“We can conclude from this statistical investigation, beyond reasonable doubt, that 40, as applied to a period of years, is not a naturally occurring number. Therefore the 40-year periods should not be taken literally. ~ Crowe”
“Indeed, in H.W. F Gesenius’s Lexicon, he indicated “fourty. . . like seven ad seventy, is used by the Orientals as a round number.”
Evolution: First a short plug for another book, Keith Merrill’s
“Evolution of Thomas Hall” – While this is a fictional novel, it pointed out this same principle beautifully for me.
Barker continues pp 315 “In a chapter titled “The Law of Increasing Disorder,
“Juliana Boerio-Goates made an applicable observation: “A diver never dives upward from a swimming pool, just as scrambled eggs never spontaneously unscramble and a pet dog doesn’t get younger. Our experience in everyday life shows us that nature tends to run in one direction” And that direction is toward disorder. “
To think that creatures, nature or man accidentally moves consistently towards fine-tuning goes against the Second Law of Thermodynamics itself.
“The changes of our being here are not even to be thought of, yet here we are . . . Nicolai Kozyrev, has been working for years on this question. He claims that the second law of thermodynamics is all right, but. . . something works against it, something stronger. He says, “Some processes unobserved by mechanics and preventing the death of the world are at work everywhere, maintain the variety of life.”
And I love his questions. Deep and thoughtful:
pp.339 – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’ Was it, as some believe, the beginning of everything? If not, the beginning of what? If there was no universe before this beginning, what was there? What role did God play? Was He the God of Nothing?”
Just like in life, unless there is intervention, things go in the opposite direction – from order to disorder, I know, I’m a mom. I keep a house, a garden, wash, a body. Not one of those things, left unattended, is better a year after than it is with attention, care, planning and work.
Kenneth Bock is cited –
“Evolution was found wanting, but there was nothing to take its place, to ‘this theoretical bankruptcy has forced us back into the evolutional fold in spite of ourselves.”
I guess it is just really, really difficult for educated folk to say, “We don’t know, and until we do, let’s leave all ideas open.”
His last chapter is entitled, “What does it all mean?” – and he says,
“This book has not proved or disproved anything. It has, however, described weaknesses in some of the very popular scientific theories that tend to conflict with a literal reading of the scriptures.”
That is does Brother Barker, that it does, and this faith-by-study girl at least has been greatly inspired, educated, nudged and enlightened. Thank you.
“Regardless of how many experiments support a given concept, there is always the possibility that the next experiment will disprove it or require that it be modified. . . German physicist Max Planck, who said,
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
So what are facts? Do scientists look at the word the same as we do? Proven, undeniable truths? I don’t think so. I don’t know if I’ve done justice to this wonderful offering, and perhaps that is why it has taken me so long to sit down and write this. I know I’ll be reading it again.