Books attempt to defuse conflict between faith and science
Is there a war between science and faith? Some claim…
What do you do with a biology professor who doesn’t “believe in science?”
Just ask Janet Kellogg Ray, an adjunct biology professor at the University of North Texas, a graduate of Abilene Christian University and a member of The Branch, a Church of Christ in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton.
“There are many things I believe, but science is not one of them,” Ray says. “Instead, I accept science evidence. After all, a fact is true whether I believe it or not.”
Her book, “Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark?” is not a theological treatise. It is written from the perspective of a Christian educator who wants to ensure that the next generation of our youth will be able to avoid the unnecessary polarization of science and Christianity.
Ray discusses the nature of science, what it can and cannot do, and how it works. She discusses the 19th century work of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis as he laid the foundations for what we call germ theory.
She contrasts science with advocacy of the law by attorneys in the courtroom and shows that the goal of science is not winning, but rather truth-seeking. And she discusses why trying to use Darwin’s original writings to answer questions totally beyond the scope of knowledge in his day — think DNA — is laughable.
If you have never considered the existence of positions other than the polar extremes of atheistic naturalism and young earth creationism, Ray provides a brief introduction to positions that search for common ground where science and Scripture can work together.
The sad reality is that we often push our young people into the belief that only the polarized extremes exist, without ever suggesting that one can be both a scientist and a Christian.
The last half of the book is where the author really gets humming. She describes the evidence and explains the simplicity of a scientific narrative versus the contortions of fitting the facts into the young earth creationist narrative. She addresses the age of the earth, flood geology and the Grand Canyon, the fossil record, the “missing link,” intelligent design and human evolution in light of our understanding of DNA.
In each of these areas, she provides balanced research, citing materials from Answers in Genesis as well as a variety of other Christian perspectives. She demonstrates clearly that she, as well as many others, believes the Bible and also accepts the findings of modern science.
As a science educator, Ray is unwilling to dismiss or ignore the ever-growing evidence of science. As a Christian, she is committed to her faith in Jesus Christ. She briefly shares her life story, tells of the struggle to find a position that is true to both her faith and her vocation, and seeks to share with young people the possibility of being a true Christian scientist.
If you have teen children in your home, you should read this with an open mind, looking for ways to help them be faithful in adulthood.
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