The Numbers Don’t Lie—Do They?

correlation chartDo any of these conclusions sound familiar? They’ve all appeared in the news at one time.

  • Children living near power lines have higher rates of leukemia; therefore, the electric field around the lines causes cancer.
  • Because the number of children diagnosed with autism has climbed at the same rate that the number of children receiving vaccines, we can conclude that vaccines cause autism.
  • The rise in global temperatures at the end of the 20th century is due to the increased use of fossil fuels in that same period.

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Does Religion Create Bad Kids?

Have you heard the news? According to the Los Angeles Times, “Religion doesn’t make kids more generous or altruistic, study finds.” The Guardian chose a more negative headline: “Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds.”

Could this possibly be true? What study is this? How was it designed? Who ran the experiment? When something this counter-intuitive makes headlines, my brain immediately starts flashing a “caution” sign. In this case, my brain was right. There are a number of issues that make me cry “foul!”

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Gullible

Are Evangelicals more gullible than other people? A friend recently shared a blog article claiming that, among the blogger’s Facebook friends, it’s the Christians (and just this particular kind of Christian) who most frequently re-post “news” that turns out to be a hoax. Share this post and some company will donate to a kid’s heart transplant fund. Warn your friends that their hot dogs are about to explode. Don’t drink coffee/milk/water/juice/soda because it will ruin your health and cause you to be dead!

The blogger then went on to suggest four excellent reasons why Christians should not re-post this tripe, and an easy way to find out if something is true or not (just Google the first sentence). I recommend his article highly.

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Words and Works 3

This is my final (for now) post on science and Scripture. For the others, see “Words and Works 1” and “Words and Works 2”.

In Part 1, I mentioned that when science and Scripture do not agree, either our scientific theories are wrong, or our interpretation of Scripture is faulty… or both. We are limited human beings trying to understand the words and works of an omniscient God. Of course we fall short.

Part of my ability to eliminate conflict between scientific discoveries and the Bible comes from how I view Scripture. I alluded to this last time when I mentioned the presence of metaphors, such as Jesus being the vine and we being the branches.

Far more important, to my understanding, is the fact that the Bible was written over thousands of years ago, by people with a far different worldview, living in a culture that bears little resemblance to mine. If I simple read it at face value, I’m going to miss a lot.

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Words and Works 2

This is Part 2 of my thoughts on science and Scripture (see Part 1).

Last time I mentioned that the Bible has been used to “prove” scientific “facts” that we now know to be false. For example, Psalm 104:5 states, “He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” Yet, of course we now know that the earth rotates on its axis, revolves around the sun, and the entire solar system revolves around the center of the galaxy which is itself hurtling through space.

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Words and Works 1

I hate controversy. It really bothers me—not when people disagree, but when they become defensive, obnoxious, hateful about it. (If you’re familiar with the DISC personality test, you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m a strong “S”—as in steady. Don’t rock my boat!) Unfortunately, the world is full of controversy. Just witness the presidential election. (I’ve already voted—I can tune it all out now.)

One of the biggest controversial topics in the church is the divide between Creationists and Evolutionists, “Young Earthers” and “Old Earthers.” What seems to me to be a peripheral subject has become a litmus test for determining the faith of others. One side accuses, ‘You can’t possibly be saved if you believe that!” while the other side retaliates with “You are an idiot of you believe that!” It’s enough to make me want to hide under the bed.

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