Bob Tamasy: Science...And Fiction

Thursday, March 6, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

As a boy, I loved reading science fiction. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, among others, took me on adventures that stretched my imagination. Later I graduated to writers like Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov. They envisioned other worlds, solar systems, galaxies and dimensions.
 
TV shows like “The Twilight Zone” “Outer Limits,” and “Star Trek” fed this fascination, which morphed into the wonderment of viewing films like “Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind,” “E.T.,” and the earliest installments of George Lucas’s “Star Wars” series.
 
Part of this intrigue was the unknown – not just the vast universe measured in light years, but even our own world filled with complexities and perplexities.

Nobody would ever confuse me with Bill Nye the Science Guy, but the vast array of organisms that inhabit Planet Earth holds me in continual amazement. And the beauties of nature – whether a spectacular sunset, or an awe-inspiring glimpse of wonders like the Grand Canyon – dare even the most skilled writers to capture in words. Many have tried; none have fully succeeded.
 
Despite this great appreciation for science – I write this today thanks in part to huge advances in medical science – I’m sometimes troubled when science is equated with deity. Many kneel at the altar of science, convinced it holds the only answers to life as we know it, as well as what we don’t yet know.
 
I’m not among them. Even though various scientific disciplines have provided us with an ever-expanding storehouse of knowledge, we flirt with danger when confusing science and fiction.
 
Take, for example, medicine. We presume physicians will provide definitive diagnoses for all of our various ailments and maladies, but by their own admission, doctors often are limited to very educated guesses, hoping they’re right. Recently I underwent several tests to evaluate my heart functions seven years post-surgery. My cardiologist confirmed everything looks “stable” and “unchanged,” but he offered no guarantees. 
 
We hear of comprehensive studies reaching conclusions about everything from the value of having mammograms to the long-term effects of caffeine and alcohol. Then we learn of other research that concludes the opposite. Medical science’s certainties are anything but certain.
 
Or consider meteorology. Weathermen make grand predictions and then miss by a mile. “It’s going to snow!” and we get nothing. “We might get an inch or two,” and the next morning we’re digging out from more than a foot of white stuff. This applies to tornadoes, hailstorms and other potential disasters, too. It might be better to spell the profession, “whether-men,” as in “we don’t know for certain whether it’s going to do something or not.”
 
Some treat global warming/climate change as empirical, unquestioned facts, as others do in discussing the theory of evolution. But when emotion and dogmatism are extracted from the equation – if that’s even possible – we find credible authorities armed with strong arguments against prevailing opinion. The dividing line between science and fiction sometimes blurs.
 
At the same time, I’m not one of those that argue the Bible offers the last word on science. Most of all, the Scriptures are a vast collection of spiritual truth, revealing the God who is and who we are to Him. However, it’s interesting to consider the scientific acumen of the Bible. For instance, long before Columbus, Magellan and other explorers dispelled the notion of the world being flat, the Bible declared God “sits enthroned above the circle of the earth”(Isaiah 40:22). 
 
Christianity is sometimes terms a “bloody religion,” but thousands of years ago the Bible asserted, “the life of a creature is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). If you’re ever in need of a transfusion, ask your physician if it would be okay to substitute tomato juice or red Kool-Aid instead of blood and see what response you get.
 
Too often science and spirituality are viewed as adversaries. Sometimes we see evidence of that – people hell-bent on rejecting the existence of God must embrace alternative explanations for life and the universe. But as a person of faith, I applaud science for seeking to understand the workings of everything the Creator God has fashioned.
 
The book of Genesis opens with four profound words: “In the beginning God….” How can the finite, temporal mind comprehend an infinite, eternal God? It can’t. But it’s easier for me to accept a God unfettered by time and physical laws than the proposition that all we are, all we see and all we can know had its “genesis” from absolutely nothing, and that we’re nothing more than the consequence of purposeless, cosmic chaos.
 
In the book of Job, God acknowledges our wish to discern matters of the divine: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!... Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?... Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell, if you know all this” (Job 38:4-18).
 
To me, science and the Scriptures need not merely coexist. They can complement, science gradually unraveling the profundities of creation, and the Bible revealing all we need to know about the One who created everything.
 
As the psalmist wrote, “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts…. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds” (Psalm 145:3-6).

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


New Book By Local Author Helps Children Know God

Local author Karen Sherrill believes others can help children know God through his Word and that by knowing him, they can begin to trust him in challenging circumstances. This is the goal behind her story about a little girl with a great, big faith in God in her new children’s book, “Gena Trusts God”   ( published by WestBow Press ).   Written in a simple poem ... (click for more)

"Praising And Recognizing God In A Time Of Trouble" Is Sunday's Topic At Middle Valley

Pastor Mitch McClure of Middle Valley Church of God will speak on the topic, 'Praising And Recognizing God In A Time Of Trouble' in the  10:30 a.m.  service this  Sunday .  This is part of a series of messages from his 'Living Where We Are' series.  Pastor McClure will lead the church in a time of worship and praise at 6:30 p.m. Each  ... (click for more)

Hutcheson Medical Center Takes New Cost-Cutting Measures

Hutcheson Medical Center has announced new cost-cutting measures as it tries to stop ongoing losses. A trustee has asked that the Fort Oglethorpe hospital's bankruptcy process be dissolved, saying it has accumulated over $5 million in debt during the 10 months it has been in bankruptcy. The board of directors for Hutcheson Medical Center voted Wednesday evening to suspend ... (click for more)

East Ridge Council Rejects Bids For Road Work For Bass Pro Shop Development

The Bass Pro Shop development at East Ridge has hit another snag as the bids for widening Camp Jordan Parkway came in higher than expected.   Officials said the two bids were $2,597,003 by Talley Construction and $2,670,375 by Brown Brothers. Improvements to Exit 1 of I-75 are due to be bid later.   Vice Mayor Marc Gravitt said the council had ... (click for more)

Vote To Save Graduate Medical Education Funding

As a resident physician at UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, I know first-hand the impact Medicare financing for Graduate Medical Education has on physician education and access to care for patients in our community and communities all over the country.  GME funding provides medical school graduates the opportunity to complete the required years of clinical residency training ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Quaker Oats & Stuff

Some genius in the Quaker Oats marketing department came up with a novel idea last summer with the theme: “What if you had the chance to do something you have always wanted to do … but you had to start today?” Somehow Michael Hope and his family – that includes three children – got to be interviewed and, when his 10-year-old daughter Lauren was asked, she said she always wanted ... (click for more)