Bob Tamasy: Science...And Fiction

Thursday, March 06, 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.


Antioch Missionary Baptist Hosts 29th Pastoral Anniversary Banquet

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church will host a 29th Pastoral Anniversary Banquet Celebration in honor of Reverend Gerry W. Davis and First Lady Chandra Davis. The Theme will be "A Pastor with a Heart to Serve" based on 2 Chronicles 31:21. Gospel Artist Benita Washington will be featured as well. The celebration will take place on Saturday, August 23, at 7 p.m. in the ... (click for more)

Hixson UMC Offers Spanish Immersion Preschool

Hixson United Methodist Child Development Center will be offering Spanish Immersion Preschool, child care for 3-5 year olds, beginning on September 3rd. The program will run Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (The option of extended hours in a full time CDC classroom is available.) Except for the start date, this preschool will follow the Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $8 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Wamp Refuses To Stoop

With less than two weeks before the Aug. 7 th election and the last week of early voting now underway in Hamilton County, Congressional challenger Weston Wamp sounded upbeat and relaxed early yesterday afternoon. “I’m pleased to say that I believe we are right where we need to be … maybe even more than we had hoped.” Wamp, who is challenging two-term incumbent Chuck Fleishmann ... (click for more)