Have you ever discovered that something you believed to have incredible value in it’s proper context was a poor substitute when applied to a different situation? Have you ever been forced to endure a shallow imposter of the real thing? Have you ever eaten turkey bacon?
I’m not exactly sure why so many of my thought experiments involve food. Perhaps it is because on my personal pyramid of need/wants/luxuries, black forest cake ranks just below truth and shares shelf space with integrity and lobster cannelloni.
Back to turkey bacon. It’s not really bacon. While this may appear to be a minor oversight to the marketing gurus who named it, this innocent looking product snuggled up next to the honey ham at your local supermarket is nothing like bacon. Oh it might look a lot like bacon! Except… except where’s the fat? What did those baconnoisseurs do with the fat? What about those pale marbled veins that sweep the length of every old school piece of genuine bacon?
“That’s easy,” says the health conscious spouse as she marches into my (her) kitchen with a 3 pound bag of not-quite-bacon bacon. “There isn’t any fat because turkeys don’t have any,” says the wife.
“So what good is it?” says I.
“You’ll live longer and be able to enjoy more turkey bacon,” says she.
“And whats the upside?” says I.
There is a principle at play here. Will my ability to embrace the almost ever satisfy my deepest cravings for the actual?
Segue to faith and science. Creation science specifically. Somewhere along the line too many Christians got comfortable with a diet of science that isn’t really science. We convinced ourselves, as we became embedded in our private “members only” Christian think tanks, that our understanding of the physical world couldn’t be based on our discoveries about that physical world. Sometime after Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton and a busload of other geniuses laid the foundations for the scientific method, our little gang abandoned it in favour of an origins models based on ancient Hebrew poetry. God breathed ancient Hebrew poetry, but you can see where I’m going with this.
Is it Bible or is it science? And does the authority of the first automatically imply the fallacy in the second?
Now, I am not suggesting that the opening chapters of Genesis are not inspired or that the details of creation were somehow beyond the scope of the Old Testament God. What I am arguing is that He chose to exclude those details in his earliest memos to our species. You must remember that at this point in human history, goat herding was a growth industry and vineyard startups were still trying to unlock the secrets of grape juice. Thunder and lightening were taken as signs of God’s anger. Microbiology wasn’t on the radar. Radar wasn’t even on the radar.
Genesis was never intended to explain how the natural world works. But God was very aware that we would eventually become bored with fire and start digging around for things to dissect. Centuries after Genesis was written, the apostle Paul suggested that by looking into the creation itself (doing science) we can see the fingerprints of God.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – Romans 1:20
So how should we react when a Jesus follower disrupts our creationist circle by suggesting that this science we are parading around isn’t really science because real science solves problems in the real world, that real science isn’t preoccupied with proving or disproving the existence of God, and real scientists are focused on things like finding oil deposits 8,000 feet underground so they can provide a decent return for the shareholders?
Well, for starters, we should leave the word heretic in the shelf, until we find a better use for it.
Here’s the thing: Bible science doesn’t actually do anything in the real world. Oh sure we dress it up to look like science but that doesn’t mean it is science. There are no documented cases of young earth creationist theory being used to solve a geologic puzzle that mainstream ‘old earth’ geology has not already solved. There has never been a species migration map drawn up by universal flood advocates that explains how wallabies arrived in Australia, pandas showed up in China and woolly mammoths appeared on Canada’s west coast – all by way of the Ark in the foothills of Mount Ararat. Evolutionary biology, on the other hand, lays out a framework that explains how all these species developed and why we find them in the locations that we do.
Bible science must do more than simply hurl accusations of atheistic intent at the other sciences that are so busy solving real world puzzles they don’t even have time to roll their eyes and respond.
Until that happens, Bible science will reside on a list of things I have no use for. Like turkey bacon.