Building a Bridge Between Faith and Science

Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, astronomer and currently president of the ASA Executive Council, is the featured guest May 11 and May 12, 2010, on the radio show “Afternoons with Dr. David Anderson” from 3pm to 4pm EDT on WAVA 105.1 FM in Washington, DC. The program can be heard on the internet. Listen to the show and share your comments on this blog.

6 comments to Building a Bridge Between Faith and Science

  • Charles Austerberry

    Very well done!  Thanks.

  • Randy Isaac

    Great job, Jennifer. I hope they let you talk more tomorrow! The overhead on these programs is significant.

    The question from the caller about how evolution has been proven to be impossible illustrates some of the challenges we face as scientists in the Christian community. Much of the public (and many scientists in unrelated fields) knows just enough science to be enamored by “scientific” claims but they don’t know enough, or are not willing, to do the work of verifying those claims. Whether it be the second law of thermodynamics or “conservation of information” or pictures of  a chaotic junkyard assembling into a Boeing airplane in a tornado, the claims play well in a scenario where the only reason scientists would believe in evolution is to deliberately deny creation. The resulting cycnicism of the scientific enterprise as a whole is difficult to dispel.

    Your comments were very appropriate in showing how scientists make every effort to keep subjective bias of any kind out of a scientific result. Keep up the good work!


  • Randy Isaac

    Another good job, Jennifer. I like your calm, cool manner! You handled all the calls very well.

    It’s unfortunate your phone was disconnected for a few minutes. During that time, you may not have heard what Dr. Anderson was saying. He and his co-host were discussing the relationship between science and the Bible and came up with the following simple algorithm. Science and the Bible are inherently part of the truth so they must both agree with each other. So when science comes up with the same answer, it is a good example of harmony. If the answer is different, then the Bible gets the final say–that is what faith is all about.
    I wish you could have heard that exchange to be able to comment on that. It seems that two additional steps must be inserted there. One is to validate what we interpret the Bible says. The other is to determine whether the Bible is given to us as a revelation of Christ, the Son of God, or as a revelation of nature? Many would say both but is there any evidence for that?


  • Jennifer Wiseman

    Hi all — speaking on a call-in talk radio program is quite an adventure, because you never know who is going to call in or what they are going to ask!  This program, with the theme “Building a Bridge Between Faith and Science”, was a very popular topic, with many callers and related emails and text messages coming in.  Many callers had basic questions about how to interpret Genesis.  One person wrote in saying he’d come to faith through his love of amateur astronomy, which opened up a realm of the awesome universe to him, drawing him to believe in the awesome Creator.   Praise the Lord!   During the program I also tried to introduce some thoughts that, for example, science isn’t just about “origins” and the beginning of time.  We are also discovering a world and a universe that is full of activity, beauty, and mystery, and exploration honors the Lord, because everything is God’s.  Scientific discovery itself can inspire humility and worship.  And better understanding of our world, nature, and technology can help us to be better stewards of this planet.
    Randy you are right that my phone line got dropped for a few moments, and I did not hear the discussion about the Bible and science as two forms of truth.  I would have said that God reveals Truth through Nature (which we study by science) and through his Word, the Lord, as revealed in Scripture (which we understand through Biblical interpretation and translation).    All Truth is God’s truth, and these truths must align.  But if there seems to be an inconsistency, it could be a lack of full understanding of our science, our Biblical interpretation, or both.  By simply saying that “the Bible has the last word” in the case of an apparent conflict,  you don’t acknowledge that it might sometimes be the Biblical interpretation that is in need of refinement rather than the science.
    The talk show format also had the challenge of many, many commercial interruptions, making it hard to get across complete thoughts, and many callers didn’t even have a chance to get their questions on the air.
    But the program confirmed to me that many Christians are thirsting for dialogue about how to understand science in the light of faith in Christ.  While we certainly don’t have all the answers, one act of love is to open up pathways for healthy discussion and for humbly finding that there are several different approaches that faithful Christians take to finding harmony between science and Scripture.   Most of all I hoped to introduce the idea of Joy and Discipleship in the pursuit of scientific discovery.

  • Terry M. Gray

    Hi. Is there an archive of these programs anywhere? I was not able to catch them live.

  • Scot Sutherland

    Jennifer, I think I might venture even a little farther than “All truth is God’s truth and these truths must align.”  Perhaps Biblical truth can not be understood without empirical investigation.  Imagine trying to understand John 1 without the existence of vineyards.  Likewise empirical inquiry seems to be aided immeasurably by Biblical inquiry.  As my mentor George Blount used to say, “I find all the same problems in physics, I find in the Bible.”  Could God have given us his Word and creation so we could spend our whole lives investigating the relationship between them?  Might it be that God always wants us to have interesting questions that spark our curiosity?  What would life be like if we had all the answers?

    And how do I upload an image of myself?

May 2010
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