When Science and Faith Shook Hands

(Originally published March 31, 2009.  This is still an important meeting grounds for those of us involved in caring for creation–science helps us know how to best take care of God’s world.  There was a recent article on Today’s Christian Woman entitled, “Embracing Science” that gets into the nitty gritty of why faith and science go hand-in-hand, not in combat but in worship.)

It was a brief and on the surface completely unremarkable conversation. Two conference speakers complimenting each other on their talks, discussing points each one appreciated in the other’s presentation. Continue reading

What Moves Us To Action?

PHOTO: REUTERS /PETER MORGAN. Click for source.

Thirteen years ago, the events of September 11th, 2001, now simply known as 9/11, took us by surprise.  Over 3,000 people lost their lives, including more than 400 firefighters and police officers.  Estimates of damage in New York City topped $10 billion.  Out of tragedy, we united as a nation and came together as never before.  If you’re old enough, I’m sure you remember the surge of patriotism.  We took swift action, doing our very best to ensure that terrorists would never again attack us.  We taught our children and worked hard to ensure that the next generation would not be doomed to see history repeat itself for lack of wisdom. Continue reading

Martha and the Monarch: Must we do it again?

“Martha,” the last known passenger pigeon. Photo by Carl Hansen, Smithsonian Institution, 1985 (click picture for source)

One hundred years ago last Monday, on September 1, 1914, with the Russian revolution in full swing, World War I raging in France, and in the midst of a thousand other events of note, a single, nondescript bird in a cage in a zoo in Cincinnati Ohio died. A century later, we remember the death of that bird. Why? Martha (Marta in some documents) was the last passenger pigeon still alive, and her passing marks one of the most dismal failures of humanity’s exercise of dominion over God’s creation in all of modern history.

The story of the passenger pigeon is well documented. In the mid-19th century, flocks of birds numbering in the billions streamed across the skies of North America. Huffpost provides one description of many:

At the time of the Civil War, the passenger pigeon was the most numerous bird in all of North America, probably even the world. There were as many as 5 billion birds flying the skies. They ranged throughout the eastern United States, parts of Montana and Texas and north well into Canada. Imagine looking up into the sky today and not being able to see the sun because a flock of birds was so numerous it blocked the light for hours and hours.

Continue reading

Ebola and Global Warming: When Fear of a Hoax becomes a Hex

Lowell Bliss’ monthly post.

Piltdown "gang"
Orangutan jaw and human cranial bone was combined and posited as an early human, the Piltdown Man .  It took 40 years for scientists to discover he was a hoax.

I suspect it was the word “hoax” which first caught my attention. Assuming that the Piltdown Man scandal died as a headline in 1953, we are still left with Senator James Inhofe’s now famous declaration that global climate change is “”the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” this said from the Senate floor.

Continue reading

Vacation As Usual?

Chichen Itza, Mexico
The Spanish Club visiting Chichen Itza in Mexico. We sure are small next to that pyramid.

My clock reads 2:55 am.  I can’t sleep, I’m too anxious for tomorrow to arrive.  The packing is done, my gigantic suitcase is patiently waiting by the door.  Who wouldn’t jump at a chance to explore the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza, and Teotihuacan, both UNESCO World Heritage sites in Mexico?    Continue reading

An Apple a Day Revisited

It was a completely unexpected outcome.  Researchers expected that patients would be more content.  They thought they might sleep better.  But nobody expected that redesigning a hospital room would cause people to ask for less pain medication.

The story was in the New York Times last week (In Redesigned Room, Hospital Patients May Feel Better Already – NYTimes.com).  University Medical Center of Princeton NJ needed a new hospital, and decided to try to design a new hospital room from the ground up.  After extensive interviews with patients, nursing staff and many others, the new room was created, tested and eventually incorporated in the new building.  People love it, staff love it: All the rooms are single patient, have large windows looking out, a couch for visitors, even (why didn’t they think of this a century ago???) a continuous handrail from bed to toilet. Continue reading