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Miracles and Microscopes

• Dan Kent

This sermon covers the problem of science vs. faith and the supposed division between the two that often drives away people from the church. Dan Kent proposes a solution to resolve the differences, showing us how the two can work together and complement one another.

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Science and faith are often viewed as antithetical, which can forces people to adopt one and stand against the other. This perspective often leads people who embrace the findings of science to walk away from the faith because they have not been taught how to reconcile the two. This sermon seeks to heal this great divide and show how faith and science actually complement each other.

After Dan introduces the problem, he explains how this divorce between faith and science developed. He explains how science seeks to find answers from the bottom up while theology seeks to address top-down questions. In other words, science is dealing with the data that we find in the physical world, while theology deals with questions that cannot be answered from that data. The problem was, that during the Middle Ages, the church sought to control the answers to the bottom-up, scientific questions. The philosopher, Francis Bacon challenged this notion and proposed that we do not actually need top-down ideas. Instead, we only need to deal with the data of the physical world. Evidence would be the authority, not the church and its theology. As a result, the two realms became hostile toward one another.

Dan challenges the church to take a different approach, one where we can celebrate science. As the focus scripture states above, nature serves as a means for seeing and embracing the glory of God. Instead of feeling threatened by science, we can seek the truth that is part of God’s creation.

Dan also challenges those who fully embrace science to remain scientific, as opposed to embracing scientism. We need to look at the data of the world to try to understand it, but we should avoid turning the scientific method into a worldview. The reality of the world is much larger than what can be measured scientifically. For instance, science cannot deal with things like meaning, beauty, love, life and consciousness.

Dan then explores how consciousness cannot be fully understood from a scientific perspective. Certain aspects of the world cannot be analyzed scientifically, and he leads us through an exercise to demonstrate how our consciousness works from a top-down perspective. Science can answer a lot of questions, but matter alone cannot provide an understanding of our consciousness. This expands our view of reality, and of our personhood. The world is more than what science can tell us and we, as humans, are more than what scientific data can show us.

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Topics: Defense of Christian Faith

Sermon Series: Unraveling Truth

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The MuseCast: February 28

Focus Scripture:

  • Romans 1:19-20

    …since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 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.

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5 thoughts on “Miracles and Microscopes

  1. Jerry says:

    Spot on Dan:

    Dr. Eric Kandel Nobel Prize for Physiology:
    Consider eyesight as an image arriving to the optic nerves as waves of pixels. The limbic systems amygdala captures emotional aspects, the thalamus does some book-keeping then continues to carry those wave pixels to the primary visual cortex divided into six functionally distinct layers, a multi-layered constellation of neuron paths [Camillo Golgi – Nobel Prize in physiology], by collapsing the wave function.

    Love that picture, Dan.

    Our consciousness then translates this constellation based on our Soul perceptions which then constructs somehow, a miracle as an image our spirit sees, ONLY after our subconscious, 100 times faster, has used the incoming pixel emotional aspects to analyze evoked prior stored emotional information history, in long-term memory so as to, somehow a 2nd miracle, for example navigate: an auto. If we had to rely on our Spirit’s image ONLY it would come too late and we would crash the vehicle.

    Rupert Sheldrake: Our minds are not just the activity of our brains, the natural realm; there is no need for them to be confined to the insides of our heads. Our minds are extended in every act of perception, reaching even as far as the stars. Vision involves a two-way process: the inward movement of light into the eyes and the outward projection of images. What we see around us is in our minds but not in our brains. Memory need not be stored in material traces inside brains, neurons are more like TV receivers than video recorders, tuning into influences from the past. When we look at something, in a sense, our mind touches it. When you think about a past experience or have a dream while you are sleeping it has nothing to do with your eyesight yet with your eyes closed it seems real. So where is all this data stored? We don’t know for sure but possibly in the constantly expanding dark matter and energy between galaxies 95% of the universe. When you change your mind you reconfigure neurons adding and removing connections. The actual data is stored in just one place however; we each have our own perception receivers stored in our brains.

    You might Dan, Jerry what have you been smoking?

    Don’t know about Dan but I wasn’t smoking anything however I did do some LSD back in the day.

    In the early ’70s at the same time I was working, with IBM, on my artificial intelligence template I was doing some experimentation, before Nixon outlawed its clinical use, with mind-expanding drugs. On a particular day, I was given some high-grade clinical LSD and instructed to just remember to keep my eyes on the road. I got in my car, parked in front of the Commodore hotel, and as I started driving I was just blown away by the summer colors. At about one block I stopped at the corner, started tripping out and all I saw was a beautiful kaleidoscope of pixels of color. Stopped at the corner this went on and on, it seemed like forever.
    All of a sudden I came out of it but I was not at the corner. I was sitting at a light, about a block from Central High on Dale about a mile from my start, which was green.

    My first thought was how long was I sitting there. I did not hear any horns or police sirens and when I looked in my rearview mirror there were several cars however the face of the driver behind me did not look angry so I just pressed the accelerator and I started tripping out again. Again it was beautiful pixels of color and it seemed to go on forever but when I came out again I was only halfway through that same intersection.

    I began navigating traffic for the next half mile until I got on the Dale cross-over for Interstate 94. With heavy traffic on all four sides, I felt very enclosed and paranoid. I started tripping again but was able to come out of what might have ended in a bad trip.

    We are projecting our reality first, and then perceiving it coming back to us. Only later is an image created, in the back of our brain, and projected for the convenience of our spirit. The LSD was blocking the conversion to the projector and I believe my perceptions were from a cell perspective however that was all that was needed to drive the car.

    I suspect God keeps track of ALL things. Isaiah 34:4 and all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree only that which is of Love fruits of the spirit will pass through the gate.

    Possibly works of the flesh will be cast in the fire outside the gate and folks who aren’t ready to lead go of that sort of stuff will get a timeout there too!

  2. Dan says:

    Great thoughts, Jerry.

    It’s interesting to me that the collapse of the wave function, and all of the quantum explanations for consciousness, must happen at the level of ions. Regarding the “Unity of Consciousness” argument, this just moves the same problem a step lower (and adds countless fragments that must be unified—that is, adds countless students to the classroom).

    And, that’s a great story of your LSD trip (though I’m glad you don’t do that anymore!).


  3. Jerry says:

    Dan your unity example focused on pulling different things from a vision-only scenario.

    More complex for example, a person may be looking out the window while at the same time listening to jazz, eating chocolate, experiencing mild pain in the knee, and remembering an earlier conversation, yet these phenomena will be experienced as unified with one another in a single moment of consciousness.

    All incoming senses, other than the smell, are inverted, [two lobs] the way sight is and all have the thalamus [two of them] as the first station. The neural circuitry of the thalamus tackles an intense amount of bookkeeping since all the inputs are identical electrochemical pulses. Best not to mix auditory with retinal signals, or you’ll be hearing sight and seeing sound.

    After high school, I took an IBM-specific IQ, pattern recognition, and simple math, test scoring 2nd highest in the nation and IBM took me in.

    Never thought why I scored so well until reading excerpts from:
    • Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and The New Biology Of Mind
    • In Search of Memory – The Emergence of a New Science of Mind
    • Principles of Neural Science
    All by Jewish Nobel lariat Eric Kendal

    My dad spent 4+ years during World War II in the jungles of New Genie and came home with some problems.

    I had two older brothers that died at birth.

    Eric talks about people like me having amblyopia, a lazy eye; in so long as my left eye is open my right eye is closed,( non-binocular), and because of that the pixels I intake are, (monocular closure), a shadow of, a limited set of pixels, normal reality.

    About 30%, that’s all I’ve ever known, normal for me. I retired early 18 years ago. It was becoming I problem. I still drive about 1300 miles a year but rarely travel more than three miles.

    I sucked at sports as a kid. My momma said I talked extremely well at eight months but could not walk until I was two.

    I consider this absence to be somewhat less than normal [your example of the jock doctor versus the impaired person, however, the patterns now stick out from the shadows, and so savant in the area of pattern recognition.

    As you said we all have unsurpassable worth and via neuroplasticity, another miracle, a plan was in place to custom configure all the factors and I get an opportunity.

  4. Dan says:

    That’s really amazing, Jerry. Neuroplasticity really is remarkable. It’s like the brain just sits there waiting to be used however we need it to be.

    Dan Kent

  5. Jerry says:

    However, it doesn’t always happen there is a caveat. As Dr. Al Larson would say we need to cooperate with God for [that] change. That only happens by following Jesus on the narrow path of Wisdom and we have a tendency to dance on and off that path all the time!

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