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Pebble in the Pond: Beginning A Dialogue on Science & Religion.

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Presentation on theme: "Pebble in the Pond: Beginning A Dialogue on Science & Religion."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pebble in the Pond: Beginning A Dialogue on Science & Religion

2 Thus far in the story (1)….  God created nature AND the Bible, so there is no conflict between the two systems that are trying to understand them;  Science actually arose and was fostered by Christianity - the supposed conflict is mythical;  Science works to understand the natural world and is always open to correction (plus, a surprising number of hard scientists are religious and attend Church regularly);  God created nature AND the Bible, so there is no conflict between the two systems that are trying to understand them;  Science actually arose and was fostered by Christianity - the supposed conflict is mythical;  Science works to understand the natural world and is always open to correction (plus, a surprising number of hard scientists are religious and attend Church regularly);

3 Thus far in the story (2)….  There are several ways that science and Christianity can interact; we prefer dialogue and/or integration. Problems arise when individuals use science and/or religion for their own devices;  Each of us have a framework/blanket of beliefs; adding and subtracting beliefs is difficult. When considering ‘beliefs’, we need to use triangulation.  Science moves forward using paradigms; paradigms are resistance to change. Paradigm shifts occur in many areas other than science.  There are several ways that science and Christianity can interact; we prefer dialogue and/or integration. Problems arise when individuals use science and/or religion for their own devices;  Each of us have a framework/blanket of beliefs; adding and subtracting beliefs is difficult. When considering ‘beliefs’, we need to use triangulation.  Science moves forward using paradigms; paradigms are resistance to change. Paradigm shifts occur in many areas other than science.

4 All previous classes available at

5 Today: The Genetics of Christianity

6 The God Gene Dr. Dean Hamer  Proposes that there is at least one gene that predisposes humans to be spiritual.

7 Linkage is the thing  If you can measure a trait, you can tell if it is inherited.  CR Cloninger - Developed the self- transcendence scale (STS)  Hamer & colleagues gave the STS to 328 males & 673 females (avg. age =32)  They then correlated these results with whether specific genes were ‘active’  If you can measure a trait, you can tell if it is inherited.  CR Cloninger - Developed the self- transcendence scale (STS)  Hamer & colleagues gave the STS to 328 males & 673 females (avg. age =32)  They then correlated these results with whether specific genes were ‘active’

8 The “God” gene?  Found an association (linkage) between variations in VMAT2 and STS.  Just one base pair difference  (either A or C)  If the subjects had a “C” base in this gene then they scored much higher on STS (47% of total).  Found an association (linkage) between variations in VMAT2 and STS.  Just one base pair difference  (either A or C)  If the subjects had a “C” base in this gene then they scored much higher on STS (47% of total).

9 Limitations  Does scale measure spirituality?  Probable that there is more than one gene  Tells us nothing about how the protein produced leads to spirituality.  Does scale measure spirituality?  Probable that there is more than one gene  Tells us nothing about how the protein produced leads to spirituality.

10 Adam & Eve - genetic style  Mitochondrial Eve - 150,000 years ago  Cann, et al. Nature 325, , 1987  Y-chromosome Adam ,000 y ago  Yuehai, et al. Science 292, , 2001  Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA)  B.C.  Rohde, et al. Nature 431: , 2004  Mitochondrial Eve - 150,000 years ago  Cann, et al. Nature 325, , 1987  Y-chromosome Adam ,000 y ago  Yuehai, et al. Science 292, , 2001  Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA)  B.C.  Rohde, et al. Nature 431: , 2004

11 Extensions to the real-world  Genetic applications all around us  Food we eat, clothes we wear  As Christians, are we ready to deal with the implications?  Genetic applications all around us  Food we eat, clothes we wear  As Christians, are we ready to deal with the implications?

12 The Sputnik of our time  Satellite Cells  (aka: STEM CELLS)  NOT JUST EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS  Precursor cells  The promise?  Learn what activates and directs the cell to form certain types of cells  Satellite Cells  (aka: STEM CELLS)  NOT JUST EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS  Precursor cells  The promise?  Learn what activates and directs the cell to form certain types of cells

13 Chips for all  Microarrays  Glass slides - 1 cm x 1 cm  Put a sample on the microarray  Find out which genes are active  Current chips cover 25, ,000 genes  Microarrays  Glass slides - 1 cm x 1 cm  Put a sample on the microarray  Find out which genes are active  Current chips cover 25, ,000 genes

14 A pinch of this, a snip of that  SNPs  Single nucleotide polymorphism  Predisposition to diseases  The promise?  Quick determination of predisposition to certain diseases  Individualized drug prescriptions  SNPs  Single nucleotide polymorphism  Predisposition to diseases  The promise?  Quick determination of predisposition to certain diseases  Individualized drug prescriptions

15 Nature’s light switch  siRNA  Short-interfering RNA  siRNA  Short-interfering RNA DNARNAProtein Transcription Translation DNARNA Transcription Protein Translation siRNA  The promise:  A way to control viruses, bacteria, genetic diseases, etc., etc.

16 So, are you ready?

17 Joe Bob and Jim Bob aka: The Follow-up to Dr. Sally Jessie Springer (the unseen commercial)

18 Joe Bob and Jim Bob (the unseen commercial)

19 The Elephant in the Room

20 The E-word: some thoughts  Focus class experience  Not going to justify, defend, or argue for a specific side  Remember, evolution is correctly used as a scientific construct, not a philosophical construct  Just be informed  use triangulation  Tim’s Evolution Triangulation  Focus class experience  Not going to justify, defend, or argue for a specific side  Remember, evolution is correctly used as a scientific construct, not a philosophical construct  Just be informed  use triangulation  Tim’s Evolution Triangulation

21 The E-word: some thoughts  One benefit of controversy: science goes to answer questions  e.g. evolution of the eye  e.g. monkeys typing Shakespeare  Experience counts  One benefit of controversy: science goes to answer questions  e.g. evolution of the eye  e.g. monkeys typing Shakespeare  Experience counts

22 The Elephant in the Room Terry Kettering (with apologies). There's an elephant in the room. It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it. Yet we squeeze by with "How are you?" and "I'm fine… And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter. We talk about the weather. We talk about work. We talk about everything else… Except the elephant in the room. We all know it is there. We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together. It is constantly on our minds.

23 The Elephant in the Room It has hurt us all. But we do not talk about the elephant in the room. Oh, please, say its name. Oh, please, say ”evolution" again. Oh, please, let's talk about the elephant in the room. For if we talk about it, Perhaps we can talk about its life. Can I say ”evolution" to you and not have you look away: For if I cannot, then you are leaving me alone… in a room… with an elephant. Terry Kettering (with apologies).

24 Next week: Truth & the Dialogue


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