Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Are Scientists Really the Enemy?

Fuz Rana's TNRTB from a few days ago is a moving tribute to famous origin-of-life researcher, Stanley Miller.

Ask Not For Whom the Bell Tolls: Reflections on Stanley Miller’s Death and Life

If you don't recognize the name Stanley Miller, trust me, you know who he is. His experiment on the origin of life is described in practically every biology textbook printed in the last several decades. Ever hear of the "pre-biotic soup"?

I am not going to repeat Fuz's words here because he states things in such a powerful way that I cannot possibly improve on it. I do hope you'll take a few minutes to read it.

I was struck by one passage, in particular. Dr. Rana talks about two personal encounters he had with Dr. Miller. The second one happened in the twilight of Dr. Miller's life. Dr. Rana describes his encounter:
One particularly heartrending moment came during a session on prebiotic chemistry, when the session chairman pointed out during the introduction that Miller’s work was no longer relevant. He was quick to extend respect to Miller and qualified his assessment by emphasizing the work’s historical value, but the harm had been done. The painful reality was that Miller had devoted his life to understanding the origin of life and, at the end of his life, his most important contribution was no longer regarded as genuinely significant to the current paradigm.

At that time, I truly saw Miller as a human being, not as a caricature to be ridiculed or an embodiment of atheism to be assaulted. He was someone like me, confronted with disappointments and frustrations that arise from life’s challenges and difficulties so severe that they bring the ultimate questions about life’s meaning and purpose to the forefront.

Fuz eloquently expresses a concern that I have as well. I am always saddened when I hear Christians talk like secular scientists are an enemy to be conquered in a culture war. Don't they need our compassion and love - the love of Jesus - just as much as anyone else? Most scientists are just trying to make a living and do their job. They don't go to the office every day with the conscious intent to disprove Christianity. Granted, a few are outwardly hostile. But most aren't. In fact, many scientists are motivated by the noble goal of trying to make the world a better place through the development of new technology. They are people just like you and me, searching for meaning and purpose in life.

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