A lawyer enters a bank as a robber is making his getaway. Noticing that the customers have their faces buried in the floor, and the tellers have their hands in the air, the lawyer asks what's going on. As the bank manager dials the police department he shouts, "That man just walked out of here with a million dollars!"
"A million dollars! Why didn't you say something?" the lawyer says in shock. "I would have given him my card."
The first microscope was probably invented in 1595 by Zacharias Janssen and his father in Middleburg, Holland. Their compound microscope used two lenses, one convex and one concave. The Janssen microscope marked the beginning of a period of rapid development of microscopes throughout Europe.
In 1610, the Italian Galileo Galilei made a microscope by adapting one of his telescopes, reversing the lenses. After that discovery, he made more of these "occhialini," sending some of them to other experimenters.
In 1660, another Dutchman named Anton van Leeuwenhoek developed a single-lens microscope that magnified up to 270 times. He was probably the first human to directly observe bacteria.
Are You "Anti-Science"?: The Christian Origins of Science
Very soon, "the practice of religion must be regarded as anti-science."
With these words, another salvo was launched in the war between religion and science. The writer was John Maddox, editor of "Nature", the world's most prestigious science journal--the journal that practically defines what counts as science today.
And now Nature has defined religion as "anti-science."
But that would be a big surprise to the people who founded modern science. Most of the early scientists--Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Carl Linnaeus--were Christians. In fact, historians tell us that Christianity actually helped inspire the scientific revolution.
Consider a few examples. Pagan cultures saw the world as alive with river goddesses, sun gods, astral deities. But Genesis 1 stands in stark contrast to all that. Nature is not divine; it is God's handiwork. The sun and moon are not gods; they are merely lights placed in the sky to serve God's purposes.
This teaching provided a crucial assumption for science, for when nature commanded religious worship, then digging too closely into her secrets was deemed irreverent. But in Christianity, nature was no longer an object of fear and worship. Then--and only then--could it become an object of scientific study.
Another crucial assumption for science is that nature is orderly. This, too, was provided by Christianity. The belief that God is rational and trustworthy implies that His creation is rational and ordered.
The early scientists described that order as "natural law." Today this phrase is so common, we may not realize how unique it once was. Yet as historian A. R. Hall points out, no other culture has ever used the word law in relation to nature. The idea of laws in nature came from one source: the biblical teaching that God is both Creator and Law-Giver.
Even the experimental method of science has roots in Christianity. Since it is God's rationality that orders nature, and not our own, we cannot sit in an ivory tower and do science by sheer rational deduction. Instead, we must do experiments and see what happens.
For example, when Galileo wanted to find out whether a 10-pound weight falls to the ground more quickly than a one-pound weight, he did not argue about the concept of weight, as was typical among the philosophers of his day. Instead, he dropped cannonballs off the Leaning Tower of Pisa and watched what happened.
Some historians suggest that the story of Galileo is apocryphal, but the point still stands: The early scientists were acting on their conviction that God's ways are not necessarily our ways--and that God's ways in nature have to be discovered by experiment and observation.
The fact is that people like John Maddox who portray religion as "anti-science" simply don't know their history. It's up to you and me to make sure we do know our history. Your Bible study and Sunday school groups can use this special "BreakPoint" series, based on a book by Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton called "The Soul of Science".
Christians everywhere must learn how to defend their faith against irresponsible attacks launched in the name of science. Chuck Colson
"I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book." --Abraham Lincoln
"For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world." --John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1630
"America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness, which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scriptures. Part of the destiny of Americans lies in their daily perusal of this great book of revelations. That if they would see America free and pure they will make their own spirits free and pure by this baptism of the Holy Spirit." --Woodrow Wilson
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here." --Patrick Henry, original member of the Continental Congress
[TBC: The "religious" nature of such beliefs as evolution and humanism have long been pointed out. In seeking to eradicate "religion," (i.e., biblical Christianity) from every facet of university life, so called free-thinkers have created a religious edifice which is already turning against them. The following excerpt from The National Association of Scholars shows the penalty for exchanging allegiance to the Creator to the shifting sands of science "falsely so-called.]
Outside the classroom, various innovations, including sensitivity training and speech codes, were introduced to discourage the expression of non-conforming views, reversing what had, only shortly before, been a virtually iconic dedication to academic free speech. Ambitious efforts commenced to reshape student life, through dorm-based counseling, the regulation or suppression of fraternities and sororities, the creation of diversity offices with extensive public affairs and advisement functions, and the institution-wide sponsorship of events and programs "celebrating" cultures, values, groups, and lifestyles formerly marginalized or censured. University investment portfolios, purchasing policies, and openness to military recruitment were also altered to reflect new creedal agendas. All in all, the temple of science began to resemble something of a postmodern church. . . . the increasingly creedal nature of the university poses dangers to the natural sciences, threatening to undermine the meritocratic protocols on which they depend, while corroding their deeper intellectual foundations.
(Balch, "More Crises Than One," "Society, May/June 2006).
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