Tackling difficult questions

ark noah -3548007_1920 Jeff Jacobs pixabay copy
Jeff Jacobs, Pixabay

As I write, Noah’s ark has arrived for a three month stay in Ipswich docks. A half size replica of the vessel described in the Bible, this floating art exhibition will no doubt stir up some discussion and result in some emails in my inbox over the next few months!

Christians often hold different views on certain issues. Some will hold their opinions on particular issues very passionately, and you may do too. So how can we tackle these issues well? How should we express what we think, or work alongside others who hold very different opinions on topics that matter to us? Continue reading

Book preview – God, Stephen Hawking and the Multiverse: What Hawking said, and why it matters

globes multiple -73397_1920 Gerd Altmann pixabay copy
© Gerd Altmann, Pixabay

Paddling his canoe into the North Sea in 2002, John Darwin was undeniably alive. Six years later, as he sat in the back of a prison van, the same applied. It is his status in between these two events that is the more unusual (and less obvious) one. During that interven­ing period, as his struggling family would tearfully recount, he was really not in a good way at all – he was dead.

Although the wreckage of his canoe washed up the day after his death, Darwin’s body was never recovered. His adult sons were heartbroken at the loss of their father, but took a modicum of com­fort from knowing that their mother, Anne, had not quite lost everything. She received thousands of pounds of life insurance pay-outs, and the policy paid off her mortgage too. Even the darkest of clouds, it would seem, could still have a silvery lining. Continue reading

Guest Post: Can humans be special in an age of AI?

artificial-intelligence-2167835_1280 Pixabay Gerd Altmann copy
© Gerd Altmann, Pixabay

“There is an entity that cannot be defeated”, pronounced the former Go world champion, Lee Sedol, in his recent announcement of retirement from the sport, a board game that is popular in South Korea and China. The entity he refers to is AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence (AI) that in 2016 defeated, for the first time ever, a top-ranked Go player, winning 4 games to 1.

For AI, this was a momentous achievement due to the complexity of Go compared to other board games such as Chess, where computers have been able to defeat grandmasters since 1997. Go had evaded researchers due to two problems: the number of possible moves a player can make (an average of 250 moves compared to Chess’s 35) and in evaluating the strength of a board position in a computer program. Continue reading

When Jesus Was an Embryo

Embryo mouse days 1 to 4 Dr M. Zernicka-Goetz, Gurdon Institute Wellcome images
Mouse embryo, days 1 to 4 © Dr M. Zernicka-Goetz, Gurdon Institute. Wellcome images

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)

“He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Phil 2:7)

As one who has used some of the techniques of developmental biology, I have a rather different perspective on Advent to most people. Long before that famous journey to Bethlehem, before Mary was accused of adultery, and before Joseph married his pregnant betrothed, Jesus became an embryo. Read more

Book Preview: Wild Advent – Breathe Like a Baby Dragon

Landscape
© Jack Corn, Wikimedia

This is surely something that nobody ever grows out of? I can remember as a child, walking to school on a frosty winter morning, and being thrilled at how I could puff out clouds. If you were to pass me in the street as I dash back from the school run, or run up the high street to my choir on a Wednesday evening, you may well spot me still puffing out clouds as I go. In my head, I’m still a baby dragon. I never did quite graduate to breathing fire, but breathing out clouds of smoke (or water vapour) is still almost a superpower, I reckon. Continue reading

Guest Post: Called to Care

human embryo K Hardy Wellcome Images CC BY 4.0 copy
© K Hardy, Wellcome Images, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

Ruth Bancewicz writes: One of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to work alongside others whose faith we share, but who have different views on issues that are close to our hearts. Almost as soon as I started working for Christians in Science just over 15 years ago I began to encounter a range of opinions. Whether it was creation or evolution, the status of the early embryo, or the existence of a soul, I encountered people who followed Jesus and held the Bible in equally high regard, yet had different views to each other on some of these very key issues. Continue reading

Humility in Science

milky-way-stars night sky 916523_1920 Skeeze pixabay copy
Skeeze, Pixabay

What qualities does it take to be a great scientist? You might think of intellect, great experimental technique, original thinking, and endless hard work. Humility may not be the first thing that springs to mind. Nevertheless, humility is a very helpful virtue in science, and I think it has played an important role part in leading some scientists to discover God for themselves. Continue reading