Saturday, December 3, 2011

Penn State Alienation

While suffering through the Penn State mess, I reflect on the problems of institutions of "higher" learning. I know I can't begin to imagine what it takes to keep a university going on the scale of this one. Yet I have had experience on the Internet and with a few colleges and their personnel when it comes to making presentations about Intelligent Design theory (ID). Though grinding their teeth to make themselves accept one presentation at a religion-science seminar, they wanted to hear no more. Some had been polite, others not so much.

I admit I'm not an expert on genetic research which goes at so fast a rate that few can keep up with all of it. Yet design seems obvious even at very basic levels. At my presentation, no one questioned the science. It was the theology, in my opinion, which made some uncomfortable.

Our institutions have become embarrassed about simple Christianity. Religion is still OK if presented in far-out Far Eastern terms, such as blending of consciousness and the universe. It's OK to talk about materialistic evolution where nature's laws are all that is needed to create everyone and everything. It's OK to study the Testaments as mythic historical stories. But let anyone talk about even the possibility of the God of the Bible directly creating the world, he or she is avoided like the plague.

I have written about changing my point of view from ID to Creationism, because even ID adherents have problems about admitting the theory has anything to do with religion. It is about science, they say, even though individuals may have their own religious views. Science appears to be the "higher" part of the institutions to which we refer. Higher, they seem to hold it, than God Himself.

We all know the research at colleges and universities has had great impact on our world. But not all they do is so momentous or good. Last summer, Penn State scientists came out with a theory that aliens may attack Earth to stop us from killing ourselves through global warming. I think I saw that in a movie somewhere which is where they probably got the idea. So-called scientists can have any theory imaginable (the multi-universe theory is another example), but just approach a student group about the design in nature and you are cut off cold.

Perhaps this "Alien Theory" is to shore up scepticism which is due to a continuing scandal. One of Penn State's professors, Michael Mann, has been accused of doctoring data to prove dangerous, presumably man-made, global warming exists. The release of e-mails between him and other scientists a few years ago has been supplemented by more recent ones. Huge amounts of money are involved in grants for research in this area. I'm no expert, but I read some of the e-mails and they don't look innocent to me. Human nature is the same whether it be in scientists or Wall Street traders (and it can be good or bad in both).

How does one get back to what is morally right? Even preachers have their problems, but if they are in church for the right reason, they know they are sinners and they need the Foundation, yes--Jesus Christ, to get them back on the right path. He is what the leaders of Penn State and any institution need in order to have the wisdom and courage to make the right decisions.

Philosophers try to root moral answers based strictly in human reason, and it doesn't work. Why should a sexual predator worry about whether he is hurting someone else? What makes the other's feelings more important than his own? Why should a scientist care more about accurate data than millions of dollars he gets for his research project? It's not what Aristotle or Plato said thousands of years ago, or what human beings alone can make of their thoughts now.

What really matters is what God says. He speaks through His Word and His works. That is, through the Bible and the beautiful design of nature. Though not everyone will be willing to listen, institutions of higher learning would do well to study them both in the way they are meant to be.


Barb Schoeneberger said...

"What really matters is what God says. He speaks through His Word and His works." This is the bottom line. I would only add He speaks through Tradition and the Magisterium, both of which relate directly back to the Word and His works.

I'm glad to see you at Sunday Snippets.

I also like that you capitalize pronouns relating to God. I do it, too, in my writing.

Kay Carlson said...

Hi Barb, I really appreciate your comment. I hope to blog a little more than I was doing for the past few months. As I told you on your blog, I'm sorry it took so long to get your note published. I changed my e-mail address, and though I thought I changed all the settings here, I still had some problems. I think I found the space I needed to fill in. (I also had a note asking if anyone knew about comment settings, but I think I'm OK now, hence the deleted comment above.)