Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grasping at Straws

There are some scientists who will do anything they can to make sure they don’t have to acknowledge that there might be a higher power at work in the universe or on our own planet. One of my favorites is that aliens came to populate the Earth.

I recently found a new “explanation” of our human history and it reminded me that scientists are constantly contradicting themselves.

This latest “theory” on how our human ancestors came to be includes the idea that:
“Shortly after Homo sapiens first evolved, the harsh climate conditions nearly extinguished our species," said Professor Curtis Marean, of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. "Recent finds suggest the small population that gave rise to all humans alive today survived by exploiting a unique combination of resources along the southern coast of Africa."

Now that geneticists have physical evidence showing that our human ancestry is really quite limited (that we all came from one man around 60,000 years ago—see The Journey of Man), the science world has been turned upside down with regard to evolution. What to do?

Evidently the best solution is to make all the less evolved homo-sapiens conveniently disappear through the ice age and keep only a handful alive in a cave in Africa. Never mind the scores of evidence from climatology, anthropology, genetics and many other scientific disciplines who have evidence to the contrary, these scientists now say, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

No thank you! I am of the opinion that there are many scientific disciplines for a reason and that when you only use one, you get bad data and faulty ideas. It’s only when all the evidence is put together that you can make an informed decision and it’s only those scientists who are willing to venture beyond the comfort of their subject that we will find answers to questions that concern our history as human beings.

It is necessary to put all the disciplines together to solve the human ancestry puzzle. Just like a mystery, you need all the clues to solve question at hand. When will we get it together?

Therefore, I am paying attention to the Man behind the curtain, because He is in control. And regardless to our human deficiencies of understanding science, He is the One who created science and continues to leave us clues to why we are here and why He loves us so much.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lost in Translation

The story of the Good Samaritan came to life for me this weekend. In a book called, “Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration,” a different perspective was introduced.

First, the author explained that Jesus chose a priest and a Levite for very specific reasons; they were experts on topics of salvation and Jewish law. Because they had access to all the scrolls, they were more intimate with the reasons for the law than the rest of the Jewish population. They understood the concept of “neighbor.”

The author then explains that the priest and Levite weren’t “cold-hearted” people, they were afraid to become victims too. The road was dangerous and they would be worried about their safety. Their downfall wasn’t prejudice, non-caring or not knowing who their neighbor included, it was just they couldn’t see past themselves.

The next point the author impressed on me was to say that we’ve mistranslated the original language of the story for the introduction of the Samaritan upon seeing the beaten man. “The Gospel uses the word that in Hebrew had originally referred to the mother’s womb and maternal care.” In other words, the original meaning went beyond the normal caring and into a personal caring, like the concern a mother has for her child. The Samaritan could see himself in the battered victim.

We know the mistranslated word as compassion. For us it means that we are moved with pity to help another. However, in the story’s original wording, the idea Jesus was impressing on his listeners was that the Samaritan’s heart was “wrenched open…heedless of any question or danger.” He couldn’t resist helping the assaulted man.

So where is the science in all this? Why am I bringing it up in this blog? Junk DNA.

I recently had a discussion with a friend over the term, “Junk DNA.” Scientists use this term to describe those letters in our DNA strings that they believe are not being used. They are “left-overs” from our evolution. Scientists reason that since they don’t know what these sequences are for, they must not be used anymore. They are simply pieces of information lost in translation. I disagree.

Language, the way we move our tongue, the sounds we etch from our soul come about because of our created need to communicate. From the time we are infants, our brain translates the audible sounds of others into something we can understand. For more on this, read this article:

This ability to use language is in our DNA. Scientists won’t necessarily argue that. What they do not understand is that our emotional, mental and spiritual well being is in our DNA too! There is no junk DNA. It’s all there for a purpose.

I believe our ability to be compassionate comes from the delicate DNA that our Creator has gently placed within each of our cells.

When we don’t communicate well, or have issues communicating, we are a lot like the Samaritan bible story. Something gets lost in the translation. Whether it is our wording for what we want to say, like the English version of compassion, or our inability to see ourselves in our neighbors, we’ve lost the idea of what Jesus is trying to teach us.

The action of compassion—whether through words or actions—defines who we are and what we are to become. Our job is to make sure that we don’t end up lost in the translation.