The Blinding of Science


Recently, the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile erupted for the first time since 1972.  The eruption sent billows of ash into the sky and painted the sun red.

The eruption and its intensity caught scientists and government officials by surprise, according to the regional emergency director.  Chile is home to 90 active volcanos and Calbuco is regarded as one of the three most dangerous.  Despite that fact, the volcano was not under active observation at the time of its eruption.

So why in the world would I even be bringing up this volcano?  Volcanos is not really a subject that I talk about in blogs.  In fact, I know for a fact that this is the first time.

The reason I mention this is because stories like this tell us something about the absurdity of scientism.

Scientism, according to Wikipedia, is the belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints.  Huh?  Put more simply, scientism is a worldview which says that science is the ultimate source of knowledge, our best authority, and is able to offer explanations for everything.


The day after the Calbuco volcano erupted, researchers from the University of Utah published a paper “Imaged the continuous volcanic plumbing system under Yellowstone.”  What they found was big and scary.  Yellowstone has enough magma to fill the Grand Canyon more than 13 times!  That means that is has 1,000 times the eruptive power of Mt. St. Helens.

What the researchers pointed out is that a better understanding of the system doesn’t bring us any closer to being able to predict if and when the system will erupt.  I think the Washington Post said it best when they said, “Yellowstone is unpredictable.”

Roberto Rivera noted, “For all of our pretense to an increasing omniscience, we are almost completely in the dark about the ground literally beneath our feet.”  The amazing part is that Roberto is not even exaggerating.

A recent article found in the Washington Post talked about the “coming problem when our smartphones are smarter than we are.”  So that makes me naturally ask the following question:

What do you mean by smarter?

For example, a computer can figure out the square root of 3721 a heck of a lot faster than any human can, but is that the true meaning of “smarter than us?”

The answer is yes if you define intelligence, as our culture often tends to do, as the ability to process information quickly.  In the article, computer scientist Ray Kurzweil predicted that we’re only a little more than a decade away from software that can mimic human thinking.  If you add that to the processing speed and internet connectivity with this software, it would seem likely that our smart phones may indeed become smarter than we are.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we need to consider what is missing from this discussion.  Kurzweil’s prediction is based on a particular “theory of mind,” in which the human mind, in all of its awesome complexity, is reduced to nothing more than a pattern-recognition machine.  Most people, including neuroscientists, would reject this view.

Roberto says that the truth is that “scientism, is absurd on its face because ‘science’ isn’t nearly as smart as it claims to be.  After all, settled ‘scientific fact’ today is so provisional that shaping a worldview out of it alone is about as stable as taking a prostitute for a wife without divine warrant.”

Roberto goes on to mention that scientism is dependent on the bogus “fact/value” distinction, that deeply embedded cultural assumption today that considers only what can be discovered through science and reason as facts, while everything else, such as moral judgments, is merely personal opinion.  This distinction leaves us powerless to distinguish some moral behaviors as better than others.

My education was weighted very heavily in scientific based classes so it is very easy for me to look at science as the answer for everything, but it is not.  The fact is that scientism is a very flimsy worldview.  God has created each of us with amazing ability to understand things in our world, but our understanding of these things should lead us to wonder and worship or our Creator, not to a place of arrogance from our own abilities.

Science is a good place to start, but it never should be the complete picture because science does not take into account morality.  It can be very easy to get blinded by science, but we all need to be careful to see science for what it really is …incomplete.

Posted in Accountability, Attitude, God, Influence, Opportunity, Science, Thoughts/Mindset | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Your Faith Evident to God?

faith 2

Luke 5:20 (NIV)

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”


Do you know what moves God?  Despite what people might think, God is not moved by complaining and self-pity.  He is not even moved by our own personal needs or agendas.  Yes God is concerned about our needs and He wants to meet our needs, but we have to do our part and invite Him to work in our lives.  The best way to do this is by exercising our faith.

When Jesus walked the earth, He would often make some remark about a person’s faith right before he healed whatever ailment they were experiencing.  As we see in Luke 5:20, Jesus forgave the person after He saw their faith.

So the question we should be asking ourselves is: Is our faith evident to God?

When God sees us doing everything we can to get well; when He can see us getting to work a little earlier because we really want that promotion; when He sees us bite our tongues to keep the peace in our homes; when God see us help others when we really need more help than they do; when God sees our faith, that’s when extraordinary things will begin to happen in our lives.

Faith opens the door for God to move in our lives.  So let’s all work on demonstrating our faith today and watch the hand of God move in every area of our lives.

God, thank You for all the gifts You give us.  Thanks for giving us something that we can believe in.  We know Your promises are good and You will never desert us.  We choose today to exercise our faith and let the whole world see that we’re trusting You.  Keep us close to You.  Search our hearts and remove anything that is displeasing to You.  Lord, bless us today in Your Son’s name.  Amen.

Posted in Attitude, Bible, Change, Communication, Decisions, faith, God, Growth, Inspirational, Motivational, Opportunity, Prayer, Prioritize, Reinventing Yourself, Thoughts/Mindset | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hit the “Flee” Button

social media 7

Matthew 5:29-30 (NLT)

29 So if your eye—even your good eye causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.


Perhaps an appropriate 21st-century addition to Jesus’ warning given in Matthew 5 would go something like this:

“If social media causes you to sin, log off.”

In a Washington Post article, Jacob Brogan admitted that he is “ashamed of the way he is on Twitter.”  The way he tells it in the article, almost everything about his experience with Twitter is a source of shame, from the things he writes on Twitter to his insecurity and the way that Twitter reveals his need for approval.  He’s even ashamed of the fact that his mother has four times as many followers as he does.

Here is a link to the article.

His “clearest consolation,” he says, is that he’s “far from alone” in his Twitter-induced shame and he uses the example of ESPN’s Keith Olbermann, who was suspended after a Twitter fight with Penn State fans.

Brogan’s misgivings about himself and Twitter is his springboard to discuss shame and how it relates in the age of social media.  And so, he repeats, he is ashamed of his Twitter persona and then adds “you probably are too.”

While Brogan’s self-examination is praiseworthy, it does make me wonder “Dude, why don’t you just get off Twitter for a while!”  After all, what he’s describing is what moral theologians call an “occasion of sin.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia New Advent describes “occasions of sin” as those “external circumstances…which either because of their special nature or because of the frailty common to humanity or peculiar to some individual, incite or entice one to sin.”

Now, calling something an “occasion of sin” is not the same as saying that it’s the cause of sin.  The cause of sin is human fallenness and the “perverse human will.”

But there are settings and circumstances that make sim more likely than others.  That’s why the Apostle Paul urged Timothy to “flee from youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

On one level this should be obvious, the stuff of common sense.  For instance, a person who struggles with lust shouldn’t subscribe to Maxim or pick up the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.  In the same way, recovering alcoholics shouldn’t visit bars regularly.

But for some reason, it’s just not as obvious that our mass consumer and entertainment culture has become for many one big occasion of sin.  For example, not long ago, the Lexus car company ran a commercial promoting their ‘F’ series saying “that the ‘F’ series will provoke lust, unleash wrath, incite envy, and elicit pride.”  That’s four of the “Seven Deadly Sins” cover in just one commercial.

I’m not saying that buying one of these cars is a sin, but the commercial is just another indicator of how, to rephrase the old saying, “sin sells.”

It isn’t only the advertisers either.  Most of the people and institutions competing for our attention these days do so by appealing to our feelings like fear and anger, as well as lust and pride.  And virtually none of them urge us to think about what is pure, lovely, commendable or praiseworthy.

Now this doesn’t mean that we should automatically shun Twitter or any other social media.  But it does mean that we should be aware of our weakness and be more intentional about how and where we spend our time.

Our adversary is, as Scripture reveals, a roaring lion, a predator ready to ambush us at our weakest hour.  And just as zebras avoid places where lions like to hide, we should avoid those places and circumstances where we are the most vulnerable.

For some of us, that is social media.  For others, it’s something else.  Either way, the solution is the same: get out of there.  Sometimes when we find ourselves on social media and getting into situations that we should not be in, our best course of action might be to hit the “flee” button.

Posted in Accountability, Attitude, Change, Communication, Decisions, God, Growth, Image, Influence, Inspirational, Jesus, Motivational, Opportunity, Prioritize, Purpose, Reinventing Yourself, Relationships, Sin, Social Media, Thoughts/Mindset, Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twenty Things We Should Say More Often (Part 23)

say 23

Well, we made it through the entire list of things that we should say more often.  If you missed any of them, here is the complete list:

  1. Thank you.
  2. Excuse me.
  3. Here is a surprise corn dog I bought you because you’re my friend.
  4. I’m sorry.
  5. I forgive you.
  6. You can do it!
  7. I’ve got barbecue sauce on my shirt too.
  8. Hello person I’ve never met before.  Here is a high five!
  9. Everything is going to be OK.
  10. Aw! You got me a corn dog too!  You shouldn’t have!
  11. I don’t know.
  12. You’re so awesome…I named my dog (boat) after you

…I legally changed my name to yours

Just tell people they are awesome and mean it.

  1. Hello, person I’ve never met before! Here’s a high-five!
  2. My sports team isn’t always the best sports team.
  3. Just listen.  Sometimes nothing is the best thing you can say.
  4. Fart sound.
  5. I disagree with you, but I still like you as a person who is a human being and I will treat you like that because if I didn’t it would make everything bad and that’s what lots of people do and it’s lame. It’s OK to disagree, but don’t be mean.
  6. AAAAAA!
  7. Life is tough, but so are you.
  8. Something nice. If you can’t think of anything nice to say, you’re not thinking hard enough.

Bonus: Let’s dance!


As promised, here is the link to the video where I got this list from.

Isn’t that video just absolutely adorable?  I love the list.  I think that it seems pretty simple, but I think that is the whole point.  Saying nice things to people and treating them nicely is not that complicated.  We are the ones who try to make it hard.  I think that if we could remember a few of these things and say them, we could drastically change how relate to people and get along.

I am curious; did any of you try to do any of these things?  How did it go?  What was your favorite thing from the list?  Please share your comments with us.

Life is a very strange journey indeed.  Remember, we may not all be on the same journey, but we are all on a journey.  If we have a chance to smile and dance along the way, well, even better.

Posted in Attitude, Change, Communication, Decisions, Feedback, Forgiveness, Giving, Image, Influence, Inspirational, Joy, Opportunity, Reinventing Yourself, Relationships, Stress Management, Thoughts/Mindset | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twenty Things We Should Say More Often (Part 22)

say 22

Today we are going to talk about a bonus thing to say on our list of things we should say more often.  Every great Top 20 list is even better if there is a 21st thing.

Let’s dance.

This may seem a little silly, but is it really?  Try to think back to when you were a little kid.  When you were really happy, you most-likely would just spontaneously dance.  It was cute and everyone probably clapped when you did.  Somewhere along the line, we have lost that.  Why?  Maybe we consider it to be undignified to just break down into a few dance moves, but why do we think that?  Who decided that?  I think dancing is awesome and to be honest, if I saw someone break into dance moves in public, I would think that was totally cool and that the person had a lot of guts.

I think that we try to keep our joy contained inside ourselves too much.  I think it is time that we start letting our joy shine a bit more.  I love watching flash mob clips on You Tube.  What is most interesting to me is the people who happen to be there and have no idea what is going on at first.  They just stare in amazement.  If you watch them closely though, many of them will start to move and even dance along with the others.  That is what makes the flash mobs so powerful and moving.

God created us to dance when we feel joy in our hearts.  It is man who has tried to stifle this instinct deep within ourselves.  It’s time to let that deep inner desire back out.  Let’s dance!  Who knows, if you are willing to dance, maybe someone else will join in.  When your joy pours out of you, it often lands on someone else and they will be swept up in the joyous moment themselves.

Our assignment this week is the hardest one yet.  It will be a challenge, especially if you are a really self-conscious person.  When you are feeling a great sense of joy in your heart, I challenge you to break out into a little dance jig.  You can do it in private to start with, but I really want you to try to do it in front of at least one other human being.  Keep it as spontaneous as possible and see what joy you can spread around.  It is impossible to be depressed while you are dancing.

Posted in Attitude, Change, Communication, Decisions, Feedback, Forgiveness, Giving, Image, Influence, Inspirational, Joy, Love, Motivational, Opportunity, Reinventing Yourself, Relationships, Stress Management, Thoughts/Mindset | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twenty Things We Should Say More Often (Part 21)

say 21

Today we are going to talk about #1 on our list of things we should say more often.

Something nice.  If you can’t think of anything nice to say, you’re not thinking hard enough.

The world is full of people who try to tear other people down.  Don’t be one of those people.  Say something nice instead.

Many people say things that are mean or meant to tear someone down for many reasons.  Some do it to try to bring down another person so that they will look better.  It mostly comes from that person feeling insecure in themselves.  Sometimes someone is just having a bad day and they take it out on another person.  They figure if they are feeling crappy, they want another person to feel crappy too.  Some people say mean things without meaning to.  They just slip out before they realize they are saying it.

Choose to be different.  Choose to be a person who builds people up instead of tearing them down.  Choose to say nice things to people.  It goes back to the old saying your parents used to tell you as a kid, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”  There is a lot of truth to that.  If it is too hard for you to think of something nice to say to a person, you really would be better off not saying anything at all to that person.

Obviously, it is a lot easier to say nice things to people when you are having a good day.  It is when things seem to be really going bad for you that the challenge of saying nice things becomes hard.  My best advice would be to try to avoid just blurting out whatever is on your mind.  Take the time to think about what you are saying before you actually say it.  Ask yourself the question, “How would I feel if someone said that to me?”  If it would make you feel good and build you up then go ahead and say it.  If you would not like to hear it, then chances are that you would not like to hear it either.

The old saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” really isn’t true at all.  Our words have a great deal of power.  You can really do a lot of damage to a person if you say mean and negative things to them.  On the other side of the coin, you also have the power to build people up with your words.

Our assignment this week is to find at least three different people and really go out of your way and say something kind and uplifting to them.  Try to make one of these people be someone who seems to be having a bad day.  Make the choice to be a person who lifts people up instead of tearing them down.

Posted in Attitude, Change, Communication, Decisions, Feedback, Forgiveness, Giving, Image, Influence, Inspirational, Joy, Love, Motivational, Opportunity, Reinventing Yourself, Relationships, Stress Management, Thoughts/Mindset | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twenty Things We Should Say More Often (Part 20)

say 20

Today we are going to talk about #2 on our list of things we should say more often.

Life is tough, but so are you.

Most of the time life can be pretty difficult.  It is very rare that the stars all line up and everything seems to be going our way.  Usually, things will go wrong.  During these times life can seem really tough.  When they do, we have to have the ability to tell ourselves that we are tougher and we will get through this tough time.

There are times when life will really knock the wind out of your sails.  It could be the death of a family member or close friend, a bad medical report, a major repair bill comes up that you can’t afford.  There can also be times where a lot of little things seem to go wrong and the little things compound and lead to a real sense of futility.

It is during these times that we have to find the ability within ourselves to get through them and not let life get the better of you.  If you have a relationship with God, this would be the perfect time to pray and let God take some of the burden off of you.  It is also a good idea to confide in a close friend or family member.  They can give advice, help you see things from a different perspective, and maybe take some of the load off of you.

As humans, we were meant to be in relationship with each other so when tough things come, it is not the time to crawl into a hole and try to isolate yourself from everyone.  When you do this, it can make the tough times seem even more overwhelming.

Our assignment this week is to remember that even though life can be tough, we are tough too so we should not let tough times defeat us.  Look to God and other people to help you when you begin to feel overwhelmed and let them help you out of your tough spot.  If everything is going absolutely great in your life right now, then find someone else who seems to be struggling and offer to help them.  We were meant to go through life together so lets not forget that when help is needed the very most.

Posted in Attitude, Change, Communication, Decisions, Feedback, Forgiveness, Giving, Image, Influence, Inspirational, Joy, Love, Motivational, Opportunity, Reinventing Yourself, Relationships, Stress Management, Thoughts/Mindset | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment