Friday Factoid Week 30

Hartland Homeschool Family Camp Recap

We learned how back then the space ships had these tanks and they were  as big as the space shuttle.  Dr. Ortner dropped a match into a tank and it ignited really big and then came out the top.  We learned how to make rockets and I invented my own rocket (by Gideon, age 5).

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For Homeschool Family Camp the science teacher was Dr. Ortner.  We made rockets and learned about the gas in rockets and he lit some on fire.  He is also the Million Volt Man and he sent a million volts of electricity through his body and lightning was coming out of his fingers.  He was holding a board and it lit on fire (by Sam, age 10).

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Dr. Ortner, also known as the Million Volt Man, was going to shock himself with a million volts and before he did he showed us what the electricity looked like before he stood on the coil and it was shooting lightening everywhere.  There was also a ventriloquist and he is the best in the world.  He does really funny shows.  Mr. Griffin was the speaker and he was really into the Word.  I can’t wait till next homeschool family camp (by Nathan, age 12).

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Homeschool Family Camp is really cool.  I would recommend it to every homeschooling family. One of my favorite parts was science class. They were great this year.  One of the many things I learned from Dr. Ortner was about heavy water which they use for the Star in the Jar experiment.  Here is a link to a video about sonoluminescence. (by Joel, age 13).

We recently saw a science demonstration about electrical and sound frequency.  It was interesting to learn about how scientists and even natural forces can produce the perfect frequency of sound or energy to tap into a substance’s or element’s natural pitch of resonance and cause the substance to vibrate in resonance to the sound or energy wave produced. We were able to witness a demonstration of this interesting effect when an ordinary water glass was subjected to a sound wave which caused the glass to tremor and eventually shatter. It will be interesting to see how further knowledge of this unique and useful scientific property will be used in the future (by Titus, age 15).

 

 

Friday Factoid Week 29

Hey Homeschoolers!  Don’t you know Hartland’s Homeschool Family Camp starts this Monday?!?!  Why haven’t you signed up yet?  What could be a better way to end the school year than together as a family worshipping the Creator, spending time in God’s word, attending creation-based science classes, engaging in countless outdoor activities in a beautiful mountain setting, enjoying meals around the table with other homeschooling families and not having to prepare or clean up after any of it?!?!  If you can’t make it this spring, we offer the same camp in the fall.  Just go to hartlandcamp.com for the details. And do I need to remind you that Mother’s Day is this Sunday and wouldn’t she just love a week away from all her household duties?

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Now, for you astronomy lovers, we’ve been studying space travel again so I’m posting this flashback from 6 years ago.  Also, while we were visiting Opa this week, we saw the first episode in a Netflix series called One Strange Rock by National Geographic.  In it 8 astronauts share their unique perspective on earth from space and then explore some aspect of the earth’s amazingly complex systems and how space exploration has aided us in discovering, observing or understanding it better.  It is spell binding!  You can’t walk away from it without praising our Creator for His amazing design.  Unless you’re actually involved in the movie.  Then, of course, you have to be careful to give all the credit to chance.

Tolle lege: God and Galileo by Block and Freeman

Well, it’s a fine quandary I’ve been put in.  I was so excited to do a book review of God and Galileo by David Block and Kenneth Freeman (Crossway, 2019) because it seemed to combine two of my favorite subjects, theology and science.

Sadly, this book was neither a responsible treatment of either God or Galileo.  Rather, it was a thinly veiled attempt to justify the authors deeply rooted evolutionary beliefs.  By evolutionary, I don’t just mean the “a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day” variety.  I mean the whole “big-bang produced stars produced carbon-based people” variety.  Here’s an exact quote in case I got the order mixed up.

“For many different reasons, we could not live in a universe that was much smaller (or much hotter).  First, enough time is needed for the hot big-bang universe to cool off, for matter to form, and then for the matter and radiation to decouple.  Next, we are carbon-based human beings.  Carbon is manufactured deep in the interiors of stars.  Galaxies must first form, then stars within those galaxies must be born and complete their life cycles; the end products of the more massive stars are the exploding supernovae.  It is these explosions that unlock carbon and heavier elements from stellar interiors into space, from which new stars are formed.  As best we can understand it, this process—from the birth of the universe to us being here, orbiting a star that is enriched in carbon—takes billions of years (106).”

Now here’s my quandary.  The authors have cleverly inserted a shield of defense within the text to prevent anyone outside of the field of science from criticizing their statements.  The very first chapter contains this warning to any potential critics.

“Serious prejudices against the book of nature often stem from those whose exposure to the scientific method is limited.  To be ‘well grounded in astronomical and physical science’ requires as much training as does psychiatry or neuroscience in the medical world.  Astronomers would be foolish to pronounce on discoveries in neuroscience or psychiatry;  we have not been trained in those specialties.  Galileo’s letter demonstrates how crucial it is to be thoroughly grounded in astronomy before pronouncing on scientific discoveries.  Paraphrasing Augustine’s message rather bluntly, don’t pontificate about matters that you do not understand 32-33).”

Should I, the reader, heed such a warning?  Must I accept their statements as a matter of course based on the simple fact that they were made by experts in the field of astronomy?  After all, I wouldn’t want to fall into the camp they describe here:

“Some with theological or political authority and no experience in science are ready to make judgments on the goals, methods, and conclusions of science.  Instead, such individuals would be wise to adorn themselves with caution and humility in matters outside their realm of expertise (68-69).”

They continue,

“Science needs to be falsified by using the scientific method, not by simply quoting scriptures.  This is indeed the thrust of Galileo’s entire letter to the Duchess, that it is the domain of scientists to verify or disprove scientific theories.  It is not the place of theologians to falsify scientific ideas using bare scriptural arguments (79-80).”

Well there you have it.  Only a bonafide scientist can dare question another scientist.  This book contains a boatload of scientific theory, and I don’t just mean Galileo’s then-controversial heliocentric model.  It is laden with current evolutionary cosmology.  But it is not the job of the reader nor I dare say the publisher to question its content which is why, I suppose, Crossway did its humble duty in publishing it.

But it also contains a boatload of historical narrative, philosophical posturing, poetic waxing, and yes, theological pontificating.  Sadly, I am an expert in none of those fields.  So even though this book appeared to me oozing with logical fallacies, epistemological garbling, literary chatachresis, and theological error, I’ll humbly leave it to the experts in those fields to point it out to the authors.