Science in Christian Perspective



Annual Convention of 1956

From JASA 8 (September 1956): 4.

This year's convention opened the second decade of annual conventions of the American Scientific Affiliation, quite appropriately at the same location as began the first decade, Wheaton College. Beginning officially on the morning of Tuesday, August 21, a full schedule of day and evening programs carried through to adjournment Friday noon. Unofficially, Monday evening marked the beginning of activities with a Council meeting followed by a meeting of the Fellows of the A.S.A. for an open forum on some problems of the organization.

Council meetings were historic in that, insofar as could be recalled, these were the first since the founding session of the Affiliation, that all Council members were present.

Among the highlights of the program was the lecture "The Atom, Man, and God" by G. K. Schweitzer, presented in the Public Meeting. The speaker traced in comprehensive fashion the history of the atomic age, man's possible future in it, and the solution in his relationship to God.

The Darwin Centennial Committee presented a detailed summary of its progress in producing the volume planned for 1959 on the origin of things as seen from a Christian viewpoint. Some chapters have been written in their first drafts and the work under the editorship of R. L. Mixter is moving along very well.

A symposium to acquaint the group with various aspects of extra-sensory perception developments comprised one half-day session. Both evidences for and criticisms against were presented. In general it was implied from the discussion that further evidence was needed to settle the question of whether ESP is real or not.

In the field of philosophy, points of contact between natural science and the teachings of Christ were presented by C. C. Irving, and the relation of science to eschatology was discussed by W. R. Rusk. A need for three-dimensional thinking, one of which is revelatory evidence, as contrasted with secular two-dimensional reasoning, was elaborated by J. F. Gates.

The soundness of radioactive dating was well presented by G. K. Schweitzer. Considerable discussion indicated the interest in and relevance of this field of dating procedure.

Current interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls was well attested by two lectures on this subject. G. K. Schweitzer showed a series of colored slides and provided a parallel commentary on a number of the scrolls, their nature, the caves in which they were found, the surrounding country, and the history of the finds. Problems, such as unrolling and translation, were discussed. Their antiquity is determined in a number of ways, among them carbon-14 measurements, letter styles, and known ages of associated pottery styles. A paper pointing out the value of these scrolls for Bible scholars was given by F. J. Neuberg The relation of present translations to the Septuagint and the accuracy of the Old Testament translation are among the questions given new light.

That the Auca massacre may have resulted from this Indian tribe's superstitions regarding birds as instrumental in their fortunes and miseries was suggested in a paper by J. 0. Buswell III. The plane was speared and mutilated very much as were the people

Contrasting attitudes of some secular schools of social behavior and those of Scripture toward sex was delineated in a paper by D. 0. Moberg (See below in this issue of the journal).

Tranquillizing drugs properly used are valuable therapeutic agents according to the experiences of many physicians. J. E. McLennan, a physician with experience in this field, pointed out that the moral problems in using such are not contrary to Scriptural teachings.

The Moody Institute of Science, represented by F A. Everest, presented two films at an evening public meeting. These were "The Mystery of Three Clocks", a commentary on the remarkable timing of various activities of living things as evidence of intricate and delicate design by a Creator, and "Glass Eyes that See", a demonstration of novel uses of photoelectric cells.

Some of the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship's problems and what contributions the A.S.A. could make in the ministry of the I.V.C.F. was presented by its General Secretary, C. S. Woods. It was concluded that one of the A.S.A. ministries should be in providing counsel in matters of scientific nature in the I.V.C.F.

Other papers on the program concerned astronomy by J. L. Butler and geology by J. V. N. Talmadge.

Argonne National Laboratory provided a very instructive tour of many of its installations during the meeting. Various Argonne personnel were very cooperative in showing and explaining their facilities and work.

Some 80 registrants were in attendance and the Council was very much encouraged in the interest shown by the members in the future of the organization, and in their many valuable suggestions as to policy and methods.