Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor



David J. Krause
2264 KenmoreQkemos, Michigan

From: JASA 18 (June 1966): 64.

(In the paper by Jack T. Kent, December, 1965, page 106,) we read "It turns out that when we have classified stars by temperature, we likewise have separated them according to their brightness, their chemical content,
their mass . . .". This is not true. Rather, for any given temperature, stars of widely differing brightness and mass are found, and it is just these differences that form the observational basis for much in modern theories of stellar evolution. In the same paragraph we find, "One says the following apothegm: 'Why, Oh scientific, but not go into too many details. Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me, Nay, Romeo, Scram.' The
first letters of these words form the stellar classification known as the Spectrum Luminosity Diagram, or the Henry Draper Classification, or the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram." As Mr. Kent must be aware, this again is not true. The letters he refers to represent a classification of stars by spectrum only, and it is not until these spectral classes are graphed using absolute magnitude as the second variable that a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram is obtained. Further along (page 107) we read, "The open clusters are called Galactic clusters, since we see them only close at hand because of their smaller brightness." Not so. These clusters are called galactic because they occur. most frequently near the galactic plane (the plane of the Milky Way). A bit farther we are told, "Certainly you can see that if sufficient material is present in some region of space, this same Rotational flattening effect will form a galaxy. The only thing left to do is to ask why the material collected together and rotated in the first place." I believe that in reality the problem of the origin of galaxies is far more complex than Mr. Kent would seem to imply in these remarks. There are also minor errors. On page 106, we find that "Pluto, at 39 AU, is so far away from the Sun, that the Sun appears only as a dim star in its sky." This is a common misconception, but a simple calculation will show that, as seen from Pluto, the sun would have a magnitude of about minus 19, which means that it would appear about 5 million times brighter than Sirius, the next brightest star visible.

Finally, a point which to my mind raises the question of the purpose of the Journal. In the introduction (page 104) to Mr. Kent's article we are told that "A correlation will be made between the various theories presented and the Bible." and, "This will involve the question of time, the stumbling block over which so many people fall when trying to separate science and the Bible. It will be shown in clear detail that there is no conflict here." Yet, in the article itself, I found  no attempt whatever to establish any connection between the subject under discussion and the Bible or  Christianity. Another article in the same issue, William F. Tanner's "Chronology of the Ice Ages", while interesting, again made no direct references to the relationship between science and scripture. Is the
purpose of the Journal to discuss the relationship between science and Christianity? If so, why do these articles say nothing on these matters? On the other
hand, is the purpose of the Journal simply to serve as a vehicle which might (or might not) be published elsewhere? If so, in what sense is the Journal a "Christian" publication?