Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor

Clarification Needed?
  Irving W. Knobloch, Ph.D.
  438 Tulip Tree
  East Lansing, MI 48823

From: PSCF 39 (September 1087): 188

The March issue was a great source of interest to me since many points of value were raised. I shall confine my remarks to a few statements in two of the articles therein. Professor Raymond Brand's was a fine article indeed, but there seems to be a conflict on one point. He writes that "the Christian is morally obligated to aid every human being despite the cost to the resources of the world", but later seems to admit that resources are finite and that the Genesis 1:28 command has indeed been fulfilled. Certainly both statements are correct, but aiding those less fortunate without seeking out the cause of their condition and correcting the cause would be very foolish indeed. I submit that science has been the main scholastic endeavor which has ameliorated the health problems of the earth, has improved food plants and increased production and has, in general, cared for the natural resources of God's earth. Since the time of Malthus, many writers have cautioned about balancing the repro ductive potential of human beings with the carrying capacity. Clearly, they have not spoken loudly or often enough because conditions are definitely out of balance. Within the lifetime of many of you, when the world's population will be eight billion, you will see both the need and the aid increasing to the point that millions will needlessly die of starvation. Some group or groups will certainly have to take the blame for this type of unpremeditated "murder." How blind can man be? Family planning is said to be the answer, but only 
if we mean two children per family (one is better). 

Professor Pun's fine article brought back many memories and was very enjoyable. He writes of Calvin's holistic view of theism where God directly involves Himself in the results of Creation. Judging by the wording of our prayers in our houses of worship, I would venture to say that most Christians are theists, Professor Pun then defines deism as a belief that Creation is an elaborate machine governed by natural laws. Those of us who are Christians and also scientists seize upon deism, provided that it is recognized that neither the creation nor the natural laws could have logically come into being without divine intervention. The author hints at this interpretation when he writes, "While God allows regularity of natural laws to govern His creation, He does not determine outcomes of the physical processes." He also says that "God used natural selection to propagate those species most adaptable to survive." I agree with both of his statements. Yes, selection can preserve or weed, but it is not a species-producing mechanism in the strict sense since the environment can only act on what is presented to it; gene changes resulting from mutation or hybridization are the changes acted upon by selection. Also, and for some time now, it has been recognized that pure chance can preserve new life forms especially in small populations. Although there are hundreds of animal hybrids known, it is apparently not as important there as it has been in the plant kingdom. When, however, two unlike genomes fuse, new enzymes are possible which can (and probably have) provided new pheno types.

As a closing statement, I must say that, to be on the safe side, man   should quickly grasp the notion that the ancient command to govern means "to manage." Animals and plants are precious to God and man must grasp the frightful consequences of the population bomb, fragments of which are even now exploding. Controlling this "bomb"   should be our number one priority.