Science in Christian Perspective
Welcome, New Day!
From: Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 52 (March 2000): 1
Greetings! I began my first Mammalian Physiology lecture period at Eastern Mennonite University on January 10, 2000, by welcoming my students to a new millennium (a slight misnomer), a new century, a new decade, a new year, a new semester, a new month, a new week, and a new day for a new biology course! With all of this newness floating around heightened by the changing of the calendar, it motivates me to consider where I am going and how I am walking both personally and professionally.
Consequently, as a new editor I want to share three millennium resolutions: (1) maintain the quality and diversity of published papers; (2) provide a journal wherein readers can discover and develop new insights regarding the interaction of their faith with their scientific work; and (3) shorten the pre-publication time for submitted manuscripts.
My bias tells me that diversified articles representing all areas of science will increase the palatability of our journal to the readership. However, for that to happen, this editor needs submitted manuscripts. In the last issue, I gave a clarion call for reader-submitted papers in several broad thematic areas including Connections, Renewal, Ethics, Science Education, Order and Chaos, and Health and Healing. I hope that my Shepherd's Knoll mailbox will be flooded with creative and investigative articles in these areas!
During the past few days, I did a quick survey of the regular papers published in our journal between 1980-1999. Out of 350 papers, the prominent topics with their percentages were: Philosophy and Theology (29%), Social Science (18%), Creation (15%), History of Science (12%), Ethics (7%), Physical Sciences, Biology, Environmental Science (about 5-6% each) and a small trickle of papers in the areas of Science Education, Geology, Communication, Industrial Science, Computer Science, and Mathematics. Papers that were multidisciplinary in their content were placed within their dominant topic.
The time trends were also interesting. The categories of Philosophy and Theology, Creation, and History of Science had fairly consistent contributions throughout the two decades. A large group of Social Science papers appeared in the early and mid-1980s, then slowed to a trickle, and then practically stopped. The last couple of years we have seen a dribble of social science papers again. I suggest that the underrepresented Affiliation and Commission chairs of our society consider urging their members to submit manuscripts for publication.
Quality reviewers are the life-blood for any journal. A quality reviewer is one who has published papers personally, reads current literature in her/his field of expertise, is knowledgeable about general themes and issues in science and faith, reads submitted manuscripts carefully and critically, gently makes corrections and suggestions that enable authors to improve their manuscripts, discriminates good quality manuscripts from mediocre ones, and returns review forms to the editor before the deadline! PSCF needs a few more quality reviewers. My goal for the journal is to respond to authors who have submitted regular papers within three months regarding their acceptance status and then to have these papers in press within a year of the time of their submission. Some of you who currently have papers under review know from experience that this goal is not a current reality!
Newness is a refreshing spring that gladdens the heart, enlivens the mind, and stimulates vision. Yet, new things--scientific experiments and manuscripts--with time become old, worn, decayed, and forgotten. I know of one exception. The Apostle John writes: "He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!'" (Rev. 21:5, NIV). This passage of Scripture describes our eternal home in the New Jerusalem, a perpetual new place because the Author of Newness is a Creator! Have you ever experienced newness without the erosion of time?
Roman J. Miller, Editor