Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who knows what lies beneath?

First things first:

Rabbit rabbit rabbit! Evil spirits are banished from Nutwood for the month.

Happy April, everyone. This might not be the official start to spring, but doesn't it sort of feel like spring is here as soon as April arrives? It's very blustery here today, but the sun is shining, and it's up to about 50° (about 10° Celsius...I need to remember I have readers who don't think in Fahrenheit terms!). It's also a good day because Ken has a day off, and it's nice to hang with him. It feels like Saturday!

Marty commented on my purple finch sighting: "I don't know why they call that a 'purple finch.' I looks red to me." Good observation, and I actually had an answer for him, thanks to one of my bird books. The Latin name, genus and species, of the purple finch is Carpodacus purpureus. The Latin word purpureus means "crimson" or some other reddish color. I guess the similar sound between purpureus and "purple" made people start calling it a purple finch. I was just thrilled that I got to see him, and I spotted him again just a moment ago! And yes, I DO have a life, thank you very much!

Nefertiti bust The main story on AOL this morning was the finding of a beautiful stone head a couple of millimeters under the stucco fa├žade on the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti that resides in a Berlin museum. Several years ago, they did a CT scan of the bust, but it wasn't as highly detailed as what they can do now. I found these images amazing, and you all know how I love stuff like this, especially anything to do with ancient Egypt. In looking at the image of Nefertiti, I wonder if this is an accurate rendition of her? Was she really that beautiful, or was the sculptor honoring his queen by making her more beautiful than she really was? While the scientists were able to find the stone figure beneath the stucco, they cannot answer the 'why' of the change...and they shouldn't try.

Nefertiti bust2 I recently read an entry on one of my new favorite blogs, Wired Science, that talked about the recent hearings in Texas concerning science textbooks and the teaching of evolution. It's worth a read if you get a chance. I found this particularly interesting (and it's exactly how I feel).

Science is about explaining the how of the natural world: how the universe began, how life originated, how the diversity of species occurred. Scientists feel no need for their work to answer why the universe exists, why we are here. For scientists, those are questions better left to philosophy, religion and after-work hours.

I believe that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. But that's not what science is about. I love to speculate on the meaning of life, or why things happen a certain way, but for science, it's all about the 'how.' We can't know what was going on the mind of the sculptor who did the bust of Nefertiti, any more than we can know what was going through the minds of those men who wrote the books of the bible. It's all speculation, and there is a time and a place for it. I don't believe that time and place is in the science classroom, although I know there are some who disagree. Science is science, with hypotheses and experiments to prove the validity of those hypotheses. If they can't be proven, they don't become theory.

People have the right to believe what they want to believe. Creationism and intelligent design can be taught at home. They don't belong in science class.

Now...turn your watch back...and I'll meet ya by the third pyramid!


  1. There is a reason we have laws about the separation of church and state, and I agree that science should be taught in the classroom, and spirituality should be taught at home or in other forums.

  2. I think you'd have no problem keeping church and state separate were it not for the rabid Bible-thumpers who believe their way is the only way.
    They would like their ideals taught anywhere and everywhere, except in the chucrh and home where they belong; they would like to use religion to legislate; they would seek to keep the world an 'us' and a 'them' kind of place.

  3. I agree that it is my job as parnets, it is our job to teach our children what is important to us. To impart our morals, values and biblical truths to our young including respect for their teachers and fellow students, whether they share our views or not.
    That's if I were to send my children to public school. Which is not likely.

  4. I'm passionate about ancient Egypt too. I read everything I can find about, factual and fiction. I think science is so important in our life and vital to be taught at school. Shouldn't be mixed up with religion though. All the best. Ciao. A.

  5. Talk about daylight savings time ... turning your watch back about a hundred thousand years!

    If a man has his own how of life, he should be able to get along with almost anyone's how ... that is a paraphrase, so don't quote me on that. It saddens me a bit, when people's belief system makes them invalidate (I am a BIG on validation!!) someone's elses. That kind of negation is why there will never be peace in the Middle East. Life is so not about negation, is is always about creation. There is too much to living to say that there is only one way to live.

    The religon v. science issue reminds me of a line in a Dead Milkmen song ... "we gotta blow up the things we don't understand". That seems to be the religous approach. Doesn't mean that it is going to go away.

    As to the scientific method, there is still too much for it as well. Too much to know, too much to consider to leave it all up to something random. Science itself, the discovery of 'why', is one where there is always an explination for something. Maybe the problem is somewhere between the two, and there just isn't an explination.

    So everyone should just shake hands and eat their cookies and drink their juice boxes!

  6. I love discovering things that we have in common. I'm also intrigued by ancient Egypt and found the story on Nefertiti's hidden face to be fascinating. I like the way you frame your remarks about science and faith. I've never understood why there has to be a conflict between religion and science. I will have to check out the blog that you recommend.

  7. Can't we just all get along? I guess that's just too simplistic. It was my job (and the job of my church - whatever church that is), to teach my children about religion. It is the job of the school to teach my children about science. The end.
    Hugs, Joyce

  8. You nailed it, Joyce.
    Beth, you never cease to amaze me!

  9. Hi Beth,
    I suspect that the bust -- and the sculpture beneath -- are pretty accurate. Art in the Armana was supposedly "realistic" (not overly flattering) and there are many other depictions of Nefertiti that are also beautiful. I think her name itself means something like "the beautiful one has arrived." On the other hand, if the artwork can be believed, her husband was sort of freakish looking.

  10. BUT.........Don't you think that
    SOME scientists are as intolerant
    of religion as SOME devout believers
    are about science? I marvel at
    science because it shows me "how"
    He did it. I know "why", because
    "God so loved the world".

  11. Dear Beth,
    Interesting post!
    thanks a ton for commenting on my blog!
    I think that we know a fraction of what is out there when it comes to science which is why some prominent scientists and astronauts grew to love God or be in awe of the incredible design of the universe. I see where you are going here and may I add why do teachers get to teach politics in Spanish Literature? Or give their own political and worldly opinions of the world in English class? Should not the freedom to develop the child's own ideas also get main attention from our principals? What do you think? Parents are incredibly frustrated I think
    Interesting post! Please comment more on my blog too!

  12. I'd totally do Nefertiti. Well, not now. But, well.. How's she look for her age?


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