My summer Sunday School class actually met for the first time yesterday morning. We examined the question of whether science and religion were in conflict. One young man said “They cancel each other out,” but I was not able to get a real handle on what he meant by that.
The consensus, to begin with, was that science and religion couldn’t coexist. You had to pick one or the other.
I had a book to read to them from that took that position. It explained that there were two possible worldviews: Christian and atheistic. If you were a Christian, it said, then you believed that God had a special plan for you and that it mattered that you lived when and where you did. If you were atheistic, then you believed that everything was meaningless and you had no personal responsibility. This had to do with science because it included evolution and the idea that the world is very old in the atheistic worldview, and belief in the Bible as a reliable historical document in the Christian worldview.
The kids said the atheistic worldview was depressing.
We considered whether science was completely at odds with religion. Gravity, for example. Could you believe in gravity and still believe in God?
The kids thought you could. In fact, they felt that gravity was noncontroversial. They were okay with chemistry, too. It was when you got to creation, evolution, and global warming that you had a problem. We read through the first few pages of the Bible to find the conflicts.
Here was the thing that was striking for me: these kids were bright kids in a good school system, from seventh to eleventh grades, and none of them had any clear idea what scientists would say about the beginnings of the world, let alone the universe. They had heard the term “The Big Bang.” They had heard of evolution, though some of them found it an alarming thought. Several thought that evolution explained how the world began and was a competing creation story.
They were all pretty clear on photosynthesis.
I don’t get why global warming — or we should perhaps say climate change, since that is less confusing — is a political and religious controversy. I may find out in the course of this Sunday School class.
The other thing I did yesterday morning, besides the usual singing in church bit, was to chat with one of the group that is Client #5 about their language choices. They have given me a statement for their website which appears to be written toward potential patients, since it talks about working with “you.” However, it is written in such dense counselor-ese that it is hard to believe that any potential patient would even wade through it.
I would like to say to these folks, “The second you decided to use the word ‘persons’ in that paragraph, you excluded everyone who might actually need you.” Instead I said things like, “It depends on your goal. If you want people to read this and come see you, it’s not going to do that. If it’s a statement of your position for other therapists, that’s fine.”
“Lots of websites are written that way,” she told me.
“Lots of websites are very badly written from a marketing point of view,” I agreed.
In Sunday School, we read how in the beginning everything was formless and void. We considered whether, if there had been a collection of elements prior to the Big Bang, it would make sense to say that it was formless and void. We considered whether describing whatever happened to trigger the beginning of life as “a Singularity” was more specific than saying that God said stuff and it took place.
For the project Chanthaboune and I are working on, we are going to do our audition on dynamics. I thought we should specify that we just meant ppp to fff, not sforzandos and things, and Chanthaboune informed me that those weren’t dynamics, but just things that shaped the dynamics.
Which reminded me of how HTML is about the structure and CSS about the style, even though both can make your letters bigger.
And if you say things about how persons confronting life issues may experience an out of balance state, it doesn’t make you sound as though you could help anyone.
This hyper awareness of vocabulary may be just the right state of mind for today’s big assignment, which is to return to those high authority sites (us computer guys talk like that — never mind what it means, because it isn’t interesting anyway) which haven’t yet linked to Client #6 and poke them a bit about giving us that link. Not easy to do, that. It’s like following up on job applications, which I also have not done. You’re saying, “You appear to have rejected me, but I’m not sure. Could you please reject me more firmly?” Or maybe, “I know you’re part of a government which doesn’t even respond to disasters in time to keep people from dying, but I want you to get that link up right now, since I asked you two weeks ago. Chop chop.”
Some high level wordsmithing may be required there.
Then I have tutoring, and a workshop on preparing kids for kindergarten. I am not expecting anyone to come to that workshop, frankly, so I haven’t prepared at all. It is a leftover from back when I did these things in order to promote the store. I couldn’t quite bring myself to say, “I just pretended to do these things as a public service, you know, and now that no one is paying me for it, I’m canceling.” But I also didn’t do any publicity, because, you know, no one was paying me for it. So I guess I’ll drop by the place after my tutoring gig and see whether there is anyone there, and at some point today I’ll have to come up with something to say, just in case.
My day is cut out for me.