How do we as humans come to put our trust in someone or something? Builders rely on reinforced concrete to construct a typical building’s foundation. A knowledge base constitutes a foundation for trust. The more information we have, the better we can decide who or what to trust. Built upon that knowledge base is our experience. Experience affirms and reinforces our trust decisions.
For example, I wear a full leg brace on my paralyzed right leg. At the knee is a bail lock (pictured). Inside the mechanism is a spring. When I sit down, the protruding bar behind the knee joint engages the edge of a chair and unlocks the bail lock allowing my knee to bend. When I stand and gently thrust my right leg forward, the spring mechanism locks the joint. Without a locked knee, I could not stand or walk. Because of my knowledge of this mechanism and decades of experience, I rate this bail lock as highly trustworthy. Most of the time, I sit and stand without giving it a second thought.
Trust is one of the critical issues in the current pandemic controversy between “vaccers” and “anti-vaccers.” I trust vaccines because of my scientific knowledge base, specifically in the field of immunology. Experience affirms my trust. On the positive side is my experience with the successes of previous vaccines. International travel sometimes requires travelers to be fully vaccinated. My track record of illness in other nations is limited to a few occasions of respiratory or stomach influenza and rare cases of food poisoning. On the negative side of my experience is my encounter with poliomyelitis at the age of two. That experience and its lingering effects have taught me that not all viruses are created equal. Strains and mutations of viruses vary in the degree of deadliness, transmissibility, and long-term consequences.
Core values govern our behavior. Core values affect how we deal with trust issues. I suppose one could trust the vaccine and, for whatever reason, decide not to be vaccinated. As one who strives to practice the disciplines of Jesus, serving others is my relational default setting. When others help me, I am very thankful. Being served is not my relational priority. I am willing to make sacrifices for others. I live with the debilitating consequences of poliomyelitis. One of my significant motivators during this pandemic is to do everything possible to protect myself from being infected by coronavirus so as not to infect anyone else.
“Even if we are personally willing to take our chances as a member of a relatively low-risk group, we should also consider the possibility that we’ll pass a life-threatening illness on to someone else in a higher-risk group.”
A Minimal Case for COVID vaccination by Neil Shenvi
Humanity needs to reach herd immunity in its battle with the coronavirus and its mutations. Vaccinations are the path to that destination. I would encourage “anti-vaccers” to re-evaluate their scientific knowledge base for the field of immunology.
THE JOY AND WONDER OF SCIENCE
Increasing My Science Knowledge Base
As I write, I find myself in the middle of an article about BICEP2 and the potential discovery of gravitational waves. A voice in my head is telling me this is fun! The truth is, I enjoy reading about science and watching science programs on TV. I am drawn to the field of physics, especially quantum physics and astrophysics. I don’t claim to understand everything my brain is absorbing, but I’m trusting that the more my brain absorbs, the more I will understand.
The voice in my head also reminds me that a cross-section of the Christian community may never know this joy or sense of wonder. Some believe that there are inherent conflicts between the Bible and Science. I think the Bible and Science complement each other.
For further insights on the relationship between the Bible and Science would recommend this book.
THE PHYSICS AND PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE, How Relativity, Quantum Physics, Plato, and History Meld with Biblical Theology to Show That God Exists and That We Can Live Forever. James Frederick Ivey, MD – Copyright © 2013.
Genesis 1:27–28 provides a biblical motivation for humanity’s scientific pursuits. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (NIV84)
This truth is reaffirmed in such passages as Psalm 8:4–6, “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:” (NIV84)
To exercise appropriate dominion over something, one must have at least a basic understanding of that something. When someone leaps off a tall building, we do not automatically conclude that it is good. We automatically assume something is wrong because we have a basic understanding of the nature of gravity. I know a couple of successful “horse whisperers.” I listened to their stories about training horses. Their “horse whispering” knowledge base includes pertinent information about horses. Their knowledge-based increased during the training sessions. While working with a horse, they compile additional information about the personality quirks of that horse. Built upon their growing horse knowledge base is an extensive history of horse training experiences. The core values of these “horse whisperers” informed their gentle training practices.
God endowed humankind with the brainpower necessary to sift through clues hidden in His intelligence-endowed physical universe and to uncover His hidden designs. With these truths, humanity is expanding its knowledge base about the nature of Creation and the Creator. God must enjoy presenting humanity with this challenging treasure hunt. God created a universe that affords humankind purposeful treasure hunts on many levels and in every academic discipline. That makes scientific study joyous and wondrous.
A FEW AREAS OF MY SCIENTIFIC CURIOSITY AT PRESENT
The Creation of matter:
This article details how scientists are using Einstein’s famous E=mc2 equation to create matter from light. Albert Einstein proposed this. Smash two sufficiently energetic photons, or light particles, into each other. That will create matter in the form of an electron and its antimatter opposite, a positron.
The Practical Applications of Science:
This article details eight ways you can observe Einstein’s theory of relativity in real life.
My nephew, currently working on a doctorate in physics, turned me on to the topic of gravitational waves several years ago. His specific focus of study and research is utilizing lasers as a tool of measurement and communication.
Gravitational waves are ‘ripples in spacetime. Some of the most violent and energetic processes in the universe cause these spacetime ripples. Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity. On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (aka LIGO) physically detected gravitational waves. Two colliding black holes 1.3 billion light-years away generated these gravitational waves.
LIGO currently consists of two interferometers, each with two 2.5 mile long arms arranged in an “L” shape. These instruments utilize lasers and act as “antennae” to detect gravitational waves.
Laser Links in Space:
Positioning constellations of small satellites in low-Earth orbit will bring telecommunications back to space. This network will provide lower latency and more bandwidth to nearly half the world’s population who lack broadband Internet service. Laser links between these satellites will provide the backbone of the system.
CubSat & Nano-satellites:
The CubeSat standard facilitates frequent and affordable access to space with launch opportunities available on most launch vehicles. Companies such as Alén Space are developing and deploying nanosatellites.
Mars 2020 Mission and the Perseverance Rover:
The spacecraft carrying the Perseverance Rover departed earth at a speed of 24,600 mph. The 300 million-mile journey to Mars took seven months. The Perseverance Rover successfully landed on February 18, 2021 in the 28-mile wide Jezero Crater. The specific target for the rover’s landing was an ellipse within the crater 4.8 miles long by 4.1 miles wide. NASA successfully hit this extremely longe range target.
Science in these fields of endeavor accomplishes impressive feats.
We ought to trust the science of immunology.
The same scientific method that accomplishes the impressive feats highlighted above, guides the science of immunology.
We should regard experienced immunologists who have a proven track record of addressing global viral outbreaks as trustworthy.