Re: A Children's Story on Scientific Reductionism

Gordon Simons (
Thu, 5 Mar 1998 11:13:22 -0500 (EST)


Thank you very much for sharing the story "Who Does the Playing?". Since
many of us wear a pedagogical hat within our churches, I would like to
suggest that using stories like this can be very effective. Our Lord,
during his earthly ministry, used stories to communicate important truths
to an adult audience, and we stuffy science types could well consider the
value of Jesus' approach.

Several years ago, I organized a nearly open-topic church forum, which I
still manage. This has provided me opportunities, from time to time, to
exercise my pedagogical hat.

Perhaps it would be helpful to share how I used Loren's story.

I began with the following preface:

Gloria Simonds shared with me some interesting comments she had received
concerning recent Blacknall forum postings dealing with creation. Rather
than pass these along -- the writer might wish to do so himself -- I would
like to pass along a delightful little children's story that makes an
important point -- for adults.

In this regard, let me remind you that before planetary motion was worked
out as a mathematical consequence of physical laws, it had been said, by
Thomas Aquinas I believe, that the planets are pushed along in their
orbits by angels. Before we too quickly dismiss his explanation as
outdated and fanciful nonsense, I would invite you to consider the story.

Let me add that when I first saw the story it was given a secondary title
(for reasons that will become clear): "A Children's Story on Scientific

I hope you enjoy the story.

I would not argue that a preface is necessary, nor that this one is
particularly strong, but I thought something like this would help.

Then I shared the story of the mice in the piano and left it at that.

A few hours later I heard from a retired lawyer who had recently joined
our forum. He had previously -- in a private communication -- expressed
views which, very briefly, might properly be summarized as:

"Blind evolution or God did it (exclusive 'or'), and he chooses God."

Painting the picture in such stark terms, he clearly makes the better
choice. But ...

He responded to the story very simply:

"It seems we can all learn quite a lot - even from mice."

He clearly understood the point of the story and the truth it conveys.

Perhaps the same truth could have been communicated more easily by
discussing "Primary and Secondary Causes." While I personally (as a
scientist and Christian) find such a discussion very helpful, I presently
suspect that speaking in story format is more helpful for nonscientific

Finally, another positive response to the story from an older woman:

"Thanks so much for the beautiful children's music/creation story. I
passed it along to all our children and many others."

Gordon Simons