Science Corner: Problem? What Problem?

see no evil photo

“It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.” — Bill Watterson via Calvin Photo by Alicakes*

You know how Wile E. Coyote can run in midair, as long as he doesn’t realize he has gone past the edge of the cliff? We’ve probably all had a moment when we’ve hoped a problem would go away if we just didn’t acknowledge the problem existed. A new study might have shed some light on what situations are most likely to elicit this kind of denial. A correlation was observed between disliking or objecting to the solution and rejecting an assertion that a problem exists.

The study focused on politics, but this results strikes me as relevant to theological considerations as well. The first consideration that came to mind was an explanation of why the road is narrow and the gate small. If we don’t like the solution — following Jesus — then we might be more tempted to deny that problem — our sin, the existence of a God who requires righteousness, etc. However, I don’t think we should stop there; we should probably check for planks in our own eye as well.

There are many challenging sections of scripture where the temptation to think “It doesn’t really mean that” might creep in. As an example, turning the other cheek is not a solution that I find easy to implement. I’d much prefer to pretend that I don’t have anger issues than to try to solve them through disciplined self-control.

What solutions would you prefer to avoid by imagining there is no problem?

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Andy Walsh

Andy has worn many hats in his life. He knows this is a dreadfully clichéd notion, but since it is also literally true he uses it anyway. Among his current metaphorical hats: husband of one wife, father of two elementary school students, reader of science fiction and science fact, enthusiast of contemporary symphonic music, and chief science officer. Previous metaphorical hats include: comp bio postdoc, molecular biology grad student, InterVarsity chapter president (that one came with a literal hat), music store clerk, house painter, and mosquito trapper. Among his more unique literal hats: British bobby, captain's hats (of varying levels of authenticity) of several specific vessels, a deerstalker from 221B Baker St, and a railroad engineer's cap. His monthly Science in Review is drawn from his weekly Science Corner posts -- Wednesdays, 8am (Eastern) on the Emerging Scholars Network Blog.

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