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Digging up facts

Dr Peter Scott climbing a glacier
THE UNITING Church is full of highly skilled people in a number of scientific fields. Journey was privileged to speak with one such person, Kenmore Uniting Church member Dr Peter Scott.

The geologist, award-winning retired teacher and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Queensland has literally searched for answers about earth’s history with a fine tooth comb.

Teaching at Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane for 21 years meant Dr Scott was able to help students understand scientific principles and put them into a faith perspective.

“I was virtually saying to the students, ‘look at this, isn’t this fantastic? This is its cause and, as far as my faith is concerned these are the natural laws of nature and this was all created by God’.”

He said he no longer argues with people who insist that the was world created in six days and deny the Big Bang theory.
“I just say ‘you can believe in your faith, but scientifically you are wrong’.

“No scientist I know, Stephen Hawkins etc., can tell you what happened before the Big Bang, that is the point where science stops and I say I have faith that this was created by God.”

When doing geological research (that proved the land at Evans Head, NSW, was once attached to New Zealand) he scoured a section of ground looking for fossils.

“For five years I couldn’t find anything to tie my rocks to the rocks up here in Queensland or anywhere else.”

Then, by accident, he found what he had been looking for.

“Was it an accident? Perhaps I was meant to find it?

“Science can’t prove the existence of God, but atheists can’t disprove it either.

“Most of the scientists I run into have some sort of faith base.

I simply believe that God walks with us all the time, but most of the time we forget that.”

Dr Scott said one of the most significant scientific events affecting humanity was climate change.

“Climate change has been happening for a long time, at least since the end of the last Ice Age,” he said. “Most scientists believe that due to the increased CO2 (and probably methane) levels in the atmosphere and oceans (probably natural with significant help from industrial waste emissions) these are warming.

“The church would be involved as a matter of its practical application to human distress and natural disasters, unless you also want to include a political role in convincing politicians that some of their acts or lack of action is immoral.”

As an astronomer Dr Scott also believes there must be some form of life on other planets.

He said mathematical probability and astrochemistry leave the possibility wide open.

“I believe that with the great number of possible planets out there and with life being based on one main element (Carbon) with several others (Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Sulphur and Phosphorus) all common in our Universe and God being the creator of all things in the Universe, there must be life on other planets.”

Photo : Dr Peter Scott climbing a glacier