Using God to Fuel Discovery
Child: Mom, what is a rainbow?
Mother: A rainbow was placed in the sky by God after the Great Flood as a promise to Noah and all his descendants that He would never destroy the earth by water again. Now, every time you look at a cloud and see a rainbow, you can be reminded of God's promise.
Child: Oh, that's nice. So God is never going to destroy us again?
Mother: I didn't say that. God promised never to destroy the earth by water again. Next time he's going to use fire.
Child: Oh, I see. Mom, isn't God supposed to be perfect in every way?
Mother: Why yes, dear, He is.
Child: Then why does He have to keep destroying His creation and starting over? Why couldn't he have gotten it right the first time?
Mother: Eat your peas!
Child: Mom, what are the stars made of?
Mother: I don't know. I've never been to one. God put them there to rule over the night sky.
Child: I hate the dark. Couldn't God have made them brighter?
Mother: Just eat your damn peas and hush!
Using Science to Fuel Discovery
Child: Mom, what is a rainbow?
Mother: A rainbow is caused when sunlight shines through the tiny water droplets inside a cloud. The droplets bend the light, because light bends when it strikes certain objects. But different colors of light bend different amounts, so when white light from the sun, which is a mixture of all the colors, gets bent, the colors spread out and makes a rainbow.
Child: Cool! What else causes light to bend?
Mother: Light bends when it goes from one clear substance, like air, into another substance, like water. That is called refraction. It also bends when it goes around sharp corners of objects. That's called diffraction.
Child: Silly Mom, light can't go around corners. It goes straight, right?
Mother: Normally it goes straight. But when it strikes a very sharp corner the different colors can bend a little. Hold two fingers up to that light and squint your eye to look between the slit made by your two fingers. See those dark lines?
Child: Yes, what is that?
Mother: That's called a diffraction pattern and its caused by the light bending around the corners of your fingers.
Child: What if I get a piece of clear film and draw tiny lines real close together and let light shine through. Would light bend around those lines and make a rainbow?
Mother: Try it and see!
So the child made a diffraction grating and spent hours experimenting with different ways that light could be diffracted through his homemade kaleidoscope. But he noticed that when he held it up to fluorescent light, it didn't make a complete rainbow. Some colors were missing. So he asked his mom about it.
Child: Mom, why do I get a strange-looking rainbow when I look at fluoescent light through my grating?
Mother: Flurescent light does not produce a continuous spectrum. The coating on the inside of the bulb glows only in certain wavelengths of light.
Child: So do other things also only allow certain wavelengths of light to pass through them?
Mother: I think you're probably right. Why don't you do an experiment to find out?
So the child, with his mother's supervision, vaporized various elements and compounds and shined white light through them after capturing the vapors in a flask. Sure enough, different gases produced rainbows with certain colors missing. The child made a chart showing which colors were missing from different elements and compounds. He then mounted a better diffraction grating to his telescope, connected it to a camera, and let it capture starlight. He could see dark lines in his rainbow as captured from the stars. He concluded it was because the star must be made of certain elements that glow with that particular pattern of light, so when he compared the starlight to his list of elements, he found that what stars are mostly made of was the element hydrogen, with a little helium too.
Child: Mom, I know what the stars are made of! It's hydrogen and helium!
Mother: That's what other scientists have discovered too, dear. Good work!
And that is how religious belief quashes scientific inquiry. Why bother seeking real answers if the only answer you care about is that "God did it"?