This news article is really pretty remarkable. Scientists have been trying to discover the structure of a retrovirus protein that would create increased opportunities for AIDS research. Apparently they have been stuck for over a decade and decided it was time to turn to the one source they had yet to tap into – gamers. You know, boys and girls who sit around and play Xbox 360 all day long. The gamers were able to help out the scientists with the protein structure and then get back to shooting people with machine guns. Read the article to learn how it all came about.
This got me thinking about a couple of things:
1. It is entirely possible that a life, or perhaps millions of lives, may one day be saved because a young person spent too much time in front of a television playing video games. Before you get the wrong idea, don’t mishear me. I’m not suggesting we should just let our children waste their lives away in front of a T.V. What I am saying is that in spite of what may be some poor choices on the part of young people (and older folks) to forgo positive opportunities in lieu of the couch, a t.v., and a gaming system, something remarkable has come of it. This points directly to God’s providence over absolutely everything. Parents need to be encouraged that when their children are at times in the seemingly darkest corners of their lives, it may very well be that God is about to do something dramatic. In other words, never give up hope that God will turn things around. We find this wonderful truth all over the place in Scripture. Folks will be in situations where, from our point of view, they would be hopelessly lost. Then, God sends the right person or the right circumstance and causes them to come to faith and turn in a different direction. It is in stories like a gamer who helps with AIDS that Romans 8:28 really hits home.
2. I just couldn’t help but give a little chuckle when thinking about the whole “Science trumps Scripture” argument. For those of us who are committed to the truthfulness of Scripture in every area of life but who also recognize that God has created a universe that can be studied and partially understood, we do not see any conflict between science and faith. For many, however, science becomes the harbinger of absolute truth and they make law out of philosophy. In other words, faith in Scripture is for the mindless, but faith in science is for the intelligent. Granted, the place where science needed help was in the utilization of a certain portion of the brain, that being spatial reasoning, and gamers are at the top of the game in that area (pardon the pun). But that’s the whole point – science needs help. There is no such thing as “science” in and of itself that we look at like we might look at a well manicured lawn and say, “well, there it is.” In this case, science was in the skills of a dude eating potato chips and playing with a game controller. And as Nancy Pearcey argues so effectively in her book “The Soul of Science”, it is all dependent on the knowledge that this thing called the universe is even capable of being measured and studied. We know that because a perfect God spoke it into existence and then called it “good.”
So this story gives us great hope and additional clarity. Should our confidence in science be shattered because a gamer is an important part of the equation? No. But our view of science should be sharpened as to what it really is.