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Raisin Ballet

Test your Powers of Observation

Here’s a challenge. When you put raisins into lemonade, something remarkable happens. Play the video and see for yourself. Then see if you can explain why the raisins dance.

Which of these explains why the raisins dance…

Explanation 1

They are rising because someone put the raisins into lemonade, perhaps to see what happens or perhaps because they knew they would do something interesting.

Explanation 2

They are rising because air bubbles from the lemonade gather on the raisins. That lifts them up to the surface but there, the bubbles pop. The raisin flips over, because it has bubbles on its underside. Those bubbles pop and the raisin falls.

To get to grips with thinking about science and religion, it’s helpful to have a good idea of what science is all about. Scientists are interested in how nature works and how things in nature behave. They often set up investigations and make observations to try to deduce what’s going on, just as you did when you watched the raisins.

But what about the other explanation we gave for why the raisins go up and down … was that just a red herring? It was a different KIND of explanation – it explained why this situation of dancing raisins came about.

Many people who believe in God say this shows the difference between a religious way and a scientific way of looking at the world. The Big Bang, they say, is a good way to explain what caused the Universe to come into existence. But you can ALSO believe that God wanted the Universe to exist. They are two different KINDS of explanation.

Why is the hot chocolate hot?

Consider the question, “Why is this cup of hot chocolate hot?”

1. Can you think of five different reasons why the hot chocolate might be hot?

2. Which of the claims cannot be true at the same time?

3. Which of the claims are ‘compatible’ meaning that they could be true at the same time?

See the claims we came up with ...

Here’s our go at this:

The cup of hot chocolate is hot because …

a) The milk was heated in a microwave oven
b) I like my hot chocolate to be piping hot and served with cream
c) The milk was heated in a saucepan on an electric ring
d) My brother made it and he always makes it extra hot
e) Heat transferred from the electric ring into the saucepan and then into the milk

Are any of the claims contradictory (meaning that if this claim is true then another claim can’t be true)

See which of the claims are contradictory ...

We think that (a) “The milk was heated in a microwave oven” seems to contradict (c) “The milk was heated in a saucepan on an electric ring” and also (e) Heat transferred from the electric ring into the saucepan and then into the milk

Now lets move on to the next section – Are there some questions that science cannot address?

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)