Adelaide Chapter

Artificial Intelligence and Genetic Engineering, by Dr Fazale Rana

May 20, 2022

Abstract luminous DNA molecule. Genetic and gene manipulation concept. Cut of replacing part of a DNA molecule. Medicine. Innovative in science. Medical science and biotechnology.

Both artificial intelligence and genetic engineering have enormous potential benefits for the health and welfare of humanity, but there are also risks. Artificial intelligence is using computers to mimic human thought processes and decision making. The possible threat here is that computers may surpass or even displace humanity. Genetic engineering is editing DNA genes. This can potentially be used to mitigate or eliminate genetic diseases, enhance human athletic or intellectual performance, improve health, or substantially prolong life. Dr Fazale Rana, from Reasons to Believe (RTB), spoke to us on “Artificial Intelligence and Genetic Engineering”. This is based on his book “Humans 2.0: Scientific, and Theological Perspectives on Transhumanism”. The Kindle edition is available from https://www.amazon.com.au/Humans-2-0-… for $11.99. The initial sections are on gene editing using CRISPR-Cas9, Brain Computer interfaces (BCI) and artificial body parts. These can be used to heal diseases or adverse genetic conditions. A prime example is the Cochlear ear implant, which is now used to enable deaf people to hear. This is great, but these techniques also have the potential capability to enhance human capabilities to create a new super humanity, which is more controversial.

TThe presentation is can be viewed on YouTube.

Dr Fazale Rana has a PhD in biochemistry. He was brought up in an atheist family, but describes his conversion as follows:

“As a graduate student studying biochemistry, I was captivated by the cell’s complexity, elegance, and sophistication. The inadequacy of evolutionary scenarios to account for life’s origin compelled me to conclude that life must come from a Creator. Reading through the Sermon on the Mount convinced me that Jesus really was who Christians claimed him to be: Lord and Saviour.”

In 1999 he left his position in research and development to join Reasons to Believe and is now Vice President of Research and Apologetics.

Biblical arguments for a young earth, by Brian Schroeder

May 20, 2022

Christians are a “house divided” on the meaning of the six days in Genesis 1, the age of the earth, and how much truth there is in evolutionary theory. This year, we are paying particular attention to these topics and are allowing speakers to present and argue for their views. On the 21st of April, Brian Schroeder spoke on “Biblical arguments for a young earth”

Here is Brian’s summary of what he presented:

Should Christians base their understanding on science or on the Bible? And, in both cases, how do we interpret what we see and read? If there is no God and the universe created itself from nothing, then any human book is merely a fallible human book.  But if the creator of the universe is responsible for the Bible, then clearly the one who designed and made everything has the best understanding of science and thus both science and Bible would fully agree.  So ultimately it comes down to interpretation. As Christians we believe in God, and hence in the Bible. 

His talk is available on YouTube.

Brian Schroeder presented how he believes we should interpret the Bible and what that means for our understanding.

Brian Schroeder

Brian Schroeder is a Reasonable Faith committee member. He has BSc and BA degrees from Adelaide University (Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics), and an MA in Theology.

Is an old earth compatible with the Bible? by Dr Gordon Stanger

April 12, 2022

Christians are a “house divided” on the meaning of the six days in Genesis 1, the age of the earth, and how much truth there is in evolutionary theory. This year, we are paying particular attention to these topics and are allowing speakers to present and argue for their views. On the 7th of April, Dr Gordon Stanger spoke on “Is an old earth compatible with the Bible?”

Gordon’s main claim is that we should read Genesis 1-11 from a Hebrew perspective. Then we can understand the theological intent of this section of scripture. The Bible is a book on spiritual matters which only briefly and tangentially references planetary and biological creation. The 6 days in Genesis 1 do not have to be interpreted as six 24-hour days.

Dr Gordon Stanger

Dr Gordon Stanger is a geologist, hydrologist, water resources specialist, and a climate-change impact analyst. He is an RFA committee member, semi-retired and is a keen advocate of ‘sensible Christianity’.

A recording of the presentation and discussion is available on YouTube.

On the the 3rd October, there was a presentation on how we should conduct dialogue and respect each other. Apparently this fell on deaf ears.

 

God’s Dilemma – Holiness and Love, by Geoffrey Russell.

March 25, 2022

If God is God, can’t he do anything he chooses? Nothing’s impossible for him, surely, but how could God possibly have a dilemma? Well, he has; and it’s a dilemma of cosmic proportions, a dilemma that’s way beyond anything that you and I will ever face.

Crucifixion by Gabrie Metsu

Firstly, God is love. He loves everything he has made, including you and me, but he’s also holy and can’t tolerate the least deviation from his holiness. It’s us human beings that have brought about this dilemma for God. Love would have God forgive us anything and everything, but holiness would have him wipe us all out (Just consider what we’ve done to the world he gave us, and to one another). So, what’s God to do, and how can he resolve that dilemma?

Geoff Russell

Geoff Russell is a professional electrical engineer. He has a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours from the University of Adelaide, a post-graduate Diploma in Engineering & Computer Applications and an Associate in Theology from the Bible College of South Australia. Geoff is also a valuable member of the Reasonable Faith Adelaide committee.

The presentation is available on YouTube.

How do we respond to division on evolution and age of earth? by Dr Kevin Rogers

March 10, 2022

How do we respond to division on evolution and age of earth? by Dr Kevin Rogers

This year (2022) we are devoting most of our meetings to address issues regarding

  • Young Earth Creationism (YEC),
  • Old Earth Creationism (OEC),
  • the scope and validity of evolutionary theory. and
  • their implications on Biblical
    • historicity,
    • reliability and
    • inspiration.

The difference between OEC and YEC estimates for the age of the earth is about 100,000 to 1. So, at least one view is diabolically wrong. However, what can be even more diabolical is how we address and treat each other.

The topics that are covered are:

  • What are the YEC/OEC options?
  • What are some Biblical perspectives?
  • How should we handle the division?
  • What are the advantages of the Christian perspective?

The presentation is available on YouTube.

The presentation contains web links, which are listed below:

https://biologos.org/common-questions/what-is-evolutionary-creation summarises the Biologos position on evolutionary creationism.

https://biologos.org/common-questions/how-should-we-interpret-the-genesis-flood-account/ describes the Biologos view on Noah’s flood.

https://www.reasonablefaith.org/search/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6InNlYXJjaCIsImtleXdvcmRzIjoiZXZvbHV0aW9uIiwic3VibWl0IjoiR08ifQ describes William Lane Craig’s views on the age of the earth, evolutionary theory and his Biblical perspective.

The following are additional useful references:

All of our YouTube recordings can be accessed from https://www.youtube.com/user/ReasonableFaithSA/videos

Scientific arguments for an old Earth/solar System, by Dr Gordon Stanger

February 26, 2022

This year we are going to devote most of our meetings to address issues regarding Young Earth Creationism (YEC), Old Earth Creationism (OEC), the scope and validity of evolutionary theory and their relationship to Biblical inspiration. These topics are frequently raised during discussions on other topics.

Opinion is divided within our subscribers and our own committee. The views expressed by the speakers do not necessarily represent the view of Reasonable Faith Adelaide (RFA), as we currently don’t have one. It will be a miracle if we attain unity, but we hope that we at least become better informed and empathetic towards those we disagree with.

Gordon’s arguments can be classified into the following types:

  • Those that indicate an age longer than the maximum YEC limit,
  • Those that estimate the age of the earth (estimated to be 4.54 billion years), mainly based on radio-active decay estimates, and
  • Those that estimate the age of the universe (estimated to be 13.77 billion years).
Dr Gordon Stanger

Dr Gordon Stanger is a geologist, hydrologist, water resources specialist, and a climate-change impact analyst. He is an RFA committee member, semi-retired and is a keen advocate of ‘sensible Christianity’.

Gordon’s presentation can be viewed on YouTube.

On a lighter note, I came across this a few days ago:

Sacred sites of Bethlehem, by Trevor Harris, 9 December, 2021.

February 19, 2022

Bethlehem features in a number of Old Testament events which have prophetic significance. It is the setting of the Christmas story which is celebrated by many millions world-wide.

Bethlehem is now a Palestinian town that is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims to visit. The sacred sites include:

  • The City of David (historic) with its wells,
  • The Church of the Nativity (built on Jesus’ birth location),
  • The Shepherd’s Field (2 contested sites),
  • The Field of Boaz, and
  • Rachael’s tomb (under Israeli control).

What is the evidence for these locations? In 135 AD the Romans established a pagan shrine and grove over the traditional site of Jesus’ birth. This site has a fascinating history – so is it correct? The other sites of Bethlehem also have controversy, so how likely are they genuine?

Trevor Harris has visited Bethlehem six times and has investigated these sites. He will present and assess the evidence.

Trevor Harris

Trevor’s presentation is available on YouTube.

Is the Bible sexist? by Dr Kevin Rogers, 25 November, 2021.

February 19, 2022

In the first century Christianity (especially in the person of Jesus) raised the status of women dramatically in comparison with the prevailing Greek, Roman and Jewish cultures. Women played a key role in the rise of Christianity within the Roman empire. In fact, Christianity was mocked for being a religion filled with women.

However, some of the contemporary cultural male/female roles and practices (such as head coverings) were maintained, which now seem out of touch with modern egalitarian western views, especially those arising from the feminist movement. This is sometimes an object of ridicule that may cause some to dismiss Christianity as old-fashioned and irrelevant. So, is there an essential difference between a Biblical view and modern western values? If so, who is right?

The topics that will be discussed are:

  • What is sexism?
  • What were the cultural influences in the 1st century?
  • What does Genesis say?
  • How were women viewed in the Old Testament?
  • How did Jesus treat women?
  • What were Paul’s views on the role of women?
  • Are they still applicable?
  • How should we respond?

I would have preferred that this topic be presented by a woman, but I am the only one who has put their hand up so far; and I happen to be a man.

Kevin Rogers is the director of Reasonable Faith Adelaide and is a member of Ingle Farm Baptist Church. He is also an engineering researcher and research supervisor at the University of South Australia.

Dr Kevin Rogers

Kevin’s presentation is available on YouTube.

The best of all possible worlds, by Brian Schroeder, 11 November, 2021.

February 19, 2022

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds was popular in Europe, particularly in many leading philosophical circles. To Francois-Marie Arouet, more commonly known as Voltaire, this was nonsense, and he set out to lampoon the concept in brilliant satire.

But:

  • What was the basis of this belief in the first place?
  • How effective is Voltaire’s response?
  • And what should we make of it today, particularly in our covid-ravaged world?
Brian Schroeder

Brian’s presentation is available on YouTube.

Evolution: The false dichotomy, by Dr Gordon Stanger, 28 October, 2021.

February 19, 2022

Amongst Christians, evolutionary theory and the age of the earth are highly divisive issues, and our subscribers and committee members also have different opinions. The differences are quite stark and at least one party must be radically wrong. We have had speakers with various views in the past. On this occasion, Dr Gordon Stanger will present his contribution.

His summary of what he will cover is as follows:

In a North American study, 67% of young people, who had been given a Christian upbringing, had abandoned their faith. The primary reason given was that “science in general, and evolution in particular, disproves the Bible”.

At least a third of global Christianity teaches that:

  • Evolution isn’t true,
  • The Bible and science are incompatible, and
  • One must choose between Darwin and Jesus, and between God and evolution.

This issue is as polarized as vaxxers vs anti-vaxxers; US Republicans vs Democrats, Scientists vs climate deniers; or ‘Young Earth’ vs ‘Old Earth’ Christians.

But can Earth’s amazing panoply of life be generated by the seemingly random processes of evolution, and yet simultaneously be an outcome of God’s creative volition? Creationists emphatically say NO! I emphatically say YES! …..and will explain how this can be true.

In this presentation I will argue that evolution is a reality and that the true core of this issue is more a matter of Biblical interpretation. Do we read scripture from the modern perspective of Biblical literal inerrancy, or do we read it in its original context of multi-faceted visual imagery and a rich complex of early Hebrew linguistic idioms?

Science strongly indicates that a Biblical literalistic interpretation is erroneous, whilst using the original contextual frame of reference is consistent with reality. Science and Christianity are allies, not enemies.

Dr Gordon Stanger is a geologist, hydrologist, water resources specialist, and a climate-change impact analyst. He is semi-retired and is a keen advocate of ‘sensible Christianity’.

Dr Gordon Stanger

Gordon’s talk is available on YouTube.