On the 1st of December 2022, Jeff Zweerink (from Reasons to Believe) provided a presentation on what astrophysics tells us about God.
He describes his talk as follows:
While in college, I decided to pursue a graduate degree in astrophysics because that area of physics had the most direct overlap with what the Bible describes about the universe. Our understanding of the universe has advanced significantly in the last thirty years. Although many apparent challenges to God’s existence have arisen (like inflation, the multiverse, and research into quantum gravity), the evidence for a beginning of the universe and its design for human life have grown tremendously.
We will discuss these major advances to understand them better. That understanding will help Christians use this potent evidence to share the Gospel while avoiding pitfalls that undermine the public perception of Christianity.
Since my earliest memories, science and the Christian faith have featured prominently in my life, but I struggled when my scientific studies seemed to collide with my early biblical training. My first contact with Reasons to Believe (RTB) came when I heard Hugh Ross speak at Iowa State University. It was the first time I realized it was possible to do professional work incorporating both my love of science and my desire to serve God. I knew RTB’s ministry was something I was called to be a part of.
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. This applies to organizations that hold either young earth or old earth perspectives.
On Thursday the 17th November, Don Batten talked on Genesis and genetics from a young earth perspective. He provided the following outline of his talk, including links to background material:
My journey from theistic evolution / day-age to biblical creation and why I found it compelling and important
How the modern molecular biology revolution undoes neo-Darwinism
Bioinformatics: the information in living things
The inadequacy of evolution to explain living things
How the modern science of genetics underscores Genesis as history
Don received both his B.Sc.Agr. (First Class Honours) and his Ph.D. from the University of Sydney. He worked for 20 years as a research horticulturalist with the NSW Department of Agriculture. He conducted a number of research projects and published his results in scientific journals. Don joined the Creation Ministries International (CMI) in Brisbane, Australia in 1994 and has spoken around the world on the creation issue. He is co-author of The Creation Answers Book, One Blood, Answers to the 4 Big Questions, 15 Reasons to Take Genesis as History, and author of various booklets, including What about carbon dating? and What about arguments for evolution? Dr Batten was the CEO and Managing Director of CMI-Australia from 2015 to 2022. He is now Senior Scientist, focusing on research, writing, and speaking.
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 have been paying particular attention to these topics and are allowing speakers to present and argue for their views. This applies to organizations that hold either young earth or old earth perspectives.
On Thursday the 6th of October, Dr Tas Walker (from Creation Ministries International) presented an argument that claims that earth sciences and geology support belief in a young earth (less than 10,000 years). He argued that the geological evidence should be interpreted within the framework of a six 24-hour day interpretation of Genesis 1. Some of the arguments that he presented are:
Diamonds that are supposedly millions of years old contain traces of Carbon-14 indicating a much younger age.
Long half-life radio-active dating methods (such as uranium-Lead and Potassium-Argon) have been used to estimate the age of the earth to be 4.454 billion years. However, flaws in these methods cause serious errors in these long age estimates.
The presence of organic red blood cells in dinosaur fossils indicates a much younger age than conventionally believed.
Dr Tas Walker holds a B.Sc. (Earth Science with first class honours), a B.Eng (hons) and a doctorate in mechanical engineering, all from the University of Queensland. He has been involved in the planning, design and operation of power stations for over 20 years with the electricity industry in Queensland, Australia. He has conducted geological assessments of new fuel supplies for power stations across Queensland and has been involved with new mining proposals, including the effects of geological factors on the cost, reliability and quality of the coal produced.
The origin of life problem remains one of the most challenging scientific questions of all time. Until the 19th century, it was widely believed that life would spontaneously arise from other life. This phenomenon was known as spontaneous generation and was the best explanation of the time when describing the formation of moulds & fungi, as well as maggots, mice, and other such creatures. The theory was finally put to rest following a series of scientific experiments that exposed the existence of bacteria & other such microbes.
The living cell is truly an extraordinary feat that hosts a complex mix of biochemical interactions to sustain even the simplest of lifeforms. Modern-day scientific research on the origin of life is known as Abiogenesis: Life from non-life. There are numerous scientific theories for how life could have come about on a lifeless primordial Earth, whereby specific conditions brought about the first self-replicating molecules essential for chemical evolution. Regardless of the worldview you hold, it is beneficial to know the arguments that both support and oppose your belief, therefore Joshua will be outlining the current scientific theories & discoveries surrounding abiogenesis.
Joshua Meade is a PhD student at the University of South Australia. He is a mechatronic engineer and a member of the RFA committee. He also has an active interest in biochemistry.
Dr Ron Neller (from Creation Ministries International) presented arguments that major landscapes, sediment deposits, and the fossil record is due to Noah’s flood and that this is an alternate explanation of the fossil record, thus undermining evolutionary claims.
Ron holds a B.A. (Hons) and a Ph.D., both in fluvial geomorphology. He has held lecturing and research positions at the University of New England (Australia), Griffith University, the University of Sunshine Coast (Queensland), the University of Queensland, Turku University (Finland), and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (People’s Republic of China).
The human genome is the mapping and sequencing of all genes in the human DNA molecule. The human genome project was started in 1990 and the complete genome was achieved in May 2021. 533
For this talk, Joshua Meade provided an overview of:
Common worldviews on human origins,
Christian demographics on the worldviews,
The Human Genome Project, and
The implications of the Human Genome Project on our understanding of human origins.
Joshua Meade is a PhD student at the University of South Australia. He is a mechatronic engineer and a member of the RFA committee. He also has an active interest in biochemistry. Joshua and Amethyst are currently back in New Zealand, and they have three lovely young girls.
“Thinking about Evolution takes the reader on an extraordinary tour through contemporary evolutionary theory. The range of issues covered is astounding, from chemical evolution and abiogenesis to the relationship between the genetic codes of chimpanzees and human beings. The depth of the discussion is also impressive. Each chapter explains the latest studies and applies them to the question at hand. Most important is the strong affirmation of the truth-conducive nature of the scientific enterprise. At the same time, important criticisms are developed and applied to many of the common claims made in the name of evolutionary theory.” This is a “must-read book for anyone who has the courage to challenge preconceived ideas about evolution and consider how science, philosophy, and theology intersect.”
Dr Fazale Rana has a PhD in biochemistry. He was brought up in an atheist family, but describes his change of mind 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.”
Dr Hugh Ross spoke on a particular old earth view called Progressive Creationism (in defence of soft concordance). He explained how the book of Nature and the book of Scripture can be integrated to be consistent with one another.
Hugh was an astronomer/astrophysicist at the University of Toronto. He is the founder and president of Reasons to Believe, (www.reasons.org), and is the author of over 17 books including ‘The Creator and the Cosmos’, ‘Why The Universe is The Way it is ‘ and ‘Navigating Genesis.’ Hugh has addressed students and faculty on over 300 campuses in the US and abroad and speaks at various churches and groups on a wide variety of science-faith topics. He is asked to present to government agencies and atheists and leading contemporaries on the powerful evidence for a purpose filled universe.
Dr Ross is a high-profile speaker, and we are privileged to have him present to us. He will be speaking to us between 12 am and 2 am in the morning. It would be great if you could support him by attending the live Zoom meeting and by inviting others.
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 26th May, Dr Mark Harwood spoke on astronomical evidence for biblical creation. He provided scientific arguments to support the young earth creationist claim that the ages of the earth and our solar system are less than 10,000 years old. He addressed the following aspects of the origins debate.
• What is the core issue in the creation/evolution debate?
• What is the role of science in discovering the truth about our origins?
• Astronomical evidence consistent with the biblical timelines
• Why does it all matter?
The Gospel connection
Mark Harwood completed his tertiary education at the University of Sydney where he received B.Sc., B.E. (Hons) and Ph.D. degrees. His postgraduate studies were focused on radio telescopes and computer techniques for antenna design and measurement. Dr Harwood is now employed by CMI as a speaker and scientist, and he has oversight of the speaker development program for the Australian and Singaporean ministries.
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.
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.