It's the conferencing time of year! The Creation Research Society is putting on their conference this year at University of South Carolina Lancaster July 23-24. Here is a preliminary list of the talks that are going on (i'll post again as this is updated):
Quite a list! I wish I had time to go to both this and the BSG conference, but funds are limited this year. Hopefully next year I can go to both, and maybe a a secular conference or two.
In any case, you can register for the conference here ($55 for CRS members, $90 for non-members).
In addition to all this, Danny Faulkner will be hosting a free field trip on Sunday, July 25 to Wood's Bay State Park, one of the Carolina bays.
Sounds like a lot of fun! As I mentioned, I'll update this when I get a finalized list of speakers, and I will also post the BSG schedule when it is available. You should come to one (or both) of the summer conferences!
Registration for the 2010 BSG Conference is now open! I'm excited - Creation research is not a very hot topic in my city, so I rarely have people to talk about new ideas with. So I get excited when the BSG conference rolls around, because I get to spend some time listening, thinking, and talking about God's creation with other interested researchers. I'm giving either one or two talks this year (one has been accepted, the other is still in review).
If any of you are interested, please come! I love meeting readers. In addition, the conference will be at Truett-McConnell college, where Kurt Wise is setting up a Creation research center. It should be fun!
Register Here -- it's only $90 for students ($120 for everyone else), and includes a room!
For those of you who don't know, Stanford has a research project called "Folding@Home" which utilizes extra computing power on people's computers to make a massively parallel computer for doing research on protein folding. Back when I owned a PS3, I used to run this all the time, and started "team creation" for keeping score. Now, however, Dan Watts has been leading team creation, and has just generated a score of 1,000,000 points! Click here to view the team information, and click here to view the certificate.
If you want to be involved in this project, download the software, and then put in team number 59478 to be a part of our team.
In other news, the Kolbe Center just announced a UK speaking tour. Hugh Owen and Tim Murnane will be speaking at several churches throughout the area. Here is their tentative schedule (use their website for definitive details):
Friday, April 16, 6:30-9:30 p.m. EdinburghSaint Andrew'sBelford Road,Ravelston
Saturday, April 17, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. EdinburghChurch Hall,St. Brides HallOur Lady of Good Aid Cathedral31 Coursington Rd. Motherwell ML1 1PP
Sunday, April 18, Time 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. Glasgow
(with Benediction and Dinner to follow for all participants!)Church Hall of:Immaculate Heart of Mary,162 Broomfield RoadGlasgowG21 3UE
Tuesday, April 20, 7.00 - 9.30 p.m. BirminghamMaryvale InstituteMaryvale HouseOld Oscott Hill Birmingham.
Contact:: Adrian Dulston firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, April 21. Salisbury
Thursday, April 22, 7-9 p.m. NottinghamChurch of the Assumption25 Foster AvenueBeeston, Nottingham NG9 1AE
Friday, April 23, 7-9:30 p.m. Spalding, LincolnshireSt Margaret's Church HallMain RoadQuadring Spalding, LincolnshirePE11 4PW
Saturday, April 24 OR Sunday, April 25. London
I just finished reading Schroeder's The Science of God: the Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom. It's a really good book, though I have not done an in-depth reading. Please take this review with a grain of salt, as there may be parts of the book that I haven't read which I should.
While Schroeder probably doesn't consider himself a part of the ID camp (one of his videos, for instance, is titled "beyond Intelligent Design", though he makes the same arguments as the ID'ers), the book's take on evolution is almost entirely from the perspective of front-loaded evolution, and ID concept. In fact, a good substitute for the book is just reading Mike Gene's blog or the Telic Thoughts website, though each of these lack the insights of Jewish mysticism that Schroeder brings in. In fact, he even favorably cites Michael Behe.
The fundamental point of the book is that the advances in physics and biology of the last 30 years have actually put science and the Bible much closer together - and even closer still if one interprets the Bible through the eyes of Jewish mystics throughout the centuries (frequently referencing the Kaballah, Rashi, and Maimonides).
He faults Creationists for taking Genesis literally when it should not be taken that way. In fact, he even argues that Moses said that it should not be taken that way, citing Deut. 31:19, 31:30, and 32:44 (apparently because Moses referenced a "song", though he was not explicit).
The problem I have with Schoeder's book is not that it's evolutionary. I really don't care that much. The problem is that he recognizes that the last 70 years or so have brought lots of information that bring science into corroboration with scripture, and in every case argues for this citing modern scientific facts. However, he fails to make what I think is the necessary leap. He never says that there in fact might be things in the Bible which are against modern science which are nonetheless true.
Think about this for a minute. Let's say that Schroeder wrote his book 70 years ago, with the evidence which was available 70 years ago. Would he have argued the same way, and for the same positions? The meaning of scripture, whatever it is, has not changed in the last 70 years. What has? Science! So, while Schroeder documents many ways in which science is conforming itself to scripture, he leaves out any mention of where he thinks that the Bible is currently correct and science is not.
If he were arguing for the same interpretations of scripture 70 years ago, his book would have to be replete with examples where the interpretation of the Bible was going against current science. Likewise, if the Bible is true, no matter what method of interpretation you use, there would likely be some way in which the Bible's truth is different than modern science, unless he is arguing something distinct about the last 70 years which has finally finished the connection between science and scripture.
But he never really goes there, except, in a minor way, over the nature of humanity, which is probably more of a philosophical issue than a biblical one.
Regarding creationism, he correctly notes that the account of the Earth being created 6,000 years ago is infinitely closer to the current scientific age than the age supposed by the steady-state universe theory that preceded the Big Bang (i.e. infinity). But, given that, why is it such a stretch to think that a change in understanding might not take it the rest of the way? If Einstein rewrote physics after Michelson said that all of physics was basically known, why could not the same thing happen for natural history?
So, while the book was very good, I could not find a place in it where Schroeder took the argument to its necessary conclusion - that there might somewhere be something in scripture which is both true and contrary to modern science. He just never goes there, but it is nonetheless the logical outcome of his view.
That is one of the reasons I am so hopeful about Creationism, despite its many problems. The history of science has been steadily marching closer and closer to Biblical truth. Therefore, there is no reason to pawn away the remainder. In fact, Biblical truth gives us a head start in science, precisely because we have many pieces of knowledge not in possession by secular science. Why not use that head start and do research rather than wait several hundred years for science to catch up?
[NOTE - this post was updated 3/18/2010 to clarify a few items]
A friend of mine sent me a link to a Creation museum that is currently being built.
The gospel is basically a love story. In fact, in many ways, the scriptures directly make the comparison. In Revelation, the Church is the bride of Christ. God is continually seeking after his people. But, unfortunately, our hearts are often hard.
As a Creationist, my heart is God's. Paul Garner's heart is probably more in the right place than my own, when he says,
I’m not at all interested in trying “to defend a literal reading of Genesis with scientific principles”. Rather, I accept the truth of creation by faith and investigate the world scientifically with that presuppositional basis. That’s not to say that I’m uninterested in evidence, just that my aim in scientific investigation is not “defending Genesis” or “proving Scripture”. I don’t think the Bible needs that kind of help. (see here in the comments)
The goal for Paul is to live faithfully. And part of that living faithfully is finding new things in God's creation, and using God's scripture as a starting point for all things.
This used to be a common theme in science. Newton, for instance, was foremost a theologian. Kepler wanted to enter the ministry, but could not. But he said, "God is the beginning and end of scientific research and striving".
Sadly, this thought has been lost. But God, now like before, still seeks us. I have been realizing more and more that God often seeks scientists - and, I believe, leads them to discoveries which show God's handiwork - whether or not the scientists are willing to follow.
A case in point is Francis Crick. Crick said that the reason he went into science was to disprove religion. But God cared for Crick too much. God, I belive, helped Crick in his scientific search, to see His creation for what it is. And that's when Crick discovered DNA. DNA was certainly a stumbling block for Crick's atheism. The implications of Crick's discovery, while possibly not immediately obvious to the rest of us, was in fact immediately obvious to Crick - the naturalistic story of its origin just doesn't measure up. In his book, Life Itself, Crick says, "An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle." So what was Crick's solution? Sadly, it was not to turn to God in any way. Instead, he proposed that the aliens did it. And, thus, he was freed from looking too deeply into the evidence that God had shown him.
Hoyle's view seems to be similar to Crick's, though I have not done as much research into it. Hoyle, though he did not believe in God, remarked that "the Universe is a put-up job!" Meaning, there is just too much intricacy to the design of the laws of the universe. Likewise, for life, Hoyle thought that we were created by another intelligence within the universe.
Stephen Jay Gould had this happen to him, too. Here is how he describes the arthropods of the Burgess Shale:
Imagine an organism built of a hundred basic features, with twenty possible forms per feature. The grabbag contains a hundred compartments, with twenty different tokens in each. To make a new Burgess creature, the Great Token-Stringer takes one token at random from each compartment and strings them all together. Viola, the creature works - and you have nearly as many successful experiments as a musical scale can build catchy tunes. The world has not operated this way since Burgess times.
Now, obviously, Gould put an evolutionary spin on this. Nonetheless, it appears that Gould was looking on in amazement at the way in which the creatures of the Burgess were put together. It is almost as if he was seeing creation, but not being able to quite admit to it.
What I'm saying is that, when you look at the major discoveries in science by the ones who research them, what you find is God searching for the scientists. That doesn't often come out in media reports or even in reviews of scientific literature or textbooks. Few textbooks report that Crick viewed DNA as a stumbling block to the origin of life, or that Gould saw a menagerie of form in the Burgess shale too wonderful to describe, and a pattern unlike anything which is thought to evolve today.
But, I believe, God is seeking each one of us. I only hope that the current generation of scientists are faithful to the call that God gives to them, and that they can be humble enough to reject the pride which plagued the science of the 19th and 20th centuries.
And, hopefully, my own work will reflect faithfulness instead of pride. But I'm still working on that.
The BSG (Creation Biology Study Group) just announced this summer's conference, and opened up for abstract submissions. Here is the announcement and instructions for abstract submissions. Abstracts are due April 2.
The planning for the next Creation Research Society conference is underway. The current plan is the following:
The request for papers has not yet been announced. I will share it when it happens.
The Creation Research Society just put out a YouTube video with a bunch of images that they have taken in their microscopy laboratory. Cool stuff! I wish the video had a little more explanation attached, but nonetheless it is great-looking stuff.