‘equipping the church
on origins’

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News & Blog page 5

Evangelical Times reviews The New Creationism

September 1, 2009

The September 2009 edition of the British newspaper, Evangelical Times (p.21), has published the following review of Paul Garner's book, The New Creationism. The reviewer is Nathan Pomeroy of Nottingham.

This title doesn't just expose the errors of evolutionary theory, but describes attempts to build creationist scientific theories to replace evolutionary explanations. Paul Garner writes, 'my main aim is to summarise the work of modern-day scholars who are seeking to restore the biblical foundations of the scientific enterprise and build positive creationist theories in the field of origins.'

The author's fundamental assumption is that 'Genesis is a book of history — and that it provides a satisfying framework for scientific study relating to origins'.

His book is organised into four parts. The first deals mainly with astronomy. I found his summary of Humphreys new creationist cosmology stimulating, and especially its description of 'gravitational time dilation'. 'During the early history of the universe, "billions of years" of processes were able to take place in outer space while only a few days passed as measured by "Earth standard time"'.

The second part examines geology, and reports the results of RATE, 'one of the most ambitious creationist research initiatives ever undertaken'. A recent exciting discovery is that the rate of helium escape from zircon crystals points to an amazing conclusion: 'the helium could not have been escaping from these rocks for more than 6,000 years'.

The third section looks at biology. The evolutionary tree suggests all living things have descended from one common ancestor. The creationist orchard builds on biblical teaching to show God created separate creatures, with many generic [sic – genetic] trees diversifying over time.

The final section returns to geology, with a particular concern to show how the global Flood explains contemporary discoveries relating to plate tectonics, the fossil record and the ice age.

Paul Garner's book assumes the historical truthfulness of the Bible. He writes in a clear style, explains complex ideas briefly, humbly admits unresolved problems, and paints in the historical background helpfully.

His prayer is that this book will 'build up your confidence in God's Word and excite you about the scientific study of God's world'. His prayer was answered for me; I encourage you to read The new Creationism.

Debating Darwin now available

August 29, 2009

Debating Darwin.

Paternoster has recently published a book co-authored by BCM's Steve Lloyd: Debating Darwin. Two Debates: Is Darwinism True & Does it Matter? by Graeme Finlay, Stephen Lloyd, Stephen Pattemore and David Swift (ISBN 9781842276198), price £8.99. The book can be ordered from the Authentic Media website or through a Christian bookshop.

The book is a debate between Christians who take opposing views on the scientific merits of neo-Darwinism and its compatibility with the Bible. The first half considers the theological issues and the second the science. Each contributor responds to their opponent's essay.

Steve's chapter moves the biblical argument into new territory by comparing the whole biblical story of creation to new creation with the neo-Darwinian account of earth history. Understood in this way the debate is not merely over the interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis but the coherence of the historic Christian understanding of core doctrines such as the cross and resurrection. Steve sets out three doctrines that express aspects of the 'story-line' of the Bible (Adam as a historical individual, a global flood and 'no-agony-before-Adam') and argues that these are incompatible with neo-Darwinism.

In his response to the chapter by Finlay and Pattemore, Steve demonstrates that the mere presence of literary structure in the early chapters of Genesis does not make them a-historical in the way that is required to make them consistent with neo-Darwinism. He goes on to suggest that the real point of disagreement is not over the interpretation of the Bible but whether we approach the Bible with the belief that the neo-Darwinian account of earth history is an unassailable fact.

In both his contributions Steve points to new creationist research as the way to provide a satisfying and compelling scientific narrative to complement the biblical story.

Creation biologists and geologists meet in Louisville

August 20, 2009

From left to right: Dr Steve Austin, Paul Garner, Dr Kurt Wise and Dr Andrew Snelling.

The Creation Biology Study Group (BSG) held its annual conference at the Holiday Inn Hurstbourne, Louisville, Kentucky on 30 and 31 July 2009. Once again, the conference took place jointly with the annual meeting of the fledgling Creation Geology Society. Paul Garner was there representing Biblical Creation Ministries. (The above photo shows some of the geologists visiting Louisville Zoo.)

The first day of the conference was devoted to the symposium of talks that were given at the Genesis Kinds Conference in England in February. You can read a full report of those talks here.

The second day was given over to the contributed biology and geology talks. The biology talks were as follows:

  • Tom Hennigan began with a survey of the current taxonomic status of bears and the implications for baraminology. More data are needed, but the bears appear to form a holobaraminic group that underwent rapid diversification after the Flood.
  • Todd Wood gave a fascinating talk about Odontochelys, the toothed, half-shelled fossil turtle that has been interpreted as an evolutionary intermediate. Baraminological studies suggest that Odontochelys occupies odd positions in morphological space that would not be expected of an intermediate. However, the analyses were based on data sets including relatively few morphological characters and so firm conclusions could not be drawn.
  • Jean Lightner spoke about the strange patterns of variation observed in the Anatidae (ducks, geese and swans) and what this means for the intrabaraminic evolution of the group. A possible role for directed mutation in speciation was also discussed.
  • Kurt Wise offered a series of suggestions for creation biology research from the field of evolutionary genetics. Research since the 1940s has yielded many insights with interesting implications for how we understand the role of natural selection and mutation in the natural world.
  • Roger Sanders talked about the origin of the liver toxins found in Lantana ('shrub verbena'). He suggested mechanisms by which the liver protectants also known to occur in this plant genus could have given rise to the toxins during diversification.
  • Jud Davis gave some theological reasons for God's use of 'negative elements' (such as darkness, formlessness, emptiness, nakedness) in his pre-Fall creation. These elements play an important role in the overall salvation story of the Bible, especially as we understand the final consummation of all things.
  • Cindy Golian presented some initial data from molecular genetics comparisons between modern human populations and discussed their implications for migration patterns following Babel.
  • Ying Liu spoke about his research on human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) and their role during the menstrual cycle. Such retroviruses are usually regarded as molecular fossils that point to the common ancestry of humans and chimps, but his research suggests that at least some HERVs were created in situ for a purpose.

The geology talks given later in the afternoon were as follows:

  • Kurt Wise presented compelling evidence favouring the rapid formation of a cave system in Cumberland County, Tennessee, by the passage of rising hydrothermal fluids. This is in stark contrast to the usual model of slow dissolution by weakly acidic water flowing from the surface.
  • Paul Garner reviewed what is currently known about the grain size and textural characteristics of sediments from modern sandwaves. Sandwaves are underwater dunes common in tidally dominated shallow marine environments and have been suggested as a possible modern analogue for certain cross-bedded sandstones in the stratigraphic record.
  • John Whitmore showed numerous photographs of thin sections documenting the presence of detrital mica grains throughout the Coconino Sandstone in central and northern Arizona. Mica is a soft mineral that is not expected to survive the harsh abrasion that occurs in desert environments. Thus it poses a challenge to the conventional interpretation of the Coconino Sandstone as an eolian deposit.
  • Stephen Cheung described the discovery of four types of dolomite (dolomite beds, clastic dolomite grains, dolomite cements and concentric ooids) within the Coconino Sandstone at Andrus Point and several other outcrops in northern and central Arizona. These discoveries suggest the need to re-think the depositional environment of the Coconino Sandstone.

Another exciting development was the announcement that the Creation Geology Society, established last year, is now open to members. Anyone wanting to join is invited to contact Dr Marcus Ross, the Society Secretary, for more information.

This year's biology abstracts can be found on the CBS website (see Occasional Paper 13) and the geology abstracts will shortly be available on the Cedarville University website. The next conference will be held at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia, on 28-30 July 2010 and will once again be a joint meeting of the biology and geology groups.

Research report 2009: Summer fieldwork for the FAST project

August 7, 2009

Photos from left to right: Paul Garner (a) studying Coconino Sandstone outcrops at Picacho Butte, Arizona, (b) examining the contact between the Coconino Sandstone and the underlying Hermit Formation along the Tanner Trail, Grand Canyon, Arizona, (c) bagging and labelling rock specimens in Burro Canyon, Arizona, and (d) walking across an exhumed bounding surface in the gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. Photos courtesy of Dr John H. Whitmore.

In July Paul Garner and his colleagues, Dr John Whitmore (Cedarville University) and Ray Strom (Calgary Rock and Materials), undertook ten days of geological field research in Arizona and New Mexico. The team is studying the origin of the Coconino Sandstone as part of the Flood-Activated Sedimentation and Tectonics (FAST) project sponsored by the National Creation Science Foundation.

Critics of creationism have often appealed to the Coconino Sandstone because it is typically thought to have been laid down by the slow accumulation of sand dunes in an ancient desert. They use this argument to challenge the biblical idea of a global Flood. How could a sandstone like the Coconino have been laid down in a desert while the continents were underwater?

This summer John, Ray and Paul travelled thousands of miles and hiked to many remote places to study the Coconino Sandstone in northern Arizona, including Grand Canyon. They were also able to trace the Coconino eastwards into New Mexico, where it becomes the Glorieta Sandstone. They collected about 100 rock samples which will be studied using thin section microscopy and other laboratory techniques. This brings the total number of samples collected so far during the project to almost 700. John and Paul also visited White Sands National Monument in New Mexico to observe how sand accumulates today in windblown dunes.

The team are excited about what they are finding. Their new field and laboratory investigations suggest that much of what has previously been written about the Coconino Sandstone is incorrect. They have made many surprising discoveries that challenge the idea that this rock unit was laid down in a desert, including the suite of minerals found within the sandstone, the type of bedding that it displays, and its relationship to other rock layers around it. They believe that a strong case can be made for the catastrophic underwater deposition of the Coconino Sandstone.

The team presented some of its findings at this year’s creation geology conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and more publications are in preparation.

Future First reviews The New Creationism

Future First (ISSN 2040-0268) has published a review of Paul Garner's The New Creationism, in its August 2009 issue (Volume 1, Number 4, p.6). It reads:

It seems appropriate in the bi-centenary year of Darwin's birth to include a review of a book on the broad subject of evolution. This book is, however, unlike many which have been published this year to celebrate the event. It focuses on the possibility of the earth being formed several thousand years ago rather than several million.

In this context it looks at a wide variety of evidence – biological, geological and chemical, as well as taking a careful look at fossil and dating data – and puts them all into a scriptural context. It is written by a man who is an environmental scientist and describes an astonishingly wide phalanx of detailed scientific work in a range of different fields. It looks comprehensively at the creationist scene and justifies it as a serious contender for our origins.

In the process it faces objectively the differing points of view on this topic, the evidence for evolution, the data behind the often-quoted date of the origin of earth 4.7 million [sic] years ago, and quotes up-to-date research and thinking which suggests some (most!) of this "evidence" could be mistaken.

However, a further commendation for this well written book is not just its comprehensiveness, and the usefulness of having in one volume the varying viewpoints of the interpretations of Genesis chapters 1–11, but its style. Unlike the arrogance of some writers from a creationist viewpoint, this book is written humbly, positively commending the beauty and detail of God's creation, and pointing very simply to the awesome purposes of an inscrutable but wonderful Creator.

Evangelicals Now reviews The New Creationism

August 5, 2009

Paul Garner's book, The New Creationism, has been reviewed in the August edition of the British newspaper Evangelicals Now by its editor, Dr John Benton. You can read his review here.

The New Creationism is available to purchase by readers in the UK and the USA.

Some recent publications

June 2, 2009

Grace Magazine.

This year’s Darwin anniversaries are remembered in the May issue of Grace Magazine which explores the theological and scientific questions concerning origins. It includes articles by Steve Lloyd and Paul Garner of BCM.

Steve’s article critiques theistic evolution and Paul’s asks whether creationism can be regarded as scientific. Other contributors examine the biblical message of creation (Philip Eveson), the life of Charles Darwin (John Peet), mankind in God’s image (Phil Heaps) and the impact of evolutionary thinking (David Anderson).

There is also a profile of Downe Baptist Church in Darwin’s home village, which has played host to many creationist meetings over the years.

Evangelicals Now.

Paul Garner also has an article in the latest issue of Evangelicals Now (June 2009) in which he discusses the major themes of his new book, The New Creationism (Evangelical Press, 2009).

He outlines some of the scientific work being done by creationists in the fields of biology, geology and cosmology, and concludes that there has never been a better time to be a creationist.

Readers of our website can obtain more information from Evangelicals Now, 14 Silverleigh Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 6DU. Telephone: 0845 225 0055. Website.

The New Creationism Blog

April 4, 2009

Following the recent release of The New Creationism: Building Scientific Theories on a Biblical Foundation (Evangelical Press), readers may be interested to know that there is now an accompanying blog dedicated to exploring the themes and ideas in the book.

Todd Wood of the Center for Origins Research has also written about The New Creationism on his blog and you can read his comments here.

New book released: The New Creationism

March 20, 2009

The New Creationism.

Today sees the launch of a major new book by Paul Garner, The New Creationism: Building Scientific Theories on a Biblical Foundation, published by Evangelical Press. The book takes as its central theme the work being done by contemporary creationist scholars to restore the biblical foundations of the scientific enterprise and build positive creationist theories in the field of origins.

Ken Ham, President of Answers in Genesis-U.S., writes: "This book...introduces the reader to the best contemporary creationist models in astronomy, geology, biology, and so on — and at a level the layperson can understand."

Dr John H. Whitmore, Associate Professor of Geology at Cedarville University in Ohio, says: "For those needing an up-to-date and comprehensive introduction to the science and issues surrounding biblical origins — this book stands above the rest."

With over seventy fabulous illustrations by Jack Lewis, a foreword by Dr Andrew A. Snelling, Director of Research at Answers in Genesis-U.S., and endorsements from nine leading creationists, this book will encourage confidence in God's Word and excite the reader's interest in the scientific study of God's world.

The New Creationism is fully referenced and includes a glossary and index. A promotional flyer can be downloaded here. It can be purchased from Christian bookshops for £8.95 in the UK and $15.99 in the USA. Further information can be obtained from Evangelical Press.

Creationism and the Origin of Species

March 12, 2009

There is a common misperception that creationism entails belief in the unique creation of each species. In fact, many creationists accept a secondary origin of species from ancestors originally created by God. In this view, groups of modern species constitute the 'Genesis kinds' that God originally created and beyond which evolution cannot proceed.

Two new publications in the CORE Issues in Creation series address this topic at a technical level. One is entitled Genesis Kinds: Creationism and the Origin of Species and is edited by Todd Charles Wood and Paul Garner. In this collection of papers, given at the recent Genesis Kinds conference, six scholars discuss the history of creationist and Christian perspectives on the origin of species, the use of the Hebrew word mîn (kind) from the perspective of biblical theology, the baseline of minimum speciation within kinds inferred from island endemics, the number of proposed kinds from the mammalian fossil record, the occurrence of discontinuity between kinds, and the origin of new species by symbiosis.

CORE Issues in Creation Number 5 and Number 4.

The companion volume is entitled Christian Perspectives on the Origin of Species and is edited by Paul Garner. This is a compilation of Christian writings on species from the seventeenth century to the twentieth century, highlighting the diversity of opinions. It represents much of the source material for Paul Garner's paper given at the recent Genesis Kinds conference. The collection focuses upon those scholars who accepted the evolution of species within limits, but includes readings from the full range of positions. The contents are as follows: 

  • Francesco Redi, from Experiments on the Generation of Insects, 1668.
  • Carolus Linnaeus, De Peloria (a new English translation), 1744.
  • William Herbert, 'On crosses and hybrid intermixtures in vegetables', from Amaryllidaceae, 1837.
  • Louis Agassiz, 'Geographical distribution of animals', 1850.
  • Asa Gray, Review of Origin, 1860.
  • Fleeming Jenkin, from Review of Origin, 1867.
  • St. George Jackson Mivart, from Chapter 11 of Genesis of Species, 1871.
  • Erich Wasmann, from Chapter 9 of Modern Biology and the Theory of Evolution Third English edition, 1910.
  • Harold C. Morton, from Chapter X of The Bankruptcy of Evolution, 1925.
  • Byron C. Nelson, 'More about the origin of species', 1929.
  • Dudley Joseph Whitney, 'The origin of species', 1929.
  • Douglas Dewar, from Chapter 2 of Difficulties of the Evolution Theory, 1931.
  • George McCready Price, 'Nature's Two Hundred Families', 1938.
  • Harold W. Clark, from Chapter 4 of Genes and Genesis, 1940.
  • Frank L. Marsh, from Chapter 10 of Evolution Creation and Science Second edition, 1947. 

BCM hopes to offer copies of these publications for sale in the near future. Anyone who would like to purchase them is invited to contact us to express an interest. This will help us to know how large an order to place. 

Details of other CORE Issues in Creation volumes may be found on the website of Core Academy of Science.

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