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News & Blog page 8
Steve Lloyd on Channel 4June 15, 2011
Dr Steve Lloyd appeared on Channel 4 on Sunday 12 June in the programme 4thought. Each week 4thought has a different theme with speakers from a wide variety of viewpoints represented. Steve was the last contributor for the topic ‘Is it possible to believe in God and Darwin?’
The filming took place the week before Easter. About 30 minutes of filming were edited down to the 90 seconds that were broadcast. What is refreshing about the program is that contributors are given the space (albeit briefly) to express their viewpoint fairly.
All the 4thoughts can be viewed here and comments can be left on the site too.
Another review of The New Creationism in CRSQMay 11, 2011
The Creation Research Society has published another review of Paul Garner’s book, The New Creationism, in the Winter 2011 CRS Quarterly (Vol. 47, No. 3, p.203). The reviewer is Don DeYoung.
British author Paul Garner holds an environmental sciences degree with emphases in geology and biology. He speaks and writes for the Biblical Creation Society (biblicalcreation.org.uk). This book includes a forward [sic] by Andrew Snelling, full references, and an index. Paul has a very clear writing style as he outlines the details of creation science. This includes brief summaries of the anthropic principle, baraminology, catastrophic plate tectonics, Genesis Flood details, the Ice Age, the RATE research project, and time dilation theory. When explaining evolutionary assumptions, Paul is gracious but uncompromising.
Isochrons are used by geologists to determine initial radioisotope products in rocks, and this description is made very clear (p. 95). In contrast, quantized redshifts are described as evidence for the Milky Way’s location at the center of the universe without reservation (p.29), even though such data is strongly challenged by astronomers. One of many crisp figures is the classic ichthyosaur fossil, which is interpreted as being overcome by flood sediment at the moment of giving birth (p. 205). One could mention the alternate explanation that the ichthyosaur baby was expelled spontaneously after the mother perished. With either interpretation, this famous “fish lizard” fossil formation was catastrophic.
This paperback book includes many positive comments from readers. It presents a clear case for Creation and will prove helpful to many readers worldwide.
Predators, Parasites and PathogensMarch 14, 2011
Report by Paul Garner
Dr Gordon Wilson.
One of the major research areas in creation biology concerns “natural evil” or the origin of such things as predators, parasites and pathogens. This was the theme of Dr Gordon Wilson’s lecture to The Genesis Agendum held at Lower Ford Street Baptist Church in Coventry on Saturday 12 March. Dr Wilson is Senior Fellow of Natural History at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho, and an active member of the Creation Biology Society. His lecture was subtitled “A creationist’s perspective on biological bad guys” and offered an insightful introduction to this area of creationist research.
The lecture began by setting out some biblical boundaries to guide our thinking: the goodness of the original creation, the absence of human and animal death before the Fall of Genesis 3, and the completion of the creation after the sixth day. With this framework in mind, how can creationists explain the origin of natural evil?
Dr Wilson presented some striking examples of what needs to be explained. He began with predators. Cnidarians such as jellyfish have ingeniously constructed stinging cells (nematocysts) in order to inject prey organisms with toxins, the gastropod Conus has an extendible proboscis that thrusts venom-bearing, dart-like teeth into its prey, and the pit viper has a remarkable skull designed to deliver a potent cocktail of haemotoxins when it strikes. Then there are parasites, illustrated by the nematode worm Myrmecoma neotropicum, which transforms the abdomen of its host, the gliding ant Cephalotes atratus, into a bright red “berry”. This tricks birds into eating the infected ants, thus allowing the parasite to be spread in the bird faeces. Finally, the talk considered pathogens, represented by the bubonic plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis, which has been responsible for three recorded pandemics and more than 200 million deaths. Every one of these examples involves extraordinary design features that are not easily explained by simple degeneration or co-option of otherwise benign structures.
Dr Wilson answering questions.
Dr Wilson then set out a number of possible scenarios for the origin of natural evil, discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each one, and sought to rank them in terms of personal preference. His favourite explanation involves the “genetic frontloading” of organisms at the time of creation. According to this scenario, organisms were equipped with a set of genes for benign structures, functions and behaviours and a set of genes for malign structures, functions and behaviours. Originally, only the benign genes were expressed, and the malignant set was “switched on” at the time of the Fall or subsequent to it. Such a scenario is potentially verifiable and could be supported by the discovery of latent genes that, if repaired and expressed, would restore benign structures, functions and behaviours.
The evening concluded with a time of open discussion and questions from the floor. These ranged widely over a variety of related theological and scientific issues. Those attending expressed their appreciation for such a fascinating talk and we hope that it won’t be too long before Dr Wilson is able to lecture in the UK again.
The Genesis Flood 50 Years OnFebruary 24, 2011
A landmark in creationism.
This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the book that launched the modern creationist movement: The Genesis Flood by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris. To celebrate this important anniversary, Paul Garner has written an article on the history and impact of The Genesis Flood. You can download a copy here.
Dr Gordon Wilson to speak in the UKFebruary 18, 2011
Creation biologist Dr Gordon Wilson (New Saint Andrews College, Idaho) will be visiting the UK in March and speaking at a meeting hosted by The Genesis Agendum in Coventry. Dr Wilson is a member of the Creation Biology Study Group (BSG) and we warmly commend his lecture to BCM supporters. Details of both the lecture and the speaker follow.
Dr Gordon Wilson.
Predators, Parasites, and Pathogens: A creationist’s perspective on biological bad guys
The Genesis Agendum Spring Lecture6.30 pm (Light Refreshments from 6.00 pm) 12 March 2011
Lower Ford Street Baptist Church, Coventry CV1 5QJ (Opposite Brandish’s Garage and across car park from bus and coach station)
When studying the diversity of life it is obvious that a vast number of species spanning most kingdoms and phyla have features that are designed to deal out disease and/or death. Many pathogens, parasites, and predators have sophisticated genetic, morphological, and behavioural arsenals (natural evil) which clearly testify to God’s eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1:20).
Were deadly designs created in their present form or are they degenerations (via mutation and natural selection) of benign designs? Examples range from the bacterial type III secretion systems, the cnidarian nematocysts (jellyfish/anemone stingers), the harpoon-like radula and injection system of cone snails, and the solenoglyphous skull, pit organs, and venom apparatus of pit vipers.
Scripture states that every green plant was given for food (Genesis 1:30), death and disease are a consequence of sin (Genesis 2:17), creation was completed on the sixth day and God considered it ‘very good’ (Genesis 2:1; 1:31).
Several scenarios will be discussed that attempt to account for the presence of natural evil in the biological world from a young earth creationist framework with an assessment of them in the light of these biblical truths.
Dr Gordon Wilson is Senior Fellow of Natural History at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho, USA. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education (Secondary Education-Biology) and a Master of Science in Entomology from the University of Idaho. He received his PhD from George Mason University in Environmental Science and Public Policy in 2003.
Dr Wilson was a Scientific Aide in molecular biology (under Dr Scott Minnich) at the University of Idaho before taking a faculty position in the Department of Biology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He has been on faculty at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow , Idaho since 2003.
Dr Wilson’s dissertation research focused on the reproductive ecology of the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina). He has published his research in Southeastern Naturalist and Herpetological Bulletin. He is a frequent contributor to Answers magazine. Recent articles published in the magazine include Lightning Bugs: The Beetle Beacons (March 2009), Divinely Designed Defenses (May 2009), and Fungus Firearms (April 2010). In Answers in Depth he published Classic Multidimensional Scaling isn’t the Sine Qua Non of Baraminology (September 2010).
The English Churchman reviews The New CreationismJanuary 11, 2011
We are belatedly posting this review of Paul Garner’s book, The New Creationism, because it has only just come to our attention. It appeared in The English Churchman (No. 7773, 14-21 August 2009, p.8). The reviewer is Rev. John Dunn.
This book is in the Young earth creationists (YEC) camp and presents overviews: Part I deals with cosmology; in Part II the author argues for a literal understanding of Genesis 1, and in Part III the science of biology is covered. The conclusion, Part IV, looks at the flood and the aftermath. The writer is clearly very able and covers his chosen subjects with clarity.
This is a standard YEC, Whitcomb and Morris approach, although updating the material certainly and giving corrections to the W&M view whilst at the same time including much new data. The 6 pages of bibliography point the reader only to that literature which supports the YEC position. Anyone wishing to get a handle on the overall debate will not find this helpful. As this book is an introduction to the topics covered then the wise and discerning reader seeking to be more widely informed will want to read around the subject and also examine other points of view, particularly regarding matters of interpretation of Genesis, otherwise this book will remain only club chit-chat and the reader will not be aware of the range and depth of the problems. Nonetheless, for those who hold to a YEC position then this book is as good as it gets. The author is to be commended for his breadth of reading and his fine ability to present difficult material in a readable and compelling manner. There are many commendatory comments by names well known in the YEC camp, but despite the strings of degrees attached to the many names it is over the interpretation of the data that the essential differences are to be found. Again, one needs to beware of the statement, Peer Reviewed; after all, if one wants the ooohs! and aaahs!, only friends are invited to look at the wedding photos.
BCM visit to Poland 2010October 29, 2010
Report by Paul Garner
In October I was in Poland again for a series of creation meetings in the cities of Gdańsk, Toruń and Poznań. In each place, the topic under discussion was ‘The Ice Age and the Genesis Flood’. My talk addressed the evidence for recent glaciation, the challenge of explaining the initiation of widespread ice sheets, and the role played by the Genesis Flood in a creationist understanding of the ice age.
The first meeting was in Gdańsk where I spoke to about 60–80 people in a packed student club. There was a good spirited question time afterwards, with a number of people probably being exposed to creationism for the first time.
In Toruń the organisers had booked a room in the university, only for the room to be withdrawn when local atheists protested. Fortunately another venue was found at short notice and people were redirected there. In the event, ours was the first public meeting to take place in a brand new lecture theatre in the city’s Hebrew Institute, and it proved to be an excellent venue. We were warmly welcomed by the institute’s director and I also had the opportunity to speak to a reporter from a local radio station.
Preparing to speak in the student club in Gdańsk.
Answering questions after the lecture in Poznań.
In Poznań I spoke at a public meeting in one of the city’s university lecture halls. Many students attended as well as local Christians. One group of young sceptics asked many questions, leading into a discussion about radiometric dating. Afterwards, one of them came to ask for my email address so we could continue our dialogue. A Christian student thanked me for being willing to engage publicly with sceptics in this way.
Dr Geoff Barnard was also in Poland at the same time, speaking in a number of cities including Zielona Góra. Our itineraries were coordinated so that we could cover a lot of ground in a short time, although unfortunately we didn’t have an opportunity to meet up during the tour.
Once again we are grateful to our translators and hosts for making these meetings possible. Those of us that have taken part in these tours over the last few years have come to love the country of Poland and its people and we pray for lasting fruit and spiritual blessing to follow.
A visit to South WalesOctober 4, 2010
The Jurassic cliffs at Ogmore-by-Sea.
On 30 September, Paul Garner led members of the Mumbles Creation Society on a field trip to the Vale of Glamorgan coast. In the morning, the party visited the famous unconformity between the Carboniferous Limestone and the overlying Jurassic rocks at Ogmore-by-Sea. The Sutton Stone member at the base of the Jurassic sequence has generally been regarded as a shoreline-beach deposit laid down over a period of several million years. However, it was controversially reinterpreted by the late Derek Ager (University College, Swansea) as a mass-flow unit deposited rapidly during a single, major storm. The party examined the evidence supporting this catastrophic hypothesis and noted that much could be said in its favour.
The Triassic breccias containing angular clasts of Carboniferous Limestone.
After lunch the group examined the Triassic breccias seen filling fissures in the Carboniferous Limestone a little further west along the shore. Again, evidences of rapid erosion and deposition were noted. In the evening, Paul spoke to a public meeting organised by the Mumbles Creation Society at Castleton Chapel. His talk described recent research which challenges the idea that the Coconino Sandstone of central and northern Arizona is a windblown desert deposit. Instead, Paul argued that the Coconino Sandstone was deposited by rapidly migrating sand waves during the global Flood.
Origins reviews The New CreationismAugust 13, 2010
Paul Garner’s book, The New Creationism, has been reviewed in the latest edition of Origins magazine (July 2010, Number 53, p.23) published by the Biblical Creation Society (BCS). The reviewer is Professor Colin Reeves.
There is certainly no shortage of books on creation and evolution, but most are sadly rather predictable, contenting themselves with a tour through the manifest flaws of Darwinism. In some cases this may be coupled with an analysis of Genesis 1–11, leading to conclusions that reflect the writer’s stance on the meaning of the word ‘day’ (Hebrew: yôm) in Genesis one, the status of Adam and Eve, the purpose of the genealogies etc.
Paul Garner’s book does all this, extremely competently and very readably, but it also does something more. He sets out his case for a 6 (24-hour) day creation week and for reading the genealogies as actual history, so that he stands unequivocally for a ‘young earth’ position. But thereafter he does not leave matters at the level of a critique. Rather he is concerned to build scientific models on the basis that the early chapters of Genesis are true history. In this he is not alone, of course, and much of the work he reports has been done by others. (Not all, I hasten to add, since Garner is a scientist who is prepared to get his hands dirty – literally so in the case of his geological research). What is impressive, though, is the way he has been able to synthesize and explain some of this technical work with great clarity and lucidity.
The areas of science covered in this work concentrate on cosmology, biology and geology. The degree to which progress in scientific model-building has been made by creationists varies quite substantially, but Garner describes several cases where it is nevertheless significant. Indeed, scientific models have been developed to such an extent that it is impossible to give more than a flavour of what are quite specialized theories, requiring graduate-level physics, biology, geology etc. But whether it is Humphreys’ time-dilation model of cosmology, the implications of the RATE1 project’s work on radiometric dating, Oard’s ice-age model or the relevance of catastrophic plate tectonics, Garner manages to help the reader understand the principles of some advanced technical ideas. There is also a handy glossary of most of the necessary technical terms in case readers get lost. Other topics covered include the origins of life, language and culture, some novel ideas on speciation and understanding the fossil record in the context of the Genesis Cataclysm. Where scientists differ in their theories, he gives a fair and balanced account of their reasons for this.
There is very little to criticise here; some might complain that the title is not very informative – but the subtitle deals with that problem. It is questionable whether biblical quotations should have uniformly been taken from the King James Version, since this slightly obscures the argument for universal animal vegetarianism before the Fall (p.158), for example. A more comprehensive bibliography would also have been useful – it is limited to major works – as it can be hard work tracking down the complete reference for a citation that has been made more than once (e.g., try finding the original citation for note 4 on p.212). And some of the references are rather cryptic – does everyone understand what TJ means, for example?
Despite these slight – and mainly editorial – blemishes, they cannot hide the fact that this book is a tremendous achievement. It is very accessible to non-scientists, and it should encourage the Christian layman that it is possible to do origins science on the basis of a creation model, rather than trying to accommodate the assumptions of neo-Darwinism in some form of ‘theistic evolution’. For those readers who are scientists (and especially students who plan to follow a scientific career), it should arouse an interest in scientific research that operates on the assumption that Genesis is valid history. There is clearly much more to be inferred and revised, as Garner is also concerned to acknowledge that scientific models cannot have the status of the Bible. They are always provisional, and open to correction or even complete overthrow, even when they are built on biblical foundations. So this book manages to be both a satisfying survey of current creationist research, and a stimulus towards future developments. It is highly recommended.
1. RATE stands for Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth.
Theistic evolution: Dr Steve Lloyd debates Dr Ard LouisAugust 12, 2010
On Saturday 15 May, Calvary Evangelical Church in Brighton hosted a debate between Dr Steve Lloyd of BCM and Dr Ard Louis of the University of Oxford on the question ‘Creation or evolution: do we have to choose?’
The discussion was chaired by Professor Richard Vincent, Associate Dean of the Brighton and Sussex Medical School until his retirement in 2008. Each speaker gave an opening presentation with Dr Lloyd going first. There was then an opportunity for the participants to respond to one another’s opening remarks. Finally, questions were invited from the audience.
You can now listen to a recording of the debate on the UCCF’s ‘Be Thinking’ website.