‘equipping the church
on origins’

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News & Blog page 9

Speaking engagements in 2012-2013

September 21, 2012

Paul Garner is not available for speaking engagements for the time being, but will be taking bookings for autumn 2013 onwards. In the meantime, Steve Lloyd will continue to be available for speaking opportunities and we also hope that at least one visit by an overseas speaker may be arranged in the near future. Four associate speakers have also agreed to help us with engagements in 2012-2013. To book one of these speakers for your meeting please contact us on 01353 721578.

Dr David Tyler.

Dr Sylvia Baker.

Dr Marc Surtees.

Dr William Worraker.

Dr David Tyler has a background in the physical sciences. He is a Reader at Manchester Metropolitan University, a Fellow of the Textile Institute and a Member of the Institute of Physics. He is Secretary of the Biblical Creation Society and has written many articles that seek to develop a Christian perspective on origins. He and his wife are members of Mottram Evangelical Church in Cheshire. Topics that David can speak about include Science and faith: why are there tensions? / Biblical creation: does it matter what we believe? / Design in nature: can it be handled by science? / Geology and the Flood / Understanding the rock record.

Dr Sylvia Baker is a biologist who trained under Professor John Maynard-Smith at Sussex University. Subsequently, with her family, she co-pioneered the thriving Trinity School at Stalybridge near Manchester for many years. She is author of Bone of Contention, a popular introduction to the origins debate which has sold over 250,000 copies in 10 languages. She recently gained a PhD for her research on the Christian schools movement in the UK. She currently attends a Baptist Church in Cheshire. Topics that Sylvia can address include Creationism in the classroom / Creation or evolution: what should we believe? / The rocks and the fossils: what should we believe? / Genesis and genetics: what should we believe?

Dr Marc Surtees has a PhD in zoology from the University of Reading. He is the director of an independent consultancy to the pharmaceutical industry and also manages a science and nature shop called Paradigm Shift in Edinburgh. He and his wife are active members of an independent Baptist Church and Marc lists his interests as his family, education, information technology, DIY, camping and walking. He is also an active member of the Edinburgh Creation Group. Topics that Marc can speak about include The God delusion? / Whales: created or evolved? / Are humans evolved apes? / The origin of life / Did birds evolve from dinosaurs? / Fossils: what do they really mean? / Evidence for a young earth / Was the eye designed?

Dr William Worraker has a BSc in Physics and a PhD in Engineering Mathematics. Currently employed as a developer of industrial software, he has been an active amateur astronomer for over twenty years and has participated in collaborative professional-amateur observing projects on variable stars. He and his wife are members of Abbey Baptist Church in Abingdon. Topics that Bill can address include General astronomy / Age and formation of the solar system / Astronomy of stars and galaxies / Cosmology / Existence (or otherwise) of life in space and related topics.

Origins 2012

September 18, 2012

Conference report by Stephen Lloyd

This was my first time at the Origins conference organised by the Creation Biology Society and the Creation Geology Society.

The conference this year was held at Patrick Henry College, a Christian College in Purcellville, Virginia, about a one hour drive from Washington DC.

The first day of the conference was taken up with a field trip to the Shenandoah National Park. As we drove across the Blue Ridge Mountains we learnt about the local geology and ecology and we also had plenty of time to talk.

Patrick Henry College.

John Whitmore.

Stephen Lloyd.

The technical sessions the following day covered geology, biology and theology. One of the highlights for me was John Whitmore’s talk on deformation features in the Coconino sandstone that provide further evidence of its formation in water.

In the evening we were treated to an overview of various key topics. Kurt Wise set out the current state of the Catastrophic Plate Tectonics model and Andrew Snelling explained the latest creationist thinking on radiometric dating including proposals for the further work that is needed. Todd Wood discussed various approaches to creation biology and summarised the progress that has been made. He also set out a stimulating new framework for creation biology research that derives from a biblical doctrine of creation rather than the questions that arise in responding to evolution.

Steve Austin finished the (long!) evening giving a fascinating account of his ongoing research on Dead Sea sediments that provide evidence for earthquakes in Israel’s history, including the one associated with the crucifixion in AD 33.

The final day was open to the public with various speakers invited to address different areas of theological importance for creation. Topics included the alleged mythical character of Genesis 1–3 and the historicity of Adam. I finished the conference giving a talk entitled: ‘Flood Theology: why does Noah’s flood matter?’

Conference abstracts and powerpoint presentations from some of the theology talks can be downloaded from the Creation Biology Society website.

Debate: Do we live on an old or young earth?

June 20, 2012

Steve Lloyd took part in a debate on the age of the earth on Monday 28 May 2012 at Gunnersbury Baptist Church in London. Hugh Ross and Ken Samples from ‘Reasons to Believe’ defended an old earth position. Steve and Andrew McIntosh presented young earth positions. Justin Brierley of Premier Christian Radio chaired the debate. The evening was recorded for Premier Radio and it was broadcast as the ‘Unbelievable’ show on 17 June 2012 and is available for download here.

The recording begins with four opening presentations of 15 minutes each (Steve is the fourth speaker), followed by a round-table discussion, then questions from the floor and finally closing statements of 5 minutes from each speaker.

Still Set in Stone: A Response to Stephen Moreton

May 21, 2012

On 14 April 2012, Dr Stephen Moreton of the British Centre for Science Education (BCSE) posted a critical review of the Set in Stone DVD on the Amazon.co.uk website. Although it is not our intention to get embroiled in lengthy discussions with internet critics, we felt that some response to Dr Moreton’s comments was in order. Our response to Dr Moreton’s review can be downloaded here.

Flood, Fire and Ice in the Lake District

May 15, 2012

Report by Paul Garner

In April I led a group of home school families and their friends on a geological field trip to the Lake District of northwest England (see the photos below). Fortunately, the weather was good to us and we avoided the April showers!

The Lake District consists of a small dome of sedimentary and volcanic rocks of Ordovician and Silurian age, protruding from beneath a cover of younger Carboniferous and Permo-Triassic rocks. Visitors to the region can see some remarkably varied geology within a fairly small area.

On our trip we had the opportunity to see rapidly deposited sediments of the Skiddaw Group, explosive volcanic rocks and mudflows belonging to the Borrowdale Volcanic Group, and quarry exposures of the cross-bedded Penrith Sandstone. We also examined the distinctive Shap Granite and its relationships with the surrounding rocks. In addition we thought about the effects of the ice age on the Lake District landscape. The evidence was placed in a creationist framework and shown to support the biblical record of a global Flood.

One parent said: “With the benefits of clear explanations and well chosen sites to visit, it has aided my understanding of geology in the British Isles and shown how the data best supports short-time catastrophic models. I would warmly recommend this trip to anyone with an interest in biblical creation or geology from about 10 years up.”

The field trip was such a success that we may well repeat it in the future. The good news is that you don’t have to be a home schooler to take part! If you, your family or your church would be interested in a trip of this kind, do let us know.

Briefing at Side Pike, Great Langdale.

Examining the Shap Granite.

The Wasdale Beck unconformity.

Penrith Sandstone with large-scale cross-bedding.

Set in Stone DVD

January 11, 2012

Set in Stone: Evidence for Earth’s
Catastrophic Past

We are delighted to announce the imminent release of Set in Stone: Evidence for Earth’s Catastrophic Past, a major documentary production that BCM researcher Paul Garner has been working on for the last two years. The producer is Mark Haville of NPN Videos for Truth in Science. A 60-second teaser trailer can be viewed here and the description on the DVD cover runs as follows:

According to modern geology, our world is over four and a half billion years old, and its geological features have been sculpted over vast eons of time. Everyone knows that planet earth is unimaginably ancient. It’s common knowledge that geological forces have acted slowly over millions of years to form the rocks beneath our feet. But what if what everyone ‘knows’ is wrong?

This remarkable programme takes the viewer on a visual odyssey of discovery like no other. Shot on location across Britain, it takes in some of the most spectacular countryside, beautiful coastlines and awe inspiring landscapes these islands have to offer. From the stormy shores of South Wales to the dramatic Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, from the granite tors of Dartmoor to the windswept uplands of the Peak District, we visit an array of sites that have inspired generations of geologists and helped us to unravel the mysteries of the earth’s past.

Most significantly, we pay a visit to Siccar Point in Scotland, made famous by the pioneering naturalist James Hutton, whose observations here sparked an earthquake in the science of geology that still reverberates to this day. Along the way, we will pose some intriguing questions. Were the rocks around us formed slowly and gradually – or suddenly during catastrophic events? Did the history of the world unfold over vast eras of time or much shorter periods? And what do the rocks really tell us about the geological history of our world?

The DVD comes with a fully referenced transcript with over 150 citations from the scientific literature. Copies will shortly be available from the Truth in Science webshop for £12.95 each plus £1.75 for postage and packing. For advance orders, please contact Truth in Science.

Something to Talk About

December 12, 2011

Michael Passingham and Philip Matejtschuk, students at the University of Lincoln.

Paul Garner was interviewed recently by Michael Passingham and Philip Matejtschuk (above), students at the University of Lincoln, for a media assignment looking at the relationship between science and religion. The resulting podcast has now been released as Episode 1 of “Something to Talk About” and you can listen to it here. Other contributors to this edition include Julian Barbour (Visiting Professor, University of Oxford), Sandra Hibbert (Science Teacher, Hertfordshire), Michael Reiss (Professor and Associate Director, Institute of Education) and Barry Turner (Senior Lecturer, University of Lincoln).

Fossil collecting is fun!

September 8, 2011

Report by Paul Garner

In August I had an enjoyable time leading a group of home schoolers on a fossil hunt in a disused clay pit near Peterborough. The sedimentary rocks from which we collected belong to the lower part of the Middle Jurassic Oxford Clay Formation. The trip gave us the opportunity to think about the formation of mudstones, sedimentary rocks dominated by silt- and clay-sized particles. Mudstones are usually thought to have been deposited by the very slow settling of fine dispersed grains in quiet water conditions. But new research is causing geologists to reconsider the conditions under which fine-grained sediments are deposited. In fact, flume experiments and field observations show that muds can be deposited at current velocities that are sufficient to transport and deposit sand.

Fossil hunt in a disused clay pit near Peterborough.

The lovely ‘thank you’ cards from the youngsters.

Certainly the extraordinary abundance of the fossils in the Oxford Clay seems to be consistent with rapid rates of sedimentation. Everyone on the trip was able to take home a fine collection of ammonites, belemnites, Gryphaea oysters and the occasional brachiopod! It was very gratifying to see the enthusiasm of the families that took part and to receive some lovely ‘thank you’ cards from the youngsters afterwards. I’m always happy to consider similar opportunities, so do let me know if you think your group – homeschoolers or otherwise – would be interested in an educational trip of this kind.

Reflections on Origins 2011

August 5, 2011

Conference report by Paul Garner

Well, another Creation Biology Society/Creation Geology Society conference is over. This year’s meeting marked the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Whitcomb and Morris’ The Genesis Flood, and so it was designed to be a special event with a geology field trip and some public talks in addition to the technical sessions.

Studying the Great Unconformity.

Our field excursion to the Black Hills of South Dakota was led by Marcus Ross. It included a visit to the Homestake gold mine, the Great Unconformity between the Precambrian Ellison Formation and the Cambrian Deadwood Formation, and the Niobrara Chalk. We also had an opportunity to see Mount Rushmore and its famous carvings of former US Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. The photo above shows Steve Austin addressing the group at the Great Unconformity.

The next two days were devoted to the technical sessions. You can read the abstracts online (in the latest editions of JCTS Series B and JCTS Series C ), but here are a few highlights:

  • Georgia Purdom explained the work she is doing to identify biogenic stromatolites in the rock record and evaluate their occurrence in pre-Flood and Flood sediments.
  • Roger Sanders offered a creationist interpretation of fossil pollen assemblages across the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary.
  • Todd Wood presented a new analysis showing that the chimpanzee genome is not much bigger than the human genome and nearly identical to it.
  • Tim Clarey discussed the phenomenon of overthrusts and proposed that they developed as catastrophic gravity slides late in the Flood or early in the post-Flood period.
  • Marcus Ross examined the fossil record of mammals in North America and argued that it was incompatible with a Flood/post-Flood boundary in the Plio-Pleistocene.
  • John Whitmore reported new observations of bedding styles in the Permian Coconino Sandstone of Arizona which pointed to subaqueous deposition.

There were also three presentations on dinosaur baraminology. One was a baraminic distance study which showed Archaeopteryx clustering with dromaeosaurs and separated from modern birds by morphological discontinuity. This is intriguing in light of last week’s Nature paper about Xiaotingia zhengi, a new Archaeopteryx-like fossil from China. Many creationists will probably reject the idea that Archaeopteryx is a feathered dinosaur, although I’m not quite sure why. I can’t think of a single biblical or theological reason why the idea of a feathered dinosaur should be considered problematic for creationists.

Finally, there were the public talks. Art Chadwick gave a tremendous presentation about his ground-breaking work at the Hanson dinosaur dig in Wyoming and John Morris offered us some personal recollections of events associated with the writing of The Genesis Flood. Other talks covered the frontiers of creation biology (Todd Wood), the eruption of Mount St Helens (Steve Austin), the wonders of human reproduction (Randy Guliuzza), a creationist approach to microbial life (Joe Francis) and scriptural and scientific insights into the pre-Flood world (Kurt Wise). The conference closed with a panel discussion on educational issues that raised controversial questions about how (or even whether) evolution should be taught in Christian colleges.

If you missed the conference, you missed a real treat. Don’t make the same mistake next year!

Geology field work in Scotland

June 27, 2011

Report by Paul Garner

Last week I was engaged in field work with John Whitmore on the Permian sandstones of Scotland for our ongoing Coconino research. Things went well and we had an enjoyable time. Despite the unpromising forecasts, the weather was reasonably good. The only day it poured with rain we were in the car travelling and so it didn’t really matter much.

Corrie Sandstone on Arran.

I collected John and his wife from Glasgow airport on Saturday 18 June and we immediately drove to Ardrossan to catch the ferry to the Isle of Arran. On Arran, we examined the cross-bedded “windblown” sandstones exposed along the shoreline near Corrie. We also had the opportunity to walk along the northern coastline to Hutton’s unconformity, where Dalradian metasediments are unconformably overlain by the Carboniferous Kinnesswood Formation. There were also good exposures of the Permian breccias which interdigitate with the Corrie Sandstone.

On Tuesday morning we caught the ferry from Brodick back to the mainland and made the long but very scenic drive to Drumnadrochit. Our journey took us past the tourist hotspot of Loch Lomond, through the brooding valley of Glen Coe and then along the Great Glen, a dramatic SW-NE-trending faultline that cuts right across the Scottish Highlands. We spent the next day sight-seeing around Loch Ness.

On Thursday we headed out to Hopeman on the southern shores of the Moray Firth. East of the harbour there are magnificent exposures of the Hopeman Sandstone, another “windblown” Permian unit. These outcrops were very reminiscent of the Coconino Sandstone of central and northern Arizona, but, if anything, displayed even larger-scale cross-bedding. We also drove a little further east along the coast to Covesea and dropped down onto the beach from the coastal path to view the sandstones in the cliffs.

Hopeman Sandstone.

Locharbriggs Sandstone.

On Friday morning we made further progress to Dumfries. There we were able to visit quarry exposures of the Locharbriggs Sandstone. We saw further outcrops in Castledykes Park, where the relationship between the Locharbriggs Sandstone and the Doweel Breccia was nicely displayed.

Finally, on Saturday I dropped John and his wife back at Glasgow airport for their flight home, before making the seven-hour journey south. I arrived home late that evening, weary but pleased that another round of field work had gone successfully. We made some field observations that we think are significant for understanding the depositional environment of these sandstones and also collected several samples for petrographic examination. We’re looking forward to seeing how they’ll compare with the Coconino.

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