New website: please update your bookmarks!
September 1, 2016
NEWS! We have a new website here. Please change your bookmarks as this website is no longer being updated and will soon be deleted.
NEWS! We have a new website here. Please change your bookmarks as this website is no longer being updated and will soon be deleted.
BCM is changing its name – and much more besides! Since November 2013 a group of people involved in the work of three similar organisations – Biblical Creation Ministries, Biblical Creation Society (BCS), and Genesis Agendum (GA) – have been discussing how best we can work together in order to promote a right understanding of the scriptural teaching on creation and its theological significance within the story-line of the Bible.
These discussions have now come to fruition, and BCM will soon become Biblical Creation Trust (BCT) with trustees drawn from all three previous organisations. These new BCT trustees are Martyn Hallett (BCM), Colin Reeves (BCM), Stephen Bazlinton (BCM), David Tyler (BCS), Nancy Darrall (BCS), and Ray Trainer (BCS, GA). Richard Haddow will be joining them as a new trustee.
Paul Garner and Stephen Lloyd will continue to be employed in their vital work on behalf of BCT of speaking, writing and research on biblical creation. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Ian Chambers for his work as a trustee of BCM over the preceding years. We would also like to thank Kathryn Faulkner, who is stepping down too, for her invaluable work as administrator and treasurer for BCM. Our new treasurer is Liz Reeves, formerly an administrator for BCS.
However, although the name is changing and we are indeed beginning a new venture, our focus remains the same – to communicate well the ethos and results of biblical creation research so as to better equip the church as a whole in its mission to the world. Our aim will be to nurture a biblically-based origins research community bringing together both science and theology.
Why is this research community important? Because many have lost confidence in the Bible as providing reliable historical information concerning origins. All Christians need to be persuaded both of the necessity of biblical creation for a coherent understanding of the gospel and also of the scientific plausibility of biblical creation. A biblically-based origins research community is essential for us to do this. Among other specific initiatives, we will seek to achieve this by:
• creating a website to communicate our distinctive ethos of research based upon biblical creation;
• identifying and encouraging students engaged in postgraduate research related to origins topics;
• appointing research associates to work on specific projects;
• and funding a church-based internship.
We hope to make progress with the new website soon, and to flesh out these and other proposals over the coming months.
Ray Trainer, Chair of Trustees
Report by Paul Garner
Since BCM was established in 2002 I’ve had the privilege to visit Poland on many occasions. These visits have given me the opportunity to speak alongside many other creationists, including Drs John Peet, Geoff Barnard, Sylvia Baker and Werner Gitt. I’ve just returned from my latest trip where I was speaking alongside Professors Andy McIntosh (Leeds) and Steve Taylor (Liverpool).
We flew into Gdańsk on Tuesday 26th May, where our first meeting was organised by the Polish Biblical Creation Society and held in a scientific institute whose (shortened) name translates roughly as the Chief Technical Organization. Andy spoke first on the extraordinary design of human hearing. I followed on catastrophic plate tectonics and the global Flood and Steve concluded on dinosaurs and dating methods. The audience was mostly comprised of Christians from local churches, but with some others in attendance. The following day we remained in Gdańsk to record some interviews for a small Christian production company, which will be featured in its regular web-based broadcast called “Antidotum”. Steve and I also spoke to students in a couple of local schools — where we were asked to give our talks without translation and the students asked to give their questions in English! At the school I visited I was invited to have tea afterwards with the School Principal and a member of staff who was a plant cytologist. Things are much more open there than here in the UK.
On Thursday 28th May we made the long drive to Lublin, where a local Christian organisation called Twój Ruch (“Your Move”) had set up a debate between Andy and Steve and two university academics, Professors Michał Ginter (a palaeobiologist) and Konrad Talmont-Kamiński (an evolutionary psychologist). We had discovered the day before that there had been a change of venue after the university disallowed the use of the room that had been booked; fortunately, an acceptable alternative was found right next door. At the last moment Professor Talmont-Kamiński also chose to withdraw from the debate. It was difficult for us to get to the bottom of precisely what had happened, but the media had certainly been stirring things up. We also had a series of mishaps on the journey to Lublin, which meant we arrived half an hour late. Nevertheless, the debate went ahead, with Steve debating Professor Ginter and Andy giving a hastily modified version of the talk that he had originally prepared for his debate with Professor Talmont-Kamiński. The speakers then interacted with one another and with questions from the audience.
One of the main arguments to which Professor Ginter appealed in the debate concerned “transitional forms” in the fossil record, especially Tiktaalik, the Canadian “fish-tetrapod” unveiled in 2006. After the debate, the organisers invited us to dinner with Professor Ginter. Over the meal I asked him what he thought of the tetrapod tracks that had been found in Poland and which pre-dated Tiktaalik by at least 18 million years according to conventional dates (Nature 463:43-48, 2010). Professor Ginter told me that one of the co-authors of that paper was one of his PhD students. I asked whether he accepted they really were tetrapod tracks, and he said he had no doubts about it. I asked whether he thought the dating was secure, and he confirmed that it was. He agreed that it presented a very confusing picture for the standard evolutionary story!
The following day (Friday 29th May), Steve left us to return to the UK, but Andy and I had an evening meeting where we each gave presentations followed by “cross-examination” by three doctoral students from the university. Andy spoke on design in flight (birds and insects) and I gave a talk on geological data and the age of the earth. Knowing that we were in the same venue as the previous evening and that many people would attend both meetings, I also included a response on Tiktaalik, drawing attention to the tetrapod footprint discovery. This seemed to create a bit of a stir with some expressing puzzlement as to why it had been left out of the evolutionary story the previous evening.
There was a lively but courteous interaction with the students and with questions posed by the audience. After the first debate Andy spoke to a young man who respected the Bible but had not really read it. He had not realised that Genesis recorded the creation of birds before land creatures so that it was not possible to accept both evolution and the Bible. Andy gave him a copy of his book, Genesis for Today. After the second debate, one of the doctoral students, who has Christian parents but who has sadly turned away from the faith, came to the meal afterwards, and admitted that the presentations had given him much to think about.
On Saturday 30th May we made another long journey to Wisła, for the European Leadership Forum (ELF). The ELF is a large meeting of Christian leaders and opinion formers from all across Europe and is held annually. Almost 800 people attended, not including the volunteers running it. There was a packed programme of plenary sessions and seminars, plus meetings held by different “Networks” (for scientists, theologians, philosophers, evangelists, youthworkers and so on). I had signed up for the Scientists Network, whose general theme this year was the environment and geology. On Monday 1st June I contributed to a discussion on climate change with a talk summarising both consensus and sceptical positions on anthropogenic global warming, setting the debate in the context of climate change in the recent geological past and different models of the ice age (young-age versus old-age). On Wednesday our session was devoted to the age of the earth, with me defending the young-age position and a German oil geologist invited to defend the old-age position. Unfortunately, for reasons of ill health, my “opponent” wasn’t able to attend but her paper and accompanying Powerpoint slides were presented on her behalf by one of the Network organisers.
In my talk, I set out a methodology of interaction between science and the Bible, then presented a couple of case studies showing the explanatory and predictive power of young-age theories (catastrophic plate tectonics and the Coconino Sandstone). Then I addressed some potential challenges for the young-age position (radiometric dating, fossil succession and geological formations apparently requiring long time spans). I concluded with some challenges for the old-age position (the strong mismatch between rates of sedimentation and radiometric dates, formations requiring the collapse of geological time and theological issues surrounding the global flood and the link between sin and death). My opponent’s presentation included a short history of how geologists came to believe in an old earth, outlined a variety of radiometric and non-radiometric dating methods and concluded with an appeal to Christians to keep science and belief in God separate — an approach she described rather controversially as “scientific atheism”.
We want to record our thanks to our translators, Stasiek Sylwestrowicz and Anna Wiśniowska. In addition, Stasiek was our driver and covered many hundreds of miles during our visit. We are also very grateful for all those praying for us during the trip. There were many encouragements, even if all did not go exactly to plan! The evangelical churches in Poland are more firmly creationist than here in the UK – and we were told that our visits over the years have been very influential in this regard. A growing number of creationist resources are available in the Polish language, including the Set in Stone DVD. It is likely too that personal contacts made at the ELF will open up future opportunities in other European nations.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Matthew Pickhaver as an Associate Lecturer with BCM. Matthew was awarded a BSc in zoology by University College London and a PGCE by the University of East Anglia before teaching in a state primary school for twelve years.
He is currently supported by Norwich Evangelical Free Church, of which he is a member, and two other Norfolk congregations, to engage in regular preaching and evangelism, including open-air, door-to-door and youth work.
In October last year Matthew spoke alongside Paul Garner at meetings in Cromer and Great Ellingham. Matthew’s talk on natural selection and the Genesis kinds was well received and he is currently preparing talks on other topics.
We hope that you will consider inviting Matthew to address your church or to give a creation talk. Engagements in East Anglia would be ideal but Matthew is willing to consider travelling further afield. You can contact Matthew by telephone (07910 383682) or email.
On 28 March, BCM’s Steve Lloyd debated John Walton on Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable programme. The topic for debate was: “Have we misread the Adam and Eve story?”
John Walton is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, Illinois, and author of the book The Lost World of Adam and Eve. He argues that Adam and Eve should be understood as archetypes for humankind, and that the story is not mean to be taken as an account of our material origins. Steve responded by arguing that Walton undermines Christian theology as a whole with his view of Genesis.
Programme host Justin Brierley chaired the debate, which can be heard on the Premier Radio website.
Critics claim that the Coconino Sandstone of central and northern Arizona is a problem for creationism because it was deposited by wind in an ancient desert – not by water in a global flood.
However, in December a major petrological study of the Coconino co-authored by BCM’s Paul Garner was published in the open-access Answers Research Journal. This paper reported surprising new discoveries challenging the claim of wind deposition and supporting an underwater origin.
Now another paper by the same research group has documented the occurrence of folds in the Coconino of a type known only from water-laid sediments.
A third paper by Paul’s colleagues was published in the academic journal Sedimentary Geology in 2010 and showed that sand-filled cracks at the base of the Coconino in the vicinity of Grand Canyon were formed by major earthquake activity – not desiccation in an arid desert as earlier studies had claimed.
This new work confirms earlier research by Leonard Brand demonstrating that the fossil animal tracks in the Coconino were most likely made underwater and not on dry desert sand dunes.
It is encouraging to see that scientific research based on insights drawn from the biblical record can lead to exciting new discoveries as well as helping to answer objections raised by sceptics.
Since 2007, BCM’s Paul Garner has been working with Dr John Whitmore (Cedarville University) and other colleagues on a major research project on the Coconino Sandstone of central and northern Arizona. A major part of this research was published online today in the Answers Research Journal.
The Coconino has long been regarded as the classic textbook example of a windblown desert sandstone in the rock record. Critics commonly claim that sandstones of this type could not have formed during the global flood in the days of Noah.
However, the new paper reports multiple lines of petrological data that support a subaqueous origin for the Coconino and call into question the idea that it was deposited by wind in an ancient desert.
You can read the full paper here.
Saved2Serve is a unique and strategic youth ministry (ages 15-25). It centres on an annual weekend away providing Bible teaching with a focus on how young people can serve God in mission.
BCM’s Stephen Lloyd was invited to speak in April giving a seminar on “Has science disproved Scripture?” In the summer he recorded an audio version of the talk that can be heard here. There is also an accompanying handout.
BCM is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Bill Worraker as an Associate Researcher. We will be supporting Bill in a research project addressing one of the most significant issues facing young-age creationist models of earth history: “the heat problem”.
In 2005, the Institute for Creation Research’s RATE project (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth) concluded that radioactive decay processes were accelerated by large factors of a billion or so during certain episodes in earth history and specifically during Noah’s Flood.
But a major issue arising from these findings is that in the absence of an efficient heat removal mechanism accelerated radioactive decay during the Flood would have generated enough heat to vaporize the oceans and melt the earth’s crustal rocks.
Bill is proposing to investigate a range of energy balance models for the earth during the Genesis Flood, and perhaps also between Creation Week and the Flood, with a view to identifying potential solutions to the heat problem.
BCM has agreed to provide financial support for this project in line with our vision for supporting high-quality creationist research. We will also be providing access to literature and facilitating contact with other interested scientists.
We anticipate that the results of the research will be published in a peer-reviewed creationist journal or as a special publication at the end of the project.
Paul Garner has contributed to a special baraminology volume of the Journal of Creation Theology and Science Series B: Life Sciences.
Paul’s paper seeks to answer the question: do all woodpecker species belong to the same created kind and what are the implications for creationist design arguments?
Other papers in the volume address the baraminology of raccoons, opossums and pelycosaurs.
All the papers are open-access and can be downloaded here.