Last updated: February 25, 2005.

Origins Seminar


Dice or Deity?
How Did We Get Here?


Synopsis

Questions regarding the origin of our planet, of life, its diversity and of mankind have sparked controversy for centuries, especially since the rise of Darwinian Evolution.

Today, many claim that science has proved the Bible to be outmoded, so that we need no longer follow its teachings in  morals or fear a final judgment.

Others, remaining loyal to Biblical Christianity, have become suspicious of science itself.

In this seminar, taught at the college level for college and university students, teachers, scientists, engineers, and interested laypeople, we provide evidence that much of the controversy involves overzealous interpretation of either the scientific or Biblical data, and that a real harmonization of the two is plausible.



Note: The seminar was taught on three occasions between 1988 and 1992.
The lectures included here were recorded on these occasions.  More than
one lecture on a given topic is included if the lectures were substantially
different.

Lectures 
 
Lecture 1. Robert C. Newman, The Origin of Life.
This lecture explores the implications of random design and concludes that the random construction of even the simplest components of life is extremely improbable. 62 min./14Mb.

Lecture 2. John A. Bloom, Scientific Problems of Biological Evolution.
How solid is the evidence for Evolution? Can we dispense with God? Textbook treatments of evolution are deceptive, using evidence for microevolution as demonstration of macroevolution, which has not been observed. 79 min./18Mb.  Talk Handout. Another version of this talk.

Lecture 3. David C. Bossard, The Human Mind: Evolved?
How does the mind perform the tasks of visual recall, recognition and communication? The way the mind works contrasts with what is commonly assumed in artificial intelligence. 66 min./15Mb. Another version of this talk.

Lecture 4. Perry G. Phillips, The Age of the Earth.
There is a suspicion of science by many Christians and a suspicion of Christianity by many scientists, both based on inaccurate statements made by presumed defenders of the two camps. Correct exegesis of Genesis 1 and 2 give us reliable historical information about creation. 63 min./14.3Mb. Talk Handout. Another version of this talk.

Lecture 5. Robert C. Newman, Relating the Bible and Science.
The Bible and science are both relliable sources of information about origins. The proper way to understand creation is to reconcile the scientific with the Biblical data. This reconciliation results in a reliable account of creation that doesn't disregard the legitimate data from either source. 54 min./12.2Mb. Talk Handout. Another version of this talk.

Lecture 6. Perry G. Phillips, Genesis 1 and the Origin of the Solar System.
This lecture presents a model for an old-earth interpretation of Genesis 1 that is consistent with the evidence from science, and the inerrancy of scripture. 59 min./13.3 Mb.

Lecture 7. Robert C. Newman, Inanimate Design in Nature: A Problem for Atheism.
Life exists because of: (1) The Right Chemistry; (2) The Right Environment; and (3) the Right Universe. Nature has been designed with great precision, and that life could not have existed in the universe without this careful design by a supernatural Creator. 60 min./13.7Mb.

Lecture 8. D. Gary Harlow, The Pre-Eminence of Christ.
An Intelligent approach to the doctrine of Christ is needed to understand how Christ interacts in creation and in redemption. In Him all things were created. 52 min./11.8Mb.

Lecture 9. Perry G. Phillips, Chemical Evolution: Is it Possible?
How did life originate on earth? The standard scenario is what you see on Cosmos and in standard textbooks. It is this: Life began in steps, beginning with simple unorganized material, and proceeding to more complex materials, then to simple cells, then to complex cells then to simple structures such as the lowly  worms, then to complex structures such as human beings. This scenario is implausible on many accounts, without the intelligent activity of a Designer. 67 min./15.3Mb. Talk Handout.

Lecture 10. Questions and Answers (See below). Another Q&A.

Lecture 11. John C. Studenroth, Plant Evolution.
The origin of plants is extensively recorded in the fossil record. A number of examples of so-called "convergent evolution" are given, in particular the so-called C-4 pathway. Most plant innovations come as a package deal which poses a problem for natural evolution. This is illustrated with a discussion of photosynthesis. 56 min./12.8Mb. Talk Handout. Another version of this talk.

Lecture 12. John A. Bloom, Human Evolution.
Where does mankind come from? Do  Science and Sripture clash on the issue of the origin of man? When did the Biblical Adam live? Was there a special creation of the human race? 58 min./13.1Mb. Talk Handout.

Lecture 13. Wayne Frair, Does Similarity Mean Descent?
This lecture explores the topic of homology, the similarity in features among widely different plants and animals. Homology is an unsolved problem, complicated by the fact that homologous features often have radically different embryonic development pathways. The ultimate question is: do homologous creatures share similar ancestors as is assumed in Darwinian Evolution? 51 min./1.6Mb. Talk Handout.

Lecture 14. Robert C. Newman, Genesis 1 and the Origin of the Earth.
There are striking parallels between the Genesis account of Creation  and the scientific evidence for the origin of the earth. 63 min./14.3Mb. Talk Handout.

Lecture 15. John C. Studenroth, The Glory of God as Revealed in a Microscope.
This lecture explores four areas: (1)  Single-Celled Life -- The complexity of the protoplasm and the cell membrane. (2) Photosynthesis -- Anatomy of the chloroplast; description of how Chlorophyll works; the Calvin Cycle. (3) The Ribosome -- Bacterial Ribosomes; Protein Synthesis, and (4) The Virus -- using the example of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus and frame-shifting gene transcription. 57 min./13.0Mb. Talk Handout.




QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
(Lecture 10)
John A. Bloom, Perry G. Phillips and Robert C. Newman
Click on the question to hear the answers

1.  We have probes in outer space at this time looking for other types of life. What is the probability that the theory that you have just gone through is taking place at other places in the galaxy? (continuation) What do you mean by Earth-like planets?

2.  Explain big bang theory and its relation to the Bible. Follow-up: How determine the age of the earth?

3. Your theory predicts that no life can occur on another planet. If life were discovered on another planet, how damaging would that be to your theory? 

4. Could God have  put the fossil record in place over a short period of time so that the prophecies of knowledge advancing in these days would be fulfilled?   What can you say about the claim that scientists in Maryland found that the astronomical record has a missing day?

5. How do you explain Noah's Ark, and how to fit all the animals into the ark?

6. Was the Natural order of things inside the Garden of Eden the same as existed globally at the time?    Was death the result of the Fall? If so, how is this reconciled with the fossil record?

7. How is the evidence of the fossil record that life began simply and then became complex reconciled with the  Second Law of Thermodynamics that asserts the constant increase in disorder?

8. Can you comment on an assertion I heard that  a Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) review claims that the  Garden of Eden had been discovered.

9.  How fast does life change in the Fossil Record? How much is explained by micro-evolution?  How do you think Marsupials wound up in Australia?

10. What is the reliability of carbon dating? What can you say about a canopy to protect the earth before the flood? 

11. What accounts for the shortening of the life spans in Genesis? Are the years different kinds of years?

12. Evolution history of the horse. The feet and teeth are shown at the Smithsonian.  Comment about the teeth.

13. Do you know anything about a fossil of the modern horse, Equus, being found in the same strata as the Eohippus fossils?

14. Define macro-evolution and explain how this definition relates to the absence of complex life forms in the pre-Cambrian and Cambrian eras?

15. How do you differentiate between microevolution and adaptive radiation?

16. Explain microevolution as it occurs in the genome. Is it different gene expressions, or mutations that cause the change in the phenotype?

17. Is there a summary statement that can distinguish between micro- and macroevolution?

18. Can you recommend non-technical publications on the origin of man that are consistent with your views?

19. Do any autographs of any portions of the Bible exist?

20. Do the Apollo landings show evidence of microscopic meteors?

21. Can you explain the rate  of cosmic dust that the young-earth creationists cite as evidence of a young earth?

22. Does the developing fetus have a tail? If so, why, and does it prove evolution?

23. Did Adam  form a special creation of Homo Erectus? Did Homo Erectus have a soul?

24. If God is God,  does there have to be another earth-like planet for there to be life of any sort on another planet?

25. Does an infinite universe contradict the concept of an infinite God?

26. Please define DNA, RNA, human gene, human genome. 

27. Where did Cain and Abel get their wives?

28. Do black holes create universes?   theory explain the forms of animals and plants?

30. The fourth day of creation: does it imply a vapor canopy? Is it generally accepted that the early earth was covered with liquid water?

31. Where is Heaven?

32. How do you interpret "days" in Genesis 1?

33. When were the Angels created?

34.  Are secular scientists feeding information on genes, etc. into a computer to see if evolution is plausible?

35. What was the scope of Noah's flood and where do dinosaurs fit in?

36. Is the story of what happened to Jonah actual history?




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