in Christian Perspective
Autobiographies from the ASA listserv
A diverse collection of personal reflections by participants on the ASA listserv.
I have a B.S. in Geology from Birmingham-Southern College (BSC), and a M.S. in Geology from the University of Tennessee. I am currently a Senior Geologist with Law Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. The following is an update which was published in our alumni update book for our 35th BSC Class Reunion this past May.
With 9-11 burned into our collective consciousness as a reminder of how transient life is, I thought I would depart from the standard format to relate the pivotal point of my life. I was raised in the church, but drifted into agnosticism while studying geology at BSC. I may have been slightly influenced by a burning desire to pursue, without a guilty conscience, all those uproariously fun things we did. But probably not, it was really an intellectual choice (right). I shelved my Bible in the fall of my sophomore year at Southern and began to pursue through science answers to those ultimate questions of our origin and fate. I went to grad school at the U of TN, an experience that stood in stark contrast to BSC. The music of life stopped; the fun faded. By the time I was 27, I had spent 3 years in the Marines, biked through Europe, circled back through UT to finish grad school, and worked as a geologist. I had it all, yet I had nothing.
I had come to think of the Bible as a collection of fairy tales in the same category as Santa Claus and Snow White. My best friend divorced his wife, Carol, and four-year old son, and he and I got an apartment together. I felt very bad that they had split up, so I went by to check on them (yeah, we eventually got married and I adopted the boy, who is now 32, but that's another story). Carol had become a Christian through their divorce, as a result of her in-laws inviting her to a Billy Graham Crusade in Birmingham. As she and I were talking, she told me of her conversion, and so, gentle soul that I am, I began to pick at her faith with my dozen reasons why Christianity couldn't possibly be true. She responded by offering to set up a meeting for me with someone who might be able to answer my questions.
I agreed, and that person did answer several of the objections I had. He
recommended a book that I devoured - Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh
McDowell. One paragraph in that book grabbed me: "We also have a roundabout
reference from Julian the Apostate, Roman Emperor from 361-363, who was one of
the most gifted of the ancient adversaries to Christianity. In his work against
Christianity, he states: 'Jesus has
now been celebrated about three hundred years; having done nothing in his
lifetime worthy of fame, unless anyone thinks it a very great work to heal lame
and blind people and exorcise demoniacs in the villages of
Bethsaida and Bethany.'" It struck me as incongruous that Julian, while
attempting to discredit Christianity, accepted as fact the miracles I had
rejected as fairy tales. He was certainly closer in time to Jesus than I
was, and presumably would have had a better independent assessment of the man's life than I could ever get. At that moment I leaned back, looked at the ceiling and thought, "OK, God and Jesus, if you guys are really there and if you want my life, you can have it; it's certainly no good to me the way it is." That was it - no bells, no bright lights. I just went back to reading my book.
A couple of weeks later I realized that, in my mind, the weight of evidence had shifted from "no God" to "there really is a God." I didn't say anything to anyone, but after another couple of weeks Carol said, "You've become a Christian haven't you?" She could see the difference in my eyes. I no longer fear death; my heart is filled with a perfect peace and my life has a sense of meaning and purpose. I would welcome the opportunity to dialogue with anyone searching for answers to the ultimate questions of life. I don't know all the answers, but I do know the One who does.
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah1:18
My personal testimony
I have my heart on my sleeve, in this essay. I'll try hard to be
(2) accurate & truthful
(3) comprehensive as to significant things and
(4) not boring.
I may not achieve these goals, but they are what I will strive for.
I begin with where I am today on my spiritual journey. I am a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA). My beloved brother Paul is a long time Lutheran (ELCA) pastor, my esteemed second son Samuel is a Southern Baptist minister and Carol, my cherished wife of 45 years, is an Inquirer for ordination in the PCUSA in her third year of pursuing the MDiv degree at the Iliff School of Theology.
I was reading the PCUSA Book of Order today (the husband of a seminary student sometimes has unconventional reading material) and came on the section where nine questions are put to candidates for ordination. The first two of these are:
1. Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledging him Lord of all and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, father, Son and Holy Spirit?
2. Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God's Word to you?
Questions 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 pertain to the specific office of ministry.
Question 6 asks:
6. Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love your neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world?
I became a Christian in 1962, in one of the six epiphanies I can identify in my life. I have enthusiastically said "yes" to question #1 ever since that time. It is my stance today; it is my intent that it be my stance for the rest of my life.
When I became a Christian, I knew little about scripture, so my answer to#2
is necessarily derivative. My answer is, today, "yes," and I see no
reasons that should ever change. I would probably add the terms
applicable for faith and practice were I to reword it. Carol and I hold scripture in reverence, reading aloud from it each morning.
My answer to #3 is also "yes." But I need to say more.
When I became a Christian, three precepts seemed to be paramount in accepting
this new worldview. The first two were self-related, being in worship every
Sunday and observing the biblical notion of the tithe. The
third, inspired probably by the book of James, was to be involved in service (servanthood)
to others. Other precepts have come along, but these three remain very
important. Observing the first two is, of course,
just being supportive to the faith community in which I am involved; the third
one requires more thought. Over the years there have been many servanthood
opportunities; some I have taken, some I have not. Besides
serving in the church as youth leaders, SS teachers, occasional fill-ins for the
preacher, etc. Carol and I were together active in the Civil Rights movement of
the early to mid 60s. We wanted to Ďchange the world,Ó and so
we did that, not the whole world for everybody, of course, but the whole world for three persons, as we adopted and raised to adulthood three orphans from Korea, along with our other five children. That phase of our life being over, we have looked for other ways to serve, mission trips to Haiti, Panama and Mexico, anti-racism committees, serving meals in a soup kitchen, political posts, urban ministries, etc. Currently, my chosen outlet is Habitat for Humanity; I work in construction twice weekly and, as I age, may phase over into some less physical part of the ministry. I hope that will not be for a few years. Why Habitat for Humanity? Frederick Buechner once wrote: 'The place God calls you to be is the place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep need.' (A SEEKER (ABC, 1993, page 119). For me, H4H is that place.
I spoke of 'six epiphanies.' For those who do not accept the concept of 'previenient grace," perhaps there were only three, for the first three happened to me before I became a Christian and had to do with (1) my intellectual direction, (2) my career choice and (3) my life mate. I will pass over these.
Raised in the Lutheran (ELCA) church, and confirmed at age 12, by the time I left High School I was an atheist. I know I broke my mother's heart when I was a college student. She asked if I were reading the church magazine she was faithfully sending; I replied that I was not and that she might as well save her energy. In all my college years I remember darkening the church doorway exactly twice. When my dad was very ill and thought to be about gone, I remember a conversation with the minister at the hospital. It was not my finest hour.
At age 26, after two years as a physicist developing war machines for the government, I was married to my childhood sweetheart and was well on my way to a successful career with IBM. Son #1 came along in the second year and suddenly Carol was leaving me on Sunday mornings (with our son) for worship. This bugged me, but no more than that. Then one night she confided in me that I was not the #1 love of her life - Jesus Christ was. This hit me between the eyes. But I could live with that; after all she was just in love with an ideal.
Something that obviously meant a lot to Carol, however, had to be taken
seriously. I had been career-oriented for so many years, I had never thought
much about ultimate questions. So I determined to do what I always did (and
still do) in such circumstances, study the issues. And study can be a dangerous
thing to a brash young atheist. By 1960 I had become a deist. At least that's
one possible definition. I did not know then, but I was following the same path
CS Lewis had followed 32 years
Having determined that the God-concept was more rational than atheism, I was not altogether pleased, for I thought the world could have been made a lot nicer! But, of course, I had not been asked about this!
The person of Jesus Christ was the next hurdle. Like Lewis, I began attending worship (and even SS classes). At one time Carol and I attended a series of classes at a nearby Lutheran church (Missouri synod). I'm a good student; I aced the classes. The pastor assumed I'd then join the church; I told him that understanding the material was in no way the same as thinking it true. He urged me to join anyway, and nearly lost me to the faith altogether, for if I joined I'd have to assent to that in which I did not believe. If this was Christianity, a pox upon it.
About that time I began to have discussions with the God I doubted could (would) hear me. Usually, these took place when I drove my treasured 1946 Jaguar drophead coupe to work. I remember telling him that I did not believe in this Jesus, and that I saw no rational way in which I might believe, and that if he was as powerful as the preachers told me, he'd have to do the job. I was at that point willing to believe, but still an unbeliever.
Telling God you are willing is also risky business for a young deist. The epiphany came to me one evening as I sat on our sofa, conversing with a visiting pastor. It was so unexpected that to this day it amazes me. At one point in the conversation he asked me what I thought of Jesus Christ. Much to my amazement, my mind and mouth both assented to the classical Christian proposition that he was the very Son of God, and was, indeed, my savior. It has been 41 years since that event; I can still hold it in my mind clearly. It parallels in almost every respect CS Lewis's epiphany on September 28, 1931, while riding in his brother's motorcycle sidecar to Whipsnade zoo. When Lewis set out, he writes, he was not a Christian. When he arrived, he was. When I sat down that evening, I was not a Christian. When I arose, I was.
Since 1962, we have been blessed, because of frequent career moves, to be part of many faith communities. Each of these has taught us new facets of the Christian life. We began as members of a rural Evangelical United Brethren (now merged with the Methodists) congregation. It was there I discovered the truth of I John 3:14, which reads (Berkeley):
"We know that we
have passed from death into life,
because we love the brothers."
I looked around that small sanctuary one Sunday morning and was suddenly
struck by the undeniable fact that I LOVED these country folks, where heretofore
I did not do so. Where did this unnatural care for their
well-being and happiness come from? Not an epiphany, but certainly (to me) a confirmation that my embracing Christianity had to be on the right track.
In our travels, we were always looking for "The church of Holy Proximity," for whatever denomination we were at the time was never available to us at the new location. We have been with the Quakers, Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends, two independent churches, Orthodox Presbyterian, Evangelical Covenant (Swedish), Church of God Anderson, Southern Baptist, Nazarene and four different PCUSA fellowships. We have learned much from each of these. Each has their specific strengths and weaknesses. In my view, there is not a dime's worth of difference between any of them when it comes to faith essentials.
While I John 3:14 has always been my verse, there is a second one that appeals very much; one I have spoken on many times. This is John 14:21; in the Berkeley version it reads:
He who has my orders,
and observes them, loves me.
And he who loves me, will be loved by my father,
I, too, shall love him, and show [manifestation] myself to him.
On my web site, there is a story about one of these manifestations, one
of my epiphanies. I have never written about the last epiphany; someday,
perhaps, I will. But it is very personal. And very very real. I can compare it
only to that of Blaise Pascal, and his experience during the evening of Nov 23,
To God be the glory.
Thank you for reading this.
Attorney at Law
Leadership Development Program, Johns Hopkins University 1997
Juris doctor, University of Maryland law school, 1984
Bachelor of Laws Degree, University West Indies, 1980
I grew up in Jamaica and went to elementary and high school
there. I then went away to Barbados for undergraduate studies. In 1980, because
of political and economic disturbances in Jamaica, my family immigrated to the
United States, where I pursued a degree in the Law and then later began to
practice law. I spent 11 years as criminal prosecutor and then decided to go into private practice.
I am single and have no children, but I am looking to change both of those conditions:-).
HOW I BECAME A CHRISTIAN I have been a Christian since 1975. I was always raised in the Methodist
church, but became a Christian through the ministry of interschool Christian
fellowship, which are Christian ministry aimed at high school children in
Jamaica. Since I become a Christian, I've attended a wide variety of churches,
and Christian fellowship, from charismatic groups to the Roman Catholic Church.
I have tended to settle in evangelical churches and indeed I attend one now. It
is Faith Fellowship Church, a biblically conservative
non-denominational evangelical church. I go there because I like the worship, my friends go there, and more theologically, I like their serious approach to scripture, even though my approach is different.
I read a lot in theology, philosophy, science, history, and fiction. I'm also interested in many kinds of music, including jazz, classical, Caribbean (of course), and Latin. I also follow sports. I am particularly interested
in the science faith interface, which is why I joined this listserv. I am very impressed by the quality of many of the contributors, who are both highly educated thinkers and strongly committed Christians. There was a
time in which I thought that you could not be both. I am also interested in international affairs, and in the possibility of bringing the Third World and the industrialized first world together to meet the common problems of global poverty and warfare.
Engineer at Glenn Research Center (GRC) in Cleveland, OH. I currently work
in the GRC Power and Propulsion Office.
I received my Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering from Cleveland State University (CSU) in 1979 and my Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Toledo in 1985. I was active in Intervarsity
Christian Fellowship during my undergraduate years at CSU.
I had attended a Lutheran church in grade school and joined a fundamentalist Baptist church while in high school. During the 20 years since then, I attended several conservative Baptist churches and a C&M A
church. During that time, I had to resolve conflicts between their literal (YEC) interpretation of Genesis and the science I learned in public school. My interest in science compelled me to do much reading on my own
and I became convinced that the YEC interpretation of Genesis is flawed.
I have been a "lurker" on the ASA list for over two years and have
found it useful to read perspectives of other believers who have a strong
science background. I am still intrigued by the origins controversy but now I am
comfortable with the idea that all life on earth (including mankind) evolved from a common ancestor. I don't believe that the beginning of Genesis was intended to teach us science or literal history. The Genesis
story is still a relevant message, however, that is, that the human race chose to disobey God at the very beginning, as soon as humans were able to make moral choices. Perhaps it tells of Man's fallen state in an
allegorical or symbolic way rather than a literal fashion. The most important message in the Bible is that God loves Mankind and seeks to redeem us through His Son, Jesus Christ. On the other hand, if someone at
ASA claims that Adam or Noah are historical figures, I'll keep an open mind. I personally don't see how they fit into history.
I have been happily married since October 2000. My wife, Maggie, had immigrated from Greece as a child. I attend a local Orthodox church with her. Their tradition is different from the Protestant/Evangelical churches
I am accustomed to, but they emphasize the Nicene Creed, which summarizes the Christian beliefs which I also profess. The Orthodox church doesn't take a doctrinal position regarding the evolution controversy.
Photography, skiing and bicycling.
Books I have read recently include:
"Contact" by Carl Sagan
"Mars Crossing" by Geoffrey Landis (a scientist at Glenn Research
"Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth Miller
"Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe
"THE BIBLICAL FLOOD: A Case Study of the Church's Response to
Extrabiblical Evidence" by Davis A. Young.
"The Orthodox Church" by Timothy Ware
"Lord of the Rings" by JRR Tolkien
(several people have assumed Inge to be a girls name,
which it is in Germany and Denmark, but not in Norway. Thus I am male.)
AGE : 35
EDUCATION : graduate degree in physics from University of Oslo (1996) theological degree from Lutheran School of Theology, Oslo (1991)
VOCATION : Schlumberger (1996-1998)
From 1999 I have been working for a small geological company - Geologica - in Stavanger which focuses on basin modeling, reservoir property prediction and pressure prediction.
CHRISTIAN BACKGROUND : Been a christian all my life. Member of Church of Norway, which is the state church here in Norway. This denomination is a mainline lutheran church. There are many of the members of this denomination that considers themselves to be evangelicals, including me.
ASA : I have been a member of this discussion group since 1996. I had
a break this last spring due to a holiday and due to circumstances on the list
that was happening during the spring. I have continued to
read the archives, but recently I join the list again.
I find this discussion group very good and inspiring. I learn a lot, both about science in general and also about the relationship between science and religion. Having followed discussion on this group for 6 years I
have noticed how important issues (relevant for this group) seems to be geographical determined. At least here in Norway we don't care much about issues that seems to be very controversial in the US.
INTERESTS : reading theology and philosophy (especially contemporary
analytical philosophy) listening to music (from heavy metal to classical music;
jazz not included ) sports (soccer, biking, hiking) spending
time with family and friends
Best regards from Inge
Age: 35 (1966)
Married to Kim; three children: Alison (9), Nathaniel(7), Samantha(4)
Vocation: Technical Assistance Representative, Pierce Biotechnology, Rockford, IL
ASA Member since 1996, upon the recommendation of Howard Van Till, whom I had written after reading his Science Held Hostage book.
2000 - Ph.D. Evolutionary Biology, Washington University in St. Louis. Dissertation: Hierarchical domains in concerted evolution of ribosomal DNA intergenic spacers in Arabidopsis (Brassicaceae). (Arabidopsis is a genus of plants in the mustard or radish family, of which Arabidopsis thaliana is used as a model organisms in genetics, analogous to fruit flies).
1991 - M.S. Biology, University of Texas in Arlington. Thesis: Flavonoid systematics of the linear-leaved species of Nama (another plant genus).
1989 - B.S. Botany, University of Wisconsin.
2000-present - Pierce Chemical (now Pierce Biotechnology), Technical Assistance Representative.
1999-2000 - UIC College of Medicine in Rockford, Research Technician then Postdoc.
1998-1999 - Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa, Sabbatical replacement in biology for Fred VanDyke (now at Wheaton College, I think).
Currently member of Bethesda Evangelical Covenant Church in Rockford, IL Previously member and deacon of Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA) in St. Louis, MO. Grew up in non-denominational evangelical church (Elmbrook Church in Waukesha, WI), where my father is missions pastor. Missionary kid (age 5-12) in Tehran, Iran (no church affiliation, parents were self-supporting, some connection with Operation Mobilization) Baptist grandparents, both sides.
I've been a believer since I can remember. I grew up in a family of classical
musicians; although I now play guitar and harmonica and sing in our church's
worship team, I was the lone non-musician in the family
growing up and have always been interested in biology. I became interested in botany in college when I couldn't get into the intro "pre-med" science course track (classes filled up) and was diverted to a different, less pre-med intro series. This led to a fascination with plant taxonomy, then biogeography and systematics, then to evolution, which I then pursued in graduate school.
I agree with Dobzhansky that "nothing in biology makes sense except in
light of evolution". Doing comparative biology and ecology in light of
historical (evolutionary) processes has always fascinated me. It's a wondrous
gift that the physical world leaves a record by which the past can be studied.
By creating a universe with historical contingency, God makes his creation more
accessible to us for study (the knowledge of which gives us greater voice to
praise him by). I'm a big fan of Howard Van Till's
perspectives on creation. I also really like Richard Bube's book, Putting It All Together and Richard Hummel's Galileo Connection. I suppose I can best be described as holding to the Complementarity view for resolving apparent "conflicts" between theology and natural science (see my
Perspectives article, PSCF 52: 222-227).
That said, I've been pretty slow to enter into discussions about
evolution-creation issues, both because I'm not a good debator and because I
find that these discussions rarely help people in their faith-walk with
God. To contrast with Dobzhanski's statement above, I think there are few, if any, things in Christian theology and one's relationship with Christ that require the "light" (knowledge or acceptance) of evolution to give sense to them. Since I am not currently in a vocation that really uses evolutionary biology, many people I know aren't even aware of my training in this area. This is not to say that I am afraid to speak on the matter, but I am very selective about when I choose to do so. For example, after getting to know the new youth pastor at our church, I did mention to him my background, and now he has asked my to lead several weeks of high school Sunday school on science-faith this fall.
Age: 44 (b. 7/31/58)
Vocation: Computer Support Scientist in the Chemistry Department at
Colorado State University (since June 1997)
B.S. 1980 Purdue University in Molecular Biology
Ph.D. 1985 University of Oregon in Molecular Biology (Dissertation: Crystallographic Studies of Temperature Sensitive Mutants of the Lysozyme from Bacteriophage T4)
1986-1997 Assistant/Associate Professor of Chemistry and
Biochemistry at Calvin College
1993-1994 Visiting Research Scientist in the Department of Medical
Biochemistry at the Texas A&M Medical School
Grew up in the mainline Presbyterian Church in rural Indiana
1986-1997 Orthodox Presbyterian Church (Eugene, Oregon and Grand
1997-2001 Presbyterian Church in America (Fort Collins, Colorado)
2001-present Evangelical Presbyterian Church (Fort Collins, Colorado)
Theologically, I'm in the conservative Reformed camp represented by Charles Hodge, B.B. Warfield, J.G. Machen and in the contemporary scene by Westminster Theological Seminary. I'd probably put myself at the "liberal" end of the OPC and PCA.
I grew up in a Christian home and became a Christian at a young age. (I
can't ever remember not trusting Christ for my salvation.) The Lord spared me
from a rebellious youth -- I was active in my church
youth group while in Jr/Sr High and in InterVarsity while at Purdue. While in high school I got involved Sunday evening and midweek services in an "independent, fundamentalist, dispensational, pre-millenial, Baptist" church, then in a Four Square Gospel charismatic church. I explored Seventh Day Adventism a bit while in college. I "settled" on conservative Reformed and Presbyterian convictions while in graduate school.
When I was in 7th grade I wrote a brief one page "brochure" on
reconciling Genesis on the creation of Adam and evolution. It's not far from
what I believe now! So my interest in this stuff goes way
back. I majored in science rather than "going into the ministry" in part to prove that you can take Christianity seriously and not become a pastor. I think I ran into the ASA via some brochures ("We Believe in Creation" and "The Second Law of Thermodynamics") while an undergraduate at Purdue. I had no problem reconciling evolution and Christian while an undergraduate Biology major at Purdue and I didn't feel that my faith was threatened at all by the "secular" education at Purdue. I seriously considered young-earth creationism while a junior at Purdue under the influence of the Reformed Presbyterian
pastor of the church I attended. Perhaps I was a YEC for a few months. I gave it up after my undergraduate research exposed me in depth to the molecular data for evolution and convinced me that the
arguments for evolution were persuasive. In graduate school while attending the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, I was exposed to the writings of Davis Young (of Calvin College) and decided that I was
interested in teaching at Calvin. That door opened in 1986 and I joined the faculty at Calvin and started thinking "professionally" about some of these issues.
My involvement in the evolution/creation debate began in
earnest in 1992 when I wrote a review of Phil Johnson's *Darwin on Trial* <http://www.asa3.org/gray/evolution_trial/dotreview.html
Banner (the denominational magazine of the Christian Reformed Church). That
review resulted in two major additional directions. Contact with Phil Johnson
led me to the evolution listserv and
dialogue with Mike Behe which resulted in an invitation to "debate" Mike at the 1994 ASA annual meeting at Bethel College <http://www.asa3.org/evolution/irred_compl.html. Those were the days when the WWW were just taking off and I was busy learning about the web. At that meeting Jack Haas pulled together a group of us to discuss how the ASA could take advantage of this new technology. I came back from the meeting and threw together a handful of web pages for the ASA and put them on Calvin's server. The ASA web site and I have been together ever since. This ASA listserv started soon after.
The other direction was the heresy trial that I went through in the
Orthodox Presbyterian Church from 1994-1996. This experience forced me to
articulate and defend my ideas in a very public and mostly
antagonistic context. You can read all about it at <http://www.asa3.org/gray/evolution_trial/index.html.
It is still my conviction that you can be in the fairly conservative Reformed/Presbyterian camp and not be a young-earth creationist. In general I find little problem reconciling old earth/universe cosmology and evolutionary biology with a mostly conservative Christian faith. I hold to the "framework view" on Genesis 1 <http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1996/PSCF3-96Kline.html and <http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/WTJ/WTJ58Kline.html . I still struggle with what to do about Adam since as a good conservative Presbyterian I think of him as not only the covenantal representative of the human race but the biological ancestor of all humans. I hope everyone won't think of this as a cop out, but I'm content to let science speak its piece and the Bible its piece and if I can't figure out how to put all the pieces together, well, that may be a sign of my/our limitations. But there's no value in distorting either message in the interest of an uneasy peace. Davis Young's closing chapter in Christianity and the Age of the Earthhelped me to see that there IS integrity in that view.
Educational Background: public grade schools in southern Indiana, now a chemistry-and-physics-major undergrad at Harvard
Family: mom, dad, three younger sisters. all amazing.
I've grown up in a Christian family and an evangelical church, and been a
believer from a very early age. Inquisitive, intellectual, and very happy to be
a student, I'm drawn to academia. At the same time,
I've often wondered what it means to live a life for Jesus in an academic setting. I've also struggled with how to reconcile my science with my faith, especially regarding Genesis, origins, and the YEC position that I accepted after reading Henry Morris and others in junior high. My anxiety increased over the past few years as I learned more science and started to doubt a lot of those assumptions but my parents and church assumed that questioning how science and the Bible fit together, doubting their YEC paradigm, or seeking proof for those aspects of my belief system that are testable, meant I was doubting and endangering my faith. Discovering the ASA and this email list a month ago, along with reading Polkinghorne, Noll, and others, have been a huge encouragement to me and have challenged me to continue striving to love God with my scientific mind. I've been amazed at the freedom I've found, the weight that has been lifted off
my shoulders, as I've become more willing to question things in search of Truth this summer. Thanks to many on this list for modeling for me a coherent combination of Christian faith and good, honest science.
I'm going to continue lurking, but also hopefully taking part in discussions soon :)
I "became a Christian" at age 18. At least, it was then that I
first felt the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It was very quiet, yet
extremely powerful. And, He didn't just go away (like an emotion would)
after a few minutes.
I was turned off by the "style over substance" of the
Catholicism that I was familiar with. So, I joined Intervarsity Christian
Fellowship. They believed the Bible was the historically accurate Word of God.
ThatĚs what I wanted! And, it made all of the sense in the world to me.
What could be more reliable in this world than the Bible? Believing in God is easy. I think that 90% of Americans do. The question then becomes which faith has the most evidence to back it up?
To make a long story short, my choice of majors wasn't going to pay the bills (psychology/theology). I graduated from Loyola College in Baltimore in 1990. Psychology was very satisfying to study, but I realized too late that it wasn't going to be a career. Ouch!
Night school netted my accounting degree in 1996. For reasons that I won't go into, I didn't re-investigate evolution until last year. It has been quite an eye-opener to see the Bible! blatantly mistranslate hills as mountains.
Anyway, getting out of YEC can be ugly. Being between jobs, I had time on my hands to thoroughly investigate the evolution issue. To make a long story short, YEC/my fascination with these issues has cost me a lot of money. So now I'm a pro-evolution day-ager, and quite relieved!
VOCATION: Graduate Student
EDUCATION: B.S. Molecular Biology, Texas A&M University. Currently
working on my PhD studying the Cell Cycle. I am specifically interested in exit
from mitosis signalling and cyclin degradation. One publication so far.....
RELIGION: Bible-thumping Christian, non-denominational.
FAMILY: One wife of one year, slight sarcasm intended.
FAITH JOURNEY: Grew up in a nature/ self worship system of beliefs. My parents got divorced and my stepmother introduced us to Mormonism which I adhered to with rigourous legalistic righteous zeal. I trusted my life to Christ joining the mormon church, but quickly learned a system of works designed to allow me acceptance into the Celestial Kingdom. When it came to decide to go on a mission at 19 I decided not to go on the mission and recieved much peer/social pressure at which point I began to realize that I felt brainwashing was more important than truth in the mormon church. Two years later I became inactive and challenged God to show himself to me and lead me to him if he really existed. Later I read the new testament and rededicated my life to Christ, although it was a continual advance in realization of the truth and rejection of mormon theology from that point on. I am now involved with Watermark Community Church and am trying to follow God's lead for developing a ministry there concerning evolution, science and christianity from an equipping and evangelical standpoint. Found ASA randomly and decided I could keep a pulse on ideas from scientist christians while also listening to the various camps like intelligent design, talk.origins, Hugh Ross, etc. Most interested in origins and abiogenesis, but also other issues.
VOCATION: Ecologist - I work in the field of biological control of weeds, trying to lessen deleterious impacts of invasive plants in the Everglades.
EDUCATION: BSc in Marine Biology (1979, University of Tampa), MSc in Zoology with emphasis on Aquatic Ecology (1986, university of Vermont), currently finishing up a PhD in Biology with emphasis on the population ecology of plants (Dec 2002?, Florida International University)
VOCATIONAL BACKGROUND: After receiving my BSc
in 1979, I worked a couple of years for an environmental consultant. We
primarily conducted environmental impact assessments, and I became their
oligochaete taxonomist. This carried into my Master's thesis which described,
for the first time, the penchant of some Naididae (an aquatic family of worms)
to launch themselves into the water column much as stonefly and mayfly nymphs.
This behavior was associated with high benthic population densities and most
worms in the drift were in the process of asexual reproduction via budding. I
then moved back to Florida, where I joined a team of scientists working to
control invasive exotic weeds by releasing host-specific insects from the
plants native ranges. Thus when I decided to return to school to pursue my PhD,
I chose to work on a problem related to my job. My dissertation investigates the
ecology of Melaleuca quinquenervia (an Australian invader of Florida's Everglades), and particularly the ecological genetics of this tree and its influence on the performance of a weevil imported as a biological
control against the plant.
FAMILY: I have been blessed with a lovely,
intelligent wife (18 years) and four children: girls 17, 13, and 5, and a son
15. All of our children have been homeschooled until high school. The oldest
been competitive gymnasts, and two are now competitive cheerleaders.
FAITH BACKGROUND: My personal relationship with Jesus began in 1972 as a teenager, but I didn't fully begin to "walk the walk" until 1982. As a family, we have served and worshipped in Methodist, Baptist, and Charismatic traditions - believing that it is most important to be where God calls us, for the season that He calls us there, rather than seeking to stay within any particular tradition/denomination. In keeping with that belief we are currently serving at a "non-denominational" church (one of the many that seem to be becoming denominations of their own - has anyone else noticed the irony in this?). I have been involved in worship from the earliest days of my youth, and have had the privilege to lead worship on short-term mission trips to Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. I served as a youth pastor for several years, and as a certified lay preacher. My wife and I have co-taught Sunday School for many years, and my two youngest daughters and I formed a praise band that led kid's worship for a couple of years as well. The greatest blessings of my life have been watching as my wife and children each came to know the Lord.
As a graduate student at the University of Vermont, I faced constant pressure
to defend my faith, particularly in regards to the creation/evolution debate. As
a scientist, it was difficult to defend my conviction that "In the
beginning, God..." As a Christian, it was difficult to defend working
within "... the great unifying theory of biology." (E. Mayr, I think).
That tension has only intensified during
the past two decades as a researcher. Finding ASA a few while ago was thus a true blessing, because I found that I wasn't alone (silly to think that I was, but my experiences had not introduced me to others of
similar persuasions) in facing this dynamic. I have benefited greatly from the newsletters, PS&CF articles, and the discussions on this listserv.
Vocation: PhD Student in Pulp & Paper Science
Educational Background: BA in Chemistry with Honors, 1979, from Carthage College, Kenosha, WI (a Lutheran liberal arts college) Attended Vanderbilt University 1979-1983 as PhD student in biochemistry - passed qualifiers but became depressed & left without completeing degree After God cured my clinical depression in 1996 - returned to graduate school in 1998 at the Institute of Paper Science & Technology in Atlanta, GA, USA. Completed MS degree in 2000; expect PhD in fall 2003
Vocational Background: after leaving Vanderbilt U, worked as technician (biochemist) for 13 years, primarily in academic laboratories
Came to Christ at a Billy Graham movie in high school. Grew up as a mainline Lutheran (Found mainline Lutheran churches to be "thin" on theology) Attended an Assembly of God church while in high school (great experiences & do hold Bible to be the standard but overemphasis on "Gifts" resulting a great lack of seeking the "Giver".) Since then, I have attended many different types of churches. As an avid reader I have also exposed myself to a multitude of beliefs, primarily from Christian devotional classics of previous centuries. When asked for a denominational affiliation, my standard answer has been - "and in what city will I be living this year?" My denominational affiliation changes when I move, but my beliefs do not.
I was clinically depressed, in therapy & on medication for 10 years. During that time I married a depressed man (who was nominally a Christian but turned out to not even be a believer). When our marriage fell apart, I overdosed with my medication. I awoke in the ICU on my 37th birthday (in 1994) I have not been on medication since. After separation from my now ex-husband, I found a job in a small town & started attending an evangelical church - (selected because it had home Bible studies & meet
at 10:30 rather than 9 am). This American Evangelical Free church deliberately emphasized the power of God to work in the lives of "ordinary" people, yet did not practice any of the Pentecostal-type gifts in its
services. God healed my depression & took away the compelling repetitive thought of suicide that had plagued me for more than 10 years.
I have come believe a number of things:
1. God does speak & his power is available to ordinary believers - IF they are willing to surrender to God & let God act by whatever means He chooses - even if it does not conform to what they think is good church practice (I can not recommend "Holy Laughter" services to people because the services emphasize feel-good experiences over good teaching - yet God used such a service to heal me of a deep emotional wound from early childhood)
2. There is no one church with the "perfect" theology. God has gifted each of us with different interests, abilities, levels of emotional expression & callings. While there are some denominations that preach beliefs contrary to the Bible, in most cases churches vary by what they emphasize & the degree of emotional expression, Most people pick churches that make them comfortable. Since we have different callings, it takes different churches to appeal to all. For a while, I attended a church that heavily emphasized evangelism. While I liked the people & the preaching, there was little place for me, called to encourage burdened Christians.
3. While it is best to avoid listening to preaching with serious errors (I think "name-it & claim-it" beliefs end up treating the God of the universe like celestial bell-hop), what matters is our own personal relationship to
God & fulfilling our responsibilities as He has called us to - which may be different that what our church preaches.
4. As for errors - as Warren Wiersebe said - if we sincerely seek God & mistakenly believe He is leading us a certain way, would not the God who created us & who went to great effort to redirect the disobedient prophet
Jonah certainly be able to redirect an obedient but confused servant ?
5. Legalism can be deadly (I know - condemnation from fellow believers that I was a bad Christian for feeling suicidal led me to think that if I am such a bad person why not kill myself?)
6. Our God is a God of second chances. God does not give up on us even when our churches do. And God is willing to forgive - & we need to remember that when fellow believers condemn us because we don't behave or believe exactly as they do.
7. God does much more than you would ever dream off when you bring Him your problem to solve and leave it to God to as how to solve the problem (change the circumstances? change you? - don't tie His hands. He does know best)
I like what Alexanian said yesterday. There are both physical & spiritual aspects of reality but how they jibe together is unclear. I like to think of the spiritual as being another dimension or 'ether" that interpenetrates with the world we experience through our senses. What happens is "our" world affects the spiritual realm & vice versa. If God is outside of time, would He not be able to see the end from the beginning even while the people acting have free will to make their decisions? Think of Flatland & how the being of 3 dimensions could comprehend & do things that the two-dimensional creatures could not.
As for arguing over specifics like creationism or end-time theology: I think of a line from a George MacDonald story - in reference to an unlearned man & his well-educated sister: (inexact quote) "It is better
to be faithful to the truth you know than to spend your time learning the Bible without applying any of it" When I have personally witnessed arguments over some Biblical beliefs, I usually observe that the verses
about "wisdom from above is gentle & entreatable" do NOT apply to the protagonists. It is not that I don't hold strong beliefs about such things (my beliefs on some issues includes "we just don't know" - anathema to someone with a vehement belief) rather I follow Paul's admonishment to Timothy "Don't get caught up in vain discussions"
I like the motto from the American Evengelical Free church I attended as God
changed my life. "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. Over
WHY I Joined ASA
I found ASA one lazy day while searching through a thick tome entitled "List Of Associations" I was very glad to find ASA. The publications of creationism-based organizations usually embarrass me for their poor science. ASA is different. I also appreciate the existence of a forum where individuals from different camps can exchange views without being lambasted - unorthodox IDEAS are discussed, addressed and possibly
refuted - without the PERSON being attacked. Discussing ideas and views is important. How can we learn to think correctly unless someone points out the inconsistencies, logical fallicies or neglected facts?
Once I complete my PhD I hope to have time to become more active.
Professor of Physics, emeritus
Born 1918, in China, of Presbyterian missionary parents. Christian tendencies by osmosis, but committed My life to Jesus at age 18. Failed to rebel against parental worldview..
Church preference: Presbyterian, when an evangelical one can be found. Best I've found: First Pres Hollywood, First Pres Berkeley
Married, Mildred (Hillis). 5 adult (now) children.
Wartime Research: (before finishing grad school)
1940-43, MIT Radiation Laboratory. Developing microwave radar. "Ground-Controlled-Approach" radar blind landing system for air-planes. US Patents 2,555,101 and 2,585,855 (with Luis Alvarez)
1944-45, Los Alamos Laboratory. Work on A-bombs Invent exploding bridgewire detonators for coordinated timing of the Implosion "Fat Man" type of bomb. US Patent 3,040,660 (This type bomb was used at Trinity test, and later dropped on Nagasaki) Fly on B-29 missions over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, measuring bomb energy yields.
1945-50 Graduate School, U of Calif. at Berkeley. Ph.D. thesis: Scattering of Protons by Protons. Thesis advisor: Luis Alvarez. Development of the Alvarez-type proton linear accelerator, at Lawrence Berkeley Lab.
1950-60 Department of Physics, University of Minnesota. Asst > assoc prof.
Built a 68-Mev proton linear accelerator; did proton- proton scattering
experiments, to characterize the nucleon-
nucleon force profile.
1960-64 Physics Laboratory, Aerospace Corp. Learning the techniques of Far Infrared Radiation phenomena.
1964-67 Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Working on building 2-mile long, 20GeV electron linear accelerator. Head of Electronics Department.
1967-88 Professor, Department of Physics, U of Idaho. Nuclear Physics, far infrared lasers; Molecular Spectroscopy in the submillimeter wavelength region, using Stark effect. Development of the HCN submillimeter wave molecular laser.
Phi Beta Kappa
Elected Fellow, American Physical Society 1953
Elected Fellow, American Scientific Affiliation, about 1952
(but I let my membership lapse, so now I'm just a member!)
INTERESTS / ACTIVITIES IN RETIREMENT:
Camping, fishing, travel
Biblical Archeology: Two trips to Israel, Visiting Scholar at the Albright
Institute for Archeological Research, Jerusalem. Promoted successfully a
Geophysical Tomography technique for Archeologists to "Look before
you dig" (acoustic waves) worked on a "dig", near Beth
Biology: guided study, seminars. Special interest in Origin of Life studies
Intelligent Design Paradigm - I think this is a much more viable explanation for the complexity of life's history than Darwinian mechanisms, which connot generate complex specified information, as shown by the "No Free Lunch " theorems of Bioinformatics.
Lecturer at City of Bristol College, UK
Distance learner tutor for St John's College, Nottingham in Ethics
BSc Hons (physics with maths) UEA, Norwich, UK
MA Applied Thology, Trinity College, Bristol (dissertation on John Polkinghorne)
Became a Christian at university. Anglican by default; neo-Calvinist by persuasion
Earth is the Lord's (Regius Press, Bristol 1990)
Articles in Evangelical Quarterly, Themelios, Evangel, Spectrum (now Education and Christian Belief), RE Today, Christian Woman (!), Third Way.
Book reviews in Science and Christian Belief, Evangel, Environment Now,
Married for 17 years with three children (ages 11, 7 and 4) - one has severe cerebral palsy.
Relationship of science and religion, philosophy (of religion, of science,
of maths and philsophy in general), Genesis, hermeneutics, Christian ethics,
Vocation: Banking Industry
Educational Background: BS degree Business and Public Administration,
Masters degree in Theology
Vocational Background: Extensive
Etc. Listed in Who's Who in Theology and Science, author: The Origins Solution, founder: Genesis Proclaimed Association, published in The Washington Post, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith.
Vocation: Postdoctoral researcher, University of Alabama, Department of Biology. I am currently on a research project working on the molecular systematics of freshwater clams, snails, and fishes, especially endangered species from the Coosa River drainage.
Educational Background: BS, Biology, Davidson College 1992; MS, Geology (Paleobiology specialization), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 1995; PhD, Geology (Paleobiology specialization), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 2000
Vocational Background: one-year visiting professor of biology, St. Mary's College of Maryland (a state school, not religious)
Research Interests: fossil and modern mollusks (especially bivalves and Paleogene taxa); paleontology, evolutionary biology
Theological Background: Presbyterian Church in America member; involvement with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; assorted reading; several years of ASA list discussions.
Both my faith and my research interests reflect those of my parents, who are
PCA members and whose graduate research was in invertebrate paleontology.
Leaving for college made me take a more active role in
exercising faith, as well as giving greater exposure to Christians from other theological backgrounds.
Married to Susan just over 2 years, no children Other activities: birdwatching, classical music, reading (theology,science, fiction, etc. Recent reading includes Wodehouse, Sayers, Calvin, Conan Doyle, and articles in Molecular Biology and Evolution and Journal of Molluscan Studies)
VOCATION: teacher and writer
In elementary school four wonderful teachers inspired me. My eighth &
ninth grade English teacher Miss June Roethke taught me how to use language
better than anyone else. After three years at Ft. Lauderdale
(FL) High School.:
B.A., summa cum laude, University of the South: Classical Languages, 1961.
M.S.M., D.S.M. (Doctor Scientiarum Mediaevalium-Doctor of Medieval Studies), University of Notre Dame: Medieval Latin literature; 13th c. educational tractates, 1963, 1965.
Sabbatical studies included reading in history of science at Indiana
University with Ed Grant (medieval science) and Sam Westfall (scientific
revolution; Newton), 1976-77; reading on my own in evolution and
intelligent design, 2000. Also, four Templeton Science & Religion Course Workshops, 1997-2000
PROFESSIONAL ACADEMIC CV:
1965-1968: University of Southern California: classics
1968-2001: Berea College: classics, general studies (included senior seminar "Science and Faith"); now retired from full-time academic teaching
2002 (fall): Lees-McRae College: visiting professor of religion (part-time)
RELIGION: Christian. Member, Episcopal Church Committee on Science, Technology and Faith; chair, subcommittee on Creation.
FAMILY: CHURCH: St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Boone, NC. I serve
the congregation as a lector and lay eucharistic minister and as a catechist to
those preparing for Confirmation; I also teach adult education topics on
occasion, and sing in what is a very good church choir.
INTERESTS: Besides participating in the science & religion
dialogue, I love to cook (we are remodeling our kitchen--drool, drool),
garden, read all sorts of things as long as they are well-written, take hikes
long walks, sit on the porch and watch the birds come to the feeders, sometimes play the guitar, sing, travel and do T'ai Chi. Occasional opportunities to play with the grandchildren are highly prized.
ORGANIZATIONS: ASA (Associate), IRAS, Society for Values in Higher Education
Wife (of five years this July 19)
Maria Ruth Lichtmann; stepdaughter Catherine, son-in-law Ben Wakeman, and
grandsons Ian, 6 (who loves to talk about God), and Dylan 20 months (who is not
talking). I gladly gave up bachelorhood at 58. I tell you, folks, it's _never_ too late.
I beat my breast--"mea culpa"--for omitting our dog Joshua, so
named because he was a "death row doggie" in the pound, which I
learned only after selecting him (actually, he selected me), so I was the
unwitting instrument, not the conscious agent, of his salvation. A border collie
mix, Joshua was Campus Pet at Berea College for six years, beloved of students,
a wonderful pastoral counselor to those missing their own pets. He retired when
I did and was awarded an honorary D.Litt. (Dogter of Litters), by a rump
assembly of faculty and staff, with the approval of the dean and the president.
He is the kindest and gentlest of friends. Anyone who believes that dogs do not
have souls should spend some time with him.
I must flesh this out. I was a cradle Episcopalian who grew up in a low-church parish. I loved Sunday worship and especially the Prayer Book. In my teens we moved to another city and a high-church parish, and I fell in love with smells and bells. In my youth I also fell in love with science: our basement smelled of my chemistry set. H.S. and college science courses introduced me to cosmology, chemistry, and
evolution; college Bible courses introduced me to the historical-critical method. I experienced no conflict between my Christian faith and evolution. I considered Anglican holy orders, but ended up in college teaching; it proved to be the vocation God had called me to.
Good thing, too, because in my late twenties I left the church and Christianity. I still believed there is a God, and was not hostile toward religion. I lived out my vocation at Berea College in Kentucky, a non-sectarian school dedicated to providing students from low-income families in the Appalachian South with a virtually cost-free liberal arts education. Besides classics and NT Greek I taught general studies
courses that included Christian doctrine and biblical texts; I loved biblical literature. The GST courses allowed me to continue exploring the history of science and contemporary theories.
A crisis in my personal life that came to a head about 10 years ago brought me back to faith. God responded twice. In the first, during a moment of anguish over childhood wounds, I felt embraced by a
compassionate Presence that brought peace. The second, a numinous moment, left me literally trembling with awe at the Power that animates the universe. I recovered hope, discovered faith, and began to move to the first stirrings of love. A need for a meditative spirituality in a community led me to the Berea Friends Meeting, a wonderful group of believers. About the same time I met Maria, a new faculty member, and
another of God's great gifts. After a year, I realized that I was missing a sacramental spirituality, so I returned to the church of my youth, and found I had come home. And when I began to read the Bible
spiritually again, I found in the person of Jesus, that very compassionate love I had experienced from God, and so I committed myself to follow Christ and become a worker in God's vineyard. Believe me, I
am still learning to water and prune.
During my last five years at Berea I was able to combine love of science with Christian faith in a senior seminar that explored critical issues in science and religion. My students were predominantly
conservative and fundamentalist Christians, most of them creationists, a couple of them "sons of Ham." In this I discovered my new ministry, to help Christian people learn that there is no real conflict between
science rightly understood and Christian belief, which I now conduct through the Episcopal Church committee, my writing, and teaching in local venues. The need to learn to speak more effectively to
evangelical audiences, as I seek to do further in a set of essays on science and religion that will appear on the Berea College web site, led me to join the ASA and become acquainted with like-minded people who
could help this believer, whose perspectives are more catholic, to understand and appreciate evangelical perspectives. I am grateful to many contributing to this list and PSCF who have helped me to do so, and
whom I have come to admire and respect for their work and Christian commitment. We share a common love of the sciences, and we toil side by side in the same vineyard.
Grace and peace,
Primary: Tasmanian state distance education (apart from year 6 in Tasmania in a parent controlled school, year 2 in the UK, and 6 weeks of year 2 in the US, both state schools)
Secondary: Years 7-10 NSW state distance education. Years 11-13 HellyerCollege, Tasmania.
BSc: University of Tasmania (geology, geography, zoology, ecology, philosophy)
BSc Hons: University of Tasmania department of geology
PhD: Flinders University of South Australia
1981 casual demonstrator in palaeontology at University of Tasmania
1982 oil, coal, and mineral exploration for Comalco Ltd.
1983-1986 casual demonstrator and lecturer at Flinders university.
1984 contract geologist in base metal exploration with Seltrust
1986 6 month contract for the Australian Bureau of Mineral Resources on the southern Australian continental margin.
1986-1991 WMC exploration in gold and nickel exploration, Kambalda
1991-1995 manager WMC's geological research laboratory, Melbourne
1995-1997 Consultant sedimentologist for WMC, Melbourne
1997 Casual lecturer and demonstrator with Latrobe and Melbourne
1998-2002 Lecturer at the Australian National University.
HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN A CHRISTIAN?
I was brought up in a Christian family and made a personal decision to follow Christ when I was 8.
Mostly Christian Brethren, but occasionally Anglican (like at present).
Certificate in Biblical studies from Emmaus Bible School (brethren)
Currently working in the Moore College (Anglican) external studies program
On the board of the Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of
Science and Technology (ISCAST) - see iscast.org.au
Board member and MARS-OZ program leader of the Mars Society Australia (MSA) - see marssociety.org.au
OTHER PERSONAL INTERESTS
Married to Anna for 20 years, two children, Jenny (14 this month), Ros (11), surrounded by pets - a cat, budgies and guinea pigs
Scuba diving, hiking, camping, and reading (mainly SF, some fantasy, theology, naval military, and space history)
Vocation: I lead a double life: 25 years with the US Navy (civilian) on submarine life support and atmospheric analysis systems and 19 years teaching chemistry/physics/math/astronomy and paleontology at a Christian local school
Formal Education: my only degree in chemical engineering (1st in class) from Drexel university plus some graduate work in chemical engineering at University of Penn and some additional work in graduate education at Widener University.
Christian Background: grew up in a non-denominational church (almost Baptist, but not in name) where the gospel was consistently presented. Accepted the Lord in fourth grade. Our church provided strong Biblical instruction and I am grateful to the many teachers I have had. Presently we attend a PCA church (the same denomination that had a YEC-OLD fight a couple of years back.) I currently teach the summer combined adult Sunday school class on various interesting topics that I get to pick - great Christian writers, the ancient cultures around Israel, Christina worldview in science, Christian influences in American history (this summer).
Family: Wonderful wife of 19 years (today is our anniversary) who willing shares my interests and draws me into hers (birding and history). Four children: Leah (16), Faith (14), Sarah (12) and David (8). All attend the school where I teach.
Interests: tennis and volleyball (although having a growing family does limit my time on court) Traveling with family
Always loved science and found little conflict with Christianity until probably high school biology. Our church was basically YEC and had special speakers occasionally. They always had a good presentation that I was not really up to criticizing. Assumed that YEC was important, but history and life and universe seemed strongly to point to old world. I think that I lived just like SJ Gould would have us - non-overlapping magisteria. In the last decade or so, I have become much more interested in critically evaluating the merits of Christian views of origins. They obviously can't be all true. They don't have the same factual foundation. They all impact how we look at the scripture. I want my students to think these things through more than recruiting them to particular view. My school is leaning young earth, but teaches various Christian views. (Pray for me, as these issues came to a head last year, and may rise again this year.)
Over the last few years, I have helped form the Eastern PA section of the ASA and organize our semi-annual meetings. This has been a wonderful opportunity to meet many other Christians who also have a deep love of science. I have also enjoyed the interchange on this list to which I occasionally contribute.
Family: Married Paula in 1999, no children so far
Physical and Chemical Properties Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, formerly the National Bureau of Standards, see www.nist.gov), Boulder, Colorado. My specialty could be called "chemical thermodynamics" or "chemical physics", mostly developing theory and models for thermodynamic properties of important fluids and
mixtures. Also represent the U.S. in the area of international standards for the thermodynamic properties of water ("steam tables" for those who encountered them in school) and maintain a NIST database on water properties.
B.S. 1983 University of Missouri-Rolla in Chemical Engineering
Ph.D. 1988 University of California-Berkeley in Chemical Engineering
(Dissertation: "Molecular Thermodynamics of Mixtures Containing
Electrolytes with Common Gases and Solvents")
1988-90: Postdoc, Thermophysics Division, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD (extending
my engineering background by working mostly with physicists)
1990-94: Senior Engineer, Thermophysical Methods and Data, Simulation
Sciences Inc., Brea, CA (an engineering software company)
1994-present: NIST-Boulder, see above
hiking in the Rockies; reading; playing softball; following baseball
Some books recently read:
Stephen Carter: Civility
Michael Collins: Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys
Gerald Cootsona: Creation and Last Things: At the Intersection of Theology
John Haught: God After Darwin
Jon Krakauer: Eiger Dreams
Kenneth Miller: Finding Darwin's God
Phillip Yancey: Reaching for the Invisible God
Became a Christian at age 16 through the youth ministry of the (Methodist) church my parents attended (seeking initiated when God reached me with the concept that there needed to be something personal if religion was to mean anything). Growth, then a few dry years as several Christians I was close to strayed into "spiritual left field" ("name it and claim it" theology, Ken
Copeland, etc.) and others reacted to the insanity by drifting away from faith. By the grace of God, somehow I did not drift too far. Renewal during my years in Berkeley where I grew a lot at the First Presbyterian Church (also attended by Phil Johnson, though I don't think I ever met him) and was also involved in Intervarsity. While I'm not very picky about denominations,
I've mostly ended up in Presbyterian churches (exceptions being a few months in an Ev-Free church and about 3 years in a church on the evangelical end of the Quaker tradition).
Currently a member of First Presbyterian Church of Boulder (PCUSA). This church is pretty far toward the conservative end of that wide-ranging denomination, though I'm probably a bit left of center (certainly politically, maybe even doctrinally) within this particular congregation. I do some teaching there, particularly in a program called Network that teaches about spiritual gifts and seeks to have people learn how God has designed them so they can serve where they will be most effective and fulfilled. My wife teaches in an English as a Second Language ministry for women that is primiarily aimed at the wives of foreign students at the U. of Colorado.
I have never struggled much with science/faith issues personally, at least not the ones that make the most noise. I suspect that is because my coming to faith and maturing was in environments where Biblical literalism was not endorsed or at least not made central. My pastor in Berkeley (Earl Palmer) emphasized the centrality of Christ above all else, and that rubbed off to my
I got to know and admire the late Charles Hatfield in my undergraduate years,
but I was unaware of his ASA involvement. I first heard of the ASA from
Fritz Schaefer at Berkeley, but didn't get involved then. After I came to
Boulder, I participated in the Science and Christianity e-mail list that
Steve Schimmrich used to run. Through that, I learned of the ASA list, soon
joining it and then the organization. I've gone to a few Rocky Mountain local section meetings but no national meetings; I hope to get to the 2003 national meeting since it will be nearby. I signed off the ASA e-mail list a few months ago due to pressures on my time and exasparation with the signal-to-noise ratio, but I still lurk some via the Web archives.
Having thought about science/faith issues these past 7 years or so, I have
concluded that most of our troubles in this area spring from two basic
1) Versions of Biblical literalism that insist on making the Bible be a science text. I think it is foolish and dishonoring to the Author of Scripture to ask the Bible questions it is not trying to answer. 2) "God-of-the-Gaps" theology. I define this as the premise that "natural" explanations exclude God -- essentially a denial of God's sovereignty over nature by saying that only extra-natural acts "count" as God's work. This is the foundational assumption shared by atheists like Richard Dawkins and many "Intelligent Design" advocates like Phil Johnson. In this framework, every discovery of science counts as points against God. I think that, in its failure to allow God to work through nature (not to mention its elevation of a Jesus-free apologetic), the ID movement is taking the evangelical church in unhealthy directions.
I have found a number of books particularly helpful on science/faith issues. At an introductory level, my favorites are Charles Hummel's "The Galileo Connection" and George Murphy's "Toward a Christian View of a Scientific World." More advanced books that have helped me include Howard Van Till's "The Fourth Day" and Richard Bube's "Putting it all Together," and also books by John Polkinghorne.
I've gotten a couple of chances to speak on these issues with groups at my church, but I also try to pick my battles. These are not salvation issues (though sometimes it is a battle to establish that), and it is easy to get so caught up in these arguments that more important aspects of Christian faith get obscured
1999: completed BSc. in Environmental Biology at the University of Alberta
present: pursuing a degree in Occupational Therapy at U of A
Why I'm here (been lurking here off-and-on for about 2 years, and Friend of
ASA for the same):
For me, it all started with Denis Lamoureux's science and religion course in
fall 1999, where I discovered that it is possible to believe in both God and
evolution. I was an atheist, thinking that interpretations of Genesis
really mattered, and there was no way I could ever join the YECs or
progressive creationists. See, I had the feeling that "there had to be
something more"....evolution just didn't explain it all for me, yet I did
not know where to look for answers.
Denis opened the door for me, introducing hermeneutics and oh-so-many terms
and categories. He taught me some basics about Christianity (I was so ignorant),
and his passion for Jesus completely rocked my world. He was an absolutely
amazing teacher-- every night after class I'd walk home with my
head spinning... I had so much to think about.
I realized that I had a faith in evolution that was eerily similar to the faith YECs have in a literal interpretation of the bible. I also realized that if the whole Jesus story really is true, the implications for my life are huge...
I find involvement with ASA helps my struggle with faith, because no matter how intellectual the conversation gets (often it's way beyond me! haha) the bottom line remains the same.
Age: 59 (b.24 Dec. 1942)
Family: Dona & I celebrated our 40th anniversary in June. We have 2
daughters: Anastasia, through whom we have 3 teenage step-grandchildren &
Katherine, who is expecting in November.
Vocation: After teaching college physics & related subjects in for 12
I was ordained (1983) as a pastor in the American Lutheran Church (now
ELCA). I'm now 1/2 time at a large Episcopal parish in Akron OH with
primary responsibilities in adult theological education, preaching, & other
roles in worship.
I consider helping the larger church to deal with issues of science
& technology to be a major part of my calling, & the other 1/2 time is
devoted to writing, speaking &c on those matters. Among other things, I
write a column on issues of science & technology in ministry for _Lutheran
Partners_, a journal for clergy, lead workshops on preaching, parish
education &c, & have just had my 4th book in the area accepted for
Education: B.S. (physics), Ohio U., 1963
Ph.D. (physics), Johns Hopkins, 1972 (Dissertation:
Topics in Relativistic Magnetohydrodynamics)
M.Div., Wartburg Seminary, 1983.
Positions held: Instructor & Asst. Prof., physics, Westminster College
Lecturer in physics, U. of Western Australia,
Asst. Prof., physics, Luther College, 1977-1979, 1983
faculty, Trinity Luther Seminary (Columbus),
Pastor, St. Mark Lutheran Church, Tallmadge OH,
Pastoral Associate, St. Paul's Episcopal Church,
Akron OH, 1999-present
Church background: Baptized as an infant in the Lutheran Church (which does not mean "baptized Lutheran") & grew up in the Missouri Synod. I am now a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America & am under call from my synod council to serve at an Episcopal Church. (This has been made possible by the recent mutual recognition of ministries of the ELCA & Episcopal Church in the USA.)
Faith-science story: I was interested in both science and theology while I
was growing up, reading the article on Relatvity in the World Book
Encyclopedia (which I realized later was written by Leopold Infeld, one of Einstein's co-workers) and about christology in my father's copy of the Book of Concord. My parents gave me John Klotz's _Genes, Genesis and Evolution a fairly moderate YEC book by a Missouri Synod pastor & biologist, & I did a 9th grade science project titled rather ambitiously "A Refutation of the Theory of Evolution." But Missouri was in the process of opening up at the time, my pastors were generally pretty sensible guys, & I was able to outgrow the need for anti-evolution & YEC without any great trauma.
After graduate work & teaching & research in physics for a number of years I found I was getting more interested in the theology-science issues and eventually decided to go to seminary. At first this was simply to get some formal theological training but I soon felt a real call (inner & outer) to pastoral ministry. My major theological discovery here was Luther's theology of the cross and its implications, & I soon began work on the project that I've called "chiasmic cosmology", the attempt to see the scientific and technological world in the context of a theology of the cross. This made it possible not just to "accept" evolution & other scientific results but to begin to make sense of them theologically. The book which is to be published next year (God willing) is a distillation of this project.
Major theological influences: Luther, Bonhoeffer, Lewis, Athanasius, Barth (though contrary to rumor I am not a "standard Barthian"), Torrance, Teilhard, Justin Martyr, Juengel. I realize that that's a very eclectic bunch. There are also a lot of individuals whose names most wouldn't recognize. I will just mention one whose name even I don't recall. She was an old lady in the hospital while I was doing my chaplaincy requirement in seminary. I went in to see her, & listened rather condescendingly as she rambled for a bit about how God was going to take care of her &c. & then she said, "Ever' mornin' he just tell ol' death, 'Stand back!'" & I thought, "That's the best theology I've heard all day!
Marital status: Married, to Christine, with two children, Jessica (11) and Matthew (9).
Vocation: Software Engineer. Providing Mathematical Solver codes
for solution of large sets of sparse linear and non-linear equations,
with application to the chemical and oil industry.
BA (1980) Cambridge University - Natural Sciences, with Physics as
MPhil (1981) Cambridge University - Control Engineering + Operational Research.
PhD (2002) Edinburgh University - Institute of Adaptive and Neural Computation.
My PhD studies were part time, over a period of seven years, and
carried out at the same time as having a full-time job. I've just
successfully passed the Viva, and expect to graduate formally in the
Autumn. I don't recommend doing a PhD part time unless you want a
The thesis study was in probabilistic techniques for visualization of
high-dimensional, time-dependent data. My interest in this kind of
work arose from applications of Neural Networks and Genetic
Algorithms that we used at work. (Though the techniques developed in
the study were far removed from "biologically inspired" algorithms,
and more to do with Maximum Likelihood probability density models).
1981-2002: UK Atomic Energy Authority, which became privatized and
turned into AEA Technology plc. I worked largely in computing, in a
wide variety of areas: control, robotics, (real time control), space studies, advanced robotics studies, mathematical simulation software,
Neural Networks, Genetic algorithms (though we couldn't find much practical use for these). Since 1998, I transferred to Hyprotech, a
wholly owned subsidiary company of AEA Technology, providing process simulation software for the chemical and oil industries. In May this
year, Hyprotech was divested by AEA Technology, and it is now part of the American company Aspentech.
It is my research interest in Neural Networks, and the idea of spotting patterns in data (for example in one application, we tried to spot instances of organized crime in credit card fraud by looking for repeated spend patterns - very successfully, I might add), that led indirectly to my interest in Vernon Jenkins' biblical numerics, though that was via a subsidiary interest in looking for evidence of mathematical structure in music. Neither of these areas, however, are amenable to neural net/statistical pattern recognition analysis (as far as I can tell).
I suppose I could say I have always been a Christian believer. I remember being horrified at the age of 5 when a schoolfriend told me that neither Santa Claus nor God existed. Actually, I guess I was more upset about the Santa Claus con, because at least you had tangible proof (i.e. presents) that Santa existed! But I'd always try and persuade (without much success) my atheistic friends to believe in God. I went so far as to write an essay for a friend of mine on the Arts side at school about the Big Bang, demonstrating (to my limited imagination) that the Big Bang "proved" the existence of God, because God had to be the cause of the Big Bang. I was rather disappointed that my friend didn't buy that one.
But I guess the big change came in my life at the age of 16, when I
made a personal commitment. I'd attended a "house party" of the
Crusaders organization (rather reluctantly - I only agreed to go
because I thought they'd got their eyes on me as not being "keen"
enough!). It was there that I realised that a tremendous love bound
all the people together; a "something" that was definitely greater
than the sum of their parts. The people who ran the house party
definitely knew what they were doing, and emphasized the need to ask
Jesus into your life as your personal Saviour. I realised that what
I had up till then was merely an intellectual commitment, and not a
heartfelt one. The difference was felt immediately as I went home;
everything seemed very flat, and I realised that I had to do exactly
what they'd said; and I asked the Lord into my life quietly in the
privacy of my own bedroom.
I attend an Evangelical Church of England, that has moderate charismatic tendencies. I'm very open to the idea that the gifts of the spirit are real, but also aware that it can get divisive. Certain people in our church got involved in the Toronto thing, and I have to say I was a little worried at the sight of people shaking uncontrollably - it didn't seem to me that this kind of thing was from God, but I guess one should keep an open mind about these things. I'd be interested to hear what other people in the group feel about these issues.
Big "private passion" is classical music, especially the composer
Shostakovich, about whom I've written several articles, some of which
have received a measure of academic acceptance. Belonging to a listserv devoted to the music of Shostakovich and other Russian
composers has led to many delightful friendships, and some opportunities to share my faith as well.
Other interests involve creative writing (poetry and drama - for
outreach services in the church), and also amateur dramatics (acting
I've very much enjoyed reading other peoples' biographies and testimonies, and hope the above provides a reasonable snapshot of me.
Vocation: Biology teacher at Dordt College, a good undergrad liberal
arts college in NW Iowa. It is associated with the Christian Reformed
Church (CRC) although unlike Calvin it is independent. For those that do not know the reformed denominations they are really European
Presbyterian. Both are presbyterian in government and Calvinistic in doctrine. That is from someone who came out of the OPC.
(Orthodox Presbyterian Church).
My PhD research was on paleoecology of a couple of the large coal seams
in the Illinois Basin comparing detailed intraseam palynological
patterns over short distances at a locality and between localities. A couple of publication have come out of this research and can be seen at
Since Dordt is a smaller college (1,400) with a strong teaching
emphasis, I have not specialized in doing Carboniferous research.
Several vertebrate paleontological projects have fallen in my lab. I would like to get a first draft written on some Pleistocene mammals
(mammoth, bison and musk ox) that were found in a local gravel pit. Since the muskox is probably the most significant find, I had to get up
a bit on that literature Arghhh!!!!!. Last summer I helped a former paleontology student of mine uncover a big ichthyodectid fish from the
local Cretaceous clay (Greenhorn formation). You can see a link to a web page describing this at
http://homepages.dordt.edu/~mahaffy/homepage/web.html. Before I describe this find, I need to find a Cretaceous fish expert since I
have no intention of becoming a vertebrate paleontologist.
Another project I have been focusing on this summer is some relict and
historic populations of rattlesnakes. In fact I got real excited this
past week when I ran into historic accounts of rattlesnakes along the Boyer River (Western Iowa) from three locations stretched over about 50
miles. Just so you know I am excited, they could massasauga that are rare enough (almost endangered) that snake people would be interested
even though most reports were in the late 1800's. One was killed in 1941 so maybe there is still a slough with a new population of
massasauga (there are only three known for Iowa and this is on the Western edge of their known range).
Given on my professional page above. I was born and raised as a missionary kid (OPC) in Eritrea (then part of Ethiopia) and except for
three furloughs spent my first 18 years there. I developed a real love for animals and plants (we had a pet klipspringer and I raised praying
mantises and had some great chameleon lizards as pets).
I did my undergrad at Dordt. I thought of Wheaton (my folks were alumni), but it was pricey and I liked the reformed tradition.
Then I taught high school in Orange city, Iowa for a couple years and
went on to grad school and then back to Dordt. I eventually finished
the PhD thesis and have been teaching since.
I like computers and use webpages for classes and am list owner for the
Christian Biology and Geology lists. That just means I volunteered to
let them use the listsoftware we have and I am the person who takes care of problems with mail not getting on the list. Neither are moderated
and unlike the ASA list, the Christian Biology list really could use some posts. See
instructions on how to join the list.
Philosophical and religious background.
I have a strong interest in Christianity and science. The fact that one of my undergrad teachers avoided the chapters on evolution in a Botany
Course, (although reformed Christians think that all areas of academics should be looked at from a Christian perspective), stimulated me to go
into grad school in paleobotany. I try to do some reading in the area of science and Christianity and have developed and extensively annotated
bibliography. If interested send me a note and I will ether send you non public way to get it off the net or a hard copy.
Just a bit about my own perspective. I am committed to high view of
Scripture and a reformed perspective of trying to look at all areas of
life from a Christian perspective. I tend to agree with Alvin Plantinga that biologists could and should do more to develop a Christian
perspective of their science. I am probably a bit of an agnostic in terms of some of the current methods of integrating Christianity and
science. Perhaps I can explain by my reaction to some of them.
YEC (young earth Creationist): I like their strong commitment to
Scripture, their willingness to think in a different paradigm and their
ability to understand Christian laity. However, as you may have seen in my posts to Bill, they tend to have one model (the flood) that they make
do too much. I just don't think it works.
TE (theistic evolutionists): People like Terry have made me appreciate
some who take this stand, but generally I find that it often does not
see the secular roots of science and it is not a position that I take.
ID (intelligent design): Like the YEC, I laud their engagement of the
established science. They are much better then YEC at having good
academic scholars in their camp. I also like their big tent philosophy, which accepts both YEC and OEC. I think the movement is too
rationalistic and (form my C. Van Tilian perspective) denies the effect of their own presuppositions. The movement is also young and has not
demonstrated that it can produce a paradigm that will affect mainstream science. Still this movement gets a lot more attention from mainstream
science perhaps because it has scholars with good credentials engaging mainstream science. I actually agree more with Phil Johnson in the
danger of secular effect of mainstream science than trying to show scientifically that God affects the world.
SDA (Seventh Day Adventists): Although theologically SDA has been
considered a fringe group from my background, Art Chadwick really has
impressed me in the type of work he has done. That made me look a bit closer at the movement. I lie the fact that it has taken a different
position from a its faith perspective and yet maintained academic standards. Of course the fairest and best historian of the Creationist
movement is an exSDAer, Ron Numbers, clearly has demonstrated the historical dependence of Whitcomb and Morris on previous SDA geologists.
Enough of that. You may gather that I think we sometimes to easy pigeonhole folks and try and interpret their positions from out perspective without first understanding their position. Maybe that stems from my love for philosophy and theology in addition to biology.
Materials Engineer - currently between engagements
18 years at IBM in materials engineer in development of printers and computers at IBM in Austin.
5 years at MCC, a now defunct research consortium doing connectors, MEMS, and whatever else came to hand
2 years at Teravicta Technologies - a start up company
High school at Maple Valley High School in rural western Michigan - class of '70 (I mention this because like it or not, who I am and how I look at the world was shaped by growing up in a small town in western Michigan)
Combined Bachelors in Physics (Grand Valley State University) and Mechanical Engineering (University of Michigan) - meant I got more liberal arts than your ordinary engineer
MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
PhD, Mechanical Engineering - University of Texas (did this while working
part time at IBM and they paid for it - took forever, but how can one turn
down a chance to go school when some one else pays for it.)
Married 25 years to James - met him when I first moved to Austin and we were married less than a year later.
Two sons - Thomas, 18 and going to college, and Will, 13 and in 8th grade
Umm, ecumenical. My birth mother was Mormon (family has been in Utah since the 1850's), my father was raised Methodist, but was more or less an agnostic (actually he figured there were things that were God's problem - like world peace - and things that were his - like raising me. He figured God could take care of God's problems and he'd take care of his responsibilities). My birth mother died when I was 3-1/2 and my father did his dead level best to raise me in the Mormon church as he'd promised her. My step-mother (who is my mom in everything but DNA) is Catholic. So any time anyone said "if you're not like us, you're going to hell", I knew that was nonsense because all three of my grandmothers were different religions, and no one believes their grandmother is damned. Couldn't stay Mormon, just didn't feel at home there. Met up with the Campus Crusades people in college who told me that not just all my grandmothers, but everyone else I loved was going to hell and I should be happy about it. So I took a little walk away from Christianity for a couple of years. Found my way home at the Congregational Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan - which was next door to my dorm - found an intellectual satisfying Christianity that for some reason is what I need. My husband was raised Presbyterian (PCUSA) and we started going to his church, St. Andrew's in Austin (no better way to impress a young lady with your seriousness than to take her to church). We were married at St. Andrew's, our boys were baptized there, and now I'm a "church lady" -work in the office once a week, do anything that church needs that involves needle and thread, do my turn in Children's Church, that sort of thing. We're sort of a hippie liberal church, but I find the intellectual challenge that I need and I like the fact that I don't have to agree with everything that's said from the pulpit.
Civil War reenacting (173rd NYSVI), 19th century women's issues, music (a proud 3rd clarinet in the Austin Civic Wind Ensemble), heirloom quality needlework, quilting, raising kids
John ("Burgy" has been my
nickname since first grade)
Education: BS (physics) Carnegie Institute of Technology, 1953 where I specialized in crystal studies.
MS (physics) Florida State University, 1955 where I specialized in solid state physics,
showing an error in a 1919 paper by Raman where he smoothed out his data
Vocation: Physicist, US Mine Defense Laboratory, Panama City, Florida, 1955-1956, where I specialized in inventing ways to keep mines from killing people.
IBM Corporation, 1957-1992,
where I enjoyed five separate careers in five different cities within one company.
Independent computer consultant, 1992-1994,
where I made a lot of money in market research and was bored.
Retired, 1994 to date, where I audit college courses, drive the jeep trails, and do construction for H4H.
Family: Met my future wife, Carol, in first grade; married in 1958. 8 children, 3 adopted.
Carol is a 3rd year MDiv student at Iliff (Denver); her goal is to be a PCUSA pastor.
Churches: Raised Lutheran; agnostic/atheist from 1949 to 1961.
Moving with IBM meant many different denominations. PCUSA since about 1988.
More: see my web site at www.burgy.50megs.com
On page 2, near the bottom is a "personal" section, including pictures of my ten grandchildren.
If you go there, please read the story of how we adopted our last two children.
I received a BA from Franklin & Marshall College, an MA from S.U.N.Y. at
Binghamton, and a PhD from the University of Rochester -- all in geology.
I have been associated with Kansas State University since 1990, first as a postdoc and then as a research assistant professor. My early research was on the paleoecology of benthic communities within the middle Devonian of the Appalachian Basin. My current research interests are in paleoecology and in the geological record of global climate and environmental change. I have several published articles on the stratigraphic and paleoclimatic interpretation of Permian cyclothems. I have also done some work on the record of short-term physical disturbance as recorded within the skeletons of colonial organisms such a bryozoans and calcareous demosponges.
I am a fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation (a society of Christians
in the sciences) and an officer of the Affiliation of Christian Geologists. I
have published papers on the scientific and theological arguments for an
evolving Creation, and has been active in issues of public
science education. I am studying the implications of the developing scientific picture of the universe and its long creative history for our
understanding of God's immanent and transcendent character. In particular, I am seeking to explore the ways that the identity of God as Creator,
Sustainer, and Redeemer is illuminated as we more fully comprehend His creation. Our perception of the character of the Creator and His creation also has significant implications for how we understand our position as God's image bearers and stewards of creation. I have also begun struggling with the meaning of pain and suffering in creation in light of God's revealed character. I have also been very involved in science education issues here in Kansas and elsewhere.
I have been involved with the Evangelical Free Church of America since
moving to the land of the tallgrass prairie. My wife Ruth is a faculty
member in electrical engineering and also an ASA member. We have a six year old son Ian, who is especially enamored of trains.
Vocation: Biblical scholar, but have earned a living in various entrepreneurial businesses.
Formal Education: A.A. Olympic Jr. College; B.A. Simpson College (Christian Missionary Alliance); B.D. Westminster Theological Seminary
Informal Education: 20 years of going through each verse of the Bible from Gen 1:1 to Rev 22:21 with the help of two or three scholarly commentaries, and reading in translation as much of the original sources of Near Eastern, Jewish, Greek and Roman history & literature as I could get my hands on covering the years from 3000 BC to c. AD 200. Have a moderate knowledge of Hebrew, Greek and German and a beginner's knowledge of Latin, French and Akkadian.
Christian Background: More or less raised a Lutheran, but born again
in a much more vital way in my second year of college. Participated in the
charismatic renewal in the 60's. Have attended a number of denominational
churches from Bible churches to Pentecostal to Reformed to Nazarene. Now attend a home church.
Family: Married to Anita for 43 years. Two sons. Four grandsons. Two granddaughters.
Interests: Mainly research and writing in the area of science and Scripture. Photography. Hiking. Anything out in nature or historical.
Family: Married to Lucy for 21 yrs. We have 4 sons: Stephen, Daniel, Timothy and Peter.
Education: 1974: B.Sc Chemistry and Geology, Pretoria University, South
1980: M.Sc Analytical Chemistry, Pretoria University, South
1998: Ph.D Geochemistry, University of Newcastle, U.K.
1972-1974: University of Pretoria - Laboratory Technician
74-75: Union Corporation, Zimbabwe - Exploration Geochemist
76,85: University of Pretoria/Mabopane Technikon - Lecturer in
77-80: Geological Survey of South Africa - Analytical Chemist
81-84: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria -
86-88: Dept. of Pharmacology, UOFS, Bloemfontein - Analytical Chemist
89-01: Rogaland Research Institute, Stavanger - Research Scientist
02- : St. Olavs high school, Stavanger - Chemistry, Maths and Physics
Parents were missionaries sent to Africa (Swaziland and Lesotho) by the Norwegian Pentecostal Church.
I made a commitment to follow Christ as Lord and Saviour at age 12. My wife and I have been active members of Methodist, Nazarene and Baptist Churches. We are at present associated with the Baptist denomination. (I have led the Science and Faith Seminar at the European Baptist Convention, Interlaken, Switzerland in 2000, 2001. Booked to lead it in 03)
The working of the brain, perception and world views. Books read: The Scientific American Book of the Brain. Journey through Mind and Body:
Emotions/The Brain. Kandel's Principles of Neural Science. Why God won't go away.Myers and Jeeves Psychology. Frankl's Man's search for Meaning.
The influence of cultural change: From the Holy Mountain: A journey among the Christians of the Middle East. (The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind) Still to be read in this category: Thinking through cultures and Culture in Mind.
ASA: Been a member since about 1992. Have learned much from listening to discussions and reading the different views.
Outside interests: Hiking, tennis, soccer.
Family: Wife(*) and a short-legged, domesticated wolf.
BS Chemistry, Haverford Collge
PhD Biochemisty, U-Minnesota, Minneapolis, Enzymology, biochemistry, metabolic regulation in bacteria
Post-doc, UC Berkeley Regulation of nitrogen metabolism in bacteria
Bayer Pharmaceuticals - Analytical biochemistry
DuPont Agricultural Products - Biochemistry & HTS
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals - Screening & data
Faith background: Agnostic, with Quaker interactions.
Interests (relating to this group): Understanding how faith & dogma
affect one's outlook or approach to
comprehending the world. One prominant case is the evo/creo "controversy", a subject in which I've been
interested since I was about ten years old.
Additional: Moral & ethical systems and the rationale behind them.
Outside interests: Electronics (small-scale sensors & automation),
programming, agility training (canine),
astronomy (as if I'll ever have the time to grind a mirror and make a 'scope), photography, biking,
canoeing, fishing & etc.
(*) Although there are times when I do miss my old motorcycle (a red BMW R80RT).
Born: April 1928 in Gorseinon, South Wales, UK - a stone's throw from
Moriah Chapel, Lougher, which featured so prominently in the 1904
Early experience as a musician: sang in the choir of the local Anglican
church; elevated to organist in the early 1940s while the regular
appointee served in the wartime forces.
In 1946 began studying mining engineering at Cardiff University, and graduated in 1950 with a BSc(Hons).
Undertook a period of Directed Practical Training with the National Coal
Board - intended to lead eventually to management of one of the local
collieries. However, a period of ill-health interrupted these plans and instead I became a lecturer in the Mining Department of the Glamorgan
Technical College (now the University of Glamorgan).
In 1966 the College acquired its first computer - an IBM 1130 having
16Kb core storage backed by 0.5 Mb interchangeable disk cartridges - the
whole outfit filling a large air-conditioned room! I immediately set about learning some FORTRAN, and eventually in 1968 obtained an external
MSc with a thesis entitled "Flow-balancing: a computer-assisted technique of fluid network analysis."
On the basis of this work I was able to make a lateral move to the
Department of Mathematics and Computing - specialising particularly in
computer graphics and numerical control. I remained there as Senior Lecturer until my retirement in 1987.
Various musical activities have accompanied my academic career.
Following my marriage in 1951 I obtained the post of organist at the
Presbyterian Church of England, Roath, Cardiff, and in 1971 became accompanist to the University Hospital of Wales Music Society Choir. In
addition, I have musical links with the local Jewish community.
My wife and I became committed Christians in 1977 and together began
attending a local evangelical church - where we remain. We have been
blest with three children (two girls and a boy) and a total of ten grandchildren - ages ranging from 10 to 22.
This brief account of my life would be incomplete if I were to remain
silent regarding my interest in Bible numerics. It all began in 1978
following my reading of one of Ivan Panin's tracts which a Christian colleague had placed on my desk. Some original discoveries quickly
followed - in particular, those concerning the marked geometrical nature of many of the phenomena attending the Hebrew of the Bible's opening
verse. I have little doubt that these matters (detailed on my website) have a significant role to play in the working out of God's purposes in
Finally, let me say that my progress from teenage evolutionist to mature
creationist is now complete. I firmly believe that our current
generation of scientists operate in a world fashioned by themselves - a world bearing little resemblance to reality. One has to ask, What hope
is there of determining the truth concerning origins and destinies when those in pursuit of these goals appear to prefer to operate with one eye
I, too, am largely a daily lurker on this list, but read it (mostly) with
interest. By attending ASA annual mtgs. with my husband Walt, as well as reading
the ASA newsletter, both before and after his 24 years as its
editor, I have gotten to know many ASA members and think they're as admirable as any men and women I know, both professionally and as Christians.
I resonated with ASA member Janet's recent description of herself as having grown up in the midwest, which in turn influences how she looks and behaves, as well as how she sees the world in general. I was born and grew up in southern Wisconsin, was a good student at my junior and senior high school--especially loved my two years each of Latin and Spanish--was very active in music, and graduated as one of two valedictorians in my class. I then won a music scholarship to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, but dropped out of music school because I didn't like my piano teacher. Partly because of spiritual concerns, I transferred as a sophomore to Otterbein College in Ohio, then the church school of my denomination, and soon became a Christian there when I came to understand the gospel through a dorm Bible study and began attending Inter-Varsity conferences. I took science courses in botany and ornithology, but not astronomy (in which I was
interested), realizing that I didn't have the necessary math courses as prerequisites.
I taught high school--Spanish/German/English--for four years, but realized that my hard work was not particularly reflected in the accomplishments of the majority of my students. I then wrote to Joe Bayly of Inter-Varsity Press about the possibility of working in IV's literature
department and was soon added to the staff in Philadelphia both to work on books and as assistant editor of IV's student magazine, HIS. I came to
understand that under Joe's mentorship, and because of my earlier study of Latin in h.s., I was essentially a "born editor"--and I have remained that professionally ever since. After seven years with Inter-Varsity, I became managing editor of all the publications of the Christian Medical Society, then in Oak Park, IL.
I married Walt in 1966, whom I met through his writing for HIS, articles that I without fail regarded as works of genius. That was especially true of his somewhat humorous, gently satirical "Higher Critical Study," which we published in HIS, in which he "proved" that he was NOT the
author of a long poem actually written by him ("Scientist's Psalm," very widely reprinted), which had appeared in the magazine a few months before.
After his many years as a tenured professor of biochemistry at Iowa State University, and a year of "faculty leave" at the University of
California in Berkeley, we together decided that he would make a major areer change, we would return to Berkeley, and live a new life as writers and editors. Since then we have worked as editors on close to 200 books for a variety of publishers, the best known of which are Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline" and Josh McDowell's "More Than a Carpenter."
Doing that kind of editing, I quickly sensed I
could probably do as well
as, if not better than, some of the books we had worked on behind the
scenes, and eventually I had three books of my own published: one on family life ("What They Did Right," Tyndale), one on the role of women in the church ("Our Struggle to Serve," Word), and "Just As I Am: Journal Keeping for Spiritual Growth," Revell/Baker). All are now out of print, but still available at exorbitant prices through used booksellers on the internet. I was co-editor with Jon Buell on "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?" (Foundation for Thought and Ethics), which is still in print--although Walt is generally assumed to be the Hearn referred to on the spine and title page of that book! I was also the designer of ASA's "Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy."
In the mid '70s, Walt and I were both on the founding board of a small Christian study center, New College Berkeley, and have both taught various courses there. In particular, I have led some 70 journal-keeping workshops through NCB, its popularity a surprise to all concerned. Although we say we are semi-retired, it doesn't feel like it. We are both so busy.
Since becoming a Christian, I have had a strong sense of my/our need for God's guidance, both short- and long-term, knowing that almost any decision or choice facing us must be made with only partial knowledge. We are overwhelmingly thankful for the Lord's leading and goodness in our lives--in which the ASA has played so significant a part.
The Troll House
Career #1 (1951-71) Academic biochemistry
Career #2 (1972-93) Freelance editing
Career #3 (19??-date) Writing
EDUCATION & EMPLOYMENT:
USNR, enlisted aviation electronic technician (1944-46). B.A., chemistry,
Rice U., Houston (1948).
Ph.D., biochemistry, U. of Illinois, Urbana (1951).
[Structure of antibiotic streptothricin, with H. E. Carter.]
Instructor, biochem, Yale School of Med, New Haven (1951-52).
[Enzymatic transpeptidation reactions, with J. S. Fruton.]
Asst prof, biochem, Baylor College of Med, Houston (1952-55).
[Purification of corticotropin releasing factor, with R. Guillemin;
chemistry of oxalyl amino acids.]
Assoc prof, biochem, Iowa State U., Ames (1955-71).
[CRF activity of synthetic vasopressin; biosynthesis of prodigiosin in
Serratia marcescens, with R. P. Williams; growth factors for Bacillus
thuringensis; guanidation of amino acids, etc.]
Editor, ASA Newsletter (1969-93).
Partner with wife Virginia, "Editorial Excellence," (1972-date).
Prof, Christianity & science, New College Berkeley (1978-date).
Grew up in a Christian home, met Christ in our family's Southern Baptist church in Houston at about age 10. I have been several kinds of Baptist, including American Baptist during grad school. Not strongly oriented ecclesiastically. Have felt most at home in low-church settings, including the former Berkeley Housechurch, which began in our living room in 1975 and lasted for maybe a decade with several offshoots. Ginny and I dropped out of it after about five years (to return to our experiment in "Secular Christian Fellowship," a "no-church" setting) after Housechurch folks seemed intent on reinventing the established church, despite their roots in the Christian World Liberation Front, an indigenous ministry (1969-75) to Berkeley's countercultural youth. After years of appreciating the efforts of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley to witness to the university community, we finally became members, though I regard myself as merely a pseudo-Presbyterian. I consider service to others as my principle form of worship, rather than seeing corporate worship as the principle "service" of Christians. Throughout my Christian life as well as my scientific career, I have been primarily an experimentalist rather than a theoretician.
1) Those who have read my book Being a Christian in Science (IVP, 1997) know pretty much what I have to say. I am under the impression that all ASA members receive a free copy but I realize that not all contributors to this list are ASA members. Without "spamming" those who are not yet members, I do recommend the book (available from ASA or IVP), especially for young people just beginning or contemplating a career in scientific work.
2) Having just returned from the ASA Annual Meeting at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, I also highly recommend membership in ASA and at least occasional attendance at Annual Meetings, especially when they are held in your part of the USA. The 2002 program, emphasizing "Christian Pioneers of Science," was rich both scientifically and spiritually. Five outstanding plenary speakers described their technical work in accessible language while speaking of their faith journeys. In a new program, students and post-docs giving papers or posters received free registration and housing, plus full participation in the meeting. Every young person I talked to found it inspiring.
3) I joined ASA as a grad student and was able to attend my first meeting as
a post-doc, fifty years ago. That's a half-century of broadening my scientific
understanding and deepening my faith in Jesus Christ. The "fellowship of
kindred minds" has blessed me in many ways, including opportunities to
contribute to the science/faith "literature" with many articles in the
ASA journal and elsewhere, with half a dozen chapters in books by others, and as
co-author of the booklet Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy, still
available from ASA and still useful for teachers caught in the crossfire. My
book on Being a Christian in Science came not only from my own experience but
also from writing the stories of hundreds of contemporary exemplars for the ASA
Newsletter and for a series of "Search" inserts in the ASA journal. It
was my chapter on "The Origin of
Life" (with Richard Hendry, my first grad student) in Evolution and Christian Thought Today (ed. by Russ Mixter, Eerdmans, 1959) that got me invited to a 1960 science symposium at Wheaton College in Mixter's honor. A critical report of my part in that symposium in a publication called The Sword of the Lord was the basis of my appearance in the final segment of the 2001 PBS series on Evolution, "What About God?" (though I did not play the title role).
4) I apologize for the length of this post. The Hearns are relatively new to
the Internet. Ginny loves it but Walt is not yet comfortable with it. As a sort
of hybrid of two of his favorite forms of worship (conversation and
correspondence), email sometimes seems to bring out the worst features of both rather than the best. So, consider this another experiment in learning to worship more effectively. Thank you for your patience.
Please send additional submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org