The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 23, 2010

Scientist creates local buzz

BY MIKE HELENTHAL
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — To Jason Lisle, the origin of the wondrous nighttime sky is a black-and-white proposition.

“It comes down to Biblical authority,” said Lisle, an astrophysicist who brought his Creationist message to Danville Area Community College on Tuesday for two lecture sessions through the organization, Answersingenesis.com.

“You can trust the Bible on all issues,” he said. “I just think, on the most part, people don’t want to believe in the Bible.”

Lisle, a consultant to the 3-year-old Creation Museum in Kentucky, says the movement is on an upswing as Christian scientists challenge widely accepted theories on the origin of life on Earth such as the big-bang and evolution.

In fact, Lisle was brought to the DACC campus by science students trying to bring textbook theories into line with their Christian beliefs.

“This all started out because they were having questions,” said Kathy Sturgeon, faculty advisor to the student group, Power House Collegian Ministry, which started up again this year after two years of inactivity.

“We were asking a lot of questions about evolution and Old Earth and New Earth theories,” said Jessica Walter, the student group’s president. “They wanted another point of view. Life is so complex — it can’t be by chance.”

Walter said students wrestling with the competing concepts feel a lot of pressure to go along with popular opinion.

“DACC is really about diversity, and we wanted to show that just because you believe this doesn’t make you a fanatic or make you uneducated,” she said. “It’s nice to hear the science behind it.”

According to Lisle, there is no aligning popular scientific theory to Christian beliefs, even though both sides are defending their arguments with the same natural data.

He said students must basically take a side — either trusting in secular science or God.

“We have the same evidence, but we look at it differently,” he said. “I don’t think it’s academically a challenge, but psychologically it can be. We both have a religion of sorts, but a Biblical world view can make sense of science.”

Lisle spent the morning session pointing out the flaws of the big-bang theory, which he said is rife with speculation and missing data — from questions over universal mass and size, to the universe’s age to the makeup of the early planets.

“The big-bang is a very popular myth in our culture today,” he said. “It’s a naturalistic explanation. It contradicts Scripture; there are Biblical problems with the big-bang. It does have some rather serious problems that need to be worked out.”

Likewise, outside of faith, he also offered little evidence of creation, except to say it was believable against the backdrop of Biblical miracles like water being turned into wine and the virgin birth — both documented, but neither providing much in the way of physical evidence.

He said the Bible reveals an accurate timeline of Earth’s creation, and that it is a timeline that disagrees with mainstream science by billions of years. Further, the mainstream says dinosaurs predated birds, stars predated Earth and fish predated trees, while Creationists believe the opposite.

Critics have regularly called the Creationist’s arguments into question, the National Center for Science Education saying in a review that the Kentucky-based Creation Museum was based on “outrageous and remarkable pseudoscience.”

Mainstream scientists say their theories are based on agreed-upon observations and that the changing nature of scientific discovery will help them fill in the blanks — which leads to either further proof or reconsideration.

Lisle said the Creationists’ science is sound and that critics can’t overcome atheist tendencies.

“The more we discover the more it confirms that God is true,” Lisle said. “He’s not bound by the laws of nature, and we don’t even know what all the laws of nature are anyway. Our minds are corrupted by sin. God tells us we are in need of his help to think properly about him.”

Sturgeon, a science and math teacher at DACC — and a former atheist — said she was surprised at the interest in the topic, with the morning session at the Bremer Center held to a standing-room-only crowd and an overflow crowd expected for the evening session.

Students from some local high schools were brought in for the morning session, though Sturgeon said classes from the entire area were invited.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from the community,” she said. “In the classroom we want to open a discussion about the culture of science. Can you avoid biases? You can still be a Christian and a scientist.”

FYI

Other upcoming events being sponsored by DACC-based Power House Collegian Ministry include:

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