Creation, Winter Retreat: Part Two

Continuing with the winter retreat I attended in Mercersburgh, Pa, here’s a recap of Frank Sherwin’s presentation. Sherwin has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in zoology.

Sherwin’s presentation was on design, and he rejects the idea that natural selection and the environment is capable of designing organisms. He explains that this idea isn’t science because the environment doesn’t actually do anything- it’s just there, and it’s the organism that must respond based on its design.

He maintains that God’s creation is clearly seen, and evolutionists recognize this without realizing it. He cites Dr. Charles Townes as an example. This 1964 Nobel Prize winner acknowledged, “Many have a feeling that somehow intelligence must have been involved in the laws of the universe.” He said this because there does appear to be order and design in the universe. And that leads Sherwin to ask, “Is it wrong to go where the evidence leads?” Of course the answer is “no”, it’s not wrong; in fact that’s exactly what we should be doing.

Dr. Tom Garrison is another scientist who recognizes the “fine-tuning” of the universe. He marvels at how optimal our planet is for life: “What is extraordinary is a happy combination of circumstances. Our planet’s orbit is roughly circular around a relatively stable star. Earth is large enough to hold an atmosphere, but not so large that its gravity would overwhelm. Its neighborhood is tranquil- supernovae have not seared its surface with radiation.”

In addition, Sherwin demonstrates that, despite a widely-held belief in the Big Bang cosmology, there’s much uncertainty surrounding the origin of the universe. In a 2013 space.com article, Nola Taylor Redd said, “Astronomers aren’t certain of exactly how galaxies formed. After the Big Bang, space was made up almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Some astronomers think that gravity pulled dust and gas together to form individual stars, and those stars drew closer together into collections that ultimately became galaxies. Others think that the mass of what would become galaxies drew together before the stars within them were created.” There are many who want to convince us that there is no uncertainty, but that simply isn’t true. Sherwin went on to site scientist after scientist acknowledging the fine-tuning of the universe and their inability to adequately explain it.

Some of the uncertainty includes star formation and the origin of the moon. Gas pressure, magnetic field strength and angular momentum, for example, all work to effectively prevent star formation, and the favored theory for the moon’s origin- the Giant Impact Hypothesis- is a bad theory. Alan Butler reacts to how the sun, moon and sun interact and says, “We were confused at first. Where there should have been random, disconnected numbers, there were beautifully harmonious relationships and repeating patterns. It struck us as though we were looking at some kind of engineering blueprint involving the Earth and the Moon’s interaction around the sun.” I think that is strong evidence that God is clearly seen through his creation.

Francis Crick, the Nobel prize-winning molecular biologist had to admit that he has to consciously deny any involvement by God, saying, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” Hmmm…

To his point, there are countless examples of design in the animal kingdom, such as echinoderms- a phylum of marine mammals like starfish and sea urchins. According to Libbie H. Hyman, echinoderms are “a noble group especially designed to puzzle the zoologist.” But Sherwin responds by saying that these organisms were designed by God to INFORM zoologists of his existence, not to confuse them.

On a side note, I looked up this quote by Hyman and found it humorous that there are those attempting to undo the damage that her quote has caused. Evolutionist David Kendrick wrote that she didn’t intend to use the word “design” because nowadays it bears “unfortunate baggage.”

Another excellent example found in the animal kingdom is the planthopper nymph, designed with gears in its legs. G. Sutton describes them: “What we have is a prototype for incredibly small, high-speed, high-precision gears.” But, knowing that creationists would use this as evidence for God’s design, he quickly added that, “These gears are not designed; they are evolved- representing high speed and precision machinery evolved for synchronization in the animal world.” He followed the advice of Crick and others, being sure to reject the obvious conclusion that the gears were specially designed by God.

Sherwin points out that scientists recognize how resistant DNA is to change, admitting that it “seems to be the work of an accomplished sculptor,” according Melissa Marino at Vanderbilt U. Med Center. DNA is “an incredibly powerful information storage device.” One gram can store the equivalent of more than 100 billion DVDs. Cells must also repair as many as one million lesions per day, and this happens through dehydration synthesis, where enzymes search for mistakes and repair them.

Sherwin concludes that “evolution looks painfully religious.” The universe and living things clearly look like they were designed, so rejecting that conclusion takes a leap of faith.

His next session was on Mount St. Helens, which he calls the “creationist’s laboratory.” He says we’ve learned a great deal about the origin of rocks and geologic features, and it provides a glimpse of the earth’s geologic power. If we think about this on a wider scale, he says, it becomes a template for Noah’s flood.

Evolutionists often imagine that it takes millions of years for vast layers to form, but this event demonstrates how rapidly this can occur. Beginning in 1980, three volcanic events happened over a two-year period. The first eruption was the most destructive recorded in the United States, and unleashed enough energy comparable to 400 million tons of TNT. In 1982, a one-day explosion caused a mudflow, leaving up to six hundred feet of sediment, and a deep canyon was eroded through those sediments and carved out in one afternoon.

According to evolutionists, it took 600 million years for the geologic column to be laid, but if Noah’s flood was a real event, then there were no geologic ages. According to Macquaker and Bohacs, “Mudstones can be deposited under more energetic conditions than widely assumed, requiring a reappraisal of many geologic records.” And K.E. Karlstrom said that the timing of the Grand Canyon’s formation has been vigorously debated for almost 150 years. I find that interesting because evolutionists often claim that there is no debate over geologic ages.

Despite the geologic activity and damage done by the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption, there was a rapid recovery that surprised scientists. Elk returned to the blast zone, and biologists were “absolutely shocked” to find that most of the amphibian species survived. Petroleum-eating bacteria even out-competed other microbes, digesting the oil.

At Mount St. Helens we find rapid strata formation, rapid erosion of canyons, rapid deposition of logs in upright positions at the bottom of Spirit Lake, rapid burial of peat, rapid glacier formation, rapid rock slab growth in the lava dome, rapid recovery of the ecosystem, and rapid lava cooling, leaving behind volcanic rocks dated over a million-years old, even though they’re only decades old.

According to Scientist Linus Pauling, “Science is the search for truth, the effort to understand the world.” Sherwin concludes that we should investigate and search for Biblical truth; Jesus is the truth, and God’s creation is clearly seen (Romans 1:20).

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