An Unimaginable Boom

Posted June 6, 2014 by gensci
Categories: Novarupta, Volcanoes

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DSC_0339

It’s hard to imagine that the 380 m wide by 68 m tall Novarupta dome is the site of the largest volcanic eruption in over 100 years! However, the undulating pattern of the surface in the foreground is the first clue that something more powerful than any of us have witnessed occurred here not so long ago.

 

What is the loudest explosion you have ever heard? How far away could you hear it? 1 mile? 2 miles? 10 miles? What about 100 miles? If something exploded, and you could hear it from over 100 miles away, that would be impressive, wouldn’t it! I can’t imagine an explosion that big. Now, think about an explosion that could be heard 800 miles away, and you are on the scale of the explosion that started the Novarupta-Katmai eruption of 1912!

Today, June 6, 2014, is the anniversary of the largest volcanic eruption in over 100 years, the June 6-8, 1912 eruption of Novarupta-Katmai. Located in Katmai National Park in remote Southwest Alaska, the eruption was more like an explosion. The 60-hour blast filled the surrounding valley with sand-like flows up to 700 feet thick in places. And most of that occurred in the first 16 hours!

As magma blasted out of Novarupta’s vent, the magma chamber supporting nearby Mt. Katmai also started to empty out Novarupta. With its internal support gone, the top of Mt. Katmai collapsed, creating a massive hole (caldera) that all the buildings in New York City and then some could fit inside.

Although I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Katmai National Park studying this gigantic eruption, it is still hard to imagine what it must have looked like as ash clouds bellowed and the surrounding valley rapidly filled with one ignimbrite package (sandflow) after another. But it did happen, it happened very quickly, and the evidence is there for all to see.

Surrounding Novarupta-Katmai, evidence also exists for an Ice Age, preceded by Noah’s flood. You see, Novarupta-Katmai materials rest atop glacial till (Ice Age deposits). And the Ice Age deposits rest atop the 15,000 foot thick Naknek formation, a water-deposited sedimentary rock layer (Flood deposit).

Would you like to learn more about this amazing eruption? One way is by purchasing our new Journey to Novarupta audio adventure. Produced by the creators of the popular Jonathan Park creation adventure series, Journey to Novarupta follows our 2009 and 2011 trips to the volcano. It also flashes back to the 1900’s and the expeditions of Dr. Robert Griggs, the first human to see the eruption site. Journey with us as we search for and find evidence of Noah’s Flood, reveal huge problems in the radiometric dating methods use as evidence for millions of years, and more. This family adventure will build your faith as you discover powerful scientific evidence for a young and active planet!

Journey to Novarupta is on sale now through June 12, 2014! Click here to listen to the opening scene, and/or to order. To receive the sale price, copy/paste coupon code JourneySale682014. Digital downloads are on sale for $7.99 and CDs for $11.99.

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus Christ, the Common Core of all DIVE courses

Posted May 7, 2014 by gensci
Categories: Teaching Mathematics, Teaching Science

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A Brief History of University

Late in the 12th Century, a phenomenon unique to Europe appeared, the university. University is actually a combination of two words, unity and diversity. Originally, universities were schools that owned no real estate, but were instead an association of teachers or students. Although not always theologically or scholarly accurate, what under girded the university was the unification of all subjects by an all-encompassing worldview. Christianity provided the unity that connected the diversity of courses offered.*

In other words, Jesus Christ was at the core of the worldview of original universities! Unfortunately, in the 21st Century, Christianity is no longer at the core of most educational systems. In the United States, the government’s new Common Core program has a godless, purposeless, evolutionary worldview at its core.

Who Interprets the Facts Matters

Cornelius Van Til (1895-1987), author of Essays on Christian Education, made the wise statement that, in this world, there exists a whole collection of facts. Would you rather have those facts interpreted to your child through a Christian or a non-Christian worldview?

For Christians, the answer should be simple. Jesus Christ is, or should be, the common core of all the subjects we teach our children. To the extent that we are able to, we should try to use curriculum taught from a Christian worldview. But that also doesn’t mean we need to fear books and courses that are taught from a non-Christian, or even anti-Christian worldview. We just need to train our children how to think critically about these things. If we teach them the Truth, they will be more capable of detecting false “philosophy and empty deceit.” (Colossians 2:8)

Pray that more Christian families will realize the problems of sending their children day after day to be taught in schools where Jesus Christ is not the common core. Pray that we can find new and creative ways to help those who, for various reasons, it would be extremely difficult or impossible to home school or attend a private Christian school. Pray for Christian families in countries where homeschooling and Christian schooling is illegal, that they will be able to help their children test everything they are learning, holding onto the good (I Thessalonians 5:21).

If you are interested in learning more about DIVE Math and Science courses, where Jesus Christ is the common core, click here.

*Paraphrased from Mathematics, is God Silent?, by James Nickel.

Thinking of Resurrection Bay

Posted April 21, 2014 by gensci
Categories: Spreading His Word

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Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska. It was named by Alexandr Baranov, who was forced to retreat into the bay during a bad storm in the Gulf of Alaska. When the storm settled it was Easter Sunday. Today, Resurrection Bay, and all of Alaska, are part of the United States, purchased from Russia in 1867 for 2 cents an acre. Russia at the time was strained economically, after being humbled in the Crimean War of 1853-1856.

Resurrection Bay, Seward, Alaska

Yesterday (April 20, 2014) we celebrated Resurrection Day. The day got me thinking of one of my favorite places, Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska. The bay was named in the late 1700’s by Alexandr Baranov, a Russian fur trader who retreated into the bay during a bad storm in the Gulf of Alaska. When the storm settled it was Easter Sunday.

Today, Resurrection Bay, and all of Alaska, are part of the United States, purchased from Russia in 1867 for 2 cents an acre. Russia at the time was strained economically, after being humbled in the Crimean War of 1853-1856. Vladimir Putin has been compared with the czarist emperor, Nicholas I, who lacked the foresight to see how his prideful 19th Century actions in Crimea would adversely affect Russia.

Pray that Vladimir Putin will change his arrogant ways, before he leads his country through yet another death and resurrection. Like all countries, Russia doesn’t need another prideful leader, they need a servant leader whose king is Jesus Christ. Pray also that you and I can have some death and resurrection of our own prideful ways as well, and do more than just point out the folly of national leaders.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18.

A sea otter feeds on mussels in Resurrection Bay.

A sea otter feeds on mussels in Resurrection Bay.

Resurrection Bay's beautiful, yet rugged coast.

Resurrection Bay’s beautiful, yet rugged coast.

A humpback whale surfaces in Resurrection Bay.

A humpback whale surfaces in Resurrection Bay.

Rockfish from Resurrection Bay.

Rockfish from Resurrection Bay.

Build a Better Engine

Posted April 17, 2014 by gensci
Categories: Creation/Evolution, Spreading His Word, Teaching Mathematics

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Over the last few years, I have talked to a lot of people who spew propaganda claiming Bible-believing Christians are “anti-science.” Because people like me are skeptical of the history claims of evolutionists and futurology claims of global warming alarmists, we are labeled “anti-science.” Fortunately, discerning between what is and is not a scientific claim is as easy as understanding a chocolate chip cookie recipe. Unfortunately, some refuse to acknowledge the differences, using the “Christians are anti-science” fallacy to create political division. For others,  it’s just another excuse to hate their neighbor.

One pattern I’ve noticed among the “Christians are anti-science” crowd is that the most outspoken individuals tend to have little or no background in science or engineering. When God gives me an opportunity to talk to unbelievers that promote this agenda, I have learned to 1) let them know Christians like me are most assuredly pro-science, 2) present the Gospel, and 3) encourage them to stop doing what they are doing and get into a science and engineering field.

Something I have encouraged more than one unbeliever to do is “build me a better engine.” Promoting the idea that fossil fuels are causing catastrophic global warming is foolish. In spite of increased atmospheric CO2 levels, there has been no warming for 17 years and 8 months now. If, instead of promoting unscientific future climate ideas and labeling those who disagree as “anti-science,” why not do something meaningful?  Why not be actively involved in designing less expensive, more fuel efficient engines, ones that could reduce air pollution and provide better lives for the poor? Wouldn’t a pro-science, love-your-neighbor mindset be better than an unscientific, hate-your-neighbor one? Well, of course it would, but the former is a difficult concept for those who don’t believe the foolishness of God is wiser than men (I Corinthians 1:25).

Unless God changes their hearts and they repent and turn to Christ, foolish actions are to be expected from unbelievers (Psalm 14:1). Fortunately, there are young Christian men and women out there who love God and His creation, and want to “build a better engine” for His glory. Listen to this testimony from David K., a homeschooling senior that is currently using our DIVE Calculus course (bold emphasis mine):

“Thank you also for all the work you have put into the DIVE CDs. Your teaching is clear, easy to understand, and you explain everything really well. Your lectures have helped me immensely, and I don’t know where I would be in math with out them. I definitely agree with you, in that God has allowed us to understand math so that we can get to know Him better. I love looking in Creation and seeing God Himself! I am a senior in high-school, and I plan to go to college to study Engineering Physics, with mechanical emphasis. I want to eventually perform engine research to produce a more financially feasible engine. I would do this by creating a new energy conversion process that does more work per unit of fuel than engines today. I have always had a love for science and math, and I really look up to people like you who know so much and use it for the glory of God. Thank you for being a great example for me to follow.” 

While David K’s words are incredibly kind and humbling to me, I hope they are an encouragement to you! A lot of people are surrounded by hopelessness and despair, but there’s also a lot of hope out there, too!

Are you a young person like David K who loves the Lord and wants to take what God has made and use it to design things that will serve others? Are you currently an unbeliever? Whoever you are, it is important to be intellectually honest and spread the word that Christians are pro-science. History proclaims this truth, as do present actions of humans all over the world.  So, enough of this blog post, get out there and build a better engine!

Foundations in Genesis

Posted February 26, 2014 by gensci
Categories: Creation/Evolution, Environmental Issues, Spreading His Word, The Right to Life

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Student Workbook Cover, Foundations in Genesis

I made this student workbook (Russian) and teacher’s manual (English) to use in seminary classes I’ll teach in March 2014 at the Biblical Theological Seminary of St. Petersburg, Russia. The seminary is the educational wing of the Slavic Reformation Society.

Foundations in Genesis, Student Workbook (Russian)

Foundations in Genesis, Teacher’s Manual (English)

I snapped the cover photo in 2009 at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, a world-famous grizzly bear viewing area. And speaking of grizzlies, if you would rather just read about them instead of all this deep theology stuff, click here.

Acknowledgements

The workbook includes a section for students to take notes during lectures, plus selected reading assignments. The two main sources for reading materials already translated into Russian include Chapters 1-3 of my book, Exchange of Truth (translated in 2008), and Creation Ministries International’s Russian page, currently with 134 articles translated into Russian. Praise God for this incredible resource from CMI!

I would also like to acknowledge the following individuals and organizations, and their awesome sermons, films, presentations and papers that are part of this course:

Dr. John K. Reed et. al. and research papers on understanding naturalism here and here.

Pastor Fred Greco and sermons/lessons on Genesis and covenant theology.

Dr. George Grant’s sermon audio on The Cultural Mandate.

Dr. E. Calvin Beisner and The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

Dr. Jonathan Wells and his chapter on Soviet Darwinism (Lysenkoism) in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design.

Mr. Mark Amunrud, instructor at Montana Bible College, and presentations on the main point of Genesis.

Rousas J. Rushdoony’s book on Genesis, and particularly Chapter 7 on marriage.

Living Waters Ministry and 180 Movie.

American Vision and How to Answer The Fool.

The War on Humans

Posted February 21, 2014 by gensci
Categories: Environmental Issues

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Killer whales suing Sea World for slavery. Laws against the humiliation of plants. University professors, politicians, and environmental extremist groups like Sierra Club advocating for human population control. What’s going on?! I know all this sounds really weird (or I hope it does!), but certain self-appointed important people think YOU (they would never think this of themselves) have no more value than the pile of goo you evolved from. Therefore, YOU (not them) have no more value than a blade of grass, so in order to “save the planet,” it’s okay to manage and control you like so many lawn trimmings.

Foolish thinking like this has its roots in naturalism, the false idea that the material universe is all that exists, and there is no God. Naturalism is supported by the false ideas of evolutionism and billions of years, which can deceive people into thinking that, over the eons of slow and gradual change, humans certainly aren’t any more special than anything else. Unless of course, you are one of “them.” The latest politically correct way to hate your neighbor is about THEM getting rid of YOU. I hope you’re not one of THEM.

Pray that unbelievers and confused Christians would get back to trusting His word, remembering that humans are special, created in His image, and commanded by God to wisely manage His creation (Genesis 1:26-28). Also, here are a couple of resources you can share. First is the new film and e-book by Wesley J. Smith titled War on Humans. You can watch the film below.

Second, show a skeptic the following graph. I used actual data from 222 countries, and sorted them by per-capita GDP. I found the top countries have a per capita GDP almost double that of the bottom half. That means they also have more funds available to properly steward God’s creation. But here’s the shocker for the human-haters. The population density of the top countries is over 5 times greater than the bottom countries.

average gdp vs population density

The biblical mandate to wisely “be fruitful and multiply” plays out in the real world with more people and more funds available for stewardship. The human-hater model, which equates stewardship with massive population reduction of other humans (not themselves), will result in less prosperous countries, and therefore a reduced ability to steward.

Ultimately, environmental issues are not really about human population. They are about human sin. If we reduced human population by 90%, which University of Texas professor Eric Pianka suggests, there would still be plenty of people left to make enough nuclear bombs to commit mass murder, but also environmental havoc, on a global scale.

God wants us to know His creation and use it. And biblical dominion doesn’t mean domination. Not even close. Nor does it mean keep our human hands off of as much of it as possible. Let’s stop rebelling against His commands in Genesis 1:26-28, repeated in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Let’s just trust him instead, humbly repent when we fail, and try a little harder to love our neighbors.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Ham, and Nye

Posted February 15, 2014 by gensci
Categories: Creation/Evolution

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

What do chocolate chip cookies have to do with the recent Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye debate? Well, you’ll see shortly! First though, one conversation the debate stirred up among believers and unbelievers alike relates to differences between what Mr. Ham referred to as observational science and historical science. This is an important distinction, which I think becomes clearer if we refer to the two as scientific research and natural history research. Dr. Mortimer Adler described natural history research in the 1960’s. His ideas have been developed further by Dr. John K. Reed and others, and their efforts help us better understand the limitations of scientific research. More importantly, they help us see the real battle is not “science vs. religion” as some falsely claim, but Christianity vs. naturalism. Naturalism is basically the idea that nature is all there is, and there is no God who created everything.

Papers like this one describing natural history research are helpful, but complex. While thinking about an easier way to explain the differences, I realized cooking might serve as a useful explanatory tool. In what follows, I will use chocolate chip cookie recipes as an analogy to help discern between scientific research, natural history research, and futurology claims.

Scientific research: Like a good chocolate chip cookie recipe, scientific research involves developing a testable, repeatable method that others can follow AND produce similar results. A good recipe produces good cookies for everyone who follows the directions.

Example: The cadmium reduction method is a common procedure used to measure the concentration of NO3 (nitrate) in water. Nitrate is an important nutrient, but can be a pollutant when concentrations are high. If I collected a water sample from a river for nitrate analysis, I should be able to send it to any laboratory in the nation and receive similar results.

Natural History Research: This is like the scientific method in reverse. You have the cookie (the result), but you don’t have the recipe (the method). So, you decide to try and use the cookie to figure out what the recipe is. At present, a Google search for “chocolate chip cookie recipe” yields 49,600 results! Which recipe is the one used to make the batch of cookies shown above? How will you know? Well, you probably won’t know for sure, but through chemical analysis run on your cookie, plus other research including reading historical documents like cook books, you can eliminate a lot of the possible recipes.

Example: Historical documents and eyewitness accounts show Novarupta volcano’s lava dome formed in 1912, about 100 years ago. I had a sample age-dated using the Argon-Argon method, and it showed the lava dome was up to 5.5 million years old! Both methods (historical records, Ar-Ar dating) have the same material evidence, but the massive time differences result because extremely different procedures were used to interpret the data. It is also obvious that, for this example anyways, one interpretive framework, or “recipe” (historical records), is clearly better than the other. They’re not equally valid.

Futurology claims: This is like having an untested chocolate chip cookie recipe. You think it will make good cookies, but you’re not sure yet, especially since your recipe is quite a bit different from some other recipes. Some are more skeptical of your recipe than others.

Example: Confusion over what future climate will look like. Will it be warmer, cooler, or the same? The data show warming in the 80’s and early 90’s, but no warming for 17 years and 5 months now. Nevertheless, media and many scientists continue to paint a grim futuristic story involving catastrophic global warming resulting from carbon dioxide emissions linked to human activity.

The debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye was an origins debate. It was not a “Science vs. Bible” debate as some may claim. It was about how the way we view things influences our perception of reality. It was a battle between Christianity and naturalism. So, the next time you hear someone describe Christian and conservative people as “anti-science,” understand that it has nothing to do with scientific things. Christians, as Mr. Ham mentioned during the debate, are not anti-chemistry, anti-physics, anti-technology, etc! That’s irrational, but then so is unbelief, so Christians shouldn’t be surprised when unbelievers say irrational things. God has to change their heart and mind. Only then will they see more clearly.

The “anti-science” mantra is a straw man argument by dogmatic, and often bigoted individuals who want their naturalistic story of the past, present and future told, to the exclusion of other stories. Especially the story found in Scripture. Pray that God will turn the hearts of unbelievers to Him, and that they would trust His story of Creation, Fall, Redemption through Christ alone, and Restoration, which is the greatest story of all! Pray also for Christians who are confused by naturalism, and erroneously seek to find a “middle ground” between Christianity and naturalism in places where it doesn’t exist.


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