NH Conversations

Speaking at a creation conference in Guatemala in 2015.

Speaking at a creation conference in Guatemala in 2015.

Are you looking for a speaker to engage your audience about science, faith and the Christian life?  If so please consider my services as a speaker and discussion facilitator.  In addition to writing on science and faith topics I enjoy giving engaging diverse audiences on a wide variety of science topics from a Christian perspective.  I have been a speaker for Solid Rock Lectures for the past three years and have recently been named a member of the BioLogos speaker’s bureau called BioLogos Voices.  Both of these organizations desire to foster respectful dialogue among Christians seeking answers to science and faith questions.

You can contact me about my speaking services by either filling out the speakers request form at BioLogos HERE or the contact form at the bottom of this page.

I have spent nearly 20 years participating and directing graduate students in research projects.   Most of those projects have involved using molecular characters such as DNA sequences and genome structure to answer questions about how similar organisms are to one another.   The pictures here represent some of the organisms and molecules that I have investigated.   From plants to animals to microorganisms and proteins, I have had the great pleasure to be involved in many new discoveries and share them with the scientific community.   During all of my years of research I have also maintained a desire to understand how these things I have learned help us understand God’s creation more fully.  That interest has fueled my passion for reading and writing and the relationship of science and faith.  For more about me please see my About page.

 

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Below I provide a brief overview of some of my seminar-style presentations.  Most can be tailored to different settings such as a weekend seminar series, a Sunday school class or small groups that want to dig into a topic. In all cases, I would provide ample time for questions and discussion.  I don’t believe in “lecturing” at audiences to tell them what they must believe. Rather, I provide rational discourse about the state of our understanding of these topics as a scientist who has read the literature and in many cases contributed to our understanding through my own research. Everyone is encouraged to learn, and test what I have said and decide for themselves if what I have said is faithful, most importantly, to Scriptures  and makes sense in the world around us.

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The Discovery of Deep Time and Adapting Life

The Discovery of Deep Time and Adapting life:  How was deep time discovered and why do all scientists today take the great age of the Earth as a given? In this talk I take you on a tour of the history of how the church has changed its thinking about the age of the Earth. I explore both the scientific discoveries that led to an ancient earth but also ask how theologians grappled with that same evidence.  I believe that knowing our past can help us understand the present age of the Earth and evolution discussion in the church today.

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Understanding Young Earth Creationism:  The Creation Orchard Rapid-Speciation Hypothesis

Speciation by natural selection is Darwin’s proposed mechanism of Evolution. Today young earth creationists claim that natural selection is responsible for massive speciation over a short period of time.  Are they espousing a new form of evolutionary theory? If so how is it different? I make a critical assessment of this neocreationists proposition and contrast that with what evolutionary theory predicts.  We will ask questions bout dogs, cats, elephants and even humans as we look at the origin of the amazing variation we see in the species alive today!  In this talk I don’t just critique the young-earth model of biological evolution but I contrast and compare it to the other common views among evangelicals including progressive creationism and evolutionary creation, the latter of which is promoted by BioLogos.

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Christian responses to the physical and spiritual status of Neanderthals

Is there any question that draws the attention of evangelicals more than that of the historicity of Adam and Eve? There have been a flood of books on the topic in the last five years.  It’s a big topic with questions that reach far beyond just who was Adam and when did he live? In this talk I address the question of human origins by asking a tangential but important question:  who were Neanderthals and how are they related to us?  Are they descendants of Adam?  Did they have souls?  I conclude my talk with a comparison several different theistic models of how to understand Neanderthals in light of the scientific evidence and the concerns raised by various interpretation of the Scriptures regarding Adam and Eve.

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Stories that fossils tell: Revealing God’s works of creation through time

I have collected fossils from many location in the US and have had a fascination with them since childhood.  In this talk I ask, what are they telling us?  This talk is an introduction to biological diversity with an emphasis on fossils.  From tiny to huge, fossils reveal not just the shape of extinct organisms but also their behavior.I ask questions about where fossils came from and how many there are. What does it mean that so many fossils represent organisms that are no longer alive?  How can we understand the existence of fossils in God’s Good creation?  How have Christians responded to the stories that fossils seem to be telling us.

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Thorns, thistles and the “good” creation: the ecology of the Garden of Eden

What was the Garden of Eden like? How do we know?  Some Christians believe that thorns and thistles did not exist on Earth before Adam’s sin. After all, God cursed the ground and said it would bring forth “thorns and thistles” for Adam and Eve and their descendants?  What does it mean the ground would bring these forth? Does it mean that thorns were the direct result of sin?  Here we look at the use of the words thorns and thistles (or better yet thornbushes and thistle plants) through the Bible. I also provide a botanical lesson on thorns and thistles.  In the end we will see how the opinions of thorns and thistles is a microcosm of the misconceptions and bad interpretations that are common in the creation and evolution and age of the Earth debates in the evangelical community.

 

duff-hawaiian-islands-originsWhat do the Hawaiian Islands teach us about the age of the Earth and the abundance of life on it?

In this introductory-style lecture I ask the question; if 95% of all species on Hawaii are different from those anywhere else in the world where did those species come from?  By focusing on a single place we can ask questions about how evolution works and how long it takes for processes such as natural selection to “make” a species.   This could be a 1 hour seminar or a 3 hour workshop-style presentation in which I use the Hawaiian Islands as a vehicle for asking questions about how evolution works. I provide a basic primer on the mechanisms of evolution and contrast to the young earth model of hyper-evolution and statist – separate creation of species.

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What do geological studies of the Dead Sea and the Nile River tell us about the age of the Earth?

In this talk I take you to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth and I ask questions about it origins.  I also take you to the Nile River and I explore the geological history of the Nile River Valley. Both have a story to tell and that story is one of long periods of formation.  Both of these locations were well known to the Biblical authors.  What does the Bible have to say about their origins?  How might understand modern geology in the context of the biblical descriptions of these places.

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The Red Planet:  What can it tell us about the age of the Earth and the evolution?

Our dry, cold and red neighbor in the solar system has captured the imagination of people who gazed up into the sky throughout history.   We have placed satellites in orbit around this planet and we have place three rovers on its surface which have sent back thousands of amazing images. In this talk I take you on a tour of Mars and tell you about what scientists believe they now know about Mars history.   I then ask, does Mars have anything to tell us about the age of the Earth?  Some say there was a biblical flood on Mars.  Why is that and is there any reason to believe this could have happened?  What about life on Mars? Would finding life on Mars change our understanding of the Bible?  What about life anywhere else?   I hope this by looking at Mars I can stimulate a lot of questions and new ways of answering questions that many of us have about science and faith

Additional Topics: 

  • The Ark Encounter: A tour and critical assessment
  • Getting to know young-earth creationism:  A scientific and theological examination
  • What is Young Earth Creationism – This is a talk prepared for secular scientists who wish to understand what young earth creationism is.  I take a serious look at this important social phenomena and examine its historical roots and assumptions.

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