Australian physics professor at Slovak creation conference
Published: 16 November 2010 (GMT+10)
John Hartnett speaking at the creation conference in Slovakia
The conference ‘Creation and contemporary science in 2010’, jointly organized by the organizations Solas and Temelios (see box), was held on the campus of the Žilina University in Žilina, northern Slovakia, from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 August. I had the privilege of attending and speaking at this, the second in the series, organized annually.
I spoke mostly on topics concerning worldviews in relation to the cosmos, the big bang, the biblical creation of the cosmos and the starlight–travel-time issue. How we view the universe depends integrally on our own worldview, which determines what we are prepared to believe as evidence and therefore how we interpret what we see. Spectral lines are interpreted as evidence for an expanding universe, but even though I think that is likely (and is quite compatible with Genesis creation—whether or not the expansion is continuing) there is no independent way to prove that as fact.
The problem with the standard big bang model is that new problems arise that require exotic entities such as dark energy, dark matter (which are unknown in the laboratory) and inflation (which starts and stops by no known means) to solve. I suggested that new physics (Moshe Carmeli’s cosmology) could solve this as it had done in the past (1916) with Einstein and the precession of the perihelion of Mercury’s orbit in the solar system. The new physics also offers a solution to the light–travel-time problem (this is discussed in my book Starlight, Time and the New Physics). Creationists are not alone in having such a problem—the big bang also has a light–travel-time problem, called the horizon problem. I also discussed the very important work of (non-creationist) astronomer Halton Arp, the ejection of quasars from active galactic nuclei, which is a serious challenge to big-bang thinking, and can be interpreted in a creationist worldview as the path of matter creation as described on Day 4 of the Genesis creation events.
The topics of geology, biology, and design in nature were covered by the other speakers—Jan Šichula, and Drahoslav and Peter Vajda. Jan and Peter acted as interpreters for my talks.
There were about 90 registered attendees, who came from all over Slovakia and the Czech Republic.1 There seemed to be a real ‘buzz’ to the whole event, and there were many questions for the panel. The resources table remained quite busy between lecture sessions, where a range of resources in Slovak and English were offered, including the (English) books relevant to my lectures, Starlight, Time and the New Physics and Dismantling the Big Bang.
Peter Vajda reported that one participant told him that the conference was a turning point and a sort of life-changing experience for him. He has been a passionate proponent and admirer of the Big Bang theory, even a keen defender of it among other Christians, for quite a few years. His long-age attitude was challenged and he seems to be much more open to the biblical framework of history and a straightforward understanding of biblical truths now. He seemed happy about what he heard and learned at the conference and even expressed his gratitude for what took place.
Other attendees seemed to get the message, one saying that she will use what she learned at the conference in teaching. A man who interviewed me for Slovakia’s Radio 7 and recorded my testimony told Peter Vajda that the conference is a valuable ministry that Slovakia very much needs.
Addressing secular scientists
After the conference, on Monday 31st August, I spoke at the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS) and gave a talk called ‘Cosmology and Worldviews’, which underlined the importance of a philosophical stance in interpreting evidence from the cosmos. Models are not decided by objective science, but by the researcher’s worldview. I outlined five ‘unknowns’ (expansion of space, dark matter, dark energy, afterglow of big bang, and inflation), used today in the standard big bang model to justify and explain the ‘unknowns’ of the cosmology. I tailored the talk to suit a more technically trained physics audience.
There were about 15 in attendance. The seminar, organized by the Slovak Physical Society (SFS), the head of which is a Christian physicist, Dalibor Krupa, was held at the headquarters of the Slovak Academy of Sciences under the series ‘Dimensions of Science and Spirituality’. Several copies of the Starlight and Big Bang books mentioned earlier were ordered. Dalibor wrote to me after the seminar saying …
“ … It was a privilege for me to meet you and to get to know you. Your lecture at the Academy headquarters was excellent. The number of participants was not very high but those who attended liked it. I have got some very positive comments.
“Thank you very much for coming and sharing with us, not only interesting physics but also your biblical view of life and we shall be honoured to see you again … ”
Please pray for ongoing results via the attendees at both conferences, including from the resources now circulating, and for the ongoing creation outreach in Slovakia.
CREATION MINISTRY IN THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC
The not-for-profit organization Temelios (www.temelios.sk) was started in 2006 with three founding members, Jan Sichula, Peter Vajda and Drahoslav Vajda. Temelios is a transliteration of a Greek word meaning ‘foundation’ which expresses the main goal of this ministry—the question of origins is foundational to all other areas of human thinking and activity. From the start, the team also included Peter Jurco who is gifted in graphics, video production and web publishing. Temelios ministers mostly to churches in Slovakia and the Czech Republic as a nondenominational creation and apologetics ministry, to fill in the void existing in the churches as local ministers are often unprepared to answer the questions people have. Much of the evangelical Christianity in Slovakia is damaged by some form of evolution compromise and Temelios exists as a response to this sad situation. From time to time God even opens doors to get into schools and universities where lively discussions often follow. Presently, Peter, Jan and Milena, a young Christian lady who takes care of the resources at events, travel to many places each year around Slovakia. This includes full weekend intensive seminars on Genesis, creation and evolution, which are now growing in popularity. Jan Sichula is currently working on translating CMI’s booklet 15 Reasons to Take Genesis as History into Slovak.
Solas (www.solas.sk), founded in 2008, is also a not-for-profit organization devoted to Christ-centred teaching and defence of the biblical faith focusing on the 5 Sola (Solas) of the Reformation. It publishes a Christian magazine, Solas, comprising 4 regular printed issues per annum and one special issue dealing with creation topics and the creation vs evolution debate. The Solas journal is not-for-sale—the production and distribution costs are covered by voluntary donations of the readership. The aim of the Solas ministry is to disseminate the biblical truths via print, TV, radio, internet, audio and video records, and correspondence with readers. The scope of ministry covers the Bible, Christianity, apologetics, creationism, ID, faith and science, Christian worldview, ethics and morality. At present the main target of the ministry is the journal, and the organisation of annual creation conferences coined (lit.—translated more freely for this article) “Creation and the current science“. Solas was founded in 2008.