Nuclear physicist for creation!
Jonathan Sarfati chats with Dr Heinz Lycklama
Dr Heinz Lycklama was born in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation. After the war, his family immigrated to Canada for better opportunities. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics (1965) and a Ph.D. in experimental Nuclear Physics (1969) from McMaster University in Canada (at around the same time as CMI-Canada’s Dr Jim Mason was also studying nuclear physics there). By this time, Heinz had already published 10 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals, including Physical Review, probably the world’s most prestigious physics journal.
He then worked for some decades in the telecommunications and computer software industries. In 1992, Dr Lycklama formed Open Systems Technology Associates (OSTA) to offer his technology management consulting services to various start-ups in the high technology industry.
In 2013 Heinz founded the Apologetics Forum of Snohomish County in Washington State, USA, to help equip believers in the defence of their Christian faith. He regularly teaches and arranges seminars on topics related to the Bible and science, and has presented in a number of countries around the world.
With such a long career in science, it is not surprising to learn that Dr Lycklama was already interested in science in high school. But even earlier than that, his favourite subject was mathematics. The basis for his later (even busier) career as an apologist goes back even further. He says he was blessed to be raised in a devout Christian family:
“My parents faithfully took us to church each Sunday and instructed us in God’s Word. I never wavered in my belief in God, with Christ being the Creator, Redeemer and Saviour.”
Unlike today, evolution wasn’t brought up at high school. Evolution clearly has no relevance to his main subjects of physics and chemistry, and even his biology class didn’t mention it—despite later propaganda that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”
So Heinz was not confronted by the conflict between the Bible and evolution until his first-year geology class at university:
“The professor directly challenged students who believed in the Bible, pointing out that the layers of sediment on the earth were the key to the history of the earth and that this was in conflict with the Bible.”
However, this didn’t affect his general science career, for which evolution was again irrelevant, including his graduate studies in experimental nuclear physics.
Evolution and the Christian faith
Things had changed by the time his own children were attending public schools in the mid 1970s: “Audrey, our oldest daughter, came home from school one day and told Gerda (my wife) that we came from a monkey.” (Evolutionists might protest that they believe that we came not from monkeys or apes as such, but from a common primate ancestor to monkeys, apes, and humans. But if people could see this proposed ancestor, most would indeed call it a monkey or an ape, and language is defined by usage.)
This motivated Heinz to develop teaching materials about the issue for Sunday school and home Bible studies. At the time, the late Dr Henry Morris’s books The Genesis Flood (1961) and The Genesis Record (1976) were very helpful. He saw evolution as a serious stumbling block for young Christians, for two main reasons:
“1.They are indoctrinated in secularism and evolution on a daily basis, and:
“2.They are not getting answers to their hard questions.”
And in his creation talks, Dr Lycklama emphasizes the importance of God as Creator—it means that He owns us and therefore has absolute authority over us. And he copiously documents that Jesus and the New Testament authors affirmed Genesis as real history. Another very important biblical teaching is that death is the result of Adam’s sin, as opposed to evolution’s teaching that death of the unfit led to man.
After seeing the attempted indoctrination of Audrey, Heinz and Gerda enrolled their children in a biblically sound Christian school until they were ready for university or their chosen career path. Later on, Audrey saw the importance of the issue, and gave her own children a Christian home school education.
Unfortunately, she died of cancer in late 2013, but was instrumental in helping Heinz’s founding of the Apologetics Forum.
Evolution vs science
Dr Lycklama points out that Christians should have no fear of evolution on scientific grounds. Rather, “Evolution is the greatest myth ever foisted on our society in the name of science.” One strong reason he provides goes right back to the supposed beginning of neo-Darwinian evolution by natural selection. Natural selection is really differential reproduction, i.e. the fittest are those that leave the most offspring. So before this can even get started, there must be at least two self-reproducing entities—at least one of which must have arisen directly from lifeless, non-reproducing chemicals. But, he points out:
“All attempts by evolutionists to show that first life from non-life by natural processes can be explained by evolution have come to naught for four main reasons:
- The Law of Biogenesis discovered by Pasteur in 1864.
- The failure of experiments like that of Miller in 1953 to show that life can come from non-life.
- The mathematical probability of forming the first living cell by random chance processes is beyond possible, and
- Information in a cell (DNA) requires an intelligent mind.”
The failure of the origin of first life from non-life by natural processes is actually a showstopper for evolution.
And even if we grant the first self-reproducing cell, it’s not the end of the problems. No one disputes that things change, but the small changes observed in nature just don’t add up to big changes. For one thing, they are going in the wrong direction: downhill instead of uphill. And, he points out, “the fossil record does not show the ‘innumerable transitional links’ expected by Darwin”—even 160 years later, and neither does it support human evolution.
What about church leaders who are afraid to challenge the ruling ‘scientific’ paradigm? Dr Lycklama reminds his readers and listeners that many supposed irrefutable proofs of evolution in the years since Darwin have been totally discredited, yet too many Christians of the day swallowed evolution because of them—and some are still in today’s textbooks!
“Some of the more dramatic examples were (and still are) Haeckel’s embryonic recapitulation and embryo similarity, vestigial organs, and claims made by evolutionists at the Scopes Trial in 1925. Dr Jonathan Wells identified ten discredited icons of evolution in his book by the same name, Icons of Evolution, and he identified more discredited icons of evolution in his more recent book Zombie Science. Recent examples include the alleged ‘98% human-chimp DNA similarity’, and the alleged ‘junk DNA’.”
Trust the Bible!
The above are just some of the many reasons that Christians ought not to be intimidated by evolutionary ‘science’, and instead believe Scripture as written. Heinz points out:
“The truth of the Bible has also been confirmed by history, geography, prophecy and archaeology. In terms of prophecy, more than 50% of the prophecies in the Bible have already been fulfilled. Archaeology has supported the accuracy of many statements in the Bible.”
In particular, Heinz is impressed by the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1948. They show the accuracy of the copying of Isaiah, and that Isaiah’s prophecies about Christ were written centuries beforehand, not after the events, as skeptics asserted. He is also impressed by the Ebla tablets, discovered in northern Syria in 1974 and dating from centuries before Moses. They document the five cities of the plain (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, Zoar) in Genesis 14, and destroy skeptical theories that writing wasn’t invented by Moses’ day.
Many people think that radiometric dating proves millions of years. After all, haven’t scientists precisely measured both half-lives and amounts of isotopes in samples? So I asked Dr Lycklama, since he is a specialist in experimental nuclear physics. He pointed out:
“It takes more than today’s known decay rates to determine dates. There are three basic assumptions made in radioisotope dating methods:
- The initial conditions of the sample are known.
- There has been no contamination of the sample.
- The decay rate of the radioactive isotope has remained the same since the sample’s formation.”
He then referred to the meticulous research by the RATE group in the early 2000s, which showed that these assumptions were demonstrably false:
“For example, they have found C-14 in diamonds and coal where there should have been none if the earth was millions/billions of years old. The RATE team has also identified many discordant dates for rock samples when different radioisotope dating methods are used. This all puts into question the accuracy of dates determined using conventional dating methods that depend on the validity of the three basic assumptions.”
Relativity and quantum mechanics
There is no doubt that the 20th century was revolutionary for physics. Some Christians are unnecessarily unnerved by these developments. But Dr Lycklama wants to reassure them:
“Relativity and quantum mechanics are part of our operational scientific knowledge. Einstein’s Theories of General Relativity and of Special Relativity have never been falsified and are regarded as true science. Quantum mechanics solved some of the classical physics problems that had remained unresolved in the 20th century. But this did not render classical physics obsolete at all. The dual wave-particle nature of light has been well established by science using the scientific method.
“I do not see relativity and quantum mechanics as being in conflict with what the Bible teaches. In comparison, evolution behaves more like a dogmatic belief system that cannot be refuted by any conceivable evidence.”
Advice for science students
“I would encourage Christians today to study and know His Word first, and with that knowledge to enter a field of science that is of interest to them.
“We need to counter the indoctrination of evolution and secularism with scientific evidence for creation and against evolution.”
“Throughout my scientific career and beyond, I’ve been encouraged that true science has always supported the truth of God’s Word. As a scientist, I’m not afraid of what real science will discover in the future—in fact, I look forward to it.”
References and notes
- A famous quip by evolutionary geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900–1975), but based largely on pseudo-theological arguments rather than science. See Dilley, S., Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 44(4B):774–786, December 2013 | doi:10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.06.006. Return to text.
- Cf. creation.com/nt and creation.com/gen-hist. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., The evolution train’s a-comin’ (Sorry, a-goin’—in the wrong direction), Creation 24(2):16–19, 2002.; creation.com/train. Return to text.
- Darwin, C.R., The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, ch. 10 (1), On the absence of intermediate varieties at the present day, 1859. Return to text.
- See for example van Niekerk, E., Countering revisionism—part 1: Ernst Haeckel, fraud is proven; part 2: Ernst Haeckel and his triple-woodcut print, J. Creation 25(3):89–95, 2011; 27(1):78–84, 2013. Return to text.
- See articles under creation.com/vestigial-organs. Return to text.
- One of the leading evolutionists behind this claim, Jon Ahlquist, has since become a biblical creationist! See interview by Wieland, M., Creation 40(3):36–39, 2018. See also, Batten, D., The myth of 1%, Creation 36(1):35–37, 2014; creation.com/1-percent-myth. Return to text.
- See Tomkins, J., The junk DNA myth takes a well-deserved hit, A review of The Myth of Junk DNA by Jonathan Wells, J. Creation 25(3):23–27—December 2011; creation.com/review-wells-junk-dna. Return to text.
- Radioactivity and The Age of the Earth, a research project by the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society—see creation.com/RATE.