Creation 22(2):16–17, March 2000
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Recovery from evolution
A chat with hydro-scientist Alan Galbraith
Hearing a scientist describe himself, smilingly, as a ‘recovered evolutionist’ was a first for me. I was speaking to Dr Alan Galbraith, whose Ph.D. in watershed science is from Colorado State University. He told me that he had been an evolutionist for decades, since high school, before becoming convinced of Genesis creation. His scientific career with the U.S. Forest Service has involved applied areas like hydrology, watershed and stream restoration. One of his most significant experiences was organizing, developing and directing a monitoring program for detecting acid rain in air pollution in remote wilderness areas, using an ecosystem approach.
So what changed Dr Galbraith’s mind? He said, ‘I attended a creation seminar arranged by my pastor. I had only been a Christian for some four years or so, and was still a convinced evolutionist. I have to admit that I went with the attitude — what can this pastor, whose last science course was probably in junior high school, tell me about the area I know so much about?
‘I came away from that meeting with my faith in evolution shaken enough to make me have to embark on what turned out to be a three or four year intensive study of all the available material on creation/evolution. At the end of that time, I was convinced that the creation point of view, from a scientific standpoint, was the only credible position that a thinking person with a scientific background could accept.’
Alan Galbraith said that before the creation seminar he had not seen the huge contradiction between the Bible and evolution/long ages, with its death and suffering before sin. ‘I just never even thought about it,’ he said. ‘I guess I just put it off and thought that I had more important things to learn about the Bible and the Christian life. But now I see that this type of ministry is absolutely essential. In fact, it’s fundamental, and unless Christians worldwide come to realize how important and significant it is, and how Satan has used evolutionary thought in such a masterful way to blind people, the outlook is not very hopeful.’
I asked Dr Galbraith about his favourite evidence for Genesis creation. He said, ‘I think it has to be the total geologic record of all those sedimentary, waterborne layers. Fossils, as we now know, generally have to be formed by fast catastrophic burial to preserve the details we see. And within the layers, there is much other evidence that they were laid down rapidly. Also, the stratigraphic column, the “stack” of all these layers, is essentially continuous throughout the world; there is no worldwide discontinuity or “time break”. So it shows to me that there was indeed a worldwide Flood, and not just localized floods as many believe.’
I asked him whether his Ph.D. involved any geology. He replied, ‘Geology is a very important part of my background. The Ph.D. program was in four areas — geology, hydrology, atmospheric physics to some extent, and plant ecology.’
A highlight of our discussion was, for me, when he explained how useful Creation magazine was to him in his own witnessing. ‘Just reading it in public will often start a conversation. For instance, it gave me the opportunity to share with a fellow I met recently while in Jackson, Wyoming — and to show him lots of material to challenge his evolutionary/New Age thinking. We’re making good progress.’
For watershed expert Dr Alan Galbraith, creation now really is a ‘watershed issue’ in his life. As he says, ‘The inroads that evolutionary thought has made into Christianity are formidable, but creation issues have been some of the most exciting and reassuring confirmations of my faith and belief in the Word of God imaginable.’
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