Creation Scientists—The Next Generation

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Even as skepticism spreads around the globe, the creation movement is flourishing. Meet some of the new generation of creation scientists.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Most children will say a doctor, police officer, teacher, or even a firefighter. But a scientist? Some extraordinary children dream of the day when they could find a cure for cancer, dig up new fossils, or collect and study exotic insects.

An even smaller number of children say, “I want to be a creation scientist.” It takes a special combination of circumstances to spark that response, but thankfully the Lord is still calling youngsters to pursue science to honor the Creator.

It’s often not easy. Many of these budding scientists must keep their beliefs about origins a secret if they want to work at secular universities and labs. It is possible to do fantastic research in present-day observational science, such as studying cancer, without ever broaching the subject of origins. But if you want to help build a creation model and show problems with the evolutionary models, that’s a different story.

Yet God opens doors for these special researchers, too, to pursue their passion. God raised up science experts in past generations who stood against the evolutionary tide and proclaimed the right foundation for understanding our world, and he continues to do so.

The Kid Who Loved Zoology Books

Biology

Jeremy Blaschke

Photo by Kristina Only Photography

Jeremy Blaschke

If eight-year-old Jeremy Blaschke wasn’t in the library reading stacks of zoology books (zoology means “the study of animals”), you could probably find him in his New Mexico backyard huddled over a massive mound of harvester ants.

Jeremy jokes that, given his childhood, it shouldn’t be surprising that he now teaches zoology. His first choice was a little more exotic: “My childhood dream was to study the biodiversity of the Congo River Basin, but God put another passion in my heart for mentoring undergraduate biology students.”

While he was an undergraduate student himself, at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, Jeremy thought he understood how to defend his Christian worldview, but he was unaware that his arguments weren’t well thought out.

“For every argument there was a counter argument, sometimes seemingly more compelling than my own. My faith was founded on words only rather than substance; and when my rhetoric failed, so did my faith. College was a time of wrestling with difficult philosophies but also of a growing peace and humility that not all questions can be, or even should be, answered easily.”

Jeremy remembers his mentors listening to him and challenging him to look at the examples of faithful Christians who also valued science and were humbly pursuing answers to difficult questions.

“Too many young people abandon their faith in a Creator or their passion for science due to the way evolutionary biology is taught in schools without seriously examining the difficult, underlying issues.”

Jeremy knew he wanted to help other students wrestling with these questions. After earning his PhD in entomology (that’s the study of insects) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Jeremy applied to teach biology at Union University, an evangelical school five hours away in Jackson.

“My desire is to encourage students the way I was encouraged and show them ways their faith will radically enhance their understanding of science. We don’t have to choose between our love of nature and our love of God.”

“My desire is to encourage students the way I was encouraged and show them ways their faith will radically enhance their understanding of science. We don’t have to choose between our love of nature and our love of God.”

Jeremy specializes in parasitoids (insects whose larvae live as parasites) because to him, insects offer a wealth of incredibly designed and complex behaviors that can point people to the Creator as well as teach them more about the fall.

“Each animal is a complex and amazing creation that continually excites the imagination in a deeper and more stirring way as we better understand it. Insects are the most prolific group of animals on earth, with more than 900,000 species. Their abundance and versatility has much to say about the one who designed them.”

One of Jeremy’s first projects, even before he finished his schooling, was to join a research team of creationists looking at bark beetles that are devastating forests in the western USA. They wanted to uncover how the bark beetles were originally designed to recycle nutrients and increase biodiversity by creating new habitats. Starting from this perspective that the Creator consciously designed beetles for a good purpose, they explored potential explanations for their current harmful effects (a result of the fall) in western forests.

His broader interest is molecular phylogenetics (analyzing differences in DNA sequences) related to how parasitoid insects have changed (how “good insects” became parasites). His interest was sparked in college because many believe phylogenetics is the best evidence of universal common ancestry.

“I think the problem of natural evil and how it relates to the ecology of the pre-fall world is an important missing component of our current creation model. I am analyzing the DNA of parasites to determine how many parasite species there are and how they are related to non-parasites. From this we can begin to reconstruct how God might have originally designed them to behave and how they changed.”

Jeremy believes Genesis provides the key to how creation was originally “very good.”

“Simply put, this world was not created with these evils present but has been subjected to decay since the fall.” While insects aren’t as cute and cuddly as pandas, Jeremy stresses that insect biology is just as enthralling as we strive to understand our present world. “My undergraduate students and I are currently exploring how parasitoid insects alter the immune system of their host, discovering potential antibiotic compounds from the venom of assassin bugs as well as identifying new species of parasitoid flies and wasps.”

Jeremy has joined many other young-earth scientists who are interested in the problem of natural evil. He feels a fire in his bones, a God-given calling, to work daily on these issues and to share his findings, as well as the incomparable truths of Genesis, with all those he encounters and mentors.

John Doe

Geology

A new crop of creation geologists are making their way through academia, but they often must keep their young-earth beliefs quiet if they want to be allowed to finish.

One such doctoral candidate (among many covert creationists) told us, “In a secular institution it can be difficult to share creationist ideas with colleagues directly. But because of my unique, biblical way of looking at issues, I often can suggest new or alternative ways of thinking about scientific problems that most people would overlook because of their naturalistic worldview.”

His special interest is mineralogy. His research on the behavior of minerals often provides insights that will help creationists better understand how rocks formed during the flood. Right now, he can’t make those connections overtly, but he is laying the scientific groundwork for future model-building from a creation perspective.

Just doing good science aids the study of creation and honors the Creator, even when his name is not cited in the literature.

“Creation science has come a long way in the past few decades, and it still has much that can be improved. No doubt mineralogy will be a critical component of future advances.”

Digging Fossils in Brazil

Paleontology

Gabi Haynes

Photo by Chris Neville

Gabi Haynes

In movies and TV, paleontologists are shown dressed in brown khakis and a safari hat, enduring the blazing sun as they tirelessly examine fossils. But Gabriela “Gabi” Haynes typically wears jeans and a T-shirt, like any other person. She just happens to be a young-earth paleontologist, and she wants to use her research to proclaim the creation message.

Growing up in Brazil, Gabi always loved to study fossils. Eventually, she decided to make a career of it and has spent a lot of time researching at one of the world’s best dig sites, called the Santana Formation. Her PhD focus was on invertebrate fossils from this location—more specifically Hymenoptera, a group that includes wasps, ants, and bees.

So far, Gabi has identified and described ten new species in her studies. Their beautiful preservation, including soft parts, shows powerful evidence of rapid fossilization just a few thousand years ago.

“Seeing fossils so well preserved, with fine details like hair, cuticle structure, blood cells, food in their stomachs, colors, and pollens, shows me that the flood happened not too long ago.”

While she recently got married and moved to the US, Gabi plans to visit Brazil often to give lectures and share the gospel through creation science.

But Gabi hasn’t always believed in the biblical account of creation and the flood found in Genesis. She grew up in a Christian home, but while studying biology at a secular university, she started to embrace evolution.

One day a creation scientist visited the university. His lecture convinced her that evolution was wrong.

Yet she still didn't know what field to pursue for her master’s degree and PhD. To learn more about the needs in creation studies, she attended a creation conference in the region. There she met a creation geologist who shared some of the research needs and encouraged her, “God has a plan for you in the creation field.”

A few months later, Gabi found herself studying paleontology at Universidade Federal do Ceara. She completed her research at the University of Kentucky last year.

Gabi says many paleontologists are very hostile toward applying a creation worldview to science. “I always try to make them think about the implications of evolution in terms of science. They need the gospel and once they know the Creator, then they will see the evidence supports and confirms creation and is inconsistent with evolution.”

Gabi hopes to show the people of Brazil, a country that puts a premium on professionalism and education, that it is easy to believe God’s Word and still love science and seek the truth about the world. More important, she wants to impress on them their need to heed the gospel.

From Parasites to a PhD

Biology

Matt Ingle

Photo by Brian Morley

Matt Ingle

If a black widow spider were close by, many of us would scream and look for the nearest escape route. Not biologist Matt Ingle. He loves these frightening eight-legged creatures, the focus of his latest research.

Matt specifically wants to know what Genesis 1 means by “kinds” of animals and how nasty predators like black widows functioned before the fall.

“I am motivated to have a better understanding of the origins of animals that now live parasitic lifestyles. I don’t believe that God would call these organisms good in their current condition, and I want to know how they performed before the fall.”

Matt earned his PhD in biology from Loma Linda University in California. His interest in parasites was piqued when he was studying racoons in Ohio. “I noticed that many of them were infected with raccoon roundworm, and I wondered what impact these parasites have on raccoons.”

“I am motivated to have a better understanding of the origins of animals that now live parasitic lifestyles. I don’t believe that God would call these organisms good in their current condition, and I want to know how they performed before the fall.”

What could motivate such a bizarre interest? Matt’s high-school biology teachers had a contagious passion for studying all aspects of creation. They passed it on to him, and he wants to pass it on to others, now as a university professor. Matt teaches first-year pre-med biology students at The Master’s University.

Matt shares his passion for creepy and odd things found in creation with each of his students. Laughter often reverberates outside his office as he shows them how to feed his “pet” scorpions, or when he feeds potato chips to his cockroaches, which he is studying to see how parasites affect the brain.

Parasites on the brain, in the intestines . . . that doesn’t sound appealing to most people, but Matt is fascinated by these mini organisms.

“Parasites diversify rapidly. Their ability to change and adapt is impressive. This provides a difficult model for understanding the boundaries of created kinds, but it also expands our understanding of the complex ways God deals with the world that doesn’t fit into our neat little packages.”

Matt’s interests don’t end with parasites. Growing up in California and now living there, he is interested in all of aquatic life but especially the shelled creatures that live near the seashore. He also loves sea turtles. He studied them in the field for his master’s degree in marine biology.

“I have always been fascinated by sea turtles. They live for an incredibly long time and once they reach adulthood, few predators can take them on. They also have such a unique body compared to other vertebrates. They are a conundrum for evolutionary models.”

Although students often refer to Matt as a tough teacher, his down-to-earth personality has made him one of the top-rated teachers at Master’s.

One time he met with a student who was trying to reconcile the Bible and science. “I helped him see that science is a man-made tool for studying the universe. As such, it is dependent on man’s ability to interpret the data. I walked him through how God’s Word is different from science. It is God’s revealed truth. I wanted him to understand that we have to believe what God revealed before we can properly understand the rest. And the most important point is that God has revealed himself to us with the desire that we would relate to him.”

Matt hasn’t always had faith in God. But when his father almost lost his life, Matt realized his own mortality. “God helped me see that I was worshipping myself and focused on my own glory. Genesis provides the important details of how God created this world and where death came from. If we understand these things, we will better understand how to point people to his glory.”

Jane Doe

Biology

Some new, young creationists have found jobs teaching and researching at secular universities, but they must keep their identity secret for fear of losing their jobs. That is the case with a female PhD whose specialty is biological engineering.

She is a post-doctoral researcher at a university research center. Her primary project is studying the way molecules behave in metal alloys, but she also is searching for new materials inspired by designs we find in nature, a field of study called bio-inspiration or biomimetics.

Her work gives glory to the Creator, even when his name is not mentioned. “As a researcher studying bio-inspiration, I love to share all the admirable features found in nature, such as woodpeckers, seashells, and ram horns. After my presentations, many have told me they can easily conclude that there is a Creator.”

In the twenty-first century, her field has blossomed, as researchers have recognized the brilliant engineering displayed in the designs of living creatures.

“Investigating living creatures from an engineering perspective is such a promising field and getting more attention because of the potential benefits of imitating this clear design. As a creationist, I get to point people to the Creator simply by doing my job.”

Exploring the Cosmos as a Hobby

Astronomy

Andrew Wagers

Photo by Chris Neville

Andrew Wagers

By day, Andrew Wagers works as an operations research analyst on contract with the US Air Force. But in his spare time, he examines burning questions like whether “preferred redshifts” really exist.

What’s that, you ask? More in a moment. When he was younger, Andrew loved astronomy, but he wasn’t sure that a Christian could be a scientist. One day God intervened through a survey in a scientific journal—which showed him that few believers were interested in physics and astronomy. The need for a gospel witness persuaded him to pursue a degree in those fields.

After receiving a PhD in physics from Texas A&M, Andrew began teaching at a Christian university. “While I loved teaching, I realized that I did not enjoy being a professor. About a year ago, I stepped away from academia. Now I am working for the Air Force and doing research projects on the side.”

Despite the limited number of biblical astronomers, Andrew believes the select few who work in this field are making a difference. Yet so much more is left to do, including rigorous testing.

“There are a handful of relatively well-constructed theories regarding preferred redshifts in the creation literature. Yet more tests need to be developed to distinguish the likelihood of those theories explaining what we see in the cosmos.”

What are “preferred redshifts”? They are a fascinating, quirky subject, which has been mostly ignored in the secular realm, but which many creationists believe has potentially profound implications. In 1973, an astronomer found evidence that galaxies seem to cluster in bands around the earth—which would imply that the earth is at the center of the universe. If true, this would contradict the big bang, which doesn’t give the earth a special place.

“I have collected some data that is available from large-scale galaxy surveys and plan to compare it to simulated distributions of galaxies to make some simple comparisons between simulated data and the real data. I also would like to dig deeper into some creation cosmological models to run tests on them.”

Andrew feels a special calling to tell others that science can’t be separated from faith. Indeed, understanding where everything came from is always a matter of faith; the real question is where our faith should rest. “The universe shows us just how great God is and how he has a plan for the entire cosmos.”

We see that plan both in the heavens and on our kitchen tables. “We see God’s goodness and graciousness in daily provisions, as well as the motion of planets and the structure of galaxies. If the Creator goes to all this trouble for us, where else can we be satisfied?”

Harvard Grad Replacing Darwin

Genetics

Nathaniel Jeanson

Photo by Chris Neville

Nathaniel Jeanson

While growing up in a dentist’s home, Nathaniel Jeanson saw enough blood to make him squeamish about it—hence, a medical career was out of the question. Yet he knew he wanted to go into science. But as a child he found bugs “icky” and physics and chemistry too challenging.

As a homeschool student, Nathaniel knew one topic he always had an interest in: curing human disease. He learned that molecular biology was at the heart of modern disease research and on the cutting edge of finding cures. So after high school, he applied to the University of Wisconsin–Parkside to pursue a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology.

Narrowing his focus near the end of his undergraduate studies, he decided on a career in cancer research. He started by pursuing a PhD from Harvard University and focused on adult blood stem cells (versatile “undifferentiated” cells that can be converted into specialized cells to repair tissues).

“My interest in cancer provoked my focus on adult stem cells. I thought if I could understand how stem cells normally operated, perhaps I could gain insights into how they went awry to cause cancer.”

Nathaniel had put apologetics on the back burner as he studied the wonders of cell biology. But about halfway through his PhD work, Nathaniel’s career plans took a sharp turn. God challenged him about his motivations and true long-term goals.

He decided to give up a lucrative career and instead apply his research gifts to spreading the gospel. How does a biologist do this?

Three months after receiving his PhD from Harvard, Nathaniel joined the Institute for Creation Research. Immediately, he was assigned the task of developing a comprehensive creation biology research program. This blossomed into a set of eight questions, all of which revolve around the central claims of Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species. For over 150 years, people have defaulted to these concepts as an excuse to dismiss the Bible and its claims about a Creator to whom we’re answerable.

Nathaniel pulled together his research in a major new book titled Replacing Darwin, released in 2017, which shares how new findings have disproved Darwin’s ideas about the origin of species. “In watching the reaction to Replacing Darwin, I’ve concluded that massive, negative (and incorrect) stereotypes of creation science exist in American culture. I’m saddened by this fact. But at the same time, I’m motivated to work even harder to publicize the latest findings of creation science.”

Nathaniel currently works as a researcher at Answers in Genesis. One of his research projects is showing how genetic differences among humans can reflect the history of human migrations all the way back to Babel. “If the human race is only several thousand years old (instead of millions of years old), we should see the genetic stamp of known historical events.”

If you had asked Nathaniel ten years ago why he cares so much about Genesis, he would have given you a very different answer than he does today. “When I first went into creation ministry, I didn't realize the impact it would have on my life and my research. But after being in ministry for almost ten years, I can see just how foundational Genesis is to all of the Christian faith.”

He grew up going to church, but in many ways the Bible and the gospel itself were just facts. He couldn’t see how the gospel connected to life. “About halfway through graduate school there came a period where I just sat with the Scriptures and studied them intensely, trying to understand the connection between the gospel and godly living. Through this process, my eyes were opened to the beauty of holiness and the glory of God. This transformation was instrumental in my career switch from pursuing cancer research to eventually landing in full-time creation research.” He believes learning about God’s creation helps us live out our lives for God’s glory, which is the ultimate end of the gospel.

Looking Ahead

Have you ever wondered about the questions that troubled the scientists on the previous pages—why we look so similar to apes, why humans age and die, or why poisonous snakes and parasites even exist? Many scientists have devoted their lives to these questions. While most of them are looking for answers that are based on evolution, God is raising up a select few who believe the biblical account of creation, such as those presented in this article. The passion that drives their research is to give glory to the Creator.

This new generation of creation scientists believes in the value of the scientific enterprise as much as anyone. But they recognize that all truth begins with God and his Word, and they know that ignoring the Bible’s foundational truths about history has put blinders on evolutionary scientists, who are overlooking insights that are essential to solving these mysteries.

The clash between worldviews is real, however, and it sometimes makes pursuing a career in science difficult. But the rewards are worth it.

In Colossians 3:17, Paul says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God has given different gifts to all sorts of people to build up the church and to bring him glory.

Whether they’re studying geology, astronomy, paleontology, or biology, these scientists live out the Great Commission like any dedicated Christian (Matthew 16:19). No, they aren’t missionaries living in foreign lands or pastors of local churches. Instead, they work in laboratories, teach in classrooms, or do research after hours. Thank the Lord for his wonderful creation, including those special people he has gifted to help the rest of us better understand the world he created!

Melissa Webb earned a degree in communication print journalism from Liberty University and spent four years working as news writer for Liberty’s News and Media Relations Office. She now writes and edits for Answers magazine.

Answers Magazine

September–October 2018

Even as skepticism spreads around the globe, the creation movement is flourishing. Meet some of the new generation of creation scientists.

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