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Creation Science Association of Alberta is delighted to announce that biologist and philosopher Dr. Paul Nelson has agreed to be our featured speaker for Creation Weekend, Friday evening and all day Saturday October 18 and 19, 2013. Dr. Nelson is a friendly and non-confrontational individual who makes the latest information in biology come alive in his lectures. He not only describes the issues, but he tells us what the significance of the material is.

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Many Christians have recently been impressed by Dr. Francis Collins and his book The Language of God, which argues that humans are descended from chimpanzees. Moreover Dr. Collins’ influential colleagues at Biologos promote similar views.  But Dr. Nelson provides excellent answers to all these evolutionary views! He is equally at home discussing science in academic settings or in churches. Obviously this is a speaker we do not want to miss!

Dr. Paul Nelson has long been involved in the creation/evolution controversy, in fact he grew up in that milieu. His grandfather, Byron C. Nelson (1893-1972) for example, was a theologian and author, influential as a mid-century critic of Darwinian evolution. His grandson Paul, already as a university student, began to write articles for the Bible-Science Newsletter (an early, well-known creationist publication).

Paul received his B.A in philosophy and evolutionary biology from University of Pittsburgh and his Ph.D. in philosophy of biology and evolutionary theory from the University of Chicago. He is currently a Fellow of the Discovery Institute (Seattle) and Adjunct Professor for graduate studies in science and religion at Biola University in southern California.

Even before he graduated, Paul Nelson became involved with the intelligent design community. He was an organizer of the first (founding) Mere Creation conference in 1996, where a number in this research community first recognized their common interests. In subsequent years, as the Intelligent Design community has become better known, Dr. Nelson has published book chapters in the anthologies Mere Creation (InterVarsity Press), Signs of Intelligence (Brazos), Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics (MIT Press), and Darwin, Design and Public Education (Michigan State University Press). His scholarly articles have appeared in Biology and Philosophy, Zygon, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, and Touchstone.

Better known, perhaps is the fact that Paul Nelson is a featured commentator in several Illustra Media films including Unlocking the Mystery of Life, and Metamorphosis (both best sellers for our association). Dr. Nelson continues to connect the creation model and intelligent design in lectures at such events as the upcoming International Conference on Creationism in Pittsburgh in August 2013, and other conferences, for example, examining evidence concerning created kinds (baramins).

His research interests include the relationship between developmental biology and our knowledge of the history of life, the theory of intelligent design and the interaction of science and theology. He lectures frequently at colleges and universities in the United States as well as internationally, particularly Europe. He has spoken on American and Italian national radio, and written for popular publications such as Oslo Dagbadet and Christian Research Journal.

The lectures which Dr. Nelson is scheduled to provide , are the following:

Understanding Intelligent Design:  According to its critics, intelligent design is simply creationism repackaged to avoid constitutional challenges in public school classrooms in the United States. This criticism however, ignores the real history of ID and its actual content. ID is not so much a theory about life’s history – but a proposal that design is evident in many exp

erimental and observational studies of nature, and therefore such design is a fit subject for scientific analysis. (Among such examples of design we find information content and irreducible complexity.) In his talk, Dr. Nelson will explain what ID is, and what it is not.

Whatever Happened to Darwin’s Tree of Life:     This lecture addresses the recent collapse within evolutionary biology of the single Tree of Life hypothesis, this most famous evolutionary teaching of the 20th century, but now in tatters in the face of an ocean of genetic data which don’t fit the tree idea. This lecture focuses on certain genes that are unique to single species, thus contradicting any ideas of an evolutionary connection. Dr. Nelson will discuss the implications of these findings for evolution and intelligent design.

Why Animals are Hard to Build:   Biology textbooks typically display images of so called homologous features like bird wings, bat wings, front legs of four footed animals and human arms.  The argument is that creatures with such features are variations on a common theme, all descended from a common ancestor which had a similar but simpler front limb. This lecture (abundantly illustrated with animations), explains that the particular process of development of each type of creature from fertilized egg to maturity, poses fundamental challenges to theories of undirected (Darwinian) evolution, but makes sense from the perspective of an intelligent designer.

Dr. Seuss’ Biology: Analyzing the problem of evil in evolutionary reasoning: From Darwin’s time and even before, to the present, a leading argument for naturalistic evolution has been the problem of evil. Surely, the argument goes, if a wise Creator had built living things, these creatures would not display the odd solutions and design flaws (such as diseases) that we see.   This talk critically analyzes such arguments, exposing their naïve theology and poor support from the evidence. In a humorous analogy, Dr. Nelson compares the situation to the fictitious Dr. Seuss’ remark “If I ran the zoo…” [it would be different and better]. By implication, mainstream scientists are saying that if God had made living things, they would be different and better than what we see. Dr. Nelson however demonstrates that Dr. Seuss’ remark makes a great children’s book – but valid science, not so much!

The venue for Creation Weekend is Mill Woods Assembly, 66 Street and 23 Avenue in Edmonton. The church is easy to find and the parking is excellent. Be sure to reserve this weekend for these exciting sessions and do tell your friends about them too!!  Download Poster (PDF)

May 2013

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