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Wed October 8, 2008
By Jacque Day
Western Kentucky – In 1925, Paducah native John T. Scopes made history when he agreed to teach Darwin's evolution theory in his Dayton, Tennessee classroom. He also broke Tennessee law and was charged, leading to what became known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, a watershed event for the evolutionist movement. Today, the pendulum swings the opposite direction. But the creationist movement proves it's alive and well. Jacque Day traveled to Pennyrile Forest to talk with a creationist astronomer about how he thinks the universe came to be.
In today's world, Darwinist evolutionary theory dominates the scientific paradigm. But the creationist movement alive and kicking, as evidenced by the persistent push of the Intelligent Design model, the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky, and the efforts of people like amateur astronomer Steve Miller.
First you've got to understand that the real problem with the naturalistic explanation...
Miller traveled from his home in Northwest, Indiana just outside of Chicago, to the Twin Lakes Star Party. It's week-long gathering of professional and amateur stargazers in Pennyrile Forest, Western Kentucky. His purpose to marvel at the night sky while carrying his message.
I try and present the creation point of view from a scientific foundation. There is a lot of scientific evidence to support the creation model.
Miller is part of the Young Earth creationist movement, which adheres to the six-day creation model, and one day of rest. He's also an avid astronomer. A photo of him and his telescope once appeared in Astronomy magazine. He's published articles on astronomy, and served as president of the Calumet Astronomical Society. And, he believes God created the stars on Day 4.
The evolutionary scenario starts with the universe, with gas coming down and eventually making the stars and the sun. But the creation model starts with the Earth. God started with the Earth, the sun and the moon and the stars. He started with the earth and worked his way out.
According to the Young Earth model, God created the universe and everything in it roughly six thousand years ago, juxtaposed against the Big Bang theory, which holds the universe's age at between 12 and 14 billion years. That's quite a contrast.
No one was there at the beginning to know the initial conditions... they have to assume that.
At the Star Party, Miller set up his trailer and his massive 20-inch Obsession telescope. He put up a sign reading Creation Astronomy Seminar. Then he sat back to enjoy the night skies and, and waited for people to come to him.
I go to a lot of star parties. I've been into amateur astronomy for over 25 years, and as a matter of fact I'm on an astronomy committee with Dr. Danny Faulkner.
Miller points to a book written by Dr. Faulkner, titled Universe by Design. He's named in the acknowledgments. But it doesn't stop there. He displays dozens of books, magazines and pamphlets, including an article he wrote for Creation Matters titled Population III Stars and the Big Bang Model. Miller gives these materials away free.
The basic principles are easy, and I provide many materials that are written for the layperson that explain a lot of evidence that shows that the universe is quite young and the Earth is quite young... that you will not hear in school.
Natural Sound: Art Pallone presenting at the Star Party, dialoguing with Steve Miller.
Dr. Arthur Pallone participated in the Star Party, as a presenter. He's taught astronomy at Murray State University, serves as a solar system ambassador for NASA and acted as faculty sponsor for MSU's student astronomy club. He says the evidence against the Young Earth model is fairly extensive.
The young earth creationist model often seems to invoke catastrophes to explain things that would normally take geologically long periods of time.
The Noah's flood has changed the geological face of this Earth. I have a classic example of this. In 1980 Mt. St. Helen's exploded. It created on a 140th scale, a mini Grand Canyon. All the layering... I wish somehow we could go over to Russia or Europe and get an evolutionist who didn't know about the explosion, and take them to this canyon and have them explain it to us.
Pallone says evolutionists don't rule out catastrophe as a factor in the development of the Earth and universe. They just don't rely on it solely.
Even evolutionists will allow for catastrophes to occur. That's one of the ways they explain the moon. Evolutions don't rule out catastrophe. They just say, we don't rely on catastrophe to explain everything.
As a scientist and a person of faith, Pallone believes evolutionists and creationists are often more alike than different. It's just their approach that varies.
I believe that science is a model of how things work. It does not address the same questions that faith or religion attempt to address.
Miller, who can go toe-to-toe on the hard science of astronomy, knows what he's up against, and he stands firm. And, he says he's not trying to convert anyone. He just wants his voice to be heard, a challenge, he says, as a minority among skeptics.
When you go out to buy a car or a house or anything you've got to get all the information to make an intelligent decision. So before you rule out this position you'd have to understand it wouldn't you? Or give it at least a fair hearing.
While they may disagree on matters of faith, Miller and Pallone are both apt to stay up all night, studying the intricacies of the stars, and marveling at the beauty of the rings of Saturn.
For WKMS News, I'm Jacque Day