Sep 21, 2010

Bird song vs. the Big Bang: Creation and Engineering Guest Lecturer

by Abigail Koppenhaver


Blending his engineering knowledge with his interest in creation, Dr. Stuart Burgess, the head of the Dept. of Engineering Design and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol, Britain, will be speaking Sept. 23 to 24 in a series of three lectures, hosted by the Liberty’s School of Engineering and Computational Sciences (SECS) and the Center for Creation Studies.  

Partially responsible for bringing Burgess to Liberty is Dr. Doug Oliver, Assistant Director for the Center of Creation Studies. Oliver saw Burgess’s book “Hallmarks of Design” advertised and read it. 

“I find myself reading through it and finding examples of not only functionality but beauty, beauty that doesn’t need to be there in order for something to function,” Oliver said. 

Burgess will be discussing the intricacies of bird songs, which may sound pretty simple on the surface, but there is actually much to consider. 

“Birds seem to be masters of art in music without even trying, whereas humans have to work to be excellent musicians. Why should that be if this is just an accidental product of a ‘big bang’?” Oliver said. 

Assistant Professor of Engineering Dr. John Vadnal also agrees that many students other than those interested in creation studies and engineering will benefit from the lectures. Students need not worry about the lectures being hard to understand. Both Oliver and Vadnal assure that the presentations will be pitched towards the general public, without scientific jargon.

Vadnal is particularly excited for engineering students to attend the lectures because he feels that is important for them to see people with an engineering background who are successful and still believe in a young earth.  

“I think it’s a treat for them to see that you can have Ph.D. in engineering and you can believe in the Bible at the same time,” Vadnal said. 

The lectures are an opportunity to hear information that is easily understood, to show how much evidence there is for biblical beliefs and refute the “learned” scientists. “I don’t think they’ll be disappointed. It will be educational, it will be eye opening and how can you go wrong when you’re learning more about God and His creation? That’s what it boils down to,” Vadnal said. 

Burgess will be giving three lectures, the first of which will be held Thursday, Sept. 23 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Towns-Alumni Auditorium, where he will discuss the origin and purpose of beauty. The second lecture will be held Friday, September 24 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at SECS convocation in the Schilling Center. The third and final lecture will be held Friday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Towns Hall Alumni Center. All lectures are free and open to the public. 

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