Monday, January 8, 2018

New year, new librarian

Core Academy librarian Brett Thompson
I'm excited to announce that Brett Thompson has joined Core Academy as our part-time librarian. Brett is a speech therapist who previously worked at a library during his college days. He'll be helping us organize and manage the Core Academy research library. With the library approaching 6,000 volumes, he'll be busy for quite some time. Welcome, Brett!

I'd also like to extend my thanks to Roger Sanders who is now retired from Core Academy. For our first four years, Roger served as our vice president, and he worked steadily to help us create our video curriculum for earth science, biology, and one of our big short courses (which is still in production). When I first dreamed up Core Academy, Roger was willing to give it a try. I don't think I would gone through with starting Core Academy without his encouragement. He'll be retired from actively working with us, but he will remain on our board of directors. So thank you, Roger. May God bless you!

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Top posts of 2017

Cheesy top ten graphics often accompany year-end lists!

So I see everyone else is busy posting top ten lists of their most popular articles of the year, and I figured I could do that too!  So without commentary here are my top ten most popular articles from 2017.

The False Dichotomy
Just enjoy the eclipse!
Dating Homo naledi
Is Genesis History Q&A
Defending Creationism
Learning more
Demonizing the enemy
Creationists and Homo naledi
Heaven help us be humble
Is Genesis History? preview night!

Now, I don't think all of those are actually worth reading, so here are my personal picks for top five articles worth reading from 2017.

This one was big for me. I felt like I hit on something really, really important here. I'm sorry it wasn't more popular (only #24 on the popularity list). In retrospect, it was probably a little too wordy.  I'll have to revisit that theme in 2018.

This was a response to complaints about the movie Is Genesis History?, and I thought it was well worth reading and considering again.

This just missed the top ten most popular at #11, but I thought it was worth calling attention to because it seemed to annoy a lot of people. Any time I annoy a lot of people, I figure I must have done something interesting. Plus, I still think confirmation bias is worth talking about. Especially if it annoys people.

Yet another post encouraging us to consider our own shortcomings before we start nitpicking others. It's kind of a theme around here.

I'm not sure what more to say about this that wasn't already said in the title. The Dayton Darrow statue drama ended not with a bang but with a sarcastic snicker.

Honorable mention: Homo naledi: there is another (#27 on the popularity list)
This one was not very notable to you or worth reading again, but it sure made an impression on me. After I posted it, I got tied up in a bizarre correspondence with a person who simply refused to believe what I wrote. It was a spirited and memorable exchange. 

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New year, new beginning, new book

Photo: Pixabay
Welcome to 2018. I hope it's a good one.

I'm excited to announce that I just finished working on a book manuscript that I've co-written with Darrel Falk (along with many other generous folks behind the scenes). Long time readers might remember that Darrel and I have been talking. Darrel's an evolutionist. I'm not. We're both Christians. Sometimes our conversations are maddening. Sometimes they're awkward. Sometimes they're just uncomfortable.

But more often than not, Jesus is right there in our midst talking to both of us, and that's a priceless treasure. Here's a snippet from the manuscript as I try to describe our meetings:
The book of Romans tells us that the Holy Spirit prays for us with groans that cannot be uttered. That’s really the best way I can describe what happens. Sometimes the Spirit shows me things about Darrel that I really didn’t understand.  Sometimes the Spirit shows me things about myself that I don’t particularly like.  Sometimes we pray together or mourn together or rejoice together.  Sometimes we’re just together.  It doesn’t make sense, but once you’ve experienced it, it doesn’t need to make sense.  It just needs to be.
Please pray for us as we complete our work. I'm sure there will be revisions involved with the editors as we work to put together a finished product. I don't know when it will be published ("within 18 months of Acceptance" according to the contract), but hopefully the world will get a good glimpse at what we've been up to. I hope you like it. Well, I know some people will really hate it, but I hope that we can reach the right audience. Please pray for that too.

I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Thank you for 2017!

What a year it's been! I want to thank each and every person who contributed to the success of Core Academy this year, by praying or attending an event or helping with the building or making a donation. God has been so good to us!

Here are just a few of the things we accomplished in 2017:

  • We began the year with new research on hominin fossils published in Answers Research Journal. This is part of our ongoing effort to understand how faith and Scripture relate to the details of scientific discovery. (Read the technical article here.)
  • In February, I appeared in a movie called Is Genesis History?, seen by thousands of people across the country. This new documentary interviewed creationists from around the country talking about creation science research. It's on Netflix now, in case you missed it.
  • In March, we hosted our third annual Smoky Mountain Creation Retreat to a sold out crowd in Pigeon Forge, TN. We had a great time encouraging students to become tomorrow's creationist leaders.
  • In April, we sponsored another Science Day for the students at Rhea County Academy. We had a great time nourishing an excitement for science and critical thinking in our students.
  • In May, we bought our first building! An old portable classroom from the next county over became our new home. It would be quite an ordeal over the next five months getting it ready to move into, but we are immensely grateful for God's provision!
  • In June, I spoke at the first Is Genesis History? student and educator conference in Dickson, TN. It was a small crowd, which gave us great opportunity to interact with the students who attended. Also in June: Our building was delivered.
  • In July, Roger Sanders and I attended Origins 2017 at San Diego Christian College. We were blessed to present our work, talk with students, and catch up with old friends.
  • In August, we hosted more than 200 people on the campus of Rhea County Academy for the solar eclipse. It was amazing! Truly the grandest show in God's creation.
  • September was consumed with building renovation, and we had our official open house on October 20. Check out the news coverage in the Rhea Review and Rhea Herald News.
  • In November we hired our newest team member Jennifer Terry to revive our creation database CELD.
  • November also saw the announcement of the expansion of our creation retreats. In 2018, we'll host at least two retreats in the Smoky Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. We're hoping to encourage even more students with this expanded outreach.

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our donors and ministry partners. Thank you so much! If you'd like to be a part of what we're doing, there's still time to make a tax-deductible contribution for 2017 through PayPal (click the "Donate" button below or visit our website). You can also get tickets for the Smoky Mountain Creation Retreat or the Shenandoah Valley Creation Retreat.

Thanks again, and God bless!

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Great is the mystery of godliness!

Recently, I've been reflecting on some essays I read recently in a symposium on the book Controversy of the Ages by Cabal and Rasor.  The essays were written by Paul Garner and Tim Morris.  The book is about the age of the earth, and as you might imagine, the book is not really friendly to the young-age creationist position.  I'm less interested in the book as I am with Garner's and Morris's comments, because I think they help to expose some assumptions that we scientific believers need to talk about.

Tim Morris's essay Mere Creationism points out the difficulty of relying on science to bolster faith. He wraps his comments in the language of the philosophy of science, but his point is one that I've long been aware of: We've given way too much authority to science in the church. And I might add personally, that goes for all sides.  It's easy for creationists to accuse theistic evolutionists of bowing to science, but when we turn around and claim that all "true science" already agrees with the Bible, we're seeking the same sort of scientific authority.  The Enlightenment has taught us that reason and evidence are the judges of truth, and Christians all buy into that.  That's why theistic evolutionists insist we must reinterpret scripture to accommodate evolution, and that's why we creationists crave the scientific evidence that shows evolution is wrong and creation is right.  Some even try to change the rules of science so that our beliefs are the only truly "scientific" option.  Why?  Because what we believe about creation must make sense to us.  That's the Enlightenment talking.

Paul Garner's essay The Importance of Beginnings implicitly expands on that. He wants us to carefully consider our motivation, what really gets us going, what lights our fires.  Is it evolution and science?  Are we worried that our beliefs make sense in the broader world of scientific claims?  Are we always just reacting to the latest discoveries of conventional science?  Or are we motivated by a curiosity and sense of discovery?  Do we worry about what evolutionists tell us is true?  Or do we want to know more about God's creation?

Let's be blunt.  Who says any one of us will ever understand it all?  Whatever happened to the great mystery of godliness?  Why do we think that we can create a perfectly logical and rational faith?  For generations, believers didn't even understand that God was coming in the flesh, born as a baby, to suffer and die. Even knowing Jesus as we do, we are no better than they.  We all see through a glass darkly.  To suggest that we can or ought to figure it all out is just arrogance.

Once we've given up that arrogance, we can relax.  We are Christians.  Some things we believe make sense, but other things we believe don't, at least not now and not to us.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  God never said truth would make sense to us.  He just asks us to believe.  We don't have to be slaves to our addiction to logic.

You can't understand it all, but you can trust the One who does.

Once we've relaxed, we can turn our attention to greater things: What does God have to tell us in our ignorance?  What can we discover about God in His creation?  How can we follow Jesus even when we don't understand?  Perhaps even more importantly, how can God draw us to Him in the midst of ignorance, disputes, and argument?

So as we celebrate the coming of our Lord today, let us come once again to that manger long ago.  Let us reflect on the unfathomable.  Let us celebrate the incomprehensible.  Let us rejoice in the unthinkable.

Great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifest in the flesh
(I Tim. 3:16)

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.