These past 9 issues of Acts & Facts have rehearsed ICR's beginning and history, and described its present ministry. For twenty-five years ICR has championed the Biblical truth of creation, primarily by showing the scientific support for the doctrines of Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and the young earth. We communicate these evidences through seminars, workshops, publications, radio broadcasts—in short through whatever medium available. But the credibility for ICR comes mainly from the fact that its visible staff members comprise a graduate school faculty, with top-notch scientific credentials, actively engaged in scholarly scientific research.
The ICR graduate school mission statement reads: "To discover and transmit truth about the universe through Biblical and scientific research." In this article, the efforts to "discover" such truth will be discussed—in the next, efforts to "transmit" it. Both will look to the future.
The ICR Graduate School
At present, four departments make up the graduate school—disciplines most concerned with the issue of origins—Astro-Geophysics, Biology, Geology, and Science Education. Each provides a nationally accredited MS degree comparable in depth to that of large universities, while encouraging research and thesis projects on origins-related topics.
Department Chairman Dr. Larry Vardiman's research has primarily centered on the causes and nature of the post-Flood Ice Age and modeling its effects on ice cores and sea-floor sediment. Evolutionists have touted these as strong arguments for evolution thinking, but now we have good answers to these charges. In fact, the creationist Ice Age understanding based on warm, post-Flood oceans is recognized by many as the only theory capable of accounting for ice-sheet build-up.
The possible pre-Flood canopy model has encountered various theoretical problems in recent years, and as such has been emphasized less by creationists. But Dr. Vardiman, through use of sophisticated atmospheric modeling, is exploring possible ways to dissipate its excessive heat. Graduate students are actively pursuing portions of these projects.
Professor Don DeYoung has undertaken a comprehensive critique of the many weaknesses in radioisotope dating schemes and has proposed a young-earth understanding. Both he and Adjunct Professors Dr. Daniel Faulkner and Dr. Russell Humphreys continue to research difficult areas of astronomy, using newly released data. As the standard Big Bang theory continues to encounter problems, creationists will have ample opportunity to propose Biblically compatible alternatives.
Dr. Kenneth Cumming chairs this department, serves as Graduate School Dean, and yet he maintains an active research program in genetics. His main goal is to identify the scope of the Genesis "kind," and the limits of biologic variation. Through breeding of species of rats, he has discovered many examples of "pleiotropy," that any one gene has multiple effects, further demonstrating the impossibility of a truly favorable mutation.
A previous project, now completed, investigated the physiological response of fruit flies to a higher ambient atmospheric pressure, and other likely effects of proposed pre-Flood vapor canopy.
Former professor Dr. Dick Lumsden's research in the complexity of cell membranes and the possible pre-Curse function of certain parasites will continue for the near future. Ongoing graduate s tudent thesis work is essential in both his and Dr. Cumming's research.
Dr. Steve Austin's research on Grand Canyon and Mount St. Helens has received much notoriety in recent years and has greatly contributed to our understanding of Noah's Flood. These results have been published both in creationist literature and the standard geologic literature. While the dating of rocks obtained at both locations will continue, other objectives have now been reached, and Dr. Austin's emphasis will shift to the late flood-tectonic episodes recorded at Yellowstone Park and the likely pre-Flood/Flood boundary revealed by strata in the Kingston Range of the Mojave Desert. Several graduate students are participating in these projects.
The department will participate in a longer-range project in concert with colleagues around the world. Its goal is to correlate geologic strata on a continental and even world-wide basis in an attempt to better understand the global Flood.
Dr. Austin anticipates that his next major research emphasis will be the geology of the Holy Land and its application to Biblical understanding. As with the Grand Canyon, Mount St. Helens, and Yellowstone research projects, this will likely be in concert with a study tour to Israel.
Dr. Cumming has been serving as acting chairman since Dr. Dick Bliss' recent death. Dr. Steve Deckard has undertaken to devise teaching methods to best communicate creation truth in Christian and home schools, specifically the ICR tenets of scientific and Biblical creationism, by placing them in an overall Christian worldview. His "Days of Discovery" program provides him with student response data and teacher feedback. There is no end to the need for quality teaching material. Again graduate student participation is crucial. We also desire that at least some of the student projects be usable in both Christian and home school, and even perhaps in the public schools should the humanistic stranglehold lessen. Readers are encouraged to write and express their opinions on what materials are most needed.
General Creation Studies
Each present graduate major requires an undergraduate degree for entrance. The training is designed to prepare students for contributions in the scientific fields, and with a few exceptions, each student is expected to complete a research quality thesis. Thus, many who simply wish more training in creation thinking are not eligible.
In an effort to serve these many individuals, we are contemplating adding other options. These options include a non-technical M.A. degree in Creation Studies, non-degree course work, correspondence or "on-line" external studies, and intensive training in creation for present scientists and graduate students at other universities. All of these are yet in the thinking stage, but we would be interested in your thoughts and desires.
Obviously each of these research and teaching efforts require financial support and can only be accomplished as God provides. Normally, funding comes from the general ICR giving, but each of the projects mentioned above could be specifically funded by interested donors. A prospectus for any could be obtained through Dr. Cumming. The costs would include field and lab expenses, and support for graduate student assistants.
Of course, many more research projects could be accomplished with additional staff, and ICR desires to add professional help as God leads. Meanwhile, as demonstrated recently by Drs. Austin and Vardiman, qualified scientists around the country could band together in a consortium, each tackling one aspect of a project, with the work being coordinated through ICR. The creation movement, and indeed the body of Christ, needs answers to many questions and such a group of contributors might be the best way to acquire them. We would welcome correspondence from friends of ICR with research skills. There may be a way to "plug you into" a larger project, using your god-given skills to advance our knowledge of creation. Send details of your expertise and research tools available to you such as computers, labs, libraries, etc. (Participation will remain confidential if requested.)
Larger research needs at ICR include a new generation of computer hardware and software. Some of the problems require extraordinary "number crunchers." Consider spherical modeling of the miles-thick, pre-Flood canopy or post-Flood Ice Age atmosphere, or the comparison of geologic strata worldwide. The need to update is real.
On a larger scale, a new science research building adjacent to the present ICR building is planned. The land has been purchased and is debt-free, and the plans have been drawn. Some moneys have been designated for construction, but we must wait for God to provide. The new building would include well-equipped laboratories and space for visiting scientists. It would house both our scanning and transmission electron microscope that need a more controlled environment than possible in the present ICR building. The museum could also be expanded to include more exhibits. Much could be done.
This is indeed a wonderful time to be a Bible-believing Christian/creationist. More and more scientific support for the Biblical worldview is surfacing all the time. Qualified researchers are regularly developing new support for creation. At ICR we are thankful for the key role God has given us from which we can point to the rock-solid Scriptures as accurate and authoritative.
Next month's article will focus on efforts to communicate these truths to a hungry world. In many ways we are winning the creation/evolution battle in the scientific sense but losing the propaganda war. We must, and can, do better.
* Dr. John Morris is President of ICR.