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jeffz
Author: Jeff Zweerink

Since my earliest memories, science and the Christian faith have featured prominently in my life - but I struggled when my scientific studies seemed to collide with my early biblical training. My first contact with RTB came when I heard Hugh Ross speak at Iowa State University. It was the first time I realized it was possible to do professional work incorporating both my love of science and my desire to serve God. I knew RTB's ministry was something I was called to be a part of.

While many Christians and non-Christians see the two as in perpetual conflict, I find they integrate well. They operate by the same principles and are committed to discovering foundational truths. My passion at RTB is helping Christians see how powerful a tool science is to declare God's glory and helping scientists understand how the established scientific discoveries demonstrate the legitimacy and rationality of the Christian faith.

  • Investigating Artificial Intelligence: An Introduction

    May 31, 2019

    Two questions fascinate me: (1) Does life exist in the universe beyond the confines of Earth? (2) Will we ever create artificial intelligence here on Earth? If you seek an answer in movies, books, and art, you get a resounding “YES!” to both questions. However, the scientific and theological issues surrounding these questions are far more difficult to sort out. After writing a book asking Is There Life Out There?, I would now like to turn to the second question. As an introduction, we need to define some terms.

    • Artificial Intelligence
  • First Image of a Black Hole

    May 3, 2019

    When Albert Einstein first proposed his general theory of relativity, it transformed the way scientists thought about space and time. Specifically, the theory predicted that mass could be so compressed that it would rupture the fabric of space-time. Scientists called these things black holes. Over the last hundred years, numerous experimental and theoretical findings have affirmed the existence of black holes, but to date scientists had not imaged one. That changed with a first-ever radio image of galaxy M87, which revealed the shadow of an enormous black hole at its center. This first astronomical image of the black hole shadow highlights a number of cool things about black holes and carries worldview implications.

    • Laws of Physics
    • Cool Science
  • Will Science Become “Useless”?

    April 19, 2019

    In his book A Universe from Nothing, Lawrence Krauss makes no bones about his belief that science provides great contributions to our fundamental knowledge. By contrast, he views input from theology (and philosophy to some extent) as largely useless. Similarly, Stephen Hawking declares, “philosophy is dead,” in The Grand Design.1 Other scientists have publicly echoed these sentiments and probably many more do so privately. Will people view science as useless someday?

    • Theology
    • Science & Faith
    • Science
    • Faith & Reason
  • Finding Water Everywhere in the Search for Life

    April 12, 2019

    What comes to mind when you think of water? Personally, water reminds me of some of my favorite activities: canoeing down the spring-fed rivers of southern Missouri, bass fishing in Ozark lakes, watching the torrential downpours of thunderstorms, and deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Beyond the fun and enjoyment water provides, it also plays a critical role in Earth’s capacity to host life (as well as the biochemical processes required by life). Consequently, astronomers ardently search for planets capable of hosting water—and those searches have paid dividends.

    • Life on Other Planets
    • Exoplanets
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  • The Perils of Space Travel

    February 15, 2019

    If only space travel were as easy as depicted in Star Wars or Star Trek! Traveling a few thousand times the speed of light onboard the Enterprise or a hundred times faster by jumping to lightspeed enables these fictional ships to traverse stellar distances in fractions of a day. Unfortunately, the real world poses much greater constraints. Even cruising at one-tenth the speed of light (well beyond our current or imaginary technology), the trip to star system Alpha Centauri, our nearest neighbor, would take nearly 45 years. Some of the latest research reveals the damage even a few months in space causes to the human body. By contrast, Earth’s environment seems ideally suited for humans.

    • UFOs & Extraterrestrials
    • Earth Design
  • Mastering Eddington’s Confirmation of General Relativity

    August 31, 2018

    Many people who witnessed the great eclipse of 2017 will remember it as a wondrous spectacle. But one amateur astronomer saw the event as an opportunity to reproduce measurements of the celebrated general theory of relativity, which provides the basis for understanding cosmological models of our expanding universe.

    • Laws of Physics
    • Einstein
    • Sun
    • Cool Science
  • Mars’s Discoveries Showcase Earth’s Design

    August 24, 2018

    Earth’s neighbor Mars has created a lot of discovery-driven headlines lately. In one, scientists found seasonal variation of methane in the atmosphere. In another, 3-billion-year-old sedimentary rocks contained “tough” organic material. In a third, researchers think the planet’s surface hosts valleys that look a lot like stream networks seen here on Earth. But undoubtedly, the evidence indicating the existence of a large, subsurface lake at Mars’s south pole generated the most buzz. Each of these discoveries was hailed as signs that Mars once supported life—or might still today. While the question of whether life ever lived on Mars remains unanswered, all these discoveries ultimately point to the amazing design behind Earth’s capacity to support life.

    • Earth Design
    • Mars
    • Life on Other Planets
    • Early Earth
  • Preparing Earth for Multicellular Life

    August 17, 2018

    My family vacationed in the California redwoods and the giant sequoias this past summer. Seeing these majestic trees towering above the surrounding landscape invokes a sense of awe and wonder along with a feeling of smallness. Just to give a perspective on the size of a sequoia, I calculated that one tree has enough wood to make 10 billion toothpicks! I still enjoy visiting the scenic groves of sequoias and redwoods, but I am reminded that for much of Earth’s history, nothing remotely resembling such amazing life could exist.

    • Earth Design
    • Earth's History
    • Atmosphere
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  • Maybe We Are Alone in the Universe

    June 29, 2018

    Back in the summer of 1950, famed physicist Enrico Fermi visited Los Alamos National Laboratory and discussed the possibility of interstellar travel with his colleagues as they walked to have lunch. In the brief exchange, some thought faster-than-light (FTL) travel was possible while others thought not. During lunch Fermi posed his now legendary question: “Where is everybody?” Remarkably, although the question came out of the blue, everyone understood its implications.

    • UFOs & Extraterrestrials
    • Life on Other Planets
  • Kepler Helps Reveal Answers to Big Questions about the Cosmos

    June 15, 2018

    “But wait, there’s more!” This infamous phrase preceded the offer of yet another “great” benefit if you bought a Ginsu knife set or a Popeil Pocket Fisherman. Infomercial producers seemed to know that they needed to provide some unexpected bonus for people to watch the whole sales pitch. And this phrase played on our desire to get something more. Not to be outdone, NASA just declared its own “but wait!”

    • Exoplanets
    • Cosmic Expansion
  • Is Replicating Self-Healing Life Possible?

    June 1, 2018

    A few weeks ago, I highlighted scientific advances of a “self-aware” cyberslug. Not to be outdone, scientists have now developed materials that automatically make mechanical and electrical repairs to themselves when damaged. Does this mean that replicating life in all its glory is just around the corner?

    • Cool Science
    • Life Design
  • Does the Multiverse Help Naturalism?

    May 18, 2018

    Perhaps our universe isn’t as finely tuned as we thought! We know that life requires stars and planets to form. Overly rapid expansion of the universe would prevent this from happening and a larger amount of dark energy means that the universe expands more rapidly. Yet a recent paper shows that the amount of dark energy in the universe could be hundreds of times larger and yet still permit stars and planets to form. This result seems to reduce the role of fine-tuning, right? Sort of, but not really. In fact, this discovery makes multiverse explanations for the intricate balances that life requires even more difficult to accept—if you demand a purely naturalistic multiverse.

    • Universe Design
    • Multiverse
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  • Hawking’s Final Word on the Beginning

    May 11, 2018

    Did the universe begin to exist or not? The final paper from Stephen Hawking indicates that the universe did have a beginning. Here are the details.

    • Famous Scientists
    • Inflation
    • Big Bang Theory
  • Do Both Science and Christianity Require Faith?

    May 4, 2018

    Davies basically argues that scientists must largely accept that the laws of physics work without having an adequate understanding of why they work. Nothing about the laws of physics specifies that they must appear the way they do or that they should exhibit the regularity, order, and understandability that they do. As you could imagine, the claim that science is founded on faith produced some rather strong reactions—which you can read in a conversation that took place at the Edge. The responses highlighted three important points.

    • Science & Faith
    • Laws of Physics
    • Cosmology
  • Earth Protects Life from Dangerous Space Radiation

    April 20, 2018

    On September 1, 1859, the Sun experienced an unusually large storm that ejected a massive cloud of charged particles. Seventeen hours later, on September 2, the cloud collided with Earth’s atmosphere, generating one of the most spectacular displays of the aurora borealis ever recorded. Even people in Hawaii and Cuba witnessed the aurora! So much electromagnetic energy coursed through the Earth that telegraph operators across the Atlantic Ocean could operate their equipment without connecting it to any batteries. Estimates of damage caused by such an event today range upwards of $2 trillion just for the United States. Yet, these remarkable events highlight another way that Earth seems designed for us to live here.

    • Earth Design
    • Atmosphere
  • A Virtual "Self-Aware" Predator

    March 23, 2018

    What do these movies have in common? Bicentennial Man, Tron, Short Circuit, WarGames, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, D.A.R.Y.L. If you guessed that artificial intelligence is crucial to the plot, and that you must be older than 40 to recognize many of them, you would be correct. Maybe a more current list would include Chappie, Transcendence, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Transformers, and Rogue One. If Hollywood movies are any indicator, we find the concept of self-aware creatures fascinating. So the real-life attempt to make a self-aware “cyberslug” should not surprise anyone.

    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Image of God
    • Human Uniqueness
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  • A Brief Response to Stephen Hawking’s Passing

    March 16, 2018

    As announced in the Daily Mail, the renowned Stephen Hawking died peacefully at his home on Wednesday. Since I work for an Christian organization that talks about science-faith issues, I thought quite a bit about what I would say if asked about his passing. Given that Hawking did not believe in God, could I give Stephen Hawking a eulogy—a speech that would praise him highly? Yes, I could.

    • Famous Scientists
  • The Role of Plate Tectonics in the Symphony

    March 9, 2018

    Find the common theme among these things: a good joke, a well-hit baseball, a long touchdown pass, a moving piece of music. Give up? They all rely on precise timing. Each clearly requires accurate execution of a task. However, if that execution happens too early or too late, the joke fails, the ball goes foul, the pass drops incomplete, and you get cacophony. On the other hand, play all the musical instruments together and you get a great symphony. Timing also plays a critical role in Earth’s capacity to support human life.

    • Geophysics
    • Early Earth
    • Plate Tectonics
    • Geology
    • Atmosphere
  • In The Beginning . . .

    February 23, 2018

    If we were transported to the late 1800s, we would learn that the prevailing scientific picture of the universe was that it had always existed. Matter and energy moved around in absolute space and eternal time. Since that time, the development of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the discovery of the expansion of the universe, and the formulation of various space-time theorems (even ones that apply to hypothetical multiverses), strong scientific evidence points to a beginning for the universe. Given that I expect God’s revelation in Scripture and creation to agree, this result is entirely unsurprising—even though unexpected by scientists.

    • Genesis
    • Science & Faith
    • Creation & Genesis
    • Creation
  • Understanding Initial Conditions of Creation

    February 9, 2018

    Often, skeptics of Christianity cite the “scientifically inaccurate” description of the creation account in Genesis 1 as a reason to dismiss the Bible. However, in doing so, they neglect to take into account the frame of reference described in the early verses of the chapter. Genesis 1:1 starts with the creation of the entire physical realm (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth“) but then shifts to the surface of the Earth in Genesis 1:2:

    • Genesis
    • RTB's Creation Model
    • Creation & Genesis
    • Bible
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