Langley, BC - This past week, Hugh Ross, PhD, returned to his roots in British Columbia, the place where his journey through space began. During a full day of interacting with students and faculty at Trinity Western University, the well-respected astronomer and award-winning author, explained how his passion for the stars led him from skepticism to faith in Jesus Christ and how science can be a powerful tool for evangelism.
Once a researcher of galaxies and quasars at the California Institute of Technology, the Vancouver-raised scientist is the co-founder and president of Reasons to Believe, an international organization that demonstrates and communicates how the latest scientific discoveries illustrate a factual basis for belief in the Bible as the true word of God.
“We uncover about five discoveries per day on the frontiers of research that add to the weight of evidence for the Christian faith.”
But Dr. Ross’s objective is not simply to conduct research while Christians watch on the sidelines.
“Our real goal is to empower people who are already in place to teach their colleagues and peers. Many already have a desire to communicate the truth, but they need outside speakers to equip them and get a program running. We are convinced that the job is not going to get done by our scholars, but by grass-roots volunteers who go into colleges, business firms, churches and schools and present reasons to believe in Jesus Christ.”
Ross’s mission has close affinity with TWU’s, which seeks to develop Christian leaders who share the hope of Christ in every marketplace. He was this school year’s first Leader-in-Residence to visit the campus. In its 12th year, the TWU Leader-in-Residence program exists to enhance students’ academic training, by giving them a chance to interact with outstanding Christian leaders in various fields of study. And students of any field can learn not only from Ross’s research, but from his example as a Christian leader.
“Dr. Ross has developed a strategy to engage culture,” noted Ross’s faculty host, Jack VanDyke, PhD Dean of the faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences at TWU. “His priority is getting people to ask questions and evaluate their own beliefs, and that’s just what TWU students did this week.”
During a question and answer period, Ross explained the Model for Speciation, part of a testable creation model, developed to investigate the claims of evolution. He illustrated how to mathematically predict the probability that any given plant or animal species will develop into a new species. Orienting the model within the context of our solar system, given that the sun and the earth change with respect to time, Ross posed the question: “What is the probability that each group will speciate before changes in planet circumstances will bring about the extinction?”
According to Ross, virtually every species on the planet has a zero probability of evolutionary advance. For one to have a good chance at speciation, it must number at least a quadrillion individuals, have a body size below one centimeter, have a generation time shorter than three months, and would have to produce about 1000 progeny per adult. “So if you’ve got all that going for you, you do have a possibility of evolutionary advance,” Ross joked.
As Ross explained fairly complex arguments such as this one, he also affirmed the importance of equipping students with intentional academic training: “Aggressive learning by students is key,” he commented. “Once the educational process is over, students learn how to educate themselves and recognize the joy of on-going learning. Then, they don’t need me anymore.”
In the meantime, professors like VanDyke are grateful for Ross’s strong commitment to teaching and equipping. “His research helps students sort through what are the factual basis of some claims, and what are simply extrapolations and theories.”
In addition to his scientific research, Ross speaks regularly throughout the U.S. and around the world. Ross has spoken at over 300 campuses on five different continents, including Duke, Stanford and Princeton. He has authored dozens of articles in professional and popular publications and numerous books, including the award-winning Beyond the Cosmos: What Recent Discoveries in Astronomy and Physics Reveal About the Nature of God. He has also been a frequent guest on several radio and television programs. To learn more about Ross’s research, and about how you can get involved in a chapter which educates students and professionals in Vancouver, visit www.reasons.org
Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,000 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 35 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counseling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.
Last Updated: 2007-09-26