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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.

  • AI Investigations: Philosophy Is Not Dead

    October 18, 2019

    Why can we think about the universe when the universe cannot think about us? This simple, yet profound, question leads to fascinating philosophical, theological, and scientific investigations. Those same considerations converge in the arena of artificial intelligence research and its goal of artificial general intelligence. Artificial intelligence is a burgeoning field, but this research is not strictly a scientific endeavor. It necessarily involves philosophical reasoning that I think is reminiscent of intelligent agency behind the origin of the universe.

    • Reason
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Philosophy
  • Biblical Evidence for an Old Earth: Ham vs. Zweerink Follow-Up

    October 11, 2019

    On September 25, 2019, Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? show posted a video where Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham and I discussed our different views on the age of the earth. While the show appears to be a debate, Brierley arranged it to give us the opportunity to articulate how we arrived at our positions, our assessments of the central issues surrounding our positions, and our responses to some challenges from the “opposing” view.

    • Biblical Evidence for an Old Earth
    • Animal Death
    • Creation & Genesis
    • Age of the Earth
  • Another Bizarre Exoplanet

    September 13, 2019

    What does the discovery of a strange new planet mean? From any perspective, it may mean that the universe continues to surprise us with its variety. From a Christian perspective, it could support the idea that a creator-artist who enjoys making different things has left a signature for his work.

    • Solar System Design
    • Exoplanets
    • Life on Other Planets
  • Dark Matter from before the Big Bang?

    August 30, 2019

    “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible starts with a remarkable claim: the universe began to exist. However, a recent paper generated press that seems to undermine this important biblical statement.1 Various popular sources ran headlines like “Big Bang Bombshell: Did Dark Matter Come BEFORE Birth of Universe?,” “Dark Matter May Have Existed before the Big Bang, New Math Suggests,” and “Dark Matter May Be Older Than the Big Bang.” Some of the coverage even hints that scientists might not understand the universe as well as previously thought. Will science rebuff a biblical claim? Let’s look at this discovery and see what it tells us about the universe and how well the Bible describes it.

    • Inflation
    • Dark Energy & Dark Matter
    • Origin of the Universe
    • Big Bang Theory
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  • Genesis 1 and the Early Earth

    August 23, 2019

    Does the Bible give an accurate account of the things it describes? The answer to that question has enormous ramifications on how we choose to live. If the answer is “no,” then the Bible belongs in the class of literature with interesting and often elegant ideas that might prove useful in life. If “yes,” it provides a compelling and wonderful narrative of who God is and how we relate to him. The very first two verses in the Bible provide a test for this question. While most people are familiar with the biblical description of “in the beginning,” the account of the early Earth in the next verse (Genesis 1:2) is often overlooked. Just like science supports the idea of a beginning to the universe, new scientific research affirms the validity of this “initial conditions” verse.

    • Early Earth
    • Creation & Genesis
  • Jupiter: No Ordinary Planet

    August 16, 2019

    Each planet in our solar system possesses unique and fascinating features. Earth hosts an abundant, dazzling array of life. Mars houses the largest volcanoes and a canyon so vast it would span North America from ocean to ocean. Saturn would float—if you could find a bathtub big enough. But Jupiter stands out, with a 400-year-old storm encompassing a region large enough to contain two Earths, and enough gravitational pull to cause volcanic activity on one of its larger moons. Additionally, Jupiter serves as a shield, minimizing the number of asteroids that hit Earth and cause mass extinctions of life. As scientists find planetary systems around other stars, they naturally want to know whether these systems host similar Jupiter-like planets. After nearly three decades of planet hunting, it looks like Jupiters may be rare.

    • Exoplanets
    • Solar System Design
  • Artificial Intelligence: Mastering Chess, Then Societal Challenges?

    June 28, 2019

    In May 1997, an IBM chess-playing computer called Deep Blue defeated a grandmaster human chess player (under regular time controls) for the first time in history. It took four decades for computer programs and hardware to advance from their first victory in the mid-1950s to besting a world champion. In the twenty plus years since, however, chess programs running on relatively common hardware (like that used in smartphones) could routinely beat even the best human players.

    • Artificial Intelligence
  • Is the Universe a Billion Years Younger?

    June 21, 2019

    AP News recently ran an article with the headline “New Study Says Universe Expanding Faster and Is Younger.” Numerous other media outlets echoed the story, adding that the universe may be a billion years younger—as young as 12.5 billion years old. Is this just science changing its mind again? How could researchers be so wrong? A little historical insight coupled with some scientific background help show why scientists are excited about this seemingly large discrepancy.

    • Science in the News
    • Old Earth Creationism
    • Big Bang Theory
    • Bible
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  • 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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