Faith on Ice: a Look at the Cold Hard Evidence

Speaker: Categories: Aug 09, 2003


[57min, 38sec / 57min, 15sec]


FAITHandEVIDENCE- What happens when these intersect? What happens when these two are in total agreement with each other? What happens when these two are in disagreement with each other? HOW does an Individual reconcile suchdisagreement? Does ones faith take on greater credibility than the evidence? Or does one explain away the evidence as being incomplete, inaccurate, even a work of the Devil? To what extent might intelligent, reasoning, open-minded Adventists, as well as other Christians and non-Christians, content themselves with"I've always believed that ...."and go on dismissing the evidence from any further thought? What are the ramifications and implications of this latter approach?

The August meeting of AAFSD will pose just such a confrontation - a look atcold, hard evidence(literally) in a search to determine more realistically the age of the earth and its plant and animal inhabitants. Rather than using tree rings as guides, which have often times been challenged, another source ofevidencewill be examined, a source less subject to variations in growth cycles. That evidence, referred to ascoldandhard, is just that. In fact, it has been frozen in place for eons - or at least millennia.

Bob Wonderly, presenter for the August AAFSD meeting, notes that coming up with the titleFaith on Icegoes to Bonnie Dwyer, editor of Spectrum. She suggested this title as soon as she heard what the paper was about.

Mr. Wonderly provides further background for the discussion"... every SDA surely knows and can repeat from memory the Bible definition of faith. But how many know that the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines"on ice"as(1) with every likelihood of being won or accomplished, and (2) in reserve or safekeeping?"

"The editor of this newsletter,"alleges the August speaker,"must be given the credit for the subtitle:A Look at the Cold, Hard Evidence. Everyone knows that ice is cold and hard. Not everyone knows about the amazing (both qualitatively and quantitatively) evidence that can be found in it."

"The August 9 Forum presentation is about both the story of the ice and the stories - the evidence - that are told by the ice, that can be deduced from the ice, when it is carefully analyzed. All of these stories are fascinating, especially the ones that aretoldby the ice."

"The discussion will start with information on how much ice there is and where it is. Then we will look closely at the two most thoroughly studied ice cores, the one from Greenland and the one from Antarctica. What we will discover is that the dictionary's second meaning"in reserve or safekeeping"applies with'a vengeance (1) with great force or vehemence, (2) to an extreme or excessive degree'[Merriam-Webster again]."

Bob Wonderly asserts,"The data, the amount of data, the information embedded within those data and implied by the data, are all not only very interesting but also very significant; significant to our world and its inhabitants; and especially significant to the belief systems of SDA's. And to think that all of these data have - as the term"on ice"indicates - been held in reserve and safekeeping until somebody got the idea to capture the data, to see what data were there, and then figured out the technologies required to do just that."

"Now there are obvious connections between ice and water and, in particular, between ice and lots of water (thinkfloods). We will also explore those connections."

And then Bob Wonderly advises:"All of this will keep us busy. Be prepared to listen fast! Hopefully there will also be time to explore the connections between faith and ice."It should also be noted that the presentation will be accompanied by a variety of visual images of the ice core samples, so, bring along a sweater, just in case these images might cause you to feel a chill!


From time to time it is the pleasure of AAFSD to have a presenter share research and conclusions NOT derived from his/her academic training but from avocational interests. This is true for Bob Wonderly who first became interested in mathematics and science as a student at Battle Creek Academy. After graduating in 1949 he worked for a year as a farm hand then spent five years at Emmanuel Missionary College, now known as Andrews University. There he continued to pursue science, graduating with a BA degree in 1955 with majors in mathematics and physics and a minor in chemistry. His other pursuit at EMC was a young lady named Evelyn Moravetz. As of the date of this lecture, they have been married for fifty years and two weeks! (Congratulations Evelyn and Bob!!!!)

After graduation he, his wife, and baby daughter moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where Bob could pursue graduate work in mathematics. To provide for his family he began working in what was then the brand new field of computer programming. This work proved so interesting that it became his career. Interestingly, he arrived at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis the same time that the University got its first large scale digital computer. When the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill got its first large digital computer a few years later, Bob joined the team that would be supporting it, while continuing to pursue mathematics there. When in 1961 Bob received his MA in mathematics from UNC, the family had increased to three children and computer programming had become the career of choice.

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