LIST OF TALKS – Professor Andy McIntosh
(E1) A skeptical look at Atheism [for adults : a direct challenge to atheism – no basis for rationality and no basis for ethics]
A talk considering the issue of atheism and whether scientific naturalism is a real basis for rationality and ethics. Which outlook is really scientific? Theism or Atheism
This talk is designed entirely and specifically for atheists and sceptics. It looks at the science of abiogenesis and shows that from physics, biology and from information science that the evidence for design is coherent and compelling. Furthermore the talk moves into considering rationality and thought and the lack of any coherence in suggesting these arise from matter and energy alone. This moves into a philosophical argument based on the thinking of C S Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, F. Schaeffer and here gets underneath the science – origins debate and shows that academics (and not necessarily Christian believers) are against the reductionism of Christopher Hitchens / Richard Dawkins / Steve Jones / Peter Atkins. Thinkers such as Roger Penrose and Thomas Nagel who are not Christians have seen through the emptiness of scientific naturalism. Lastly the talk moves into meaning, truth and ethics, ending on the vital need to consider the One who in person shows us Truth, and is prepared to take the moral guilt of man upon Himself, The historical evidence of His Resurrection supremely negates Atheism. The structure of this presentation starts with the how we learn from objective science and that science is not consistent with the philosophy of atheism. It also considers rationality, mind and intelligence, and then meaning and truth, and lastly the whole question of morality and ethics. On each front it show that Atheism cannot give a coherent understanding of reality and human experience. In particular the questions of suffering and death are only properly understood within the Christian framework of Creation / sin / death and redemption.
(E2) What does it mean to be Human?
Aimed mainly at unbelievers, the talk addresses
1) Man has a Unique body (Human foot, inner ear positioned for upright position etc.
2) Man has a Unique mind (ability to think, capacity to pass on technical information to next generation, mind is transcendent to brain etc etc. It specifically asks the question where does this human mind come from?
3) Man has a Unique morality (you can’t say to an ape thou shalt not steal, or to a dog no idols)
4) Man has a Unique sense of worship and beauty (Man made in the image of God, many have sense of beauty)
(E3) Creation or Evolution – Looking at the evidence – This is a basic talk on the Fossils and designed primarily for a non-Christian audience. ‘Creation or Evolution – Looking at the evidence’ looks at the fossil evidence and shows that many creatures fossilized in the rocks are the same as today. The talk simply looks at the geological evidence and compares the fossils with existing creatures today. It addresses the fact that many creatures in the fossil record, we do have today, and are not any different. Then it deals with creatures in the fossil record that we do not have today - e.g. dinosaurs - now extinct. The talk concludes that the record is simply one of creatures which are similar to today or else extinct creatures we no longer have today - No transitions. It lastly deals with radioactive dating, and shows that there are major assumptions in such method
SCIENCE TALKS (teaching talks and can also be used evangelistically)
(S1) The wonder of hearing
The talk addresses the intricacy in the design of the mammalian ear, and in particular the human ear. There is minute and detailed engineering involved in the movement in air of acoustic waves which then transmit vibrations through to the mechanical movement of three tiny bones in the ear, then to movement in liquid, then movement of a special membrane splitting the sound into its component parts by frequency, then movement of very tiny hairs, and finally through electro-chemical bonds generating electrical signals to go to the brain. This has caused even Dawkins to write of the three inner bones in “the mammalian ear, where they constitute an exquisitely delicate bridge, to transport sound from the eardrum to the inner ear.” [Dawkins, R. The greatest show on earth – the evidence for evolution, Black Swan, 2009, p.293]. Rather than give glory to God who has clearly stated (Prov 20:12) “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them,” evolutionists insist that these three tiny bones gradually changed their location as they moved from the jaw bones of reptiles. The logic of this is beyond comprehension when one understands the near perfect acoustic transmission involved in this system. Prof McIntosh brings to bear his acoustic engineering background to show that the frequency analyser we all have in our ears is not only an example of brilliant engineering design, but is also a tribute to the beauty of what the Lord has made in sound sensory mechanisms, and the ability to appreciate voice and music. “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” Ps 139:14 “...that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
(S2) The Intricacies of Flight
Flight in Birds. We look at the aerodynamics of birds, and show the awe and wonder from the fascinating detail of flight in the natural world. The feathers of birds have to be positioned in exactly the right location on the wing from front to back and from close to the body to tip, but also edge on forming an aerofoil shape. The remarkable agility of both fast birds of prey and humming bird aerobatic marvels show the necessity for a number of parallel mechanisms all to be in place at the same time to enable flight to work in birds. giving the lie to the supposed evolution of such creatures from more
primitive ancestors. This has technical parts but is understood by all ages because it is so visual. It lends itself to being a good platform for evangelism. Many have found this to be a powerful talk, because it brings a sense of awe and wonder from the fascinating detail in flight in the natural world. It naturally leads into the Gospel.
(S3) The Wonder of Insect Flight
The wonder of insect flight is shown in the great variety of wings and the way that they are used in flight. Butterflies may seem driven by wind or gentle breeze but in fact are excellent fliers, with some covering immense distances in migration. Starting life as caterpillars, metamorphosis defies an evolutionary explanation for their supposed development from some worm like creature. Dragonflies are the kings of insect flight with their great speed and the ability to control each wing independently, Damselflies have brilliant hovering skills and both these flying insects start off in the water breathing entirely differently to their later life in the air. We examine a number of insects and look at beetles with their brilliant folding wings – examples of naturally occurring origami! We end with the amazing dung beetle which even has the ability to navigate by the stars – such is the wonder of what God has made in the insect kingdom! It has been said that, according to the laws of aerodynamics, insects shouldn't be able to fly. But of course they do -- brilliantly. Actually, that only highlighted our ignorance of aerodynamics. Research over the past few years is revealing how insects do manage to fly in ways which in terms of maneuverability beats some of our most advanced aircraft! Conventional analysis showed that insects were generating only about one-half to one-third of the lift need to carry their weight However, ingenious experiments have now shown unexpected patterns of vortex flow along the edges of insect wings. These generate the extra lift needed because the vortex (a spiraling tube-like pattern of airflow like a mini-tornado) stays 'stuck' to the leading edge of the wing for long enough. One reason that previous research failed to detect how insects could fly is that researchers only used fixed wings. However, with dynamic and moving wing models, insect wings have been shown to have a very complex motion, rotating and changing the camber as they flap at high frequencies.
This talk explores the scales and membranes used by insect wings, then looks at the amazing metamorphosis of butterflies and dragonflies, bees, ladybirds and finally the amazing dung beetle.
(S4) Insect Inspiration from the bombardier beetle
This talk considers in particular the research of Professor McIntosh into the Bombardier beetle which has inspired a raft of practical applications including fuel injectors, pharmaceutical sprays, fragrancers and fire extinguishers.
The innocuous looking bombardier beetle is one of the most remarkable creatures around. This tiny insect is able to fight off any spider, frog, ant or bird that comes too close by blasting the attacker with a powerful jet of hot, toxic fluid. Furthermore, the
beetle can aim its weapon in any direction (even over its head) with pinpoint accuracy, and can reach distances of up to 20 cm with its spray. The bombardier beetle, which is rare in Europe but common in Africa, Asia and warmer parts of the US, forms a noxious spray by reacting small amounts of hydroquinone with hydrogen peroxide in the presence of the catalysts catalase and peroxidase in a pair of combustion chambers in its abdomen.
This exothermic reaction produces a toxic solution of benzoquinone, other chemicals and water, and heats the solution (which is mainly water) to above its boiling point. Although some details of the chemical process have been known for years, until recently scientists did not understand how the beetle managed to eject this solution so powerfully. The answer to this puzzle, has led to building an experimental rig mimicking the major physics of the beetle ejection system and that knowledge could revolutionize industrial spray technology. The technology has led to much interest from industry in using the remarkable spray system for fuel injectors, pharmaceutical drug delivery systems such as nebulizers and also fire extinguishers. The bombardier beetle sending out a repeated blast of hot caustic fluid with steam and water at 500Hz in any direction it wishes and the inspiration for new devices, is an example of irreducible complexity which strongly suggest creation as the logical explanation.
(S5) Science, Mathematics and Beauty
A talk on the fact that Mathematics and Science has no meaning without a transcendent God. This talk deals with a number of examples of the intriguing beauty and power of mathematics. Mathematics ismore than a language and a tool of logic. When used to describe the physics of one system it is surprising how many other disciplines reflect the same principles so that the form of the equations can be similar. But we need to get underneath this and start with an even more fundamental concept concerning number itself. As Jason Lisle has said “Numbers are concepts. Thus they are abstract in nature. They exist in the world of thought and are not material or physical. You cannot literally touch a number, or even see one, because they are not made of matter.” We will consider firstly the nature of abstract thought – the reality / ontology of logic. We will then consider the nature of mathematics and its connection to reality. We will then examine the language of mathematics and show that the only consistent reality that is coherent and works in science is one which accepts mind as more than matter and that abstract truth, meaning and purpose are realities which are transcendent to the physical Universe. We will lastly consider some well known examples of mathematics which cross over from one discipline to another.This talk is only suitable for University Audiences
(S6) The Fingerprint of Intelligence - Thermodynamics and Information
An in depth talk on the science of thermodynamics and information – this is only suitable for University audiences
A talk on the science of thermodynamics and information
The talk shows the impossibility from thermodynamics of information arising without intelligence. This talk is geared entirely on the science and is for thinking people. It goes into the connection between information and thermodynamics. It shows that functional information is neither matter nor energy.
A brief summary is as follows –
The elegance of mathematics and its astonishing power across many disciplines.
In this work we consider the concept of information and the connection with machines and the laws of thermodynamics. How does information relate to the hardware used? Is it possible to measure information and its effect on the local thermodynamics of the system hardware? How do these relate in real systems, and can one connect and quantify the effect of information on matter and energy? There is nowhere more important for considering this issue than in the realm of living systems, where one quickly becomes aware of the extraordinary complexity which so organises the chemical proteins at the biochemical level as to effectively build digital machinery which for many years since the discovery by Crick and Watson of DNA, has been the goal of modern software engineers to emulate. The functional complexity of these systems is clearly heavily dependent on the material environment in which such a system is operating, and indeed uses all the same chemical and physical laws that are used to such good effect by any man made machines. What though are the laws that such organisation must inherently obey for natural systems? Can one quantify the organisational structure which sits on top of the matter and energy in any real system?
(S7) Has Science killed God?
The title addresses the questions as to (a) What is Science? and (b) Who is God?. The talks shows that science is limited and can only deal with the physical world and has to be repeatable. Many of the greatest scientists were believers and there are many today who are believers. It is a lie to say that science can only be done from an atheist or naturalist perspective. The God of the Bible is transcendent and not defined by the physical world. He is the great “I AM” and we are made in His image. We consider (1) examples of great science which points clearly to design with irreducible complexity (2) rationality which shows we are more than walking brains (3) meaning and truth which only have realistic answers in Christ and the Gospel, and (4) morality which only has a firm basis in the revealed truth of the Bible, sin and Redemption.
Has Science killed God?
Andy McIntosh - Leed
TEACHING TALKS PRIMARILY FOR BELIEVERS
(T1) Creation – the cardinal truths
Biblical talk for Christians
This talk looks at the four cardinal truths concerning origins –There was no death before the Fall, Creation was by God’s spoken Word, Adam was made from dust and that the Flood was global. This presentation is an important Bible based talk against Theistic Evolution. It lastly deals with days of Creation and shows that Bible history is to be taken literally. The infallibility of Scripture, the timeline and true history is at stake, The Gospel is predicated upon no death before the Fall. The NT teaching of redemption is lost if one accepts evolutionary philosophy since the Biblical theology of the Cross is only consistent with sin and death following the Fall..
(T2) Creation – Reconnecting the Gospel to a godless culture
If we are to reach out to minds indoctrinated with post-modern thinking, we need to tackle the current paradigm of evolution which increasingly pervades our media. We can then engage with a world which otherwise perceive the Gospel as irrelevant.
How can we reach out to a world increasingly disconnected to the Gospel? We need to address the issue of suffering which everyone experiences and with an evolutionary mindset, people can make no sense to the pain all around them. Secondly we need to proclaim the true history of the world, and to show that the Biblical worldview of origins makes sense of the whole of reality and study in both the arts, humanities and the sciences.
(T3) Noah’s Ark and the Flood
This talk looks at the feasibility of Noah’s Ark and the worldwide flood as described in the Bible. It looks at the construction of Noah’s Ark, its size, and estimates the number of creatures it could take. It also looks at the stability of the Ark on the rough seas to be expected during the Flood, and it also shows that there is every evidence that the authoritative account of the Flood is indeed in the Bible.
(T4) Genesis, Babel and the Nations – The early history of mankind and the dispersion of the early settlers. This talk looks at how Gen. 10 and 11 agrees with the spread of peoples today. It will look lastly at evidence that the Chinese language still shows evidence of knowledge of the Bible and the Biblical way of salvation.
(T5) Astronomy and the Bible
Looks at the Moon and the Sun and Solar System – there is no evidence which fits with the evolution of this amazing planetary system. If we cannot work out an evolutionary origin of the moon and Sun, is it not presumptuous to say that we know the origin of the galaxies across huge distances?
Subtitled “Counting the stars...?” [The glory of the heavens...]
(T6) Faraday – Man of Science, Man of God
A talk on the life of Faraday showing that he was driven not only by scientific enquiry, but also by his belief in God.
This talk considers the life of the scientist Michael Faraday who was a person who had deep Christian convictions and in many ways because of those convictions had a mindset which was very original and led to a raft of discoveries including the connection of electricity with magnetism
Talk E3 is also used much for believers repeated here
(E3) Creation or Evolution – Looking at the evidence – This is a basic talk on the Fossils and designed primarily for a non-Christian audience. ‘Creation or Evolution – Looking at the evidence’ looks at the fossil evidence and shows that many creatures fossilized in the rocks are the same as today. The talk simply looks at the geological evidence and compares the fossils with existing creatures today. It addresses the fact that many creatures in the fossil record, we do have today, and are not any different. Then it deals with creatures in the fossil record that we do not have today - e.g. dinosaurs - now extinct. The talk concludes that the record is simply one of creatures which are similar to today or else extinct creatures we no longer have today - No transitions. It lastly deals with radioactive dating, and shows that there are major
assumptions in such methods.
(C1) Dinosaurs [ talk geared primarily to children ]
Looks at the various dinosaur fossils that have been found. Considers the implications of these fossils and how they fit into a Biblical timeframe. Teaches a worldwide flood and that when we have a right understanding as to the Biblical dimensions of the ark, that these and other large animals could readily be taken onto the Ark.
(C2) ‘Some Amazing Critters...’ [For children / young people]: Some unusual creatures, beetles and plants.... - This talk looks at a number of unusual creatures and plants, the Bombardier Beetle, the knobcone pine, the bee orchid, the emperor penguin, the giraffe, the elephant...etc