Feb 212007

Dr. Russell Humphreys is a ridiculously smart physicist and creationist. He received his B.S. in physics from Duke University in 1963 and his Ph.D. in physics from Louisiana State University in 1972.

From 1979 to 2001, Dr. Humphreys worked for Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, dealing with nuclear physics, geophysics, pulsed power research, theoretical atomic and nuclear physics, and the Particle Beam Fusion Project. At Sandia, he won two awards, including an award for excellence for contributions to light ion-fusion target theory.

In 2001 Dr. Humphreys retired from Sandia to work fulltime for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). Once an atheist, Dr. Humphreys is now a Bible-believing, young-earth creationist. Tonight at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theater, Dr. Humphreys will be presenting evidence that our earth is only thousands of years old, not billions.

TREVOR SIDES: Dr. Humphreys, it’s an honor. Thank you for making the time to talk today.

DR. HUMPHREYS: Well, thank you, Trevor.

SIDES: You spent part of your time with Sandia National Laboratories working in nuclear weapons research. If I asked if you ever spent time in nuclear weapons field testing, would you have to kill me?

HUMPHREYS: No, but I couldn’t answer.

SIDES: Fair enough. For your dissertation, you wrote on “cosmic rays and ultrahigh energy nucleon-nucleon interactions,” which I have no idea what you’re talking about, but it tells me you’re a pretty smart guy.

HUMPHREYS: I think the Lord has made me smarter as my career has progressed. I look back at the beginning of grad school before I accepted Christ, and the Lord has been straightening out my mind through study of his word and science.

SIDES: There’s this stereotype that creationists don’t make good scientists and that science and the Bible can’t go together. How has this come about?

HUMPHREYS: Mainly because evolutionists have the PR microphone and a hammer-lock on most of the media. Evolutionists want the public to believe certain things about creationists. The public doesn’t know any different. It is a myth. The people running academics and the media have been saying all this without proving it.

SIDES: Are you the exception or the rule as far as credible creation scientists go?

HUMPHREYS: I’m the rule. There are 10,000 creationist scientists in the United States who are openly creationist, and there’s 10-times that number of closet-creationists. There are thousands more open creationists in different countries. Creationism is an international movement now, and it’s been spreading over last few decades. We think we’re doing a good job. It’s an exciting time to be a creationist. I think we’re doing terrific science and certainly having a lot of fun.

SIDES: Why are there so many closet-creationists?

HUMPHREYS: In any science department, if you confess if you’re a creationist, you’re kicked out unless you have tenure. If you do have tenure you’re isolated and sidelined from everything. They don’t tolerate anything outside their paradigm.

I’ve talked to scientists who can’t look at evidence contradicting evolution anymore because it will get them into trouble with those in authority over them. For many of them, science is a game you play to gain advancement and fame by your peers – it’s not for the truth. The few who do search for the truth either have to be very well established so they can buck the trend or else the evolutionary establishment tries to marginalize them.

SIDES: One of your major pieces of work at ICR is the Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, or, RATE project, which found the earth to be only thousands of years old and not billions of years old. But I’ve talked to geology professors who think the RATE project’s science is just terrible. Do they say that because they disagree with you on an ideological level or is it because your science really is junk?

HUMPHREYS: A few years ago, Brent Dalrymple – an expert on potassium argon dating – during a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said, “If those guys on the RATE project are right, then they deserve Nobel prizes, but they’re not right because they’re creationists.” Our conclusion wasn’t what he liked so he thought something was wrong with it. It is a hugely ideological thing. The science that we did is first class.

SIDES: How would you encourage skeptics of creationism to come listen to you tonight?

HUMPHREYS: My talk tonight is loaded with facts – scientific facts they haven’t heard before. If they want their decisions based on facts they should get all the facts. Over 90 percent of the facts from the ways you can date the earth give you a date much less than billions of years. The majority of facts that they don’t know are in favor of a young earth.

SIDES: Dr. Humphreys, it’s been a pleasure. I look forward to your presentation tonight.

HUMPHREYS: This was fun, Trevor. Thank you.

Trevor Sides is a senior speech communication major. His column appears every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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