Speakers

Plenary Speakers

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Mark Kalthoff

Science and Christianity: Are They at War? – There are those who think that science and Christianity have historically been in conflict. We will look at this “warfare” thesis, but also at various other potential models for conceptualizing the relationship between science and Christianity.

Dr. Mark Kalthoff is the Henry Salvatori Chair in History and Traditional Values Professor & Chairman, Department of History at Hillsdale College.  He holds a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science and won the Templeton Foundation Teaching Award for his courses on science and religion.  He coauthored the book Man and Creation: Perspectives on Science and Theology and contributed the introduction for Volume Ten: Creation and Evolution in the Early American Scientific Affiliation of the ten volume anthology Creationism in Twentieth-Century America.  

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Todd Wilken

A Curious Faith: Inquiry and Fascination as Christian Virtues – Christian faith does not close the mind; it opens the mind to God’s creation and the wonders He has made. The Christian mind gave birth to scientific inquiry. Knowledge of the Creator produces a thirst for knowledge of all He has made.

Rev. Todd Wilken is the host of the Lutheran talk radio show Issues, Etc. Pastor Wilken received his M.Div. from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, and he currently serves as assistant pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Millstadt, Illinois.

Sectional Speakers

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Brad Allles

Geological Evidence and the Flood

Mr. Brad Alles teaches Senior Religion at Milwaukee Lutheran High School and is an adjunct instructor at Concordia University Wisconsin. He has written books about comparative religion and apologetics and holds a master's degree in Christian education. Mr. Alles is known for his ability to break down Scripture for easy understanding and application, adding humor along the way. He is a frequent Bible study teacher and a featured speaker at state and national youth gatherings and pastor conferences. He is the recipient of the 2012 James Juergensen Master Educator Award and the 2007 South Wisconsin District (LCMS) Teacher of the Year Award.

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Nathan Jastram

Testing the Accuracy of the Bible – How accurate is the Bible when tested against other scientific evidence? Has the text of the Bible changed over the centuries? Are the historical details of the Bible, such as the numbers of the censuses, reliable? Which very specific prophecies are recorded as fulfilled in historical sources outside the Bible? Does archaeology affirm or deny that Joshua conquered Jericho?

Dr. Nathan Jastram is Professor of Theology at Concordia University Wisconsin and chairman of Concordia’s Department of Theology, where he teaches classes in Old Testament and supervises senior student researchers. Dr. Jastram holds graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Ancient Near Eastern Languages, and he is a member of a team of scholars who worked directly with the Dead Sea Scrolls, perhaps the most important set of Old Testament manuscripts ever discovered. Dr. Jastram is the editor of the forthcoming volume on Numbers in the Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition.

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Gary Locklair

Positive Creation Evidences: Providing Reasons for the Faith to the Honest Skeptic – Let’s discuss how to present the evidence of God’s creative activities in a positive and winsome way – not to win a debate, but to provide the honest skeptic with real food for thought. Anyone (even a non-scientist) can easily explain the evidences for creation in a convincing manner because creation is a more reasonable explanation for origins than evolution. Not only does God’s Word declare the fact of creation, but so does God’s world as revealed by science. We’ll investigate four evidences that support the creation model of origins, one from each major origin event: the creation of the universe, the creation of life, the creation of diverse life, and the creation of human beings.

Dr. Gary Locklair is professor and chair of computer science at Concordia University Wisconsin, where he has served since 1986. He has been actively involved in the science of origins (cosmogony) for over 25 years and teaches a science course at CUW on cosmogony. He serves on the board of directors for the Creation Research Society, the oldest international organization devoted to scientific research into the creation model. He is also a member of the Lutheran Science Institute.

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Angus Menuge

Naturalism: No Friend of Science – Naturalism holds that all of reality depends on the physical world.  Is Naturalism synonymous with the scientific attitude, as the New Atheists claim? In this presentation, Dr. Menuge gives three reasons to answer in the negative: (1) naturalism undermines our confidence in scientific reasoning; (2) naturalism cannot explain the existence of minds capable of reasoning; (3) Christian theism, by contrast, explains why we have the kind of minds capable of scientific discovery. Christian theism, not naturalism, is science’s best friend.

Dr. Angus Menuge is professor and chair of philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin and President of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.  His research interests include philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, apologetics and C. S. Lewis.  He earned his BA in philosophy from the University of Warwick, England, his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Diploma in Christian Apologetics from the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights, Strasbourg.  He is editor and author of several books, notably Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science.  He was also the principal drafter of the CTCR document, In Christ all Things Hold Together: The Intersection of Science and Christian Theology.

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Paul Strycker

The Mock Universe Approach to Dialogue about Origins – The stakes are high when debating fundamental realities. Disagreements about origins quickly excite a flurry of facts and interpretations from both sides. Ultimately, facts and interpretations must be addressed. But is there a way to lower the stakes – especially as the conversation begins – to promote openness to change? In this interactive session, we will practice dialoguing about origins using a low-stakes, mock universe. By temporarily removing contentions over the real universe, Christians and nonbelievers can productively address their different starting assumptions – the true root of many disagreements.

Dr. Paul Strycker is assistant professor of physics at Concordia University Wisconsin. He earned his B.S. in physics from the University of Notre Dame and his Ph.D. in astronomy from New Mexico State University. His research interests include image analysis, detecting extremely faint objects in the solar system, and characterizing cloud colors in giant planetary atmospheres. NASA currently funds his work with an undergraduate student to analyze videos of the LCROSS mission creating a crater on the moon. His interest in developing a low-stakes dialogue about origins began through working with physics and astronomy students as a lecturer at UW-Platteville, and he now explicitly discusses the Christian’s relationship with science with his students at Concordia University.

Michael Young

Thinking like a Scientist – Do you think like a scientist?  How does a scientist think about the world?  Understanding the perspective of a scientist is important when engaging people who adhere to some form of scientism.  In this session, we will find quite a bit of common ground between the approaches that theologians and scientists use to obtain knowledge about the world.  We will look for the role of faith in the scientific method and the role of science’s inductive methodology in the interpretation of scripture.

Dr. Young is associate professor and interim chair of life sciences at Concordia University Wisconsin.  He has a B.S. in biochemistry and zoology from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Washington University in St. Louis.  He has taught a variety of biology courses at CU-Irvine and CUW for twelve years, is a colloquized and rostered member of the LC-MS, and has recently coauthored the chapter “Methodological Cohesion in the Biological Sciences and Lutheran Theology” in a recent book by CPH entitled The Idea and Practice of a Christian University: A Lutheran Approach. Dr. Young involves undergraduates in research on the cytoskeleton and membrane domains in yeast and engages both science and non-science students with the intersection of Christianity and science in classes taught at a wide range of levels.

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Marcus Zill

Apologetics and Campus Ministry

Rev. Marcus Zill is the director of LCMS U, the official campus ministry initiative and network for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, where he devotes his time and energy to helping the church’s college students grow in their faith during one of the most crucial and formative periods of their lives. Pastor Zill received his MDiv from Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Before he began working for the LCMS, Pastor Zill served for nearly fifteen years as full-time campus pastor at the University of Wyoming.