The annual McGaw lectures at Oklahoma Christian University challenge students’ beliefs on controversial topics such as evolution, racial issues and differences in religion. This year’s speaker, author Stephen Meyer, spoke on how science and Christianity can work together.
“It takes intelligence to generate information,” Meyer said. “We agree with Darwin about the method of historical science, we want to look at the best explanation. We ought to be open to whatever the best explanation of truth.”
According to Meyer, the knowledge of cause and effect leads individuals to conclude an origin of intelligence-created information.
“When we find information transmitted, we can always trace it back to the source,” Meyer said. “There, we always find a mind, like Bill Gates said, ‘Human DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than we’ve ever created.’”
Meyer is the director of the Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture. He wrote the New York Times best seller “Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design,” as well as “Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design.” Meyer also contributed to many peer-reviewed Darwinism essays and has appeared on ABC News, Fox News, Good Morning America and CNN.
Meyer’s topic, “Darwin’s Doubt,” started conversations throughout the student body. Senior Cora Russell said she was raised in a creationist household where speaking of evolution was unheard of. After taking collegiate level biology classes, she said she learned of evolution.
“My ideas have shifted,” Russell said. “I am more open to believing other things and still being a Christian. These ideas are bridging a compromise for me, where there are alterations but God is still there.”
Although sophomore Addison Schwamb said biology is out of her comfort zone, she said she felt amazed by how Meyer’s lecture relates to what she has studied as a computer science major.
According to freshman Brandon Putman, these lectures provide an avenue for students to expand their current beliefs.
“I have been curious about Darwinism since I was little,” Putman said. “Learning his side and thoughts have inspired me to go into depth and search for more answers.”
In addition to his lecture Tuesday night, Meyer met with the Oklahoma Christian Honors Program over lunch Oct. 9. During the lunch, Russell said Meyer suggested schools should teach science as they do history.
“I really thought the evolution we were learning and teaching was current,” Russell said. “[Meyer] said the theories we are working with are outdated since the 1970s. To teach, I will not rely just on my textbook, but I will do a lot of research and read peer-reviewed papers so I know the gaps in what I am teaching.”
The late Mary and Foster McGaw created the McGaw lecture series using an endowment fund through the National Education Program. Dr. John Harrison, professor of New Testament and ministry at Oklahoma Christian, is the director of the McGaw lectures.
“The hope behind the McGaw lectures is bringing people on campus who can engage with our students and campus, as well as the greater OKC vicinity, to allow our students and community to interact and learn from them,” Harrison said.
The McGaw lecture series board asked the College of Biblical Studies for topic ideas, to which they suggested addressing questions involving the relativity of truth. According to Harrison, each year the board chooses speakers who are academic scholars and will reach a wide audience and create a broad impact.
“There has been a conscious decision to bring people who are not affiliated in the Church of Christ to campus for insight and inspiration,” Harrison said. “When we had N.T. Wright here, it was the first time a non-Church of Christ lecturer had come to speak on a religious topic. Some felt this was different for us, but I think McGaw lectures can serve the OKC evangelical Christian community broadly in a way no other school is able to serve.”