Gullbrannagården; an overview

How on earth do you try to sum up one of the most enjoyable weeks you have spent in the company of some of the brightest minds God created?

Our welcome was impressive for its efficiency and friendliness; I don’t recall ANY conference where I was so quickly organized and given my room.

Great room ! Comfortable bed, own space and hot and cold running rabbits outside the window !

But that was just the background; what mattered at Gullbrannagården was the people who had come together from as far away as Israel, the USA , the Faeroes and Italy and even from the depths of the Finnish forests to teach each other how they could see the hand of God in their Creation and that of the world around us.

We quickly learned to move around from table to table at meal times and during “fika” which seemed to pop up like a happy puppy between almost every lecture and meal !

We learned of insects in amber; preserved for “millions of years” yet virtually identical to insects we find today …Thank you Harald ( “I’m not a professor”) Binder.

Guy Berthault told of the geological column and the assumptions made about deposition happening slowly and from above; we saw evidence for rapid deposition and strata forming through sorting by weight and grain sizes.(Bang goes my classic explanation for geological strata; “oldest at the bottom” !)

Werner Gitt explained that information cannot come from random processes so the evolutionist has a problem. We contain information .. so WE couldn’t have come from random processes; can we?

Lee Spetner continued the foray into the world of information with a devastatingly simple and elegant presentation showing that random mutations are NO explanation for evolution and that random mutations always lead to a LOSS of information. Mutations do NOT explain evolution. Period.

Paul Nelson chipped in with talks on Intelligent Design (ID) and demonstrated that ID is SO self-evident that many scientists are backing it as a concept but worried because it implies a Designer ( sic) .

They have a problem. As Werner Gitt demonstrated, information has to come from SOMEWHERE and Design is information. ID may well hold the key to a significant paradigm change in the scientific community in the fairly near future.

Stuart Burgess told us about Divine Engineering ( my term; not his!) and led us on a journey of discovery which included Naomi’s gymnastics and his own hobby of skateboarding.

Even to the untrained eye Design is evident in everything around us but when an engineer starts to show us the complexity behind things as apparently simple as the human hand …it becomes difficult to believe that intelligent people can deny the existence of a Designer who not only designed it but designed it to be beautiful and also provides the systems to make everything work.

David Rosevear’s talk on the history of the European Creationist Congress and his sessions each morning were a delightful revelation of the work the Lord has given him and others in explaining Creation to a bamboozled world. His gift for explanation to the layman is exceptional (and remember; outside our own fields of expertise; we’re ALL laymen!)

Matti Leisola spoke of his experiences in the Finnish translation of Siegfried Scherer’s Book “ Evolution ; a Critical Analysis” . Writing as an honorary Finn I can assure you that this book has put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons! I have used the Finnish version to teach in India and ... believe me: we are waiting with bated breath for the English version to hit the book-stands!

Matti went on to speak of his 30 years as a nonevolutionist and finished his series of talks with one about the origin of protein families. Yet more proof that “stuff doesn’t happen by chance” and that there is clear evidence that “mere chemistry” cannot explain what we find in enzymes. Information once again…and back to Werner Gitt and Lee Spetner; information cannot come from random activity. QED.

Sheena Tyler told us about an egg making a grasshopper or a kangaroo and left us with the distinct understanding that the more you know about embryonic development; the LESS likely evolution is as an explanation for the different kinds of plants and animals we have today. They are too different ; too early in their development to have common ancestors.

Andre Eggen told us about Whole Genome Sequencing and left us with a clear idea that more needs to be done but that it may be possible to prove ID this area as well. Random mutations LOSE information; genetics PROVE this.

Mihael Georgiev spoke on a call for a change in high school science textbooks in Italy and the proposal for EU textbooks.It would have been good if he had had the chance to speak for longer. Standardised EU textbooks are a key issue for the near future.

Mike Story spoke on Asking The Right Questions ( but as I am writing this review; modesty forbids any comment ! )

Two geologists spoke on their subjects; David Tyler spoke on “Understanding the Rock Record” (which I found a little confusing; apparently we have different ideas of what a rock record IS ! … I was thinking of “Rock Around The Clock” ) I was studying amber with Harald Binder at the time so I am looking forward to seeing the CD of David’s presentation.

Tom Zoutwelle spoke about ongoing research in Olduvai Gorge and his comments on the dating of the various tuffs were most helpful and constructive. How can we get your notes, Tom?

The main activity took place outside the lectures ( sorry lecturers, I WAS a lecturer too!) and was the chance to meet so many people and exchange ideas in a relaxed atmosphere where we could ask each other difficult questions and have time to thrash out the answers with people from different scientific and theological disciplines.

Mind you , we had a lot of fun too; most of us went on a fossil-hunting expedition on the Sunday and we found a complete series of oyster shells which PROVED EVOLUTION (!) We lined up the small ones on the left and the larger ones on the right, we conjured up a few millions of years for the smaller one to develop into the larger one and there you have it…ABSOLUTE PROOF for the theory of evolution !

Whilst some of the party went to a castle for a coffee and a chilly cave some of the hardier specimens amongst us got down on our hands and knees and scrabbled in the dirt for fossils. Most of us got dirty and some of us got some fossils and we all had a grand time. We also learned to shout “once upon a time” each time someone says “ millions of years ago”

Post-fossiling; most of the party got on the bus and went off in search of the coffe- castle whilst Stefan, Peter, Vesa and your humble (?) correspondent spent the afternoon sitting in traffic jams and going backwards and forwards on a yellow ferry.

First; we were looking for a key which was on the bus all the time; by the time we discovered this; we were already on the mainland and the ferry had left for Ivö …

We then had to go back to Ivö on the ferry to go to the fossil feature to collect the car which belonged to the key; after which we took ANOTHER ferry back to the mainland and repaired to Gullbrannagården. A great day ! “Ferry interesting”.

I must add some other thoughts. The first is that the worship and praise in the chapel was “something else”; Tremendous ! We owe a great debt of thanks to the musicians who learned new songs and hymns and led us so very well. Thank you!

To the catering staff who looked after us so well; thanks again! I have never eaten so much “fika” since I was in Sweden with Mats fossil-hunting in 1999. Yet both times I lost weight ( it must have something to do with the thermodynamics of walking backwards and forwards to go to “fika” !)

To the lecturers I didn’t hear, to the teachers, listeners, participators, to the shy and reserved, to those we have either forgotten or were so humble that they didn’t want to be noticed …thank you too!

Thank you Stefan, thank you Annette, thank you Mats, thank you IT team, thank you book-table people, thank you sound engineers, thank you everyone who had anything to do with making us all so welcome; so much at home and so much part of the family… What an achievement !

And finally, Thank You Jesus; for our Creation, our preservation and all the blessings of this life.

God bless !

Bro. Mike