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Howard J. Van Till Collection

Overview

Abstract

Biographical Note

Detailed Description

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Howard J. Van Till Collection, 1967-2008 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

By Ed Gerritsen, April 2010

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Collection Overview

Title: Howard J. Van Till Collection, 1967-2008

ID: COLL/505

Primary Creator: Van Till, Howard J. (1938-)

Extent: 1.0 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description

Abstract

Professor of physics at Calvin College. The collection includes critiques, book reviews, advertisements, articles, prepared statements, reactions, correspondence, a lecture, and an interview. It details the controversy regarding Van Till's book, The Fourth Day.

Biographical Note

Howard J. Van Till was born on 28 Nov 1938 in Modesto, California. Van Till attended Calvin College and graduated with a BS in 1960. He furthered his education at Michigan State University, where he earned his PhD in physics in 1965. As he was doing post-doctoral research at the University of California at Riverside he was also teaching at the University of Redlands. His area of focus was in solid-state physics.

In 1967 his alma mater, Calvin College, asked him to join the faculty of the physics department. Van Till accepted the position, and he would remain with the college for the next thirty years. He began his career at Calvin teaching Astronomy 110. Eventually Van Till switched his focus of solid-state physics to astrophysics. He even went on sabbatical leave for a year to the University of Texas-Austin and the McDonnell Observatory in 1974.

Besides being a gifted educator and lecturer, Van Till was also a talented writer. He has written a great number of publications in professional journals such as Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation as well as religious periodicals like the Banner. However, in 1986 Van Till faced controversy regarding his first book, The Fourth Day. Soon after the book was released some members of the Christian Reformed Church community strongly criticized Van Till's work and even questioned the validity of his faith. For four years Van Till was investigated by the college regarding his eligibility to teach. Despite the investigation, Van Till continued to work at Calvin College until his retirement in the late nineties. Standing by Van Till's side throughout the ups and down was his wife Betty and their four children-Steven, Roger, Nancy, and Mary Beth.

Van Till is one of the founding members of the International Society for Science and Religion. He has been a member of professional societies such as the American Astronomical Society and American Scientific Affiliation. Van Till continues to speak and write on issues of science and religion. More recently, Van Till has expressed his journey from Calvinism to free thought, and even gave a presentation to the Freethought Association of West Michigan in 2006.


Box and Folder Listing


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[Box 12],
[Box 13],
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[Box 15],
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[Box 18],
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Box 16
Folder 1: Overhead transparencies for lectures --- Jan. 1983
Folder 2: Overheard transparencies for “The Shrinking Sun Theory" --- Feb. 1987
Folder 3: Overhead transparencies for “If No Gaps, Then No God?” St. Joseph’s College, Edmonton, AB --- Oct. 1998
Folder 4: Overhead transparencies for lecture, “Why Choose Functional Integrity or Intelligent Design?” --- 2000
Folder 5: Overhead transparencies for lecture, “Scientific Creationism: Good Science or Folk Science?” --- 2000
Folder 6: Overhead transparencies for lecture, “A Creation That Works" --- 1999, 2001
Folder 7: Overhead transparencies for lecture, “The Universe,” University of New Brunswick --- 2000
Folder 8: Overhead transparencies for lecture, “Biblical Creation Narratives,” Oxford Seminar --- 2000
Folder 9: Overheard transparencies for lecture, “Cosmological Fine-Tuning,” Oxford Seminar --- 2000
Folder 10: Overheard transparencies for lecture, “Why Does Warfare Metaphor Continue to Plague Science?” Oxford Seminar --- 2000
Folder 11: Overhead transparencies for “Science and Theology in Fruitful Dialogue?” Christ Community Church --- Oct. 2000
Folder 12: Overhead transparencies for lecture, “The Universe: Accidental or Designed?” --- 2001
Folder 13: Overhead transparencies for lecture, “If the Creation is Equipped to Evolve, Is God a Deist?” --- 2001
Folder 14: Overhead transparencies for “Finders and Keepers–Can Religion Keep What Science Finds?” Templeton/ASA Lecture --- Apr. 2001

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[Box 11],
[Box 12],
[Box 13],
[Box 14],
[Box 15],
[Box 16],
[Box 17],
[Box 18],
[Box 19],
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