BIO: Allan Harvey

Date: Sat Aug 10 2002 - 14:15:08 EDT

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    Name: Allan H. Harvey

    Age: 39 & 5/4 ;-)

    Family: Married Paula in 1999, no children so far

    Physical and Chemical Properties Division, National Institute of
    Standards and Technology (NIST, formerly the National Bureau of Standards,
    see, Boulder, Colorado. My specialty could be called
    "chemical thermodynamics" or "chemical physics", mostly developing
    theory and models for thermodynamic properties of important fluids and
    mixtures. Also represent the U.S. in the area of international standards
    for the thermodynamic properties of water ("steam tables" for those who
    encountered them in school) and maintain a NIST database on water properties.

    Educational Background:
       B.S. 1983 University of Missouri-Rolla in Chemical Engineering
       Ph.D. 1988 University of California-Berkeley in Chemical Engineering
       (Dissertation: "Molecular Thermodynamics of Mixtures Containing
    Electrolytes with Common Gases and Solvents")

    Vocational Background:
       1988-90: Postdoc, Thermophysics Division, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD (extending
    my engineering background by working mostly with physicists)
       1990-94: Senior Engineer, Thermophysical Methods and Data, Simulation
    Sciences Inc., Brea, CA (an engineering software company)
       1994-present: NIST-Boulder, see above

    hiking in the Rockies; reading; playing softball; following baseball

    Some books recently read:
    Stephen Carter: Civility
    Michael Collins: Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys
    Gerald Cootsona: Creation and Last Things: At the Intersection of Theology
    and Science
    John Haught: God After Darwin
    Jon Krakauer: Eiger Dreams
    Kenneth Miller: Finding Darwin's God
    Phillip Yancey: Reaching for the Invisible God

    Church/Faith Background:
    Became a Christian at age 16 through the youth ministry of the (Methodist)
    church my parents attended (seeking initiated when God reached me with the
    concept that there needed to be something personal if religion was to mean
    anything). Growth, then a few dry years as several Christians I was close to
    strayed into "spiritual left field" ("name it and claim it" theology, Ken
    Copeland, etc.) and others reacted to the insanity by drifting away from
    faith. By the grace of God, somehow I did not drift too far. Renewal during
    my years in Berkeley where I grew a lot at the First Presbyterian Church
    (also attended by Phil Johnson, though I don't think I ever met him) and was
    also involved in Intervarsity. While I'm not very picky about denominations,
    I've mostly ended up in Presbyterian churches (exceptions being a few months
    in an Ev-Free church and about 3 years in a church on the evangelical end of
    the Quaker tradition).

    Currently a member of First Presbyterian Church of Boulder (PCUSA). This
    church is pretty far toward the conservative end of that wide-ranging
    denomination, though I'm probably a bit left of center (certainly
    politically, maybe even doctrinally) within this particular congregation. I
    do some teaching there, particularly in a program called Network that teaches
    about spiritual gifts and seeks to have people learn how God has designed
    them so they can serve where they will be most effective and fulfilled. My
    wife teaches in an English as a Second Language ministry for women that is
    primiarily aimed at the wives of foreign students at the U. of Colorado.

    Faith/Science story:
    I have never struggled much with science/faith issues personally, at least
    not the ones that make the most noise. I suspect that is because my coming
    to faith and maturing was in environments where Biblical literalism was not
    endorsed or at least not made central. My pastor in Berkeley (Earl Palmer)
    emphasized the centrality of Christ above all else, and that rubbed off to my

    I got to know and admire the late Charles Hatfield in my undergraduate years,
    but I was unaware of his ASA involvement. I first heard of the ASA from
    Fritz Schaefer at Berkeley, but didn't get involved then. After I came to
    Boulder, I participated in the Science and Christianity e-mail list that
    Steve Schimmrich used to run. Through that, I learned of the ASA list, soon
    joining it and then the organization. I've gone to a few Rocky Mountain
    local section meetings but no national meetings; I hope to get to the 2003
    national meeting since it will be nearby. I signed off the ASA e-mail list a
    few months ago due to pressures on my time and exasparation with the
    signal-to-noise ratio, but I still lurk some via the Web archives.

    Having thought about science/faith issues these past 7 years or so, I have
    concluded that most of our troubles in this area spring from two basic
    1) Versions of Biblical literalism that insist on making the Bible be a
    science text. I think it is foolish and dishonoring to the Author of
    Scripture to ask the Bible questions it is not trying to answer.
    2) "God-of-the-Gaps" theology. I define this as the premise that "natural"
    explanations exclude God -- essentially a denial of God's sovereignty over
    nature by saying that only extra-natural acts "count" as God's work. This is
    the foundational assumption shared by atheists like Richard Dawkins and many
    "Intelligent Design" advocates like Phil Johnson. In this framework, every
    discovery of science counts as points against God. I think that, in its
    failure to allow God to work through nature (not to mention its elevation of
    a Jesus-free apologetic), the ID movement is taking the evangelical church in
    unhealthy directions.

    I have found a number of books particularly helpful on science/faith issues.
    At an introductory level, my favorites are Charles Hummel's "The Galileo
    Connection" and George Murphy's "Toward a Christian View of a Scientific
    World." More advanced books that have helped me include Howard Van Till's
    "The Fourth Day" and Richard Bube's "Putting it all Together," and also books
    by John Polkinghorne.

    I've gotten a couple of chances to speak on these issues with groups at my
    church, but I also try to pick my battles. These are not salvation issues
    (though sometimes it is a battle to establish that), and it is easy to get so
    caught up in these arguments that more important aspects of Christian faith
    get obscured.

    Under "Things I have written" you can find a number of essays and book
    reviews related to science/faith topics.

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