Engineering students arrived at their weekly seminar Wednesday for a discussion void of calculus and physics.
The topics? Just the creation of the universe and origin theories.
Dominic Halsmer, engineering professor and director of the Center for Faith and Learning, led the seminar.
“We’re preparing our engineers but we’re also preparing them to be missionaries to scientists and engineers,” Halsmer said. “Those are the people they will be rubbing shoulders with wherever God’s going to lead them.”
The weekly seminars cover a broad range of topics. About once a semester, they address science and faith.
Halsmer explained six different origin theories. He attempted to present the information from a neutral standpoint but said that can be difficult.
Engineering student James “Bear” Britt said Halsmer succeeded in allowing students to make up their own minds about the theories.
“I think Dr. Halsmer did an excellent job as always,” Britt said. “He did a very good job at balancing his opinion and giving all the students an opportunity to make the decisions for themselves.”
The theories included the ideas that a creator did not have a hand in creation, God directs evolution and God created the earth 10,000 years ago.
“One thing that I find trivial is some of the differentiations,” sophomore mechanical engineering major Andres De Valle said. “I find that if He planned [the world] all out, He planned it all out. If He just made it in an instant, He made it in an instant. I’m not too concerned, either way.”
De Valle said the seminars cover subjects most people don’t talk about.
“A lot of people wonder if you’ve examined your faith,” De Valle said. “If you haven’t done it before, this [seminar] is a great introduction to what you should do. And if you have done it before, it’s affirmation of something you’re doing right.”
In addition to preparing students to defend their faith, this seminar related to the topic of engineering.
“In engineering, students are coming to see much [dialogue about] science and theology hinges on the question of design in nature,” Halsmer said. “Engineers can recognize design in nature.”
Engineering students don’t get credit hours for attending the seminars. However, Britt said they prepare him for the real world.
“This is something that needs to be brought up now so that when we go down the line we can most definitely be ready to answer,” Britt said. “If there’s one thing you have to know, it’s what you believe.”