The Van Andel Creation Research Center – A Unique Creationist Resource
THE VAN ANDEL CREATION RESEARCH CENTER
A Unique Creationist Resource
John R. Meyer
CRSQ 36(2): 68-71
Almost since the beginning of the Society, it was recognized that we needed a research center for the pursuit of origins’ studies from a creationist perspective. Unencumbered by operation within a prejudicial, evolutionary-oriented government or state university, it had long been felt that an independent creationary research center, which was dedicated to quality field and laboratory research, could effectively challenge the evolutionary establishment through the pages of the Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ). Nearly twenty years ago the first steps in this direction were taken with the purchase of land in North Central Arizona. Over the years, this property was slowly developed as funds allowed. We were committed to “pay as you go” type financing, so development was slow. A little more than seven years ago, the Jay and Betty Van Andel Foundation provided the funds to buy additional property and to develop a facility, which carries their name. We now have a beautiful and functional Research Center which is providing a growing number of papers for the CRSQ.
The Van Andel Creation Research Center is located on five acres fronting U.S. Highway 89, five miles north of Chino Valley, Arizona. This well-situated property is in the desert grasslands of the upper Sonoran biological province and the geological transition zone of Northern Arizona. It is surrounded by a large number of interesting volcanic features and is located close to the heavily-mineralized areas of Mingus and Bradshaw Mountains. The Mogollon Rim, eight miles to the north, marks an abrupt change from the Colorado Plateau to the transition zone of North Central Arizona. The property is about a mile from the confluence of several major drainage areas and the headwaters of the Upper Verde River.
The main research building is a 3,000 square feet frame structure with a large porch, which provides protection from the Arizona sun (Figure 1). It is composed of two offices, a reception/library room, a biology/chemistry lab, an electronics lab (which houses the Stardust meteor observatory), two wet labs, a workshop for fabrication and repair of equipment, a visiting scientist’s quarters, and a small kitchenette.
Figure 1 – VACRC Main Research Building
The new research greenhouse is designed with two separate rooms, each with independent environmental control systems. It will be used for studies relating to intelligent design characteristics in plants and for projects evaluating the limits of the Genesis kinds in the modern plant world. This building is a 1,100 square feet structure with polycarbonate glazing (Figures 2 and 3).
Figure 2 – Greenhouse (Color Photo)
Figure 3 – Environmental Controls
The new Publications Building provides room for all aspects of our literature outreach (Figure 4). It currently stores all back issues of the CRSQ (about 40,000 copies) and all creation books and tapes that we handle. Last year we shipped materials to twenty different countries. Considerable expansion of CRS publications outreach is now possible. The building is divided into three separate rooms. One is for book and journal storage; one is a packing and shipping room; and one serves as a double-car garage/storage area for larger items.
Figure 4 – Publications Building (Color Photo)
In addition to the visiting scientist’s quarters, we have facilities available for two long-term recreational vehicle hookups for visiting scientists and workers. A new motel is being built in nearby Chino Valley and can provide for additional short-term housing as needed in the future.
Major research equipment at the Research Center includes a Hewlett Packard gas chromatograph, various light microscopes, a scanning electron microscope, microscope slide preparation equipment, a modestly-equipped electronics shop, a partially- equipped mechanical shop, an analytical balance, and a lab rock crusher. We also inventory various types of centrifuges, lab ovens, computers, and an astronomical telescope for educational purposes (Figure 5). Our research library includes more than 3,000 technical scientific works and 500 reprints, written both from the creationary and evolutionary presuppositions. We also have a fine collection of past creationist works of great historical and scientific value. A recent donation from a church mission group has provided seven additional shelving units which will be a great help in the library.
Figure 5 – Astronomical Telescope
Some of the current projects under development at the Van Andel Creation Research Center include the Stardust meteor observatory, currently collecting data on an average of 3,000 meteor falls per day (Figure 6). Our stalactite research project will undergo considerable redesigning this summer and should be fully operational by early fall (Figure 7). A number of plants are currently under cultivation in the greenhouse in studies relating to taxonomy, limits of the Genesis kinds in the modern world, and intelligent design characteristics in the plant world. Continuing studies on ring muhly grass and lichen growth rates are being conducted on undisturbed areas at the Research Center.
Figure 7. Stalactite research project (Color Photo)
Future projects will likely include the influence of carbon dioxide enhancement on plant growth, the genesis of thermoregulation in honey bees, fossils of the Coconino sandstone, biochemistry and taxonomy in pine trees and the genesis of multiple yearly tree rings of bristlecone pine trees.
The Van Andel Creation Research Center is strategically located in or near a very large variety of biological and geological areas of great importance to the creationist position. The Grand Canyon, just two hours to the north, is perhaps the most geologically interesting area in the U.S. A wide variety of biological habitats is relatively easy to access from the Research Center. Both high altitude montane communities and Sonoran Desert Saguaro cactus communities are within a two-hour drive.
A growing number of school and church groups are visiting the Research Center (Figure 8). While we are not a museum, we can provide an exciting look into the ongoing research projects which relate to scientific and Biblical creationary studies.
The Research Center now represents a creationist asset of great significance. With the Lord’s guidance, we have assembled an outstanding facility. While we are always short on equipment, our next major challenge will be to staff the Van Andel Creation Research Center with full-time scientists and technicians to face the challenge of evolutionary teaching in the next millennium (Figure 9).
For a more detailed description of the Research Center, available facilities and equipment, accessible field research sites, and potential projects please write, e-mail, or telephone us.
In funding the Van Andel Creation Research Center buildings, Mr. Van Andel said his goal was “to give creationists a fighting chance.” With his generosity and the partnership of hundreds of creationists from all walks of life, this is being done. As we face the future together, we invite the support of a growing number of creationists to partner with us in one of the greatest enterprises of the coming millennium—to challenge the theory of evolution at the technical level, to develop a positive creationist model of origins, and to use this as a basis for world outreach through creation evangelism.
Since this is a spiritual battle, we covet your prayers and personal encouragement. Since scientific research is expensive, we need your financial support through regular giving and through planned gifts, trusts, and wills. Since we are involved in technical research, we need the assistance of highly-trained scientists who are dedicated to the Creator and His work.
For those preparing for retirement, we remind you that the Prescott area is usually listed as one of the top retirement hot spots in the U.S. We can provide opportunities for significant, meaningful, volunteer technical work for those scientists and others with vital skills who may retire to this area.
We are extremely grateful to the Jay and Betty Van Andel Foundation for capital developments at the Research Center. Their continued support of the work has changed the course of creationist history. In addition, our many members and friends are providing increasing levels of support as we face the new millennium. Our sincere thanks goes to all of our friends and supporters for their key roles in the development of this superb Research Center. Not everyone can perform field and laboratory research and publication, but partnering together, we have made a significant impact on the evolutionary humanism that pollutes our culture.
Members and friends who are visiting Northern Arizona are invited to visit the Research Center. Our guests find the work we do to be an interesting part of their visit to this area. Those who have sacrificed to support our work will have opportunity to examine the results of their partnership with us.
Contact: Dr. Kevin Anderson
6801 N. Hwy 89
Chino Valley, AZ 86323-9186