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Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh


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David
 Snoke
 received 
his 
undergraduate
 degree
 in physics from 
Cornell 
University in
January,
 1983. 
During
 and 
after 
college, 
he 
worked 
brief 
periods 
in
 the 
optics 
division 
of 
the
 Westinghouse
 Research
 and 
Development 
Lab
 in 
Pittsburgh
 with 
advisor 
Milt 
Gottlieb.
 He
 received
 his 
Ph.D.
 in condensed matter experimental 
physics
 from
 the 
University 
of 
Illinois
 at 
Urbana, 
Champaign,
 in 
1990, working with advisor J.P.
Wolfe
.

From
 1990 
to 
1992, 
he 
worked
 
with advisor 
Manuel 
Cardona 
at 
the 
Max 
Planck
 Institute 
for 
Solid 
State 
Physics 
in 
Stuttgart, 
Germany, 
first 
as 
an 
Alexander 
von 
Humboldt
 fellow
 and
 then 
as 
a
 staff 
scientist.
 In 
collaborations 
with
 Cardona,
 Karl 
Syassen,
 and
 Wolfgang 
Rühle,
 he
 worked 
on 
equilibration 
of 
electrons 
in 
semiconductors
 on 
ultrafast
 time
 scales,
 pressure
 effects 
in carbon “buckyballs,” 
and 
excitons 
at 
room 
temperature, 
bringing 
together
 
theoretical
 and
 experimental 
work.

After 
a 
brief 
time 
as 
a 
staff 
scientist 
in 
the
 applied 
optics 
lab 
at 
the 
Aerospace
 Corporation
 from 
1993‐1994, 
he 
became 
an 
Assistant 
Professor
 in 
1994 
in 
the 
Department 
of
Physics
 and
 Astronomy
 at 
the 
University 
of 
Pittsburgh,
 where
 he 
has 
been 
ever
 since, 
promoted
 to
 Associate 
Professor 
in 
2001
 and 
full 
Professor
 in 
2008. 
He 
was 
elected 
a 
Fellow
 of 
the
 American 
Physical 
Society 
(Division
 of 
Condensed
 Matter 
Physics) 
in 
2006, 
“for 
his 
pioneering
 work 
on 
the 
experimental 
and

 theoretical 
understanding
 of 
dynamical
 optical 
processes 
in 
semiconductor 
systems.”
 
His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Army Research Office. He has authored or coauthored over 150 scientific publications and five scientific books.

He is an elder in the Presbyterian church in America and licensed to preach by that denomination, and has frequently published articles on science and Christianity. In 2006 he published the book A Biblical Case for an Old Earth with Baker Books.

 


Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh

personal blog: Arts and Sciences

books on science and faith:

A Biblical Case for an Old Earth (Baker Books, 2006).

Natural Philosophy: A Survey of Physics and Western Thought (Access Research Network, 2003).

book reviews:

Alfred I. Tauber, Science and the Quest for Meaning. (Baylor University Press, 2009). Published in Journal of the History of Medicine 66, 418 (2011).

articles:

“Why Christians should not use the Kalaam argument”

Many Christian apologists use this argument for the existence of God. I argue that it is fallacious, and give a replacement argument that could be fleshed out to be much more productive.

“Thinking about the problem of evil”

Many people struggle with how God could allow evil, both evil in nature and evil moral beings. In this article I look at where we may say there is mystery, and where we may say the Bible and logic are clear.

“Suboptimality and complexity in evolution”

Published in Complexity journal. A numerical study of the balance of pressures created by allowing novelty, which in the short term cost energy, but in the long term can lead to new function.

“Systems biology as a research program for intelligent design”

Published in Bio-complexity journal. I argue that the dominant new paradigm in systems biology is explicitly a design paradigm.

“People Before Adam”

Several authors have addressed the dates of Adam and Eve recently. I lay out all the options I can think of for the dating of Adam and Eve, giving pros and cons for each, and my conclusion of the most viable scenario.

“Defining Undesign in a Designed Universe”

The argument from design, recast today in the Intelligent Design movement, relies critically on the contrast of designed things with undesigned things. This poses a problem for Christians, however, because they arm that God designed the whole universe. How then can we call anything undesigned? I argue that this problem is equivalent to the problem of free will, or the problem of moral evil, and as such can be addressed by the same philosophical frameworks developed in the past for addressing those issues, in particular the notions of different levels of description and Augustine’s different levels of giftedness. Published in the Journal of the ASA 60, 225 (June 2008).

“Why Did God Create Dangerous Animals?”

Nature is filled with many examples of violent and ferocious creatures. Many Christians cannot imagine that God would create such things in an unspoiled, “very good” world. To explain their existence, some Christians hold to a view that demons created such things, while other Christians hold to a view that all such things were created as a response to human sin. The latter view typically entails belief in a recent creation. I argue that violent and dangerous creatures are affirmed as good creations of God in the Bible, and discuss the biblical rationale for their creation. Published in the Journal of the ASA 56, 117 (June 2004).

“In Favor of God-of-the-Gaps Reasoning”

I argue that rejection of “God of the gaps” argumentation deviates from the mode of normal scientific discourse, it assumes a view of history which is incorrect, and it tacitly implies a naive optimism about the abilities of science. I encourage apologists to point out gaps of explanation in atheistic theories whereever they see them, and expect atheists to return the favor. Published in the Journal of the ASA 53, 152 (September 2001).

“The Apologetic Argument”

Where do we start when arguing for the existence of God? Is there a proper order of topics in the discussion? This paper draws together many of the varied threads of evidential apologetics into a single argument as a debate between an atheist and a Christian. I argue that our belief in God starts with the direct perception of his being, and that further evidences come into play primarily as responses to atheist attacks on the validity of that sense of God’s existence. This argument ends up in several issues of quantum mechanics and cosmology presently at the forefront of scientific research. Published in the Journal of the ASA 50, 108 (June 1998).

“The Problem of the Absolute in Evidential Apologetics” 

Great scientfic advances have taken place on the basis of the scientific method, while many have found faith and comfort via the evidential apologetic of scholars like Josh McDowell and Hugh Ross. Both the scientific method and evidentialism rest on inductive epistemology. Yet in modern philosophy departments both the scientific method and evidentialism are dead, because inductive epistemology is dead, and modern scholars who follow them are considered naive. Although induction has been defended in this century by scholars like Wittgenstein and Reichenbach, it is perceived to have failed because of the problem of the absolute; in other words, it seems to provide no basis for absolute certainty. I propose dropping the search for “absolute certainty” altogether, since it is meaningless, and argue, partly from modern language theory, that inductive epistemology is self-consistent and that only inductive epistemology provides the basis for science and universal ethics in the Christian context. Those who want a “mathematical” certainty in epistemology, following Descartes and Kant, have in fact opened the door to the widespread relativism in this century regarding both religion and scientific matters. Published in the Journal of the ASA 47, 3 (March 1995).

 “Toward a Unified View of Science and Theology”

Current Christian thinking on the philosophy of science and theology largely embraces a “two-worlds” view of science and theology, that scientic claims and theological/biblical claims cannot contradict each other because they address two completely different aspects of reality. I dispute this view, and argue that faith in God and the propositions of the Bible are of the same nature as faith in the order of the universe and the results of scientic experiments. Although keeping certain propositions in the religious sphere may protect them from attack, ultimately this kind of separation cuts Christians off from meaningful dialogue with the world. In keeping with this view of the unity of knowledge, I propose several areas in which theology and modern science intersect in their studies. Published in the Journal of the ASA 43, 166 (September 1991)