By Carl Wieland
David Coppedge has degrees in science education and astrophysics. For many years he worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, which explores the Solar System via unmanned spacecraft. In 2011 David was fired from JPL for his open creation views.
After a harrowing court case and a battle with cancer, David has now largely recovered his health and energy, and is once again running Creation Safaris, which takes groups to view fossils, galaxies, animals, wildflowers, mountains, canyons and caves from a six-day creation perspective.
David readily acknowledges that his passionate commitment to creation has a lot to do with his "very dedicated, strong Christian parents".
His father, James, would often point out the wonders of creation on hiking trips and even got the equivalent of a Ph.D in biochemistry in order to refute the evolutionary ideas that were starting to be pushed in the science textbooks of the 1960s.
"Dad wanted to let many more people know of the devastating mathematical arguments that show it is totally impossible for chemicals to form themselves into even the simplest of living systems," David explains.
Thus was born James Coppedge's 1973 book Evolution: Possible or Impossible?, which included an example showing how it would take on average 10171 years for just one protein to form itself by random shuffling (even assuming that the building blocks were all there).
Then, to help readers understand just how long that really is, he asked them to imagine a tiny amoeba carrying one atom at a time from one edge of the universe to the other (30 billion light years away) and travelling at one inch each year.
In 10171 years, the amoeba would have transported 1064 entire universes (that is 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 universes) from one side of the universe to the other!
David says, "If evolution was considered improbable in 1973, it's obviously many millions of times more improbable now, with what we know about the inner workings of a cell."
in a word,
scienceHaving asked Jesus to be his Lord at five years old, David became convinced of the importance of creation as a teenager when he found himself having to stand up to the ridicule of his biology teacher. Far from dissuading him, it motivated him even more. Back then not many books on creation were available and David was involved with the modern creation movement from its earliest days.
He believes science is an expression of gratitude. "If a great artist handed you a masterpiece, would you just say "Thank you" and set it down? I hope not; that would not be thankful, it would be rude. To really honour the artist, and to really appreciate the work, you would look carefully at it, and study all its creative nuances. You would express specific admiration for the genius in the details. Thanksgiving for God's creation is, in a word, science."
How 'Creation Safaris' began
About 31 years ago, the singles group of the large church David attended announced activities which were all 'city things' like bowling, shows and concerts. He thought, "Hey, why are we being entertained just by the works of man—can't God put on a better show?"
So David got permission to 'add a hike' to the activity calendar. He organized the first one as a bicycle ride and fossil hunt. He says, "About six people came; we had a great time, digging seashells out of a cliff a very long way from the ocean."
Then he had a 'star party' where people could look at the heavens, and so began the ministry of his Creation Safaris.1 At one stage, he was running up to 18 of these each year, with the activity varying widely so as to have something for everyone.
"In spite of the great Flood, the earth is still a beautiful place," David writes on his website. "Just like a potter might smash his work because of flaws and make something else good out of it. God has made something beautiful out of the remains of judgment.
"Is the Grand Canyon a graveyard of catastrophe, or a photographer's paradise? Both! There is still ample evidence of the goodness of God, there and everywhere else on this amazing planet."3
A few years ago, David started to publish short comments about breaking science news on his creationsafaris.com website. He quickly developed a following because of his incisive and remarkably rapid responses to some of the claims made by evolutionists and the media.
Now his Creation Evolution Headlines is a separate internet site.2
In 2013, less than four months after major surgery to remove a rare and serious form of cancer, David was once again doing strenuous backpacking and diving into deep water holes. In 2015 he surpassed his goal of walking 1000 miles in 12 months and now, despite ongoing treatment, is enjoying good health and marvelling at the miraculous human body.
David's activity for the cause of the creation is prolific and wide-ranging. In addition to writing Creation Evolution Headlines and organizing the safaris, he writes regularly for various creation-related groups, and serves on the boards of three of them. He heads the non-profit organization his parents founded (Master Plan Association), has written a book about the world's greatest creation scientists, and gives creation presentations to schools and churches.
Asked how he finds the time, he says, "Well, I read, type, drive, and walk fast, I suppose. But ever since I was a teenager, I have loved God's creation. I love exploring it, photographing it, and studying it. The beauty and design in nature makes me passionate to share it with others, and to defend God's glory against the false ideas of man."•