i About the BioLogos Forum

The BioLogos Forum is designed to foster a serious and comprehensive discussion of Christian faith and the sciences. We believe that charitable engagement of different perspectives within the Church helps sharpen our thinking and deepen our commitment to the truth that is hidden in Christ. So while many of the articles and videos under the distinctive Forum banner come from BioLogos staff and Senior Fellows, we feature a range of voices, including those that disagree with us and with each other. Unless otherwise noted, views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here, and join the conversation in the comments section at the end of each post.

Venema, Dennis

Dennis Venema

Dennis Venema is professor of biology at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. He holds a B.Sc. (with Honors) from the University of British Columbia (1996), and received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in 2003. His research is focused on the genetics of pattern formation and signaling using the common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. Dennis is a gifted thinker and writer on matters of science and faith, but also an award-winning biology teacher—he won the 2008 College Biology Teaching Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers. He and his family enjoy numerous outdoor activities that the Canadian Pacific coast region has to offer. Dennis writes regularly for the BioLogos Forum about the biological evidence for evolution.

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Intelligent Design and Common Ancestry, Part 1

4 Part Series: Intelligent Design and Common Ancestry

Would those genuinely interested in learning about evolution benefit from a careful explanation of why these common objections don’t hold water? Here the answer seemed to me to be “yes.”
March 27, 2014 
Dennis Venema 
Creation & Origins, Genetics, History of Life 
 
Evolution Basics: A New Introductory Course on Evolutionary Biology

44 Part Series: Evolution Basics

Written by BioLogos Fellow of Biology Dennis Venema, this series of posts is intended as a basic introduction to the science of evolution for non-specialists.
February 07, 2013 
Dennis Venema 
Genetics, History of Life 
 
Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye

1 Part Series: Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye

January 15, 2014 
Dennis Venema, Deborah Haarsma 
Christian Unity, Science & Worldviews 
 
Behe, Lenski and the “Edge” of Evolution, Part 1: Just the FCTs, Please

5 Part Series: Behe, Lenski and the “Edge” of Evolution

In this series, we reexamine the claim made by Intelligent Design proponent Michael Behe to have found a limit to “Darwinian” evolution in light of recent results from the laboratory of Richard Lenski.
October 22, 2012 
Dennis Venema 
Genetics 
 
Decoding ENCODE

2 Part Series: Decoding ENCODE

The BioLogos Foundation explains to the findings of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project and responds to the claims that its discoveries challenge the theory of evolution, especially regarding so-called "junk DNA".
December 30, 2011 
Dennis Venema 
Genetics 
 
Understanding Evolution: The Evolutionary Origins of Irreducible Complexity, Part 1

6 Part Series: Understanding Evolution: the Evolutionary Origins of Irreducible Complexity

One of the challenges for discussing evolution within evangelical Christian circles is that there is widespread confusion about how evolution actually works. In this installment, we examine evidence that proteins in irreducibly complex (IC) systems can form and refine new interactions through gradual mechanisms.
April 19, 2012 
Dennis Venema 
Design 
 
Understanding Evolution: Theory, Prediction and Converging Lines of Evidence, Part 1

3 Part Series: Understanding Evolution: Theory, Prediction and Converging Lines of Evidence

One of the challenges for discussing evolution within evangelical Christian circles is that there is widespread confusion about how evolution actually works. In this installment we explore how evolution is a theory in the scientific sense, how it is supported by converging lines of evidence, and how it can make accurate predictions about the natural world, using whale evolution as an example.
March 08, 2012 
Dennis Venema 
History of Life 
 
Understanding Evolution: Is There “Junk” in Your Genome? Part 1

4 Part Series: Understanding Evolution: Is There “Junk” in Your Genome?

One of the challenges for discussing evolution within evangelical Christian circles is that there is widespread confusion about how evolution actually works. In this installment on “junk DNA”, we explore how genomics can be employed to test for non-functional sequences by comparing sequences between related organisms.
December 30, 2011 
Dennis Venema 
Genetics 
 
Understanding Evolution: An Introduction to Populations and Speciation

4 Part Series: Understanding Evolution

This blog series by Dennis Venema undertakes the task of clarifying numerous aspects of evolution that often become misconstrued by Christians. He first discusses the idea of speciation in a population over time, later applying it to the speciation process that occurred among hominids (human ancestors) which led to modern humans. He continues to support this idea by exploring so called “Mitochondrial Eve,”“Y Chromosome Adam” and other compositional clues of the human genome.
September 15, 2011 
Dennis Venema 
History of Life 
 
From Intelligent Design to BioLogos, Part 1: Early years

5 Part Series: From ID to BioLogos

In this series, Dennis Venema describes his personal journey that took him away from the Intelligent Design arguments toward the evolutionary creation worldview. Through careful and honest research, he discovered ID scientific reasoning to be analogy-based, in sharp contrast to evolutionary science, which was supported by concrete data. After accepting this view, God’s presence ever strengthened him as he explored the compatibility between the Bible and God’s creative mechanism.
July 20, 2011 
Dennis Venema 
Design, Lives of Faith 
 
Evolution and the Origin of Biological Information, Part 1: Intelligent Design

6 Part Series: Evolution and the Origin of Biological Information

Dennis Venema begins this series by summarizing a key Intelligent Design belief: that if we see specified information, we infer design because we are unaware of a mechanism that can bring about specified information in the absence of intelligence. In each subsequent part of the series, Venema shows why this argument is wrong. Venema presents evidence to show that natural mechanisms can, in fact, explain the origin of new information. He reminds his readers, however, that this does not in any manner exclude God from the process.
March 10, 2011 
Dennis Venema 
Design 
 
A Tale of Three Creationists, Part 1

3 Part Series: A Tale of Three Creationists

In this three part series, Dennis Venema introduces and highlights Todd Wodd—a biologist who validates evolution as a credible theory, yet rejects the theory itself on a Biblical basis. In other words, Wood is a Young Earth Creationist. Despite their different perspectives, however, both he and Venema offer similar scientific critiques of arguments made by Reasons To Believe (RTB) including their view that physical, anatomical and genetic similarities as well as shared pseudogenes do not imply common ancestry between two organisms. The careful evaluations made by both Venema and Wood demonstrate the scientific weaknesses in RTB’s theories.
January 07, 2011 
Dennis Venema 
Lives of Faith 
 
An Evangelical Geneticist’s Critique of Reasons to Believe’s Testable Creation Model, Pt. 1

2 Part Series: An Evangelical Geneticist’ Critique of Reasons to Believe’s Testable Creation Model

The critique put forth in this two part series by Denis Venema highlights several flaws in Reasons To Believe’s approach to human origins. He gives a brief history of primate comparative genomics. Then, he follows with the RTB’s responses to studies comparing chimpanzee and human genomes as well as to studies on pseudogenes, pointing out their misrepresentations of “established science.” He calls RTB and all Christians to cease packaging the gospel with poor arguments that create unnecessary barriers to faith.
November 06, 2010 
Dennis Venema 
Genetics 
 
Signature in the Pseudogenes, Part 1

2 Part Series: Signature in the Pseudogenes

This brief series explains the significance of pseudogenes. Darrel Falk and Dennis Venema demonstrate how the theory of common descent provides a fine framework in which to interpret the existence of these once-functional genes. They also discuss the relationship of various primates and other mammals based on shared pseudogenes. The evidence in support of evolutionary theory, they argue, is compelling when examining the rich history disclosed in the DNA of every organism.
May 10, 2010 
Dennis Venema, Darrel Falk 
Genetics 
 
Forbes Magazine Covers Evolution Basics

Forbes Magazine Covers Evolution Basics

“Evangelicals really needed an organization that would stand up and say, in a nutshell, I’m an evangelical, and I accept evolution,” he said.
January 10, 2014 
 
Featuring Dennis Venema
BioLogos 
1
 
What I Would Like To Hear A Young-Earth Creationist Say

What I Would Like To Hear A Young-Earth Creationist Say

It may come as a surprise that when asked by The Colossian Forum what one thing he would like to hear Young Earth Creationists say, his answer had nothing to do with scientific statements at all. Rather, his hope is to hear a single simple phrase: “We’re both part of the same family.”
October 20, 2012 
Dennis Venema 
Christian Unity 
27
 
Denisovans, Humans and the Chromosome 2 Fusion

Denisovans, Humans and the Chromosome 2 Fusion

The Denisovans, an extinct hominid group that interbred with modern humans, made the news again lately with the publication of a more detailed study of their genome. One of the many interesting findings was that the Denisovans share the same chromosome 2 fusion that modern humans have.
September 06, 2012 
Dennis Venema 
Genetics, Human Origins 
52
 
The Sorrows and Joys of Teaching Evolution at an Evangelical Christian University

The Sorrows and Joys of Teaching Evolution at an Evangelical Christian University

As a biology professor, I have the profound privilege of teaching the principles of evolutionary biology to a variety of students. As one might expect, teaching this subject matter at times engenders controversy, crises of faith, anger and fear in students (and others).
August 24, 2012 
Dennis Venema 
Education 
51
 
Death and Rebirth: The Role of Extinction in Evolution

Death and Rebirth: The Role of Extinction in Evolution

When they imagine evolution, many Christians picture novelty: new species arising over time, or speciation events. But as the most recent Southern Baptist Voices exchange makes clear, many Christians also focus on the role of death in evolution—something that can be a stumbling block.
August 14, 2012 
Dennis Venema 
History of Life 
16
 
Becoming Human: New Insights from Genome-wide Functional Genomics

Becoming Human: New Insights from Genome-wide Functional Genomics

We live in exciting times for a geneticist: more and more genomes are being sequenced, and more and more novel genome-wide analyses are being performed to shed light on what all those newly-determined sequences mean.
July 27, 2012 
Dennis Venema 
Genetics 
29
 
Science or sola Scriptura?

Science or sola Scriptura?

So, for Driscoll, the choice is a simple dichotomy: Scripture or science. Scripture is the highest court of authority in all matters, and the role of believing scientists is to affirm Scripture. To fail to do so is to “exchange the truths of Scripture for the truths of science”.
December 02, 2011 
Dennis Venema 
Biblical Authority 
10
 
Ask an Evolutionary Creationist: A Q&A with Dennis Venema

Ask an Evolutionary Creationist: A Q&A with Dennis Venema

Even if Darwin had never lived and no one else had come up with the idea of common ancestry, modern genomics would have forced us to that conclusion even if there was no other evidence available.
September 07, 2011 
Rachel Held Evans, Dennis Venema 
Education 
30
 
Evolving Beyond Apologetics: A Review of Rachel Held Evans’ “Evolving in Monkey Town”

Evolving Beyond Apologetics: A Review of Rachel Held Evans’ “Evolving in Monkey Town”

What sets Evolving in Monkey Town apart is that it takes the abstract ideas discussed in more scholarly works and incarnates them in a person. Where other books strive to reach an answer, we join with Rachel as she struggles to find a way to live in the questions.
June 25, 2010 
Dennis Venema 
Lives of Faith 
45
 
Signature in the Synteny

Signature in the Synteny

In some ways, comparing the DNA sequence between related organisms is like reading alternative history novels. The hypothesis of common ancestry between similar organisms makes a very straightforward prediction about their genomes...
April 19, 2010 
Dennis Venema, Darrel Falk 
Genetics 
42
 
Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple?

Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple?

Is the human race descended from one ancestral pair in the recent past? Are we, as C.S. Lewis puts it in his Chronicles of Narnia, the “sons of Adam and daughters of Eve”?
April 05, 2010 
Dennis Venema, Darrel Falk 
Human Origins 
195
 
From Intelligent Design to BioLogos

From Intelligent Design to BioLogos

In this paper, Venema tells the story of his transition from support of Intelligent Design to the view that God uses evolution as a creative mechanism.
July 01, 2011 
Dennis Venema 
Design 
 
Evolution and the Origin of Biological Information

Evolution and the Origin of Biological Information

In this paper, Venema explores several examples in biology where random mutation and natural selection have indeed led to substantial increases in biological information. The question of how new specified information arises in DNA, far from being an “enigma”, is one of great interest to biologists.
March 01, 2011 
Dennis Venema 
Design 
 
Seeking a Signature

Seeking a Signature

In this article, Venema offers his review of Stephen Meyer's book Signature in the Cell.
December 01, 2010 
Dennis Venema 
Design 
 
An Evangelical Geneticist’s Critique of Reasons to Believe’s Testable Creation Model

An Evangelical Geneticist’s Critique of Reasons to Believe’s Testable Creation Model

Biologist and BioLogos Senior Fellow Denis Venema examines the interaction between RTB literature and several lines of genetics-based evidence for common ancestry. In so doing, he also addresses the scientific robustness and reliability of the RTB model.
November 01, 2010 
Dennis Venema 
Creation & Origins 
 
Genesis and the Genome

Genesis and the Genome

This article provides an overview of genomics evidence for common ancestry and hominid population sizes, and briefly discusses the implications of these lines of evidence for scientific concordist approaches to the Genesis narratives.
September 01, 2010 
Dennis Venema 
Genetics