Distinctions: “Ancestry”

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June 2, 2011 Tags: Human Origins

Today's video features Loretta Cooper. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Today we post the final installment in our four-part "Distinctions" series. This video was directed by Loretta Cooper, President of Clarity Media Strategies and was scripted by Loretta Cooper and BioLogos Program Director, Kathryn Applegate.

Narrator: What does it mean to be human? For the Christian, the answer is complex. In part, it is a reflection of being created in the image of God with free will and common values. But does the science of human evolution pose a threat to that uniqueness?

Lee Strobel: But in the last 150 years, science has failed to substantiate Darwin’s claims of macro-evolution.

Mike Riddle: The Bible teaches that God created all creatures after their kind; there was not one common ancestor everything evolved from.

Ken Ham: You know, through this nation, whole generations of young people are being taught in the public schools that there is no God, life evolved by natural processes, and that very much determines their morality, how they view themselves, their purpose and, meaning in life, and so on.

Narrator: Not all Christians view evolutionary science as a threat to their faith, and not all scientists see human evolution as a strictly materialistic process. There are those in both communities who believe the explanation is much more complex, including Dr. Rick Potts. Dr. Potts is one of the world’s leading paleoanthropologists, and the curator of (anthropology at) Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.

Rick Potts: What we’ve found is that part of our message is that an aspect of being human has been the process of becoming human that scientists have been able to uncover, and that includes the amazingness, if you will, of the fact that human beings today are connected to all other living creatures. There is this vast kinship that all creatures share on earth, and that is a beautiful thing.

Narrator: But the idea of common ancestry is anything but beautiful to many conservative Christians. It’s a prospect that has caused consternation among American evangelicals dating back at least to the Scopes Trial in 1925. Others, however, insist that there is nothing in common ancestry that should alarm those who have observed nature and who study the character of creator God.

Denis Alexander: When we talk about common ancestry, we don’t mean we are descended from the apes, we mean that we shared a common ancestor with the apes about six million years ago, plus or minus a little bit. And so the apes have been evolving their own particular way and we have been evolving our way. But the fact that we are all linked up in this evolutionary, historical way, I think is a just wonderful drama, a theater. And to me, anyway, I find it a privilege that I should be connected up to all these wonderful creatures.

Greg Boyd: And on the one hand I want to fully acknowledge that we human beings are in a class by ourselves, and that we are radically unique in God’s plan because we are to have dominion and to be the stewards of the planet and things of that sort. So I want to totally affirm that. On the other hand, if you totally separate humans from the rest of the animal kingdom, then you miss the beautiful continuity that is there, and part of the fear, I think, for people in thinking that we in any way came from apes is that it undignifies us. Well, it doesn’t. On the other hand, if our dignity has to be all at their expense then we have all the dignity and they have none, if we are in competition with them, and then we exploit them. There is a dignity to human beings that animals don’t have, but on the other hand, there is a worth and a value there that we need to respect.

Narrator: Any honest dialogue about the origins of humanity must acknowledge that some scientists and some Christians will never find common ground on this issue. But for those willing to engage in the conversation with prayerful hearts and open minds, the dialogue can lead us to glimpses of our Creator that inspire awe and worship.

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.


Loretta Cooper established the Clarity Communications Group in which she uses her experience with network television news to help clients navigate the media world. She spent over a decade covering the White House, Capitol Hill and the Courts as a correspondent for ABC news. She has also worked with film makers and television producers to generate positive media coverage about their projects, teaching them how to tell their stories in a way that communicates effectively. She is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding broadcasting, including the prestigious Du Pont Award for her coverage of the events of September 11th 2001 and the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Feature Reporting.


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Papalinton - #62003

June 2nd 2011

Narrator: Any honest dialogue about the origins of humanity must acknowledge that some scientists and some Christians will never find common ground on this issue.”


The narrator says, ‘some scientists and some christians’;  This is a bit of weasel-wording isn’t it?  It is attempting to conflate scientists with christians as a way of boosting the numbers .  Who are the names of these scientists that are disputing the origins of humanity as other than through the Darwinian process of evolution?  Either that  or,  I suspect these two groups have been de-coupled to suggest a bigger group than it really is;  rather, ‘there are some christian scientists who dispute the Darwinian process of the origin of humanity.  And that is the reason some christian scientists will never find common ground with other scientists on this issue.

As for the rest of the narrator’s statement:  ”But for those willing to engage in the conversation with prayerful hearts and open minds, the dialogue can lead us to glimpses of our Creator that inspire awe and worship.”    This is undisguised sermonizing, a singularly unambiguous entreaty to proselytizing regardless of the evidentiary  nature of the findings to the contrary.   


Cal - #62008

June 3rd 2011

I’m unsure of your need to pick a bone with every comment.

First, this is addressed to Christians wrestling with the issues. This is not some blanket statement issued out. You need Christ to be a Christian, you can’t tell other people to be “christian” or (more appropriately phrased) “act christian”. This applies to the Sciences.

Second, the “some scientists and some Christians” comment is the two as a distinct cut off. Some scientists assume materialism or naturalism, this is a philosophy, the same as what derives from being in Christ. These are two different world views, a scientist who rejects the super-natural will not find commonground with one who has a worldview that accommodates; neither can be concluded by the physical sciences. On the otherhand, there are Christians who will not accept scientific findings. This usually has to do with the perceptive (particularly in America) that “science” is an atheistic cabal bent on making Man little more than a beast from the slime.

Third, you may dislike the vocabulary but this is not sermonizing. This message is directed at Christians, it’s a bolstering for those who wonder if science and faith are at odds. You take the argument that they are, this does not make it so. I have come to the opposite conclusion and not by some fancy or delusion (but it never seems that way in ones own mind ). And I also would like to see findings to the contrary that dispute a Creator. And don’t load on rubbish about how Jesus is a figment or a personal God is non-sense because the comment says none of that even. If you want to play word games, Creator is one which creates. The best atheistic conclusion posits the eternal ‘Multiverse’, which would still (since it is ever churning out universes) be a Creator of sorts. Therefore, even subscribing to a philosophical naturalism, there still is a “creator”!


cammoblammo - #62024

June 3rd 2011

I am probably misunderstanding your point, but I understood the comment to mean something along the lines of, ‘It will always be the case that there are Christians and Scientists who disagree on the matter of human origins.’ For the foreseeable future that seems to be rather obvious, I would have thought.


The ‘sermonising’ part of the comment is quite appropriate. This article was written for Christians who don’t understand or accept science, not scientists who don’t accept religion. In other words, people who are used to listening to sermons. This type of entreaty is a polite, Christian way of saying, ‘How about we keep an open mind about the sciencey stuff?’ Given the stridency of anti-science within the Church I can’t see how this is a problem.

By all means, disagree with Christianity and Christians. But I can’t see what use there is in complaining that Christians are suggesting that other Christians think about things a bit.

To put it a little more pointedly, if you’re not a believer, this isn’t really your conversation.

KevinR - #62035

June 3rd 2011

This article was written for Christians who don’t understand or accept science.
Herein lies the rub exactly. Those who believe in evolution are quick to equivocate by using the word science when they should be using the word EVOLUTION. Let’s get this clear: Please do not use the word science when you actually want to indicate that there are people who do not accept evolution. Evolution is not all of science, it’s simply a subset [if that at all] in which people want to unravel the origin of man[or biological life] via the atheistic assumption that there is no creator other than the physical natural world. It does not include things happening in the real, here and now, e.g. people testing new ways to stop HIV, or deriving new equations to improve band-width use in fibre-optics. These latter things are observable, repeatable and testable and have nothing whatsoever to do with evolution, the pseudo-science of determining where we came from.

So to say people don’t believe in science is to say that they are morons and idiots, uneducated ignoramuses who should go to school and get some learning. You might not say it in so many words but that is the implication that is so slyly introduced by the wording.  Evolutionists love doing that.



cammoblammo - #62039

June 3rd 2011

Fair call, I suppose. My brush strokes were a little broad.


That said, I don’t think ‘evolution’ is the term I’m looking for, with or without capitals. ‘Evolutionary theory’ is a much better term, don’t you think? Not only is it more accurate (for the same reason that gravity isn’t science, but the theory of gravity is) but it gives those who don’t accept it an apparently good reason to reject it. If it’s only a theory it can’t have much going for it, right?

Incidentally, I’d be interested to hear about research into HIV treatments that is being conducted by scientists who reject evolutionary theory. Sounds fascinating!

Cal - #62054

June 3rd 2011

cammoblammo:

It may seem obvious, but there may be a tendency (which is among some of EC/TE camp) to become frustrated with Christians who reject science and see it as a cabal. This is just restating a commonly understood perception, you can’t change peoples opinion by force of argument, let it go.


Papalinton - #62012

June 3rd 2011

Cal, you will note that I focussed my comments solely on the very last paragraph, the rounding-out conclusion if you will, of the piece.


The corpus of your response, then, is directed at little more than an imagined enemy.    I am happy to debate the content of this piece with you, regardless of my understanding your reliance on an invisible means of emotional and psychological support that shapes your worldview.

You know perfectly well that choice of particular flavor and color of theism is simply a matter personal idiosyncrasy or group peculiarity. 

Cal - #62055

June 3rd 2011

My whole response was regarding the last paragraph conclusion. The whole of my response was addressing the points you raised with the last paragraph. You seem to worry about some boogyman sneaking into the ‘pure’ community of science and spreading his vile teleological language.

And I don’t know perfectly well that I’m just picking a particular flavor of theism to suit my taste or my group. I rather thought that the standard of Christianity (God incarnate dying a humiliating death to take upon the sins of the world and wash us clean from death and destruction) was rather different than all other theisms that posit a God far and away thundering moral commands at me. Many may have it wrong, but being a Christian isn’t about moralisms or ethical conduct but rather it is about Life and it more abundantly. Perhaps you should engage the text with a Christ centered focus instead of taking the many strawmen that exist today of what Christianity truly isn’t.


Papalinton - #62069

June 3rd 2011

@ Cal

“And I don’t know perfectly well that I’m just picking a particular flavor of theism to suit my taste or my group.”

Then you seem not to have read widely all that science has discovered.  There is so much research that now informs us about the origins of belief, including religious belief, in the brain.  Indeed there are many instances, replicable and valid and verifiable, through which researchers can now generate religious feelings of transcendance, the sense of separation of mind/body, the palpable feeling of another ‘presence’ in the room; all these by magnetically or electrically stimulating various areas of the brain.  Although there is much work yet to be done, there is little mystery now that those feelings, experiences and emotional that were once ascribed to religion are all generated in the mind through brain activity.

“Perhaps you should engage the text with a Christ centered focus instead of taking the many strawmen that exist today of what Christianity truly isn’t.”

That is where the rub is, Cal, the ‘christ centred’ focus is itself, and by its very nature, the strawman argument.  How else can one explain the many thousands upon thousands of practiced religions that are equally so fervently followed as yours, that are equally claimed with as much surety as you as the ‘one true faith’?  Does any of this strike you as odd?
Don’t give me some bunkum about ‘what christianity truly isn’t’;  I was born, baptised, raised, Sunday school, confirmed and married in a church.  And if there is anything about life I have learned:  christianity truly isn’t.

Cal - #62077

June 4th 2011

Papalinton:

I agree with your first statement about “religious highs”, the same effects can be produced by exercise (‘runners high’) and drug use. Yet this is not what strikes me or convinces me of any Truth of God. In fact, I can not accept nor believe in a God who sits upon His throne thundering commands at me. This is a nice fiction many have used to cause others fear of being punished. I only accept a God because of Jesus of Nazareth, of what the Good News has to say. It says God Himself is not far, He suffered for us and with us and does so still. I have a peace, a deep completion of character, finding myself in the wings of the King.

You lay down the thousand of religions and yes this is true. Surely it is an absurd notion that there is only one true religion? Yet no religion can contain the Lion of Judah, the dynamic life of Jesus Christ. Christ came to bring nothing other than Himself, not a new morality or ethic. It’s all about the God-Man Jesus. And you say you’ve been born, baptized, raised, sunday school, confirmed and married in a church. You’ve found the shell, and examined it quite well, but it matters not if you miss the pearl. Christianity is Christ, nothing more and nothing less. You’ll probably deride this as lunacy, as many did who were present at Pentecost, as many did in the time of the apostles and many have done up to this present day and it will remain that way until He floods your life with Light. Until that day, I will keep your name in my heart and hope.


Papalinton - #62078

June 4th 2011

Cal

So what you are telling me is that, no matter the expanding sea of evidence, no matter the mountains of hard-earned research into the human condition, no matter that the other 6 of 7  billion people on this planet have not heard of, could not care less about jesus, you continue to compartmentalize to minimize cognitive dissonance and erect barriers in protection of the mythos.

I suspect the shell is the only thing that protects you from the your misfit in this life.  No pearl I’m afraid, just a frosted glass bauble from Palestine.

Yes, I do confess, I do deride supernatural superstition, and just as Harold Camping has once again, as throughout all of the two millennia of christian has demonstrated, as indeed jesus himself demonstrated, the lie of any return or eschatological event taking place.
And we already know about the possibility of a meteor or asteroid strike or the inevitable clash between the Milky Way and Andromeda in about 5 billion years.

Now that’s real biologos thought.

dcarollo - #62759

June 21st 2011

“Then you seem not to have read widely all that science has discovered. There is so much research that now informs us about the origins of belief, including religious belief, in the brain. “

@Papalinton:

You’re way over-interpreting what the scientific evidence actually says about brain activity and religious belief. Correlation does NOT equal causation (a lesson we should have learned from David Hume). 

It is not suprising that brain stimulation might generate “feelings” or “experience”—for the simple fact that we are hard-wired for belief. 

The fact that physical brain matter may underpin our experiences—does not mean those experiences are merely the causal outcome of them.

Taking your line of reasoning, one might as well say that after having discovered everything there is to know about the radio reciever—we have disproved (or made irrelevant) the existence of the BBC itself.

Look up “Alasdair Coles”, “William T. Newsome” on the Faraday Institute site.  Or interviews with “Stephen Chorover”, “William Grassie” on the Closer To Truth.  Or “George Ellis” and his paper “Physics and the Real World”.

The reductionist view is rapidly losing ground.

 


Papalinton - #62765

June 21st 2011

dcarallo,


You say,  “You’re way over-interpreting what the scientific evidence actually says about brain activity and religious belief.”

How will you as a religionist process your thoughts when science begins to fill in the pieces about why humans believe as they do?
about why we develop belief systems as a function of our genetically derived predisposition to ‘hyper-sociality’?

Below is another small piece of the puzzle that picks up the most recent research in neuro-physiology, adding to the corpus of evidence about why humans resort to building belief systems: 

http://www.statesman.com/life/faith/author-offers-evolutionary-explanation-for-religion-1546961.html#.Tfzilu6ZtbM;email

My questions: Are we, as a society, about to repeat the long drawn-out process as is characterized in the Galileo chain of events? Humanity is, at this very moment in time, replicating the Galileo Dilemma [as I call it] in its long-drawn out exercise around the acknowledgement and acceptance of Darwinian evolution by natural selection? We seem to be in the final moments of general acceptance of the science underpinning evolution. The consequence though, is that religion must always concede ground on claims it cannot substantiate and which is in direct contradiction to the science. The Evolution debate has now been with us for some 150 years, though Kitzmiller v Dover School and some of the shenanigans in State Education Departments informs us there is some ground yet to be covered.

The Galileo Dilemma is the definitive model that describes the classic disjunction between human cognition and behaviour. This separation of cognition and recognition on one side, with that of behaviour and acknowledgement on the other, are symptomatic of the general dysfunction between science and religion.  Innumerable examples have been exhibited through commenters on the BioLogos site of this discord between theism and science.

The next great discussion, and it with us today dcarallo,  is why religion is an expression of our sociality? Why do we believe as we do? Why it is we have this propensity to externalize the actualizing of [putatively] live entities within a supernatural setting through our capacity for psychological projection? The science is formidable and the article mentioned above highlights the current level of investigation in this area of research.

Will we once again, repeat again the experience of the long drawn-out Galileo Dilemma on this most important area of understanding the human condition?


Papalinton - #62766

June 21st 2011

dcarallo,


You say,  “You’re way over-interpreting what the scientific evidence actually says about brain activity and religious belief.”

How will you as a religionist process your thoughts when science begins to fill in the pieces about why humans believe as they do?
about why we develop belief systems as a function of our genetically derived predisposition to ‘hyper-sociality’?



Below is another small piece of the puzzle that picks up the most recent research in neuro-physiology, adding to the corpus of evidence about why humans resort to building belief systems:



http://www.statesman.com/life/faith/author-offers-evolutionary-explanation-for-religion-1546961.html#.Tfzilu6ZtbM;email



My questions: Are we, as a society, about to repeat the long drawn-out process as is characterized in the Galileo chain of events? Humanity is, at this very moment in time, replicating the Galileo Dilemma [as I call it] in its long-drawn out exercise around the acknowledgement and acceptance of Darwinian evolution by natural selection? We seem to be in the final moments of general acceptance of the science underpinning evolution. The consequence though, is that religion must always concede ground on claims it cannot substantiate and which is in direct contradiction to the science. The Evolution debate has now been with us for some 150 years, though Kitzmiller v Dover School and some of the shenanigans in State Education Departments informs us there is some ground yet to be covered.



The Galileo Dilemma is the definitive model that describes the classic disjunction between human cognition and behaviour. This separation of cognition and recognition on one side, with that of behaviour and acknowledgement on the other, are symptomatic of the general dysfunction between science and religion.  Innumerable examples have been exhibited through commenters on the BioLogos site of this discord between theism and science.



The next great discussion, and it is with us today dcarallo,  is why religion is an expression of our sociality?  Why do we believe as we do?   Why it is we have this propensity to externalize the actualizing of [putatively] live entities within a supernatural setting through our capacity for psychological projection? The science is formidable and the article mentioned above highlights the current level of investigation in this area of research.



Will we once again, repeat again the experience of the past of the long drawn-out Galileo Dilemma on this most important area of understanding the human condition?


dcarollo - #62782

June 21st 2011

Again - I think you have an over-confident view of what conclusions we can realistically draw from the underlying psychology of the brain.   And I guess my question back to you would be  whether we repeat the mistakes of Logical Positivism and reductionism—  which are just as much outmoded ways of thinking about science as natural philosophy was in the Middle Ages (and among today’s creationists).

 

Yes, I have heard of J. Anderson Thomson.  Is it interesting to note he is a psychiatrist (and an unabashedly ideological one), but not a neuroscientist.   Other than publishing  a few books and articles on the subject, exactly what active research is he doing that is proving to be such a revolutionary contribution to our understanding in this area?

 

He writes:

em>“Our second goal is to have this new knowledge incorporated into the debate about the role of religion in American society. ... James Madison said it well: “We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance.” The Founding Fathers envisioned a secular republic, with not just freedom of religion, but freedom from religion. We think religion’s hold on politics and the future is weakened when religion’s psychological foundations are exposed. It’s man-made, not heaven-sent. “

 

 

His bold proclamations and the end of the interview that religious belief will eventually “just wither away” in the wake of further scientific illumination is not a NEW claim, and it has been proven wrong time and time again.

 

In addition, Thomson doesn’t seem to be cognizant of the fact that attempts to “explain away” religious belief as a “bottom-up” psychological mechanism are vulnerable to their own self-contradiction.   If religious belief can be just explained away as psychological mechanism—than equally, so can ALL belief—including the belief in materialistic naturalism.  

span style=“mso-spacerun: yes;”>(See John Cleese video on this:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M-vnmejwXo&feature=player_detailpage#t=20s ) 

 

 

There are three other points that are important to consider.   And it seems that understanding these points are crucial to ongoing dialogue in this area.  The first one I’ve already mentioned…

 

strong>1. Methodological Naturalism does not entail Ultimate, Metaphysical Naturalism.  This is a classic category error that is consistently repeated by people like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and others.  Science can only proceed with the assumption that there are natural causes underlying all natural events, and it is indeed very successful at doing so—but it has nothing to say about the nature of ultimate reality—or ultimate causes.

 

strong>2. Correlation does not equal causation.  Although there may be physical brain states underlying all thought and belief, the physical brain states themselves do not determine or necessitate the outcome of thought and belief.  And it surely cannot tell us anything about whether an idea or belief is true or not.

 

strong>3. What is true of the parts, is not necessarily true of the whole.  And it’s corollary:  The emergent whole is greater than just the sum of it’s parts.  To fail to see this is to commit the reductionist fallacy. Consciousness is an example of this type of “emergence” that actually has top-down causal effects.  Again, George Ellis has written extensively on this. And in my view, has successfully undermined any confidence in an ultimate physical determinism and reductionism.  See “Physics and the Real World”:   http://www.metanexus.net/conference2005/pdf/ellis.pdf

 


Papalinton - #62786

June 21st 2011

George Ellis:  “He is the recipient of the 2004 Templeton Prize. “


Enough said.


dcarollo - #62789

June 21st 2011

“Enough said”.

Really, Papalinton?

That’s hardly a convincing rebuttal  —that’s just being dismissive.   Judge the paper on it’s own merits.


dcarollo - #62791

June 21st 2011

Does that mean I get to dismiss J. Anderson Thomson because he servers as a trustee for the Richard Dawkins Foundation?

We can commit the genetic fallacy together.

 


KevinR - #62038

June 3rd 2011

On the other hand, if you totally separate humans from the rest of the
animal kingdom, then you miss the beautiful continuity that is there,
and part of the fear, I think, for people in thinking that we in any way
came from apes is that it undignifies us.

I understand that Greg Boyd is hereby saying that if one doesn’t believe in evolution then one thereby separates human beings from the animals. This is patently false. God made us in His image, to rule and have dominion over the rest of His kingdom. As such we cannot in anyway be separated from those things we have dominion over. That wouldn’t make sense.

Our dignity does not derive from being a descendant of some mythical atheistic common ancestor. Our dignity comes from us bearing the image of God and belonging to Him.
We have been appointed to be royal priests, representing God on earth to that which is subject to our rule. Evolution wants to remove and destroy that dignity, making us just another set of animals - according to the atheistic way of thinking.


dcarollo - #62761

June 21st 2011

@Kevin:

Evolution doesn’t “want” to do anything. It’s just a mechanism. To think that a physical mechanism by itself can undermine the notion of the “image of God” is giving far more power to nature than it deserves credit for.

Yes—there is continuity, but also discontinuity between us and other animals.  Our “dignity”, “worth” or distinction is something that emerges as a relational/functional reality between God and us.   We are “set apart” by Him to be recipients of his grace and redemption because of who HE is (not because of what WE are, or where we came from, or how small we are in relationship the universe).

We are here (and are significant) as a function of his providence.

 


Papalinton - #62041

June 3rd 2011

@ KevinR

You say,  “Those who believe in evolution are quick to equivocate by using the word science when they should be using the word EVOLUTION.”

Hardly.  Evolution, that is, genetic development through  natural selection and random mutation, is the fundamental axiom of Biology. Indeed, the ‘central organizing concept in biology is that life changes and develops through evolution, and that all life-forms known have a common origin.’  Evolution is science through and through. 

These are the main branches of biology:
Aerobiology — the study of airborne organic particles
Agriculture — the study of producing crops from the land, with an emphasis on practical applications
Anatomy — the study of form and function, in plants, animals, and other organisms, or specifically in humans
Astrobiology — the study of evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe—also known as exobiology, exopaleontology, and bioastronomy
Biochemistry — the study of the chemical reactions required for life to exist and function, usually a focus on the cellular level
Bioengineering — the study of biology through the means of engineering with an emphasis on applied knowledge and especially related to biotechnology
Bioinformatics — the use of information technology for the study, collection, and storage of genomic and other biological data
Biomathematics or Mathematical Biology — the quantitative or mathematical study of biological processes, with an emphasis on modeling
Biomechanics — often considered a branch of medicine, the study of the mechanics of living beings, with an emphasis on applied use through prosthetics or orthotics
Biomedical research — the study of the human body in health and disease
Biophysics — the study of biological processes through physics, by applying the theories and methods traditionally used in the physical sciences
Biotechnology — a new and sometimes controversial branch of biology that studies the manipulation of living matter, including genetic modification and synthetic biology
Building biology — the study of the indoor living environment
Botany — the study of plants
Cell biology — the study of the cell as a complete unit, and the molecular and chemical interactions that occur within a living cell
Conservation Biology — the study of the preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife
Cryobiology — the study of the effects of lower than normally preferred temperatures on living beings.
Developmental biology — the study of the processes through which an organism forms, from zygote to full structure
Ecology — the study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with the non-living elements of their environment
Embryology — the study of the development of embryo (from fecundation to birth). See also topobiology.
Entomology — the study of insects
Environmental Biology — the study of the natural world, as a whole or in a particular area, especially as affected by human activity
Epidemiology — a major component of public health research, studying factors affecting the health of populations
Ethology — the study of animal behavior
Evolutionary Biology — the study of the origin and descent of species over time
Genetics — the study of genes and heredity
Herpetology — the study of reptiles and amphibians
Histology — the study of cells and tissues, a microscopic branch of anatomy
Ichthyology — the study of fish
Integrative biology — the study of whole organisms
Limnology — the study of inland waters
Mammalogy — the study of mammals
Marine Biology — the study of ocean ecosystems, plants, animals, and other living beings
Microbiology — the study of microscopic organisms (microorganisms) and their interactions with other living things
[cont]

 


dcarollo - #62783

June 21st 2011

This is a nice list, by the way.  It reminds me of how much I really don’t know!


Papalinton - #62042

June 3rd 2011

@ KevinR  [cont.]


Here is the rest of the list that evolution has a key role in, Kevin.

Molecular Biology — the study of biology and biological functions at the molecular level, some cross over with biochemistry
Mycology — the study of fungi
Neurobiology — the study of the nervous system, including anatomy, physiology and pathology
Oceanography — the study of the ocean, including ocean life, environment, geography, weather, and other aspects influencing the ocean
Oncology — the study of cancer processes, including virus or mutation oncogenesis, angiogenesis and tissues remoldings
Ornithology — the study of birds
Population biology — the study of groups of conspecific organisms, including
Population ecology — the study of how population dynamics and extinction
Population genetics — the study of changes in gene frequencies in populations of organisms
Paleontology — the study of fossils and sometimes geographic evidence of prehistoric life
Pathobiology or pathology — the study of diseases, and the causes, processes, nature, and development of disease
Parasitology — the study of parasites and parasitism
Pharmacology — the study and practical application of preparation, use, and effects of drugs and synthetic medicines
Physiology — the study of the functioning of living organisms and the organs and parts of living organisms
Phytopathology — the study of plant diseases (also called Plant Pathology)
Psychobiology — the study of the biological bases of psychology
Sociobiology — the study of the biological bases of sociology
Structural biology — a branch of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics concerned with the molecular structure of biological macromolecules
Virology — the study of viruses and some other virus-like agents
Zoology — the study of animals, including classification, physiology, development, and behavior (See also Entomology, Ethology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Mammalogy, and Ornithology)

There is not one aspect of the sciences of every living organism on this planet that does not involve ‘evolution’.

dcarollo - #62749

June 20th 2011

Looked at one way, the implications of “common ancestry” are really not much different than the implications of “embryology” (developing from single-cell to fully-formed adult).  Either way, we are products of secondary causes. 

(Indeed, the circumstances surrounding my own conception where quite accidential —I was not an “intended” child!). 

If Christians can understand God being ultimately sovereign over our personal history (even through the means of secondary causes and gradual development), then surely he can be ultimately soveriegn over our entire cosmologlical and biological history itself.

Although I’m not  a Calvinist (well—maybe a 3-point Calvinist at best), the emphasis on the doctrines of providence and election make a lot of sense in this context.  The O.T. talks of God “choosing” or “forming” Israel from a particulate group of people in ancient near-east culture (even while He remains universally accessible).  Similar, God “chooses/forms” a group of early humans to become central to his story of redemption.

God’s redemption of us is a “functional” and “relational” narrative.  It makes sense ultimately because of who God is—not because of who we are, or what we’re made of, or by what means we got here.

The vulnerability of our species is a cause for great humility—and it makes our reliance upon God even all the more significant.


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