Marcelo Gleiser has written a couple of posts for the NPR science blog “13.7” reflecting on a new book called The Big Questions in Science: The Quest to Solve the Great Unknowns. Of these big questions, several that are relevant to the scientific perspective on origins are listed among the top ten: What is the universe made of? How did life come about? Are we alone in the Universe? What makes us human? The second ten questions have less to do with origins but are still interesting reading for those who care about science. Jennifer Wiseman, astronomer and BioLogos board member, reminds us why Christians should care about science in her post on Big Questions Online.
Our own Dennis Venema has been describing some of the fossil record during the Cambrian Explosion in his recent blog posts. A piece from Science Now (the online news service of the journal Science) reports on the speed of evolutionary change during the period which gave rise to vast numbers of new species. We’re still finding new species today, too. A before-unrecognized carnivorous mammal species, the olinguito, turns out to have been living right under our noses. And here is a tiny cave-dwelling snail found almost 1000m below the surface. One of 23 new bird species described in scientific journals so far this year is a Filipino ground-dwelling “ventriloquist” bird that is very difficult to spot in the forest since its song always sounds like it is coming from far away. And if you’re vacationing in Tahiti, watch out for the more than 100 new species of predatory beetles that have recently been found!
Many of those reading this blog are concerned to work toward understanding the implications of the science of evolution for our theology. A few pieces to consider in this regard: Robert J. Russell has written a new scholarly article in Theology and Science called, “Recent Theological Interpretations of Evolution” in which he considers the question, “How should Christian theology take into serious consideration the scientific theory of biological evolution?” (subscription required) The answer to this question is explored with special attention to recent Roman Catholic scholars. Also, Elizabeth Svoboda has written an article for the Wall Street Journal called “Hard-Wired for Giving”, adapted from her book, What Makes a Hero? The Surprising Science of Selflessness, which finds that our brains are built for generosity. And finally, Bethany Sollereder considers in an article in Christian Century how God is constantly redeeming the lives of long-extinct species by luring creation toward ends that will lead to the greater glory of those past individuals.