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Evolution Basics: At the Frontiers of Evolution, Part 4: Contingency vs. Convergence

Given that both contingency and convergence seem to be significant factors in evolutionary history, it is only natural for scientists to wonder which force has the upper hand. Is evolution primarily contingent, with convergence playing only a minor role? Or is evolution largely a convergent phenomenon, where contingent factors have little overall influence?

 

Origins News Roundup for August 20, 2014

From science and religion blogs: quantum uncertainty and God, the remarkable fact that we have come to understand our place in the created order, and the role of theology in making wise choices about the use of technology.

 

No Place Like Home: An interview with ECF grantee Seung-Hwan Kim

Everyone is so worried about success and getting this or that honorable diploma—the people here are smart and understand many complex things perfectly—but it’s a long distance from the head to the heart.

 

John Ortberg Sermon: Does Science Disprove Faith?

All of you who do science, all of you who teach or research or you’re involved in engineering or medicine or education, or biology or chemistry or physics—you are doing a noble thing. You are thinking God’s thoughts after him. … You are obeying God’s command given way back in Genesis to exercise dominion, to learn about, to be curious and discover and steward the earth.

 

Praying the Psalms: Psalm 19

The Psalmist is saying that when we walk outside and look up, the heavens are telling us two things about God: they tell us about his glory, and they tell us about what his hands can do.

 

Series: Excerpts from “Evolving: Evangelicals Reflect on Evolution” (13 entries)

We need to hear stories from others who have wrestled with evolution and Christian faith. What arguments made them change their views on science? How did they hold fast to their relationship with God? The essays in this series will eventually comprise a book, provisionally titled, “Evolving: Evangelicals Reflect on Evolution.”

 

Stochastic Grace

I was raised in a household of atheists. My parents were card-carrying members of the American Communist Party, and therefore the atheism in my household was quite close to the militant anti-theism of the so-called “new atheists”.

 

Series: Understanding Randomness (5 entries)

In this series, Kathryn Applegate addresses the concern that randomness implies the absence of God's activity and involvement in the natural world. She begins by clearing up some common misconceptions about the concept of "randomness", and later focuses on the mechanisms of the immune system to demonstrate that God works through random processes to preserve life. Far from being an indication of a "godless" universe, one might conclude that randomness is one of God’s favorite mechanisms for creating and sustaining life!

 

Hydrology of the Bow River

There’s a word beneath the water, and the Bow River belongs to God. Have you been listening?

 

A Scientific Commentary on Genesis 7:11

Although committed to the principle of sola Scriptura, Calvin recognized that the Bible would have been written in terms its original recipients would have understood. Calvin inherited the medieval cosmology of his time, a way of viewing the world heavily influenced by Greek thought and one which was about to receive shocks from astronomers such as Copernicus and Galileo. But not just yet.

 

Off with Their Heads

The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. “Off with his head!” she said, without even looking round

 

Scientists Tell Their Stories: George Murphy

During his seminary education, Dr. Murphy also gained a deeper understanding of Luther’s theology of the cross, and he realized that it’s really the best way to approach the science and theology dialogue.

 

Series: It's an Old World After All (2 entries)

In our sixth BioLogos videocast, we take a look at the age of the Earth. We explain four methods scientists have used to determine that age: tree ring, lake varve, radiometric, and seafloor spread dating, and also offer some theological insight on how an old earth can fit with the first chapters of Genesis.

 

The Randomness Project

It is not uncommon to hear voices proclaiming that biology and physics have shown us that—at fundamental levels—nature is random, hence meaningless, purposeless, and without a creator. But how might God work providentially through indeterminate processes? The John Templeton Foundation has provided a generous grant of $1.69 million to support a new research initiative on the theme of Randomness and Divine providence.

 

A Pastor's Approach to Science

Since the sermon is the main component used to build the congregation’s collective approach to understanding how the church relates to the world, I want to take a few moments to lay out what has worked in my preaching and what has not when it comes to science, and more specifically, the subject of evolution.

 

David Lack: Evolutionary Biologist and Devout Christian

Charles Darwin’s personal struggles and ultimate rejection of Christianity are well documented, and people are eager to link his loss of faith to his evolutionary theory. David Lack, on the other hand, began his scientific career as an agnostic, but shortly after publishing his famous book on the evolution of "Darwin's finches", he converted to Christianity.

 

How Do We Know the Earth is Old? (Infographic)

The BioLogos Forum is pleased to present this infographic about the tools scientists use to determine the age of the Earth. The graphic, titled "How Do We Know the Earth is Old?", uses data compiled and summarized by geology professor Dr. Gregg Davidson.

 

The Questions Update: The Age of the Earth

We've recently been looking at the evidence for an old earth and the long history and vibrancy of this view among evangelical Christians. Today’s post features a preview of the updated Question, “How are the ages of the Earth and universe calculated?" revised by Senior Web Consultant and Writer Deborah Haarsma.

 

Randomness and Evolution: Is There Room for God? (Videocast)

This BioLogos videocast addresses the idea of randomness as a part of natural selection, and whether it challenges the possibility of God using the evolutionary process as a means of creation.

 

Series: Randomness and God’s Governance (5 entries)

In this three-part series from Pruim’s chapter in the book Delight in Creation: Scientists Share Their Work with the Church, mathematician Randall Pruim explains what scientists and mathematicians mean when they speak of something being “random”. He also addresses God's use of apparent randomness in creation as a part of his sovereign rule.

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