Origins News Round-up for January 17, 2014
Today’s Origins News Roundup features challenging and exciting new ideas about evolutionary theory, fossil finds that add to our understanding of how carnivores and humans developed, some interesting science history from England, and more on American views of evolution.
What Americans Think and Feel about Evolution
The new Gallup survey shows in broad strokes the challenge we face. But more nuanced surveys find that only 8% of Americans are convinced creationists whose beliefs are dear to them, and only 4% are convinced atheistic evolutionists whose beliefs are dear to them. The vast majority of Americans are not sure of their position and are open to a conversation.
Humanity as and in Creation
Christian theology asserts that humans are spiritual creatures, a unity of body and spirit or “soul,” integrated, not reducible downwards to mere matter or upwards to mere spirit.
Evolution and Christian Faith Grantees Announced
Congratulations to the 37 winners of the Evolution & Christian Faith (ECF) grants competition! ECF is a new BioLogos program designed to support projects and network-building among scholars, church leaders, and parachurch organizations.
Evolution, the Enlightenment, and Worldviews
In this video conversation, N.T. Wright discusses how the Enlightenment worldview -- which clearly separates God from the world -- has impacted our view of Scripture, and why cleaning the "spectacles" through which we view the world can help us see both Scripture and the world more clearly.
Can Science Ever Know Enough?
To say something is poetic is not to declare it ultimately untrue, futile and meaningless—it is to say it is more profound and meaningful and true than many other modes of expression.
Being Human (Infographic)
The BioLogos Forum is pleased to present this infographic about the current anthropological understanding of human evolution, which takes into account research into both physiological and cultural developments among our ancient ancestors.
Hominids Lived Millions of Years Ago, but How Can We Tell? (Videocast)
This BioLogos videocast addresses the age of recently discovered hominid fossils and how scientists are able to obtain those dates.
Are You There God? It's Us, Scientists (Infographic)
The BioLogos Forum is pleased to present this infographic about religious belief among scientists. The graphic uses data from the Pew Research Center, Rice University, and quotations from scientists assembled in a recent Huffington Post article.
What is Scientism?
Scientism is a rather strange word, but for reasons that we shall see, a useful one. Though this term has been coined rather recently, it is associated with many other “isms” with long and turbulent histories: materialism, naturalism, reductionism, empiricism, and positivism.
Jefferson’s Bible and the Tears of Christ
Predictably, "Jesus Wept" did not make it into the Jefferson Bible. John 11 was cut out entirely, falling onto the floor of his Monticello home and discarded, along with Martha's confession.
Series: What Scientists Do (7 entries)
Steve Benner, a Distinguished Fellow of The Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Fla., looks at what the role of a scientist should be. Benner looks specifically at "falsifiability", the acceptance of uncertainty, and the place of the scientist in public discourse.
Series: Understanding Evolution (4 entries)
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.
NPR’S Adam and Eve Story
All science can say is that there was never a time when only two people existed on the earth: it is silent on whether or not God began a special relationship with a historical couple at some point in the past. This subtle but extremely important point was missed entirely in the NPR story.
Series: Reviewing "Why Evolution is True" (6 entries)
In this three part series, Robert C. Bishop provides a helpful review for Evangelicals of the book Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. He first debunks many outdated ideas and myths about the theory of evolution and its implications. He then goes on to critique Coyne’s conclusions about God as a “bad designer.” He further addresses how Christianity and science overlap as well as how to have a meaningful discussion between two individuals with radically different views.
Series: Hutchinson on Atheism (7 entries)
Ian Hutchinson draws a sharp line between science and scientism. Scientism holds that all truth emerges from scientific study and explanation. Hutchinson, however, disagrees as he points to science’s inability to establish truth about, for example, the events that have occurred in humanity’s history on earth. He specifically engages Richard Dawkins assertions (from the book The God Delusion) that God is a scientific hypothesis that has been essentially disproved by science and that evolution explains religion as nothing more than a natural phenomenon.
Series: Addressing Christian Concerns about the Implications of BioLogos’ Science (8 entries)
In this series, Ard Louis addresses concerns that Christians may have about the BioLogos view that stem from specific misconceptions. Among these are misunderstandings about the nature of science, God’s action in the universe, and natural theology. In addition, there is unwarranted mistrust towards the academic world. Finally, he encourages the BioLogos team to carefully confront “the ways we in the church have all been shaped by the spirit of the age” and to patiently listen and speak about these issues.
Series: Genetics, Theology, and Adam as a Historical Person (9 entries)
Denis Alexander begins this five part series by discussing both what a model is and whether it is appropriate to use one when building a bridge between scientific truths and theological truths. Providing evolutionary facts about the origins of humans as well as discussing the origin and meaning of Adam in Genesis, he constructs what he calls a Retelling model and a Homo divinus model. Both approaches, he concludes, “suggest that human evolution per se is irrelevant to the theological understanding of humankind made in the image of God.”
Made in the Image of God: Theological Implications of Human Genomics
The tenth anniversary of the human genome has been marked by some striking new genetic insights into human evolution and diversity. Do these new discoveries have any significance for the dialogue between science and religion?