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What scientific evidence do we have about the first humans?

In recent decades, scientists have discovered more about the beginnings of humanity. The fossil record shows a gradual transition over 5 million years ago from chimpanzee-size creatures to hominids with larger brains who walked on two legs. Later hominids used fire and stone tools and had brains as large as modern humans. Fossils of homo sapiens in east Africa date back nearly 200,000 years. Humans developed hearths for fire, stone points for spears and arrows, and cave paintings by 30,000 years ago. By 10,000 years ago, humans had spread throughout the globe. Genetic studies support the same picture. Humans share more DNA with chimpanzees than with any other animal, suggesting that humans and chimps share a relatively recent common ancestor. Also, the same defective genes appear in both humans and chimps, at the same locations in the genome—an observation difficult to explain except by common ancestry. Genetics also tells us that the human population today descended from more than two people. Evolution happens not to individuals but to populations, and the amount of genetic diversity in the gene pool today suggests that the human population was never smaller than several thousand individuals. Yet all humans, of all races, are descended from this group. Humanity is one family.

 

Surprised by Meaning

McGrath's goal is to help readers see that science is neither anathema to faith, nor does it supersede faith. Both science and faith help with the overriding human desire to make sense of things. -Amazon

 

Does the Cambrian Explosion pose a challenge to evolution?

The “Cambrian Explosion” refers to the appearance in the fossil record of most major animal body plans about 543 million years ago. The new fossils appear in an interval of 20 million years or less. On evolutionary time scales, 20 million years is a rapid burst that appears to be inconsistent with the gradual pace of evolutionary change. However, rapid changes like this appear at other times in the fossil record, often following times of major extinction. The Cambrian Explosion does present a number of interesting and important research questions. It does not, however, challenge the fundamental correctness of the central thesis of evolution.

 

What does the fossil record show?

Fossils provide a unique view into the history of life by showing the forms and features of life in the past. Fossils tell us how species have changed across long periods of the Earth’s history. For instance, in 1998, scientists found a fossil showing an animal at the transition from sea creature to land creature. This tetrapod had a hand-like fin, confirming a prediction of evolutionary biology. Though the fossil record does not include every plant and animal that ever lived, it provides substantial evidence for the common descent of life via evolution. The fossil record is a remarkable gift for the study of nature.

 

A Fine-Tuned Universe

Alister McGrath examines the significance of current scientific understanding to natural theology.

 

Questions of Truth

John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Beale respond to key questions about the interaction of science and faith.

 

The Language of God

The Language of God combines Collins's faith and experiences as a genetics researcher with discussions of science and spirituality.

 

Quarks, Chaos and Christianity

Is science fact and religion just opinion? Is there the mind of a Creator behind the universe? Can a scientist pray? This book provides a clear, lively and frank set of answers to these fundamental issues. - Amazon

 

Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

Using the insights of modern physics, Barr reveals that modern scientific discoveries and religious faith are deeply consonant.

 

Belief in God in an Age of Science

A series of lectures given by Polkinghorne exploring the compatibility and interaction of faith and science.

 

The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science

Peter Harrison examines the role played by the Bible in the emergence of natural science. He shows how both the contents of the Bible, and more particularly the way it was interpreted, had a profound influence on conceptions of nature from the third century to the seventeenth. -Amazon

 

The Faith of a Physicist

Polkinghorne examines the Nicene Creed and presents the evidence for why it is true and relevant today.

12 resources found