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Series: The Cambrian "Explosion", Transitional Forms, and the Tree of Life
Many evolutionary critics have identified the Cambrian Explosion as a stumbling block to the theory of evolution, arguing that the “expected transitions between major invertebrate phyla are absent, and that the suddenness of their appearance in the fossil record demonstrates that evolutionary explanations are not viable.” Keith Miller argues that the Cambrian Explosion is not so problematic as these opponents claim after all.
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Where are the Transitional Fossils?
A common argument leveled against the theory of evolution is that scientists have not been able to produce transitional fossils that show the change of one species into another. In this podcast, we address a common misconception about what transitional fossils actually are.
Series: The Human Fossil Record
In this series, James Kidder provides an intriguing study on transitional fossils and the evolutionary history of modern humans. He begins by discussing the fossil record, explaining how new forms are classified. He then explains the physically distinguishing trait of humankind—bipedalism. From the discovery of Ardipithecus, the earliest known hominin, to the australopithecines, the most prolific hominin, Kidder focuses on the discovery, the anatomy, and the interpretation of these ancestral remains.
In The Bones
I am a fan of the blog "Jesus Creed." Recently it published an interesting post about the transition from fins to limbs as evidenced by fossils of an organism trapped in sediment 375 million years ago.
How can evolution account for the complexity of life on earth today?
A complex biological structure with many interacting parts might appear, at first glance, as if it were originally created in its present form with all its interlocking components fully formed and intact. It doesn’t seem possible that they developed step by step via biological evolution. In Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe introduces a term that he and other proponents of Intelligent Design use for this concept: irreducible complexity.
The Fossil Record
There are two opposite errors which need to be countered about the fossil record: 1) that it is so incomplete as to be of no value in interpreting patterns and trends in the history of life, and 2) that it is so good that we should expect a relatively complete record of the details of evolutionary transitions within all or most lineages.
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.
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Oxygen and Co-Creation
In the mid-seventeenth century, John Mayow conducted a series of experiments in which he showed that burning candles in bell jars consumed one-fifth of the enclosed air before extinguishing. Remarkably, mice placed in bell jars did exactly the same thing...
Series: Decoding ENCODE
The BioLogos Foundation explains to the findings of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project and responds to the claims that its discoveries challenge the theory of evolution, especially regarding so-called "junk DNA".
Series: Asa Gray and Charles Darwin Discuss Evolution and Design
Many Christians believe that they face a painful choice-- either life was designed by God or it is an evolutionary product of natural selection. Charles Darwin himself believed in this dichotomy, and people ever since have felt the need to "choose sides". However, looking back at history, we find that one of Darwin's chief scientific colleagues, Asa Gray, did not share this perspective. In this three-part essay, part 1 charts the relationship of Asa Gray and Charles Darwin. Part 2 describes Darwin's struggle with the problem of natural evil and design in nature, and part 3 explores how Asa Gray was able to embrace evolution without rejecting the idea of design.
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.
Teaching Science in Tennessee
Last week, Tennessee legislators approved a bill on science education (the Teacher Protection Academic Freedom Act) that has stoked controversy around the country.
Series: Understanding Evolution: Theory, Prediction and Converging Lines of Evidence
One of the challenges for discussing evolution within evangelical Christian circles is that there is widespread confusion about how evolution actually works. In this installment we explore how evolution is a theory in the scientific sense, how it is supported by converging lines of evidence, and how it can make accurate predictions about the natural world, using whale evolution as an example.
Speciation and Macroevolution
A common challenge to evolutionary theory is that while life does indeed change over time (what is known as microevolution), no one has ever seen one species evolve into another species (macroevolution).
Series: What Scientists Do
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
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.
Series: New Limbs from Old Fins
Stephen Matheson presents common descent by evolution as the best explanation for the universal pattern found in tetrapod limbs. He discusses initially the evolution and development of limbs in specifically vertebrate tetrapods. He looks at the question of origins and further digs into amazing fossil discoveries. He then gives evidence of evolution from fish to tetrapods by discussing the similarities in the anatomy, development, and genetic systems associated with this amazingly common pattern in vertebrate appendages.
Series: From ID to BioLogos
In this series, Dennis Venema describes his personal journey that took him away from the Intelligent Design arguments toward the evolutionary creation worldview. Through careful and honest research, he discovered ID scientific reasoning to be analogy-based, in sharp contrast to evolutionary science, which was supported by concrete data. After accepting this view, God’s presence ever strengthened him as he explored the compatibility between the Bible and God’s creative mechanism.
The (Lack Of) Conflict Between Science and Religion in College Students
Media-hungry atheist, creationist and religious fundamentalist provocateurs have dominated the science and religion narrative for the past decade. A recently published large-scale survey of college students, however, finds that the call to arms has fallen on deaf ears.
Ard Louis on Intelligent Design
In this short video, physicist Ard Louis expresses some doubts about Intelligent Design, noting that his primary resistance to the movement is based on theological grounds rather than science.