Origins News Round-up for December 6, 2013
This week’s Origins News Roundup features highlights from a recent conference of evangelical theologians, exciting human fossil finds, tell-tale lice, and a few words from the Pope.
“What did he think of the Greek notion of nature? Simply put, Boyle believed it was inappropriate—both theologically and scientifically—to speak of “Nature” doing anything at all.”
“It’s tempting to think that the church needs to decide quickly which of these [original sin] scenarios is right, and which ones must be wrong. I believe the church is better served by taking its time, holding several different scenarios in tension for a while as we think through the implications of each.”
“Where many scholars in previous generations simply assumed that Christianity and science have always been in conflict—and not just over evolution—recent scholarship has decisively debunked that view. The main message from today’s historians is complexity, not conflict.”
Written by BioLogos Fellow of Biology Dennis Venema, this series of posts is intended as a basic introduction to the science of evolution for non-specialists.
Today’s Origins News Round-up takes us from some cosmic data on the possible existence of life elsewhere in the universe, to some surprising theories about the origin of life, and some interesting general news and editorial items on science and religion.
In this series, Ryan Pettey offers several clips from his powerful documentary "From the Dust". This feature-length film is divided up into various sections, each of which wrestles with the difficult problems that arise when reconciling Scripture with the theory of evolution. A light of hope dawns on the science-faith conversation, however, as scientists and theologians engage in honest dialogue about tough issues such as the interpretation of Genesis, the nature of the Fall, and the idea of random design. Their profound insights are sure to enlighten all minds, raise deeper questions, and provoke new thought.
Where is human evolution going? Where has human evolution been? A roundup of stories from the past few weeks.
The idea that the story we know is only the very beginning raises a new question in place of Feynman’s objection that Christianity is provincial. Is it presumptuous to claim that in such a grand universe, possibly with intelligent life arising in many places, the redemption and transformation of the entire cosmos starts here, on our pale blue dot?
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.
Join astrobiologist Stephen Freeland for a look into the nature of information and the origins of life on earth. (These posts were originally published as a paper in the ASAs academic journal, PSCF, and are reprinted here with permission.)
The world is not full of items stamped “made by God”—the Creator is more subtle than that—but there are two locations where general hints of the divine presence might be expected to be seen most clearly. One is the vast cosmos itself, with its fifteen-billion-year history of evolving development following the big bang. The other is the “thinking reed” of humanity, so insignificant in physical scale but, as Pascal said, superior to all the stars because it alone knows them and itself.
What do today’s pastors think about science? What views do they hold on creation and evolution and how strongly do they hold them? How do origins issues impact their ministries? These were just a few of the questions that motivated us at BioLogos to commission a survey of pastors on origins
The Galápagos Islands were not a distinct “center of creation,” but a workshop for evolution in which an ancestral species made it to the yet uncolonized island and underwent a massive degree of speciation to adapt to the environment of the island. This is precisely what one would expect if the species of islands had arisen by evolution.
In our current culture, we’re defined by our jobs. It’s having a vocation. I wanted to shift away from that. I didn’t want to be a doctor first and foremost, or a scientist, but one who praises God.
BioLogos interim web editor Emily Ruppel recently traveled to Boston for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference, where she took an afternoon off from lecture-going to catch up with Doug Lauffenburger, head of the biological engineering department at MIT and a member of the American Scientific Affiliation.
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.
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.
People hold clearly discordant points of view, and it would be dishonest to ignore the conflict. Yet some voices emphasize the dissonance without any note of harmony to put it in context. Too often, science and faith becomes a hostile battle of worldviews, sounding angry, dissonant chords even among fellow Christians. But civil, gracious dialogue is possible.