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Origins News Round-Up for May 28, 2014

This weeks in Origins news: studies of a skeleton uncovered in 2007 provide clues about rapid human evolution in the Americas, our climate and Christian stewardship, a few BioLogos folks give interviews, and some cool links to miscellaneous finds.

 

Interview with Ronald Osborn

We must press beyond the various creation narratives in the Hebrew Bible, including the final chapters of Job, to the picture of God revealed in the New Testament—the Creator who does not rationally explain away the scandal of suffering but who instead enters into it.

 

Origins News Roundup for May 14, 2014

This week in our Origins News Roundup: News of new nucleobases, the future of synthetic biology, and some healthy dialogue and critique of certain aspects of modern science.

 

Origins News Roundup for May 2, 2014

Today’s Origins News Roundup features a tour of trending topics in neuroscience, from commentaries and questions made recently by popular media to developments in neuroengineering and the BRAIN initiative.

 

“The Language of God” Book Club – Chapters 1 & 2

Collins poses, as the central question of his book: “In this modern era of cosmology, evolution, and the human genome, is there still the possibility of a richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews?”

 

Human Moral Responsibility and the Sciences of the Mind

“I believe it is fair to conclude that the supposed threat posed to human free will and moral responsibility from the very much work-in-progress social and cognitive human sciences is quite overblown.”

 

Series: The Faith of a Great Scientist: Robert Boyle’s Religious Life, Attitudes, and Vocation (13 entries)

A deep love for scripture, coupled (ironically) with a lifelong struggle with religious doubt, led Robert Boyle to write several important books relating scientific and religious knowledge. We explore aspects of this fascinating interaction.

 

Belief in God in an Age of Science: John Polkinghorne, Part 4

It is precisely the recognition of the qualities of elegance, economy and naturalness which solves the problem of the under-determination of theory by experiment, so often pressed by philosophers of science, who sometimes speak of the process of discovery as if it were a dull routine of fitting curves to data points.

 

Evolution Basics: Darwin’s Early Observations on Biogeography

For Darwin, both of these observations (that oceanic islands lacked terrestrial mammals, and that endemic species on islands were most similar to a species on the closest mainland) had the same explanation: his hypothesis that endemic, oceanic species were the modified descendants of a colonizing species from the nearest continent.

 

Science and Scientism in Biology: The Origin of Morality

The problem is that as human beings, we know that goodness exists, so it must be accounted for, and if one is a staunch believer in scientism, it must be accounted for scientifically.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Does Evolution Compromise Human Morality?

Once we have a scientific hypothesis for how something exists, it is tempting to make the philosophical inference that this is also why it exists.

 

Series: Harmonizing Science, Ethics, and Praxis (4 entries)

In this three-part series, Cal DeWitt offers insights and examples of why science and ethics must work together to help us make informed, practical decisions within our society. DeWitt’s science-ethics-praxis model provides a framework by which we can live more effectively as God’s stewards.

 

Series: To Serve and Preserve—Genesis 2 and the Human Calling (3 entries)

In this series, David Buller pays careful attention to the original language and cultural context of Genesis 2, revealing that our responsibility to care for creation is a sacred task given to us by God, not merely a modern secular activity. By taking Scripture seriously, we learn that we have a God-given mandate to be diligent stewards of His creation.

 

Series: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes (5 entries)

In this talk, originally delivered at the BioLogos President's Circle meeting in October 2012, Dr. John Walton discusses the origin stories of Genesis 1-3, and why their focus on function and archetypes mean there is no Biblical narrative of material origins.

 

Series: Decoding ENCODE (8 entries)

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".

 

Denisovans, Humans and the Chromosome 2 Fusion

The Denisovans, an extinct hominid group that interbred with modern humans, made the news again lately with the publication of a more detailed study of their genome. One of the many interesting findings was that the Denisovans share the same chromosome 2 fusion that modern humans have.

 

David Lack and Darwin’s Finches

Considering the immense popularity of "Darwin's finches", it is quite surprising to learn that Charles Darwin himself had very little to say about them. In fact, it was actually David Lack, one century later, who conducted the critical research that immortalized the finches in biology textbooks and popular lore.

 

Series: The Human Fossil Record (19 entries)

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.

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