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.
Origins News Round-up for January 3, 2014
Today’s origins news roundup features an end-of-year look at some of 2013’s major science highlights, a brief glimpse at what to watch for in the new year, and a few great science and faith resources from the past few weeks.
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.
Why the Church Needs Multiple Theories of Original Sin
“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.”
Series: The Human Fossil Record (16 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While the specific “how” of our being made into the image of God will probably always remain a mystery, the Bible and creeds are clear on the “why” of our creation: we were made to worship the Lord, and be in relation with Him and each other.
How does original sin fit with evolutionary history?
Original sin often refers simply to the current state of humanity, in that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Evolution does not raise questions about our current state of sinfulness. It does, however, raise questions about how and when the first sin occurred, and how this fallen state was transmitted to all people. The sciences of evolution and archaeology can provide some insight into these questions but are not equipped to answer them. These questions are theological, and over the centuries the church has considered many possible answers. Some of these options are consistent with the scientific evidence currently available.
Dead Bones with a Living Message
In this video, Pääbo covers a lot of ground, noting several lines of genetic evidence for the evolution of modern humans from earlier hominids in Africa, as well as for the interbreeding between early humans and Neanderthals.
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.
Was Humanity Inevitable?
If the tape was rewound and evolution started over from scratch, Conway Morris says, the evolutionary details would be different, but the end result would be similar: a species characterized by intelligence and complex civilization.
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.
BioLogos and the June 2011 “Christianity Today” Editorial
The editorial, in other words, has shown that in their view mainstream evangelical Christianity and mainstream science can co-exist in harmony. There are still many details to be worked out and much conversation lies ahead, but there is reason for optimism.
What does it mean to be human? For the Christian, the answer is complex. In part, it is a reflection of being created in the image of God. But does the science of human evolution pose a threat to that uniqueness?
BioLogos and the June 2011 "Christianity Today" Cover Story
They all together cry out in unison with a loud voice—“Created!” However, they also, in a subtle, but persuasive whisper, add the all-important qualifying phrase—“…slowly and not in an instant!”