Origins News Roundup for August 20, 2014
From science and religion blogs: quantum uncertainty and God, the remarkable fact that we have come to understand our place in the created order, and the role of theology in making wise choices about the use of technology.
What Americans Think and Feel about Evolution
The new Gallup survey shows in broad strokes the challenge we face. But more nuanced surveys find that only 8% of Americans are convinced creationists whose beliefs are dear to them, and only 4% are convinced atheistic evolutionists whose beliefs are dear to them. The vast majority of Americans are not sure of their position and are open to a conversation.
I was raised in a household of atheists. My parents were card-carrying members of the American Communist Party, and therefore the atheism in my household was quite close to the militant anti-theism of the so-called “new atheists”.
Series: Understanding Randomness (5 entries)
In this series, Kathryn Applegate addresses the concern that randomness implies the absence of God's activity and involvement in the natural world. She begins by clearing up some common misconceptions about the concept of "randomness", and later focuses on the mechanisms of the immune system to demonstrate that God works through random processes to preserve life. Far from being an indication of a "godless" universe, one might conclude that randomness is one of God’s favorite mechanisms for creating and sustaining life!
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.
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.
Series: Randomness and God’s Governance (5 entries)
In this three-part series from Pruim’s chapter in the book Delight in Creation: Scientists Share Their Work with the Church, mathematician Randall Pruim explains what scientists and mathematicians mean when they speak of something being “random”. He also addresses God's use of apparent randomness in creation as a part of his sovereign rule.
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.
Evolution: Is God Just Playing Dice?
With his standard panache, the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould argued strenuously that evolution had no inherent directionality. We are mere accidents; a "tiny twig on an improbable branch of a contingent limb on a fortunate tree".
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.
Evolution, Myths and Reconciliation: A Review of "Why Evolution is True", Part 1
I want to lay out some of the key myths and indicate how Coyne’s discussion can help Christians get a more accurate understanding of evolution.
Series: Genetics, Theology, and Adam as a Historical Person (9 entries)
Denis Alexander begins this five part series by discussing both what a model is and whether it is appropriate to use one when building a bridge between scientific truths and theological truths. Providing evolutionary facts about the origins of humans as well as discussing the origin and meaning of Adam in Genesis, he constructs what he calls a Retelling model and a Homo divinus model. Both approaches, he concludes, “suggest that human evolution per se is irrelevant to the theological understanding of humankind made in the image of God.”
Made in the Image of God: Theological Implications of Human Genomics
The tenth anniversary of the human genome has been marked by some striking new genetic insights into human evolution and diversity. Do these new discoveries have any significance for the dialogue between science and religion?
Uncertainty is Uncomfortable
Scientists become fairly comfortable with a certain level of uncertainty within scientific data, notes Kathryn Applegate, but that is not the case for most people, especially where faith is concerned
Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple?
Is the human race descended from one ancestral pair in the recent past? Are we, as C.S. Lewis puts it in his Chronicles of Narnia, the “sons of Adam and daughters of Eve”?
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.