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Evolution: What We Know and What We Don't

This entry was originally posted on February 17, 2010. In this video conversation, Jeff Schloss makes the observation that when we use the term “evolution”, it is not always exactly clear what we are actually discussing unless we denote the intended usage.

 

God's Extravagant Love in Creation

Critics of Christianity look to evolution to show how the emergence of human life on earth demanded enormous ruin and ravage, billions of years of apparent waste and futility, species extermination and organism road kill. Not only was the massive dying off rampant, it’s mandatory too.

 

Series: Evolution Basics (40 entries)

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.

 

Evolution and Immunity: Same Story?

The evidence suggests that God has chosen to work through a random process, one which involves the routine creation and destruction of millions of cells that never get used. This is the ordinary means by which God maintains our health. The miracles of healing recorded in the Bible are miraculous precisely because they don’t occur by this normal, natural process.

 

Hydrology of the Bow River

There’s a word beneath the water, and the Bow River belongs to God. Have you been listening?

 

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 (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.

 

Surveying George Murphy's Theology of the Cross

If God himself is willing to die, particularly in such a gruesome way, then perhaps we should at least consider the possibility of God allowing the death of other creatures, too. But would this really be compatible with what we know of God through Scripture?

 

Series: “And God Saw That It Was Good”: Death and Pain in the Created Order (6 entries)

The tension generated by our understanding of God’s character, as revealed in the Bible, and by the reality of the natural world around us has been the focus of much debate within the Christian church since the first century. This series examines critically several of the proposed solutions to this problem, viewing them from the perspective of a geologist, paleontologist, and orthodox evangelical Christian.

 

Series: Behe, Lenski and the “Edge” of Evolution (5 entries)

In this series, we reexamine the claim made by Intelligent Design proponent Michael Behe to have found a limit to “Darwinian” evolution in light of recent results from the laboratory of Richard Lenski.

 

Biblical and Scientific Shortcomings of Flood Geology, Part 3

We find no compelling evidence that the earth’s geological features can be explained by a global Flood. Here we consider three lines of evidence: global salt deposits, the order of deposition of sediment layers in the Grand Canyon, and the sequence of fossils in geological strata.

 

Death and Rebirth: The Role of Extinction in Evolution

When they imagine evolution, many Christians picture novelty: new species arising over time, or speciation events. But as the most recent Southern Baptist Voices exchange makes clear, many Christians also focus on the role of death in evolution—something that can be a stumbling block.

 

Evolution, Creation, and The Sting of Death: Part 3

It is one thing to say that death is primordial; it is another to view it as the central means of creation. The theological uneasiness about this issue ultimately rests not just on an understanding of God’s creative activity, but also on a particular representation of evolution.

 

Becoming Human: New Insights from Genome-wide Functional Genomics

We live in exciting times for a geneticist: more and more genomes are being sequenced, and more and more novel genome-wide analyses are being performed to shed light on what all those newly-determined sequences mean.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Saturday Sermon: Over and Above Naturalism, Part 2

Barkley suggests that material creation is not the end of our understanding (as Naturalists think), but a beginning that unveils the majestic and power of a Creator who loves us.

 

Saturday Sermon: Over and Above Naturalism

Pastor Joseph Barkley of Ecclesia Church extols the greatness of the God who has brought forth incredible works and engaged humankind in relationship. In the first part of the sermon “Over and Above Naturalism,” Barkley admires the factual knowledge unlocked by science, and yet reminds the Church that those material descriptions fail to answer the question of ultimate significance.

 

A BioLogos Response to William Dembski, Part 2

I now respond directly to Dembski’s analysis of “Darwinism” and how BioLogos differs from the view he critiques.

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