Origins News Roundup for September 3, 2014
This week's news features volcanoes, skeletons, and stars, as well as a thought-provoking new book from InterVarsity press.
Reviewing “Darwin’s Doubt”: Ralph Stearley
While it is true that Goodwin and others believe that their discoveries pose a major challenge to neo-Darwinian orthodoxy, this does not cause them to abandon their belief that the history of life can be explained as the outcome of biological processes!
A Scientific Commentary on Genesis 7:11
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 (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.
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: Biblical and Scientific Shortcomings of Flood Geology (6 entries)
Gregg Davidson and Ken Wolgemuth seek to remove the stumbling block of the Genesis flood in this four part series. Though many believe in an ancient world-wide flood, the evidence given does not hold up to geological scrutiny, but points rather to something regional instead. It is their hope that Christians will not walk away from faith in Christ simply because a global flood is not supported by science. Looking at natural phenomena like the Grand Canyon, salt beds, and fossil deposits, they reveal reasons for these deposits and structures while showing that their origin did not stem from a violent flood that covered the planet.
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.
Beginning with the End in Mind
In today's video, Oxford physicist Ard Louis discusses the famous debate between renowned evolutionary biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Simon Conway Morris over the idea of evolutionary convergence.
Evidences for Evolution, Part 2b: The Whales’ Tale
If evolution is true, whales are related to the even-toed hoofed mammals, and there should be transitional fossil forms dating from about 45 to 50 million years ago.
Seeing the Flood Story Through an Ancient Israelite Lens
Pete Shaw highlights the story of Noah to explore how the story would have been understood in ancient times and from there he goes on to explore how we might consider it today.
New Limbs from Old Fins, Part 2: Comparative Anatomy
Critics of evolution sometimes portray the theory as an untestable historical conjecture, depicting it as fundamentally different from experimental science in the lab. But the hunt for the earliest tetrapods was an effort to test a hypothesis that had generated a prediction.
Series: The Cambrian "Explosion", Transitional Forms, and the Tree of Life (8 entries)
Many evolutionary critics have identified the Cambrian Explosion as a stumbling block to the theory of evolution, arguing that the “expected transitions between major invertebrate phyla are absent, and that the suddenness of their appearance in the fossil record demonstrates that evolutionary explanations are not viable.” Keith Miller argues that the Cambrian Explosion is not so problematic as these opponents claim after all.
Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Cain Caused the Flood
Cain was a “logical” candidate of sorts because his act was the only truly wicked act recorded in the chapters preceding the flood story. Cain’s murder of Abel, therefore, was understood not just an isolated wicked act, but a crucial factor in God’s decision to destroy the world in a deluge. One clear example is from the apocryphal book Wisdom of Solomon 10:3-4.
The Second Creation Story and "Atrahasis"
Atrahasis is important to biblical scholars because of it similarity to Genesis 2-9. Both stories share a similar storyline: creation, population growth and rebellion, flood. They also share some important details within that storyline.
Series: The Flood: Not Global, Barely Local, Mostly Theological (4 entries)
The three part series, written by Paul Seely, explores the scientific validity of the Flood in Genesis. He offers the approximate date of the flood according to Scripture, and then looks at various lines of evidence that contradict the idea of a global flood at that time. In light of other Mesopotamian flood stories, scholars conclude that the flood was local at best. In the end, he suggests that this story primarily reveals theological truths from a limited scientific understanding of natural events.
When we read Genesis 1.1: "in the beginning God created the heavens and earth" we picture the origin of the atmosphere, space, solar systems, and galaxies. But in Genesis 1 "earth" does not mean the planet Earth.
In The Bones
I am a fan of the blog "Jesus Creed." Recently it published an interesting post about the transition from fins to limbs as evidenced by fossils of an organism trapped in sediment 375 million years ago.