The Top 20 Posts of 2014
BioLogos shares its top blog posts of 2014.
It is not our goal to simply post content that will be viewed by lots of people (if that were the case, we’d feature more cat videos). We aim to deliver scientifically and theologically sound reflections on issues of origins. These are not topics that consistently go viral across the web. But sometimes they do spark significant interest, and in these cases we are usually indebted to our faithful readers who start the “snowball” rolling down the social media hill. In the spirit of year-in-review articles and programs that are occasioned by the final page of the calendar, we offer this behind-the-scenes glimpse into our most viewed blog posts of the year.
- By a significant margin (more than double), the most viewed post on our blog this year was an interview with musician Michael Gungor on August 11. Gungor had been in the news for comments he had made about origins. Some concert promoters cancelled concerts because his views did not conform to their expectations. Our new content editor Brad Kramer thought our readers might enjoy hearing from Gungor directly and arranged for an interview. Brad was right! The interview was widely shared across social media platforms and drove more traffic to our site in a single day than we’ve ever seen.
- Of course, every time we post anything about Ken Ham we also see a spike in traffic, and there are several posts in our top 20 concerned with him. Our second most viewed post was President Deb Haarsma’s January 15 introduction to the Ham-Nye debate. The debate was still three weeks away, but the internet had been buzzing about it. We used this event to emphasize our approach to such polarized and forced choices between two positions: BioLogos presents another option.
- During the Ham-Nye debate, several of us were tweeting and preparing responses to many of the claims that were made. President Haarsma, Old Testament scholar John Walton, geneticist Dennis Venema, and I each wrote short responses to the debate, and our former web editor Emily Ruppel stayed up late stringing them together, and the result was our third most viewed post of the year on February 5th, “Ham on Nye: Our Take”.
- On November 19, we posted an article by seminary student Daniel Stork Banks: “Confessions of a Failed Young Earth Creationist”. He had sent us his story of overcoming his feeling that science was a gigantic conspiracy, hoping it would resonate with other readers. It did!
- Two more Ham posts weigh in at numbers five and six. Ham had written what we thought was an unfair attack on Hugh Ross, the president of Reasons to Believe. We have had positive interactions with Ross and Reasons to Believe, engaging in gracious dialogue despite our different views on evolution. So on October 13 President Haarsma defended Ross in an open letter titled, “Ken Ham, We Need a Better Conversation (Perhaps over Dinner?).”
- Another response to a Ken Ham attack on our friends was my March 26 post, “Ken Ham and Biblical Authority”. Two of our ECF grantees, Josh Hayashi and Diane Sweeney have made a series of videos set in their native Hawaii about the evidence for evolution, aimed at high school students. Ham gave his typical spielabout the dangers of compromising biblical authority, so I wrote this post defending them and explaining further our commitment to biblical authority. Part of the post also features a very gracious response from Hayashi and Sweeney.
- On July 21, we posted an interview our former Web Editor, Emily Ruppel, conducted with Mary Schweitzer:“Not So Dry Bones”. Schweitzer had discovered something interesting in a 68 million year old T. rex bone, which challenged prevailing theories about the preservation of soft tissue in fossils. Young Earth Creationists attempted to exploit this to argue for their position. Schweitzer, herself a Christian, shared about the scientific findings as well as the struggles of relating to the science skeptics within the church—including one memorable incident when she was visiting a church and the pastor spoke from the pulpit disdainfully about her discovery without knowing she was in the congregation!
- In July, Alister McGrath spoke at our conference in Oxford. We recorded that talk, and one of the first assignments we gave our new content editor, Brad Kramer, was to transcribe and edit it into a blog post. The result was the September 15 post, “Big Picture or Big Gaps? Why Natural Theology is Better than Intelligent Design”.
- Readers frequently tell us that they are confused about how to understand the genealogies in Genesis. On a “plain” reading of these, it looks as though we should be able to piece together a timeline going back to the moment of creation (a la Bishop Ussher). On January 16 I gave some background and context for the use of ages in such genealogies in the post “Long Life Spans in Genesis”. I suggested that there are good reasons to think that we’re not supposed to understand these as straightforward claims about the length of life of these figures.
- Rounding out the top 10 is our geneticist Dennis Venema, who writes a regular column for the blog on scientific issues. His new series will be considering the genetic evidence that must inform any position on the historicity of Adam and Eve. The introductory post was “Adam, Eve, and Human Population Genetics, Part 1: Scripture, science, and defining the issues” on November 13.
- On July 30th, Wheaton College biology professor Rodney Scott wrote “So Do You Believe in Evolution?”He gave his story about the evolution of his own responses to this question—one that is frequently posed to a Christian biology professor.
- In March I gave a talk at Goshen College about why I still believe in God in the face of what some take to be scientific objections. This was serialized for our blog, and “Belief in God in a World Explained by Science, part 1” appeared on July 14.
- February 4th was the day of the Ham – Nye debate. I gave some “pre-game analysis” in the post “Ham on Nye: What to Watch For”.
- Earlier this year, Bryan College was in the news for its position on origins. President Haarsma addressed the“Controversy at Bryan College” on March 6.
- In September, John Walton and President Haarsma participated in a panel discussion with a Young Earth Creationist. Walton reflected on an interesting exchange from that panel in “On Being Right or Wrong” on Sept. 29.
- This Spring, we conducted a series of interviews with contributors to the Zondervan book Four Views on the Historical Adam. President Haarsma wrote an introduction to this series on April 7, “Interpreting Adam: Introduction”.
- President Haarsma wrote another introduction to a blog series on August 25. This time the series was a collection of reviews of Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt and the post was titled, “Reviewing Darwin’s Doubt: Introduction”.
- Dennis Venema’s previous series, “Evolution Basics” concluded during 2014. One of those posts,“Evolution Basics: Becoming Human, part 1: Mitochondrial Eve and Y Chromosome Adam” cracked our top 20 and appeared on March 13.
- In March, the BioLogos staff took an afternoon off to watch the much discussed movie Noah. On April 2 (barely missing April Fool’s Day), I wrote a short post about our experience in “The Noah Movie”.
- Our final entry on the top 20 is by Ted Davis. As many of our readers know, Davis writes for us regularly on a variety of topics related to origins. On December 3rd he started a new series on a scholarly paper on original sin by philosopher Robin Collins. We’re glad to see that in less than one month, it has become of our 20 most popular posts of the year.
Thank you, our faithful readers, for a great 2014 on the blog. Without giving away any spoilers, I can safely say that 2015 will be an extremely exciting year for our blog, as well as the entire website. BioLogos is quickly becoming a nationally trusted voice in the origins debate, and next year you can expect lots of timely, high-quality engagement with the tough issues of science and faith. Stay tuned!
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