The first Missing Links of the year begins with a blog post from our friend RJS about actual missing links. She is doing a series of posts on the book Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist, and in this post (“Of Crockoducks and Kangaroaches”) she covers a chapter on intermediate species. There is a fair amount of misinformation out there concerning these among people who deny evolution, and this is a helpful antidote to that.
Our own series of animated videos (BioLogos Basics) is nearing completion. We’ve seen a couple other series in the same vein, though focused exclusively on the scientific evidence. Leading up to Christmas, PBS put out the 12 Days of Evolution, which is a series of 12 short videos on different aspects of evolution like “What is Evolution Anyway?”, “Can Evolution Make an Eye?” and “Have We Ever Seen a New Species Arise?”. As you can imagine in two minute videos, there is some over-simplification of the topics, but it is worth watching. Here is the whole series in one 18 minute minute video.
Another series of medium length videos (mostly about 5-9 minutes) about evolution and genetics comes from Stated Clearly, a group of artists, scientists, and educators. This appears to be an ongoing series with more to come. Their longer length allows for better coverage of topics. For example, their “What is the Evidence for Evolution?” gives multiple lines of evidence for the evolution of whales and dolphins, building a persuasive cumulative case.
There was a balanced piece about Galileo and the Church at the Christian Today website on January 8, the 374th anniversary of Galileo’s death. It was titled, “Science and Religion: What can we Learn from Galileo?” and concluded with:
“What the Galileo affair showed the Church – painfully and over quite a long time – was that if it tries to tell scientists their business it will end up looking ridiculous. There is a dialogue to be had between faith and science, and each can enrich and enlighten the other.”
This article in the New York Times reports on a study that could have serious implications for those who think irreducible complexity is an insurmountable objection to evolution. The researchers, led by Joseph W. Thornton from the University of Chicago, reverse engineered molecules that help in binding together different tissues. These are complex molecules, and the researchers found that in single-celled organisms, the molecule served a different purpose. But instead of the change taking a long series of mutations, the molecule “flipped” to its new purpose with a single mutation.
Finally, we hope you saw the Slate article about our very own Brad Kramer: “How an Evangelical Creationist Accepted Evolution.” Look for some additional coverage on this article coming soon that gives behind-the-scenes and making-of information (and maybe even out-takes!).