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Thoughts on Danuvius, that new Miocene ape fossil

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There's a new fossil paper in Nature that's grabbing some headlines, and frankly, it's an odd one.  I'm going to give a few semi-technical thoughts here, and I might write a more general post for Human Genesis some other time (or I might not. Always in motion is the future.).  This post is mostly my gut reaction after reading the paper.

In the paper, the authors B√∂hme et al. describe a group of fossils found in Bavaria, about an hour's drive west of Munich.  Paleomagnetic dating indicate a conventional date of about 11.6 million years ago, making this a Miocene deposit.  The fossils are similar to a group we already knew about: the dryopithecin apes.  What these new fossils do for us is give us a bit more information about the skeletons of these apes.  They call this new fossil ape Danuvius.

Based on the fragmentary remains, we make some really interesting observations about the anatomy of Danuvius.  These apes had strongly opposed big toes, which would allow them…

Fossil Focus: Hominins

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I've started making short videos explaining some of the fossil replicas and models in the Core Academy collection.  Here are the first batch: Kabwe, Nariokotome, and La Chapelle.  I'll probably shoot at least one more over Thanksgiving break.  Let me know if you have a favorite hominin fossil or topic you'd like me to talk about.  Don't look at me like that.  Everyone has a favorite hominin fossil.  (Radiometric dating of the fossils has already been requested.)





Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.

Have you read my book?  You should check that out too!

Forbidden fruit was just the beginning

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I had some thoughts over the weekend, and I wanted to get them down before I forgot.  I've been pondering the Fall and the forbidden fruit.  In Genesis 2-3, the forbidden fruit looms almost as large as the serpent, but I suspect it's mostly because of two things: The threat of death, and we know how the story ends.  I suspect that leads us (creationists?  other theologians?) to telescope in on the fruit and the consequences, as if that was all that was going on.  As I ponder this, I'm also thinking about some modern theistic evolution readings of the Fall, where the entire account is rendered a kind of fable for the common human experience of yielding to temptation.  After all, what kind of father curses the entire human race to death because someone ate the wrong piece of fruit?

And that's where I think it's tragically misguided, because by focusing solely on the fruit, we're ignoring the context of God's instructions.  God did not create the universe and…

Reflections on Leithart's A House for My Name

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The other day I asked on Facebook if people could recommend good books on the theology of creation.  I had been looking around on google and Amazon for "creation theology," and frankly I was a bit distraught at the absolute dominance of apologetics in that category.  On Amazon, I even found nonsense like God Delusion when searching for creation theology books.  Computers can be so helpful and so terrible all at once.

Anyway, my friends came through and recommended a rather large stack of books, and I decided to start with this Peter Leithart's A House for My Name.  I'd heard really good things about this book for several years, and I thought it was about time I checked it out.  Now that I've finished reading it, I'm ready to share my thoughts.  They are succinct:

YES.

In my line of work, it's pretty rare that I read a book that I mostly agree with.  It was kind of weird and refreshing.  I admit that were some points where I disagreed with Leithart's s…

Fossil Focus: Kabwe

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I'm trying a new video series.  Let me know what you think.



Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.

Have you read my book?  You should check that out too!

The fool's quest?

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I got a text message this morning that sent me down the rabbit hole of public commentary and reviews of my recent books The Quest: Exploring Creation's Hardest Problems and The Fool and the Heretic.  I don't really recommend reading a lot of reviews of your own work because inevitably you start doubting your basic ability to communicate ("Why would they think I meant that?!").  You also start squabbling with the reviewers in your head ("I'm not wrong, you are!"), and it can spiral pretty quickly.  On the other hand, I think it's highly instructive in ways that people don't intend.  Consider this not so much a rebuttal as a reflection on the state of communication in the creation/evolution debate.

The biggest thing I notice is that everyone frames their reception of my work in terms of their own experiences.  I guess that's obvious, but with a work as personal as The Quest, the reviews can meander off and become a review of me as a person.  …

Yes, I'm working on a new book

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And it's about human origins.

Usually, I like to keep my work to myself and surprise people with the finished product, but I'm working on something so big now that I can benefit from additional advice and even encouragement.  This book started out as a short work that was going to be like The Quest, where I mercilessly cut material out so that I could craft a good, light, compelling narrative.  I was hoping to pop out a nice quick book(let) on human origins that I could give to people wanting to understand what I research and why.  And I was hoping to finish in six weeks.

As I continued writing, I realized three important things.  First, my plan was too ambitious.  I was working very hard to write the creationist book about human origins that I always wanted to read.  I want the book to integrate science and theology, and I want it to address issues that are typically ignored by everyone.  I also want it to be beautiful, with great artwork and diagrams.  That's a lot to e…