Showing posts from November, 2016

FREE booklet!

In honor of Giving Tuesday tomorrow, Core Academy is giving away a special booklet consisting of two chapters from my Introduction to Science textbook to every donor this week.  Check out the Core Academy website for more details, or just click that Donate button below!

Thanks for your support of Core Academy!

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.

Back to Basics

Happy Monday morning, everyone, and to my American readers: Happy Thanksgiving week.  I've been spending a lot of time lately pondering the future of Core Academy of Science.  It's been three years since we launched, and things are coming along.  Personally, my wife and I are moving past the crisis stage of trying to survive.  The Lord faithfully provides our needs, and I'm immensely grateful for that.  I'm also thankful for each and every donor who has provided funding to keep Core Academy going.  Your generosity has been inspirational to me.

I'm still wondering about Core Academy, though.  After all, I could conceivably get a faculty job teaching at a Christian school and run Core Academy as a little side hobby.  Lots of people run small nonprofits in their spare time rather trying to turn a tiny nonprofit into a real job (which is really hard).  I don't think we need yet another AIG or ICR, and I know we don't need another tiny ministry focused on a sin…

Ebola surprises again

New research published this week reveals the surprising discovery that the ebola virus doesn't always make people sick.  I've had a keen interest in ebola for a long time, after hearing a lecture in the 1990s from a CDC researcher who worked on the Reston outbreak (his name long forgotten).  As the story goes, in 1989, macaques imported from the Philippines exhibited the nasty symptoms of hemorrhagic fever, namely diarrhea, high fever, and bleeding.  US Army researchers studying the dead monkeys discovered that the monkeys tested positive for ebola virus.  Up to that point, ebola was known only from Africa, and it was well-known to be a potent and terrible killer.  During the documented ebola outbreaks up to that point, hundreds of people had died.  This was the first ebola virus (now called Reston virus) known to come from Asia, and most surprisingly, humans seemed to not show the symptoms it caused in the monkeys.  Several individuals who had worked with the sick monkeys te…

Fear giving in action

Yesterday I mentioned the power of fear, and the same day, The Atlantic posted the article The Post-Election Surge in Donations illustrating the very point I was trying to make.  They report that the ACLU received $7 million in donations in just five days.  The Sierra Club quadrupled its monthly donation record, and Planned Parenthood got 80,000 donations.  People fear what president-elect Trump is going to do, and rioting is not the only way they respond.

I'm not sure what to say.  I wish people were this generous out of courage rather than fear.

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.

About that election

So I guess we had an election last week, and some people are not very happy about it, including a lot of people who voted for the president-elect.  This blog has never been about politics, and I'm not going to change that now.  I will admit that I voted third party, but that's all I want to say about the candidates or the election.  I don't need any more enemies, and I'd much rather make a few comments about the fallout.

It's been very strange to see how destructive this election has turned out to be.  I've seen bitter arguments break out between former friends.  I've heard decent arguments for and against both major candidates.  I've had agonizing conversations with friends far and near about what to do and how to vote.  Since the election we've seen the anger in our country boiling over to protests and sporadic violence.  I wish I had some answers or encouragement, but I only have one thought I wanted to share.

In the course of my career as a cre…

No, Homo naledi did not just fall into the Dinaledi chamber

Capping off a weird week, there's a genuinely confusing post on the Uncommon Descent blog: Todd Wood: The latest is, homo Naledi just fell into the Dinaledi chamber

I don't like to nitpick much any more, but their post is exceptionally misleading. The "latest" is not that Homo naledi just fell into the Dinaledi chamber.  I never said that, so let me elaborate.  Thackeray's paper made a poor argument built on a string of speculations and what-ifs.  Since the stains on the bones look kind of like the stains associated with lichens, and since lichens might cause the stains associated with them, then the stains on the bones might have been caused by lichens.  If the stains on the bones were made by lichens, then they might have been resting on the surface of the ground exposed to sunlight where lichens could grow.  It's one speculation after another.  There is no actual evidence directly connecting the stains on the bones to the stains on the rocks or to the pres…

New research on Homo naledi

It's been a while since we heard anything about Homo naledi, but the researchers have been busy.  In case you missed it, here's a brief rundown of some recent research.

First up, in a surprisingly speculative paper in the South African Journal of Science, Wits professor Francis Thackeray proposed that the bones of H. naledi had lichen stains on them from exposure to light. If correct, the resting of the bones on the surface would imply that the bodies of H. naledi were not intentionally deposited in the Dinaledi chamber but just fell in there.  I say this was speculative, since Thackeray's argument (as I understood it) was based on visual similarity of some stains on the bones to stains on some rocks that might have been made by lichens.

The response by Randolph-Quinney and colleagues provides a nice overview of the deposition of the bones as well as a small update on recent work (such as what kind of invertebrates are living in the cave).  The authors note that the stain…

Devouring our own

Every now and then I get a frustrated chuckle when some well-meaning fellow creationist confronts me because I'm not creationist enough.  I've mentioned this occasionally here (OK, confession: I've griped about it before), but I've tried to not get down about it.  I understand that I'm different from the average creationist, and I don't buy into the party line about evolution being bunk or on the verge of collapse (that's just nonsense).  So it makes sense that my perspective would alarm some folks who've never heard anyone say the things I say.  So I try to smile and laugh it off.  I admit that it's not very much fun when someone who knows me personally tries this confrontation business (yes, that happened), but that's not the usual problem.

Lately, I'm increasingly hearing stories that I find very, very upsetting.  I want to say first that I fully support an organization's choice to define itself however it wants.  If you want to have…

Baraminology Examined and Critiqued

I was intrigued by a post last week on the Panda's Thumb, a blog which is known for its criticism of creationism.  Actually, criticizing creationists is pretty much why the blog exists at all.  In a recent post, Jonathan Kane (self-described "armchair paleontologist") examined creationist discussion of feathered dinosaurs.  In my own experience, feathered dinosaurs are kind of a sore spot for some creationists.  I personally don't have a problem with feathered dinosaurs.  If God wanted feathered dinosaurs, then there will be feathered dinosaurs.  Other creationists see things differently, to say the least.  They react rather angrily to the evolutionary treatment of feathered dinosaurs, in which the dinos in question (like Sinornithosaurus above) are used to support the notion that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

I found Kane's article pretty well-informed, all things considered.  It's not perfect by any means, but he makes some very thoughtful points about fea…

Genesis chronology: well-nigh incredible?

In my previous post in this series on genealogy and patriarchal longevity, I examined William Henry Green's influential article "Primeval Chronology."  In my conclusion, I expressed some disdain for one of Green's statements.  According to Green's paper,
...if a chronology is to be constructed out of this genealogy, Noah was for fifty-eight years the contemporary of Abraham, and Shem actually survived him thirty-five years, provided xi. 26 is to be taken in its natural sense, that Abraham was born in Terah's seventieth year.  This conclusion is well-nigh incredible. I responded,
The conclusion is incredible?  In other words, Green just doesn't believe it.  That's not an argument, and it's not compelling. I wanted to expand on that comment because I think it deserves more attention. Frankly, I hear these sorts of biblical claims all the time.  "Obviously" there were other people alive at the time of Adam and Eve, because Cain had a wife. …