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Showing posts from February, 2017

Historical Genesis for the Next Generation

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Wow.  What a weekend.  The new documentary Is Genesis History? opened at 700 theaters across the country, and 140,000 people enjoyed a brief glimpse into the world of creationist research.  I had a great time seeing the film on the big screen, but it was a lot more fun talking to people outside after the film.  People are really excited about what they saw.

While we're all still excited about the movie, I wanted to remind everyone that what you saw in that film took a lot of work, and I'm not talking about the film itself.  Every one of those scientists and scholars in the film has spent a huge amount of time and effort studying God's creation and making those discoveries. I spent about twenty years working on baraminology and applying it to fossil hominins.  Research like that takes brain power and education.  It takes creativity and inspiration.  And yes, it takes money.

At Core Academy, we liked Is Genesis History?, but we're really interested in the future: Is Gen…

Is Genesis History Q&A

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With the movie Is Genesis History? opening this week, I'm bound to have new readers checking up on me and my ideas.  New readers will represent the full spectrum from believers to scoffers, so I wanted to try to address some of the questions I think will come up after seeing the movie.  Here are some questions I imagined people will ask and my responses, in no particular order.

1.  Who are you?  I have a doctorate in biochemistry, with specialty in computational biology, protein evolution, and comparative genomics.  I have been actively researching question in creationism for the past seventeen years, first as a faculty member in the Center for Origins Research at Bryan College, then as its director, and finally as the president of Core Academy of Science, a small science education organization in Dayton, TN.  My primary research interest is the large-scale pattern of design revealed by the similarity of organisms.  In other words, why do I have similar genes to oak trees or bacte…

Creationists and Homo naledi

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There are three new papers in ARJ on Homo naledi this week.  Two of them are responses to O'Micks.  The first is by my colleague Matt McLain at the Master's University in California.  He reviews the geological evidence for burial of the Homo naledi remains.  My own paper is a longer look at the challenges of hominin baraminology and how Homo naledi fits into those challenges.  Finally, O'Micks responds in the longest paper of the three.

So how did we do?  Needless to say, I rather like my paper.  McLain's article is a decent summary of the burial evidence.  O'Micks seems to be quite adamant that Homo naledi is not human, but he still seems to misunderstand what I'm claiming.  And frankly, I'm not at all sure why he's so passionately opposed to including Homo naledi in the human holobaramin.

I would like to say more, but ... I know big things are going to be revealed in a few weeks, and I want to wait to see what those big things are.  I'm sure they …

Is Genesis History? preview night!

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Friday night, I went to a preview showing of Is Genesis History? in Franklin, TN with a small crowd of mostly people from the production company and their friends and family.  It was the first time I had seen the finished film, and we did a little Q&A after.  I was the only featured scientist from the movie at that showing.  These are just a few thoughts on the film rather than a full review.  I don't want to engage with the film fully before others have a chance to see it.

I'm happy to say that the finished film is very nice and substantially improved from the cut I saw last summer.  I was repeatedly amazed at how much better I liked it this time.  It's amazing what you can do with a little editing!  The film is basically a series of interviews with various creationists around the United States.  Each scholar is featured in some sort of location that relates to what they're talking about.  Creationist geologist Steve Austin filmed at the Grand Canyon to talk abou…

Dating Homo naledi

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Rumors on the date of Homo naledi are becoming bolder.  Today, two little tidbits hit Twitter:

Lee: "We have dated Homo naledi. It may not be as old as people think." Jane: "Maybe its like the hobbit" #janeandlee — John Hawks (@johnhawks) February 9, 2017
Prof Lee Berger: "In 3wks a huge discovery that'll change the dating of #HomoNaledi will be made" #JaneAndLeepic.twitter.com/XTCMlaEAjH — Digital Mastermind (@deshanta) February 9, 2017
So there you go.  The rumors have been going around that the date would be young, and that seems to be the case.  The date I've heard is considerably less than a million radiometric years, which makes sense since the bones aren't mineralized.  If that is the case (and I do not know that it is), then we can dismiss claims that H. naledi is really just an early or primitive H. erectus.  It might be derived from a pre-erectus lineage, but the remains we have are much later.

Some might argue that H. naledi is just…

What's up?

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Things have been quiet around here lately.  I assure you it's not for lack of interesting things to talk about, but nothing has really grabbed me lately.  There will be some stuff to say in the coming weeks after the movie hits.  There will undoubtedly be criticisms and maybe even demands for explanation of my comments.  So that will be "fun."  I also have a new paper coming out around the same time, and I'll have something to say there.  And you never know when something astonishing will happen in the world of science (like the date of Homo naledi), and I'll want to comment on that too.

In the mean time, I've been up to my eyeballs in video production for new biology lessons.  We had two days off from school last week because half the kids were sick, and I worked almost a complete work week on biology lessons.  It's pretty exhausting.  The good news is that I'm on kind of roll so I'll probably keep going and finish editing some of the video I sho…