Showing posts from May, 2018

The goodness of God's design

Back in March, I went to see the documentary The Riot and the Dance with Gordon Wilson, and I was deeply moved by what I saw (read my thoughts here).  I really had no idea what to expect from the movie, but what I got was a joy, a thrill, a celebration of God's wonders in creation.  I can't even put my feelings into words.  I want it to change not just the way I think but the way I am.  I want to react and feel and perceive and eventually think about creation as the amazing splendor of a loving Creator.  I want Gordon's perception of creation to become so natural to me it's just a reflex.  I think putting my reaction to The Riot and the Dance into words doesn't do the movie justice.  This is a film you should experience.

That doesn't mean people won't try to review the film, though, and that's understandable.  Ronny Nalin's reaction on the GRI blog was one such attempt that tried to boil down the emotion of the film to propositional truth.  Like me…

International Conference on Creationism 2018 Schedule!

The ICC posted their schedule today, and you can find it at their website.

And if you're thinking, "It sure would be nice to have a printable version where I could highlight my planned schedule," have I got a deal for you!  Check it out!
Download a PDF of the ICC 2018 schedule!
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.

Who are the creationists?

This year brings us yet another survey trying to diagnose what's wrong with creationists.  Oh goody.  I've commented on such studies before, and I'm always interested in what else I can find from the survey data that the authors of the research didn't really highlight in their publications.  Here's a sample of past "fun with surveys":

Post-Seculars and the war between science and faithMajority of Protestant pastors aren't sure, says BioLogos surveyWhat can we learn from polls?
So here we go again, this time with Weisberg and colleagues from the March issue of BioScience.  In a survey of 1,100 people, they tried to examine factors that influenced respondents to be creationists and found several of the usual suspects.  For example, they found that the more religious you are, the less likely you are to accept evolution.  Likewise, those who self-identify as liberal or very liberal are more likely to accept evolution, and conservatives and "very cons…

Did Homo naledi really bury their own dead?

After my piece last week on the brain of Homo naledi, I was reminded of the recent paper in PNAS describing the classification of hominin "burial" sites.  Since that paper casts some doubt on the conclusion that Homo naledi buried their own dead, I suppose I would be remiss to not share a few comments and thoughts.

First of all, the paper by Egeland and colleagues provides a "machine learning" approach to classifying accumulations of hominin bones.  Their objective was to evaluate claims that certain hominin sites represent deliberate burial (strictly in the sense of body disposal, without any of the mortuary symbolism that would accompany modern human burial).  The idea behind the analysis is to give a computer various characteristics of these bone sites and train the computer to recognize burials.  Their results showed that modern human burial sites were recognized by the computer as distinct from accumulation of bones due to predators (like leopards eating babo…

Cranial capacity isn't the whole story

Almost exactly a year ago, I published the graph shown above with the cranial capacity of hominins over conventional time.  I've seen this graph again and again from otherwise credible evolutionary biologists, and it's primarily used to discredit creationist claims about the uniqueness of human beings.  I guess I'm supposed to take from this that humans don't show obvious discontinuity from other (potentially nonhuman) creatures when you look only at one variable, brain size.  I've always found the graph a bit confusing because I'm not sure any evolutionary biologist would accept this as fully representative of human history any way.  And no one thinks modern humans emerged in some sort of march of progress, right?  Right?

With the publication of Homo floresiensis and Homo naledi, we had two important fossils that seriously deviated from the major trend, representing late-surviving and small-brained individuals.  I was generous in my first write-up of this, not…

Yes, you have to love the stubborn too

Two weeks ago, I posted some thoughts for young creationists attending ICC this year.  You can read that letter right here.

I was hoping to inspire the young people attending ICC (some for the first time) to think beyond just the intellectual or logical appeal of what happens there.  I wanted them to think about Christian virtues of loving God and loving neighbor.  I especially wanted them to think about loving neighbor in spite of their neighbor's stubbornness.  It's easy to brush people off who don't agree with you, but following God's command to love each other is most important when it's difficult.  And it can be quite difficult.

Reactions were, not surprisingly, all over the map.  The vast majority of people who wrote or responded were very positive and appreciated the reminder.  Thank you for that.

Others were more negative.  Some people think I'm a hypocrite because I of all people have no business encouraging people to try to get along.  Some people th…

More seafaring hominins

Well, that was unexpected.  A new paper in Nature describes a butchered rhinoceros plus stone tools with a conventional date of around 700,000 years ago.  They were found in the Philippines, and they represent the oldest evidence of hominin activity in the country.  They're also additional evidence of early hominins crossing the ocean.  I posted an article last week about putative Neandertal sites in the Greek Isles and the Flores hominins (including the "Hobbit"), and now we can add the Luzon hominins.  The National Geographic piece describing the discovery also mentioned stone tools found on Sulawesi.  All of these sites point to seafaring ability pre-dating the "origin" of Homo sapiens.  I'm not surprised at all.  I don't expect humanity to be limited to modern Homo sapiens, so I should expect signs of humanity in human species other than Homo sapiens.  (Maybe I wouldn't expect them to be published in quick succession, but I shouldn't be sur…

Letter to some young creationists

It's time for the International Conference on Creationism again, and a lot of people are looking forward to it.  Before we go, I'd like to ponder the big picture, and I'm not talking about the creation model or the conference schedule.  I'm talking about the community.

When I first attended and presented at ICC, I was wet behind the ears and eager to represent what I believed to be the "best science."  (Frankly, I still believe it's the best science.)  I was fresh out of grad school, with its rough and tumble skepticism of ideas.  Every week in journal club, I had a front row seat as our professors dissected and critiqued the latest published research.  Sometimes things got testy.  Often, questions were asked that couldn't be answered.  Occasionally, they decided the paper we were discussing should never have been published.  I became accustomed to presenting arguments and evaluating them on the basis of more or less rational evaluation alone.


Origins 2018 Registration now open

Registration for Origins 2018 is now available!  The annual conference of the Creation Biology and Creation Geology Societies will be held in Pittsburgh, PA on the Sunday afternoon before the International Conference on Creationism begins.  Registration includes lunch, research presentations, and society business meetings for members.  The deadline for submitting abstracts is May 11, so there's still time to submit an abstract if you'd like to present.  See the call for abstracts for more information.  I hope to see you in Pittsburgh!

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.