Posts

Have scientists FINALLY unlocked the origin of life???

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Short answer: no. Long answer:  It's still no, but let me explain. As a biochemist by training, I've been interested in research on the origin of life for a long time.  I'm not talking about God speaking creatures into existence, either.  This research begins with the assumption that life emerged naturally from nonliving chemicals.  You might remember from high school biology hearing about Stanley Miller's experiment, where he zapped some ammonia, methane, and water vapor to make simple amino acids.  That experiment essentially jump-started the field of origin of life research, where scientists try all sorts of weird conditions to see if they can make biochemicals using random processes.   This research has not been successful.  Oh, it's definitely made progress of sorts.  Different sorts of chemicals have been formed, and we've found interesting organic compounds in space.  But no one has successfully generated a living system from any of these experiments.  K

Is baraminology bogus?

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If you follow creationist websites and publications, you may have noticed a numbers of papers and articles that are sharply critical of statistical baraminology over the past few years.  For those who don't follow these things, statistical baraminology is shorthand for a set of analytical tools that I've used for more than 20 years to explore the creationist concept of the "created kind."  I've focused on these methods because they help me to explore fossil creatures, which cannot be addressed by the traditional hybridization method for identifying created kinds.  I've tried to examine interesting case studies, like fossil horses, four-legged "whales," and feathered dinosaurs.  For the past thirteen years, I've been nearly exclusively focused on hominins (so-called fossil "ape men"), but I've also published a significant survey of mammal baraminology.  Last year, I addressed a very significant challenge to the methods , and I was e

A pre-Clovis butchered mammoth?

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  I was going to put this article on Human Genesis , but the more I thought about it, the more questions I had.  So my thoughts are here for a more technical discussion instead. In a new paper in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution , a team of researchers led by Tim Rowe of the University of Texas presents a very detailed analysis of mammoth remains found on property owned by Rowe himself ( see commentary here ).  Rowe is a vertebrate paleontologist, so this is a little out of his normal wheelhouse.  The paper is open access , so you can read it all and check my claims yourself, which I encourage you to do. The bones are the primary story here.  Rowe and colleagues describe in detail attributes of the bones that are consistent with other accepted mammoth butchery sites.  The bones are smashed in patterns that are really only consistent with intentional smashing with pretty heavy implements (probably rocks).  The bones are essentially pulverized, which is consistent with hum

Beware temptation

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I've been thinking a lot about Galatians today. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.  (Gal. 5:19-26, ESV) The works of the flesh have the usual suspects but also enmity, strife, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, and envy.  It's easy for us to look at all those gross sins and think, I don't do that, I'

Origins 2022: Fun Times!

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 Well, despite a lot of weird setbacks this year, we've finished another mostly smooth and successful Origins conference.  This is our second year with the Creation Theology Society, and it's been a blessing to have those guys with us giving us good biblical guidance.  That's their interdisciplinary panel discussion in the photo above.  I've been very encouraged by all of their work. There was a lot of emphasis on baraminology and especially baraminology methods this year, and that was also exciting.  Regular readers might remember that there's been criticism of baraminology over the past few years (some of it good and some of it not so good), and despite my work showing that the methods aren't as bad as everyone says, it's definitely nice to see a real effort to diversify. As always, the conference has also been a fertile time for good ideas.  I talked to folks about the historical Abraham and what that means for our understanding of creation, the language

Origins 2022: My contributions

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    Today was the last day of Origins 2022 (sad), and I presented some of the work we've been doing at Core Academy.  First, we talked a bit about our work with human fossils and origins.  For this presentation, we indulged a bit in speculating about the ancestral form of humanity.  It's a really difficult problem.  I would guess that most modern creationists consider our appearance as Homo sapiens to be the original form of humanity.  In other words, Noah and family looked like us (Noah is as far back as we can extrapolate with the presently known fossils and DNA).  I've long thought that was just prejudice.  We naturally assume that people are like us, so of course Noah looked like us.  The problem is that the fossil record preserves humans that don't look much like us at all.  So how should we understand their appearance?  I wish I could tell you that we had a good answer, but figuring out the ancestral human form is just a really difficult problem.  What we ended u

Give me a break - Ken Ham's hyperevolution

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Give me a break. In the past couple months I've heard on more than one occasion the insinuation that somehow creationists are really evolutionists so the creation/evolution debate has radically changed.  Why?  Because Ken Ham now endorses "hyperevolution" in the Ark Encounter, and that's new!  Creationists have given up on creationism and now just accept an absurd form of evolution.  WOW!  "He's more of an evolutionist than I am!" Give me a break. I hope I can maintain a charitable attitude here, but this emerging attitude is so ludicrous I'm going to have a really hard time doing that. First of all, this isn't Ken Ham's original idea, any more than it's my original idea.  I've complained about this before ( see here ), but the true history of creationist thought is not really catching on.  There just seems to be a gut-level appeal to saying that Ken Ham is more evolutionist than the evolutionists! Except that this is a ludicrous exam