Posts

The Tower of Babel part 1

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I don't usually do a lot of cross-promotion (maybe I should?) , but today's podcast episode is a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy! 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!

Teaching, hearing, learning

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  It's weird to think that I'm old enough now that students can come back to me as adults to tell me what they thought of my teaching.  Sometimes that's a nice experience, because students really took my guidance and teaching to heart and became better people and better scholars for it.  Other encounters make me wonder if I taught anyone anything.  And then there are those instances where people think I've taught them things that I never did or would even consider.  I have been thoroughly misunderstood on more occasions than I care to remember, even on issues where I made my position perfectly, crystal clear.  Some folks, even after reading a large amount of my work, still have no idea what I actually believe and think I should be tossed out with the rest of the garbage. I've been thinking about this as I've seen a lot of people lately in the creation/evolution debate wildly misunderstand and misrepresent each other.  I recently read a book on theistic evolution

Them dry bones

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  Last week, I had the privilege of spending the entire week with my student Peter as we worked together on his Sanders Scholarship research.  We have been studying the "postcranial" skeleton (everything from the neck down) of hominins, as we continue to learn how to recognize what is human in the fossil record.  This work flows from my ongoing baraminology research project studying the skulls of fossil hominins.  In that research, I've found repeatedly a relatively clear distinction between human and nonhuman, most of which has been described here on my blog: Homo sediba ? Let's talk about Homo naledi Recent creationist comments on Homo naledi Hominins: Was I wrong???? The lingering issue that has always bothered me is the importance of the skeleton.  It was the skeletal similarities, for example between Homo sapiens and the Nariokotome Homo erectus skeleton, that led me to strongly suspect that humans were recognizable from their skeletons.  Likewise, the differen

Smoky Mountain Creation Retreat 2022

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  I'm just back from another exhausting and exhilarating  weekend with friends new and old at the 2022 Smoky Mountain Creation Retreat.  Core Academy has been hosting this event for seven years now, and this was our first post-COVID event.  I think everyone was more than ready to get back to work and life and fellowship. Our guest this year was Bob Hill, associate professor of physics at Bob Jones University and the president of the Creation Research Society.  He gave us a gentle and very basic introduction to the mind-bending world of planetary astronomy (with a little dark matter and dark energy thrown in for good measure).  I hardly even glance at this subject on most days, so it was a great learning opportunity.  On our final night together, we shared some concerns and had a spontaneous prayer meeting.  It was so very beautiful to be together again.  I am grateful. Next year, I'm hearing rumors of a geology weekend...  I guess we'll all have to wait and see what we come

A universal family tree?

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  A long time ago, when I was just a high school student, Allan Wilson and two colleagues published a paper that introduced the world to the idea of the "Mitochondrial Eve."  This was back when you had to gather placentas (no kidding) to harvest enough DNA to sequence and about a decade before Windows95.  But it was kind of state of the art at the time, and Wilson's conclusions stirred up a bit of controversy.  First, he claimed that the mitochondrial DNA of all living humans could trace its ancestry back to a woman who lived about 200,000 years ago.  Second, he claimed that that ancestor probably lived in Africa.  Why was this controversial?  Some anthropologists (like Milford Wolpoff) had argued that modern humans had much, much deeper roots and that we had no single geographic origin.  These results from mitochondrial DNA suggested otherwise. Given the state of phylogeny reconstruction at the time, there were some inevitable technical critiques of the work, but subsequ

Introducing "Research Reports" on Patreon

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It's here!  I've been working on this for about two months now, and I think it's ready for prime time.  We'll see.  If you don't care about these ramblings and just want to see the patreon, check it out at patreon.com/researchreports . Lately I've become increasingly thoughtful about scholarly communication.  I've been reading a lot of dissatisfaction with peer review and scholarly publication, things like abusive peer reviewers sabotaging papers, the value of preprints, the need for publication forums that are not owned by iniquitously price-gouging companies, and the desire for open access publication.  That put me to thinking about what a truly Christian community of healthy, scholarly communication would look like, and I'm not sure it looks like the world of peer review.  Maybe that has a place, but then again, maybe not.  I'm certain it doesn't look like social media, but maybe there are elements there that we could adapt. All of that's

On the Harrowing of Hell

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On Let's Talk Creation this week  [ the episode on YouTube ], I briefly mentioned the doctrine of the Harrowing of Hell as an example of something that might be too much doctrine read into too few verses.  This inspired a few questions and comments, and I felt it warranted a bit of clarity (which I thought was clear enough in the episode but evidently not).  I'm glad to have the chance to elaborate on a point that didn't need to be elaborated on in the podcast. That part of our conversation was inspired by a point in the Apostles' Creed, "He [Christ] descended in to Hell," which is an expression of an earlier belief that after his death and before his resurrection, Jesus went to Hades, the place of the dead, preached the gospel to the spirits there, and took the righteous dead to heaven after his resurrection.  This is collectively known as the doctrine of the "Harrowing of Hell" (to harrow is to torture, as in, Jesus struck a blow against hell by f