Jean O’Micks – Further Evidence That Homo naledi Is Not a Member of the Human Holobaramin Based on Measurements of Vertebrae and Ribs

Introduction

In the wake of a detailed discussion within creationist circles about the baraminic status of Homo naledi (McLain 2017; O’Micks 2016a, b, c 2017; Wood 2016a, b 2017), more evidence has accumulated that H. naledi indeed is a member of the Australopithecus baramin, and is not human. These previous analyses of measurements on H. naledi’s cranium (Berger et al. 2015; Laird et al. 2017), foot (Harcourt-Smith et al. 2015), hand (Kivell et al. 2015), upper limb (Feuerriegel et al. 2017), and thigh (Marchi et al. 2017) show that H. naledi either shows continuity with members of the Australopithecus baramin, or that it is not continuous with members of the human holobaramin. Despite the initial conclusion that H. naledi was likely to be a member of the human holobaramin based on craniodental characteristics alone (O’Micks 2016a; Wood 2016a), the addition of post-cranial characters cast this conclusion into doubt (O’Micks 2016b).

The vertebral column is a major characteristic of vertebrates in general, and especially in hominoid primates. It is responsible for upright posture and bipedal locomotion. Non-human primates are stiff-backed, whereas hominoid primates have a more mobile lower back, adapted to lordosis and erect posture, required for bipedalism (Williams et al. 2016). African great apes have funnel-shaped thoraces, which are narrow at the top, and are wide or flaring at the bottom, with a relatively short lumbar column. On the other hand, humans have a barrel-shaped thorax with a wider upper ribcage, with a narrow waist, atop a relatively longer lumbar vertebral column. The ribcage of H. naledi is distally wide, like what we see in Australopithecus species (Berger 2015). Humans also have elongated hind limbs, which make bipedalism possible (Williams et al. 2017). In humans, the first seven ribs are true ribs, ribs eight to ten are false ribs, and eleven and twelve are floating ribs. The number of lumbar vertebrae also vary in primates between four and nine (Gebo 2014).

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Tim Chaffey – Creation: The Longest Week Ever?

For more than 200 years, Christians have been trying to reinterpret the six days of Creation in Genesis 1 to make them align with millions of years. But every attempt has a fatal flaw.

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31).
“The sixth day.” What does that phrase mean to you? More than 200 years ago, Christians began to question whether this day truly was the sixth day, instead of the six millionth or six billionth day. They were responding to an idea, popularized in the late 1700s, that our planet and universe are much older than Scripture indicates. They wondered where millions of years might harmonize with the Bible. So they scrutinized Genesis 1 and reinterpreted the days of Creation Week in a variety of ways.

But they didn’t recognize that each of these attempts to insert long ages into Scripture had fatal flaws (even beyond the alarming fact that they tried to change the original intent of the language). Most notably, they place death, suffering, and disease long before Adam and Eve sinned.

Yet you will still hear varieties of these views. What are we to make of them? Is there any justification for changing the meaning of the Bible’s first chapter?

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Benno Zuiddam – Battle for the Bible in the Early Church

Is the Bible the reliable Word of God or a fallible collection of human religious ideas? The purpose of this article is to show that the conflict between secular science and the Bible is not new, but dates back to the days of the early church. Greek scientists like Porphyry and Celsus questioned the reliability of the contents of Genesis, Jonah, Daniel, as well as the factuality of Jesus’ Virgin Birth and Resurrection. This paper will demonstrate how early Greek scholars alleged that the holy Christian Scriptures were unreliable productions of men and will consider the commitment of the early church to these writings as the voice of God.

Often research articles have the aim of stating something that is experienced as new and relevant for a limited group of colleagues with expert knowledge. This paper has a different purpose, namely to translate some of these results from the field of patristic studies1 and make them available to fellow Christian scholars who are active in the natural sciences. This is likely to be encouraging, as the world of the early Christians was in many ways like the post-Christian Western world of the 21st century. What early Fathers embraced as Scripture is now usually also found in our printed Bibles. The fact that they took the Bible as the literal voice of God does not imply their interpretation was always right or that they were unaffected by the philosophies and pressures of their time and cultural surroundings. Likewise for Greek science in the late ancient era: although some philosophers preceded the modern ‘unbelief’ of the Continental Enlightenment Theology in many ways, this article does not claim that their worldview or motivation was identical, or deny that their work is inconsequential when it comes to considering the unusual or ‘miraculous’ in their own tradition.

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Simon Turpin – The Creation of Adam: Unique Revelation or Ancient Myth?

Introduction

It is widely known that the early chapters of Genesis do not stand alone in the history of the ancient Near East (ANE). Other texts parallel the biblical account of creation and the existence of similarities between Genesis, and ANE literature has led critical scholars to conclude that Genesis was dependent upon the Mesopotamian texts.

Today, however, there are many professing evangelical scholars who argue that the early chapters of Genesis were influenced by these ANE myths.

The points of similarity between Genesis 1–2 and other ANE accounts have led these evangelical scholars to conclude that Genesis is not historical but “is an ancient Near Eastern form of science.” In other words the role of these texts in the ANE was, as John Walton explains, “like science in our modern world—it was their explanation of how the world came into being and how it worked. . . . Mythology is thus a window to culture.” The connection then, for these scholars, between the biblical and the ANE worlds is that, just as with ANE literature, so Genesis 1–2 helps us “see how Israelites thought about themselves, their world, and their God.”4The similarities then are associated with the fact that the biblical and ANE accounts “share a conceptual world,” which is why Genesis 1–2 is seen as “ancient cosmology.” The similarities between these ANE texts and Genesis 1–2 have convinced many of these scholars that Adam never existed or that he is anything other than the first human, who was supernaturally created. These scholars believe their view of Adam is based on careful analysis of the ANE context of Genesis 1–2. For example, after describing several ANE texts about the creation of man, such as Atrahasis and Gilgamesh Epics, Denis Lamoureux states,

Clearly, these last three examples of the de novo creation of humans are similar to Genesis 2:7, where the Lord acts like a craftsman and forms Adam from the dust of the ground…So what exactly am I saying about Adam? Adam’s existence is based ultimately on an accident conceptualization of human origins: de novo creation. To use technical terminology, Adam is the retrojective conclusion of an ancient taxonomy. And since ancient science does not align with physical reality, it follows that Adam never existed.

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Dan Fisher- An Impersonal Creator: Understanding Deism

Dust particles dance in the shaft of light penetrating the dirty windowpane as the soothing tick-tock of numerous clocks fills the small workshop. Tiny springs, gears, and screws glisten in the morning sun as they lay scattered across the watchmaker’s workbench, while the welcome heat from the crackling fire in the woodstove drives the chill from the morning air.

Softly whistling a favorite tune, the watchmaker carefully plies his trade, adding the finishing touches to his latest masterpiece. One by one, he meticulously assembles the individual pieces until he has crafted a beautiful work of mechanical timekeeping ingenuity. With a few tweaks here and a slight adjustment there, the job is finished. Polishing the crystal to a shiny luster, he holds the piece at arm’s length and surveys his work. Nodding his approval, the great craftsman sets the hands, winds the spring, and then presses the piece to his ear to listen to the smooth sound of the steady ticking of the works. His job now complete, the watchmaker places the sparkling new pocket watch on the workbench, puts on his coat, and steps outside, locking the door behind him. The cold air forces a shiver from his body as he walks down the street, leaving the watch to run all alone.

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Lita Cosner – Would Christ Create Through Evolution?

In an April 2017 contribution to the BioLogos website,1 NT Wright argued that “If creation is through Christ, evolution is what you would expect”. However, the argumentation is fatally flawed by the assumption of evolution imported onto the text of Scripture.

Wright asserts, “We must somehow start with what we know of Jesus’ own vision of truth and the kingdom and power and ask what that might mean for creation itself.” One consequence, he suggests, is that “if creation comes through the kingdom bringing Jesus, we ought to expect it to be like a seed growing secretly.” He argues that even though most evolutionist scientists are motivated by a non-Christian worldview, they “nonetheless come up with a picture of Origins that looks remarkably like Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom: some seeds go to waste, others bear remarkable fruit; some projects start tiny and take forever, but ultimately produce a great crop; some false starts are wonderfully rescued, others are forgotten. Chaos is astonishingly overcome.”

However, Wright makes an elementary error when he goes to soteriological texts to inform his doctrine of creation, and uses those soteriological texts to override the plain meaning of the cosmological texts! I agree with Wright that our doctrine of Christ is important for our doctrine of creation—the key Christian contribution to the doctrine of creation is the assertion that Jesus is the agent of creation. However, understanding Christ as the Creator did not lead anyone in the church to suddenly take the timescale and mode of creation outlined in Genesis non-literally until after uniformitarian geologists and Darwinian biologists began to challenge the biblical view.

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Dr. Danny Faulkner – Is Belief in Alien Life Harmless?

The thought that aliens might be living on other planets may sound innocent enough. But lurking underneath are some deep theological dangers.

A 2012 survey reported that more than a third of Americans believe aliens have visited the earth, and only about one-fifth do not (the rest were undecided). With ET believers outnumbering non-believers nearly two-to-one, the intense fascination with aliens is obvious. Aliens permeate our society, as evidenced by warm and fuzzy — and sometimes not-so-fuzzy — ETs on every Cineplex marquee.

Given all this hype, should Christians care? Does the Bible have anything to say? In case you’re worried that you might have missed the Bible’s account of an alien visitation, let me assure you that it does not actually mention ETs or flying saucers. However, as with so many other issues, biblical principles help answer whether flying saucers and ETs are real. It’s not a trivial question.

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Avery Foley – Graphene: Seeing God’s Handiwork and Care in Chemistry

God’s creation is filled with amazing design. Often when we think of design, we immediately picture hummingbirds, butterflies, or the human body. But God’s design can be seen in the obvious and the not so obvious. Have you ever stopped to consider how even chemistry showcases God’s handiwork, creativity, and care for his creation?

Graphene, the “Wonder Material”

Carbon, the sixth element on the periodic table, is considered “King of the Elements.” It appears in three major forms in nature. One of these forms, diamond, is transparent and the hardest known material while another form, graphite, is black and very soft. Carbon is essential to life.

In 2002 researchers at the University of Manchester isolated graphene, an ultra-thin sheet of carbon atoms, by peeling off layers of graphite with tape until they had a layer just one atom thick. Now the strongest material known to man, this “wonder material” is pliable, strong, and conductive.

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Dr. Nathaniel T. Jeanson and Jeffrey P. Tomkins – Did Humanity Arise from a Large Population or a Pair of Individuals?

II. How Many: A Population or a Pair?

For many years, the discussion of the number of individuals that spawned the modern human race was not accessible to science. Fossils don’t record population sizes, and the antiquity and geography of our ancestors offer little in the way of direct data on the number of individuals alive on the planet at the dawn of Homo sapiens. Only with the advent of modern genetics have scientists been able to more directly explore this question.

However, the raw genetic data say nothing about ancestral population sizes. The evolutionary conclusion that humanity arose from a large population1 rather than a pair of individuals is a consequence of the arbitrary constraints that evolutionists bring to bear on the question. Implicit in the evolutionary claims is the assumption that DNA differences can arise only via the process of copying errors (mutations) that we discussed in the previous section. In other words, under the evolutionary model, the immediate reason why you are genetically different from your parents is that you inherited DNA from each parent. However, according to evolutionary reasoning, the ultimate reason why genetic differences exist at all in the human population is mutations in the distant past.

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