My Archeopteryx Toy

People who use the scientific method to make observations about the world establish theories to explain the patterns they see. Creationists do not establish their own coherent theories. Instead they spend time poking holes in actual scientific theories. The claims they make against true science frequently even contradict.

I love collecting museum gift shop quality accurate dinosaur toys. I have at least 10 of them. On Amazon.com I finally found a toy of my favorite dinosaur – an archeopteryx. After I received it, I posted pictures of it on Facebook along with a brief statement about its being the first dinosaur discovered to have feathers. This fact makes its fossil the first one ever found that is likely a transitionary fossil bridging the gap between dinosaurs and birds. In other words, the fossil’s existence supports the theory of evolution – a theory that flies in the face of creationism and many people of faith.

A religious acquaintance from my home town asked “Isn’t that the fossil that was debunked as a hoax?” I replied that it was a genuine specimen. He quipped, “No, I’m pretty sure it was debunked.” Instead of explaining his claim he just insisted that the fossil is a fake. For the record, reputable scientists agree that the specimen is real. I asked him if he was bringing this claim into my celebration about the newest piece in my collection was for “Jesus reasons.” “Of course not.” He replied. I remain skeptical.

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Rather: Now, More Than Ever, We Must Stand Up For Science

(scientificamerican.com)

 

The Trump administration is outlining policies that put our response to climate change in deep jeopardy and threaten to change the fundamental direction of science in the U.S.

 

When historians look back at the presidential election of 2016 they will certainly have many questions, but perhaps the biggest one isn’t getting enough attention today. “What the (insert the popular profanity of the future)?” they will likely ask. “Why was there hardly any mention of climate change?” Or will the future inhabitants of Earth be so distracted by survival that they won’t even care what happened in 2016 when the greatest country on the planet at that time denied this problem existed?

15 Evolutionary Gems

Here is a resource from Nature for those wishing to spread awareness of evidence for evolution by natural selection.

 

Most biologists take for granted the idea that all life evolved by natural selection over billions of years. They get on with researching and teaching in disciplines that rest squarely on that foundation, secure in the knowledge that natural selection is a fact, in the same way that the Earth orbits the Sun is a fact.

 

Given that the concepts and realities of Darwinian evolution are still challenged, albeit rarely by biologists, a succinct briefing on why evolution by natural selection is an empirically validated principle is useful for people to have to hand. Offered here are 15 examples published by Nature in recent years to illustrate the breadth, depth and power of evolutionary thinking. They are happy to offer this resource freely and encourage its free dissemination

 

15 Evolutionary Gems Free PDF

Pacific Islanders Appear To Be Carrying The DNA Of An Unknown Human Species

(sciencealert.com)

 

Hints of an unidentified, extinct human species have been found in the DNA of modern Melanesians – those living in a region of the South Pacific, northeast of Australia.

 

According to new genetic modelling, the species is unlikely to be Neanderthal or Denisovan – two ancient species that are represented in the fossil record – but could represent a third, unknown human relative that has so far eluded archaeologists.

 

Highly Religious Americans Are Less Likely Than Others To See Conflict Between Faith And Science

science_religionPoll respondents who have no religious affiliation are the most likely to think that science and religion, in general, are often in conflict, with 76% expressing this view. But just one-in-six religiously unaffiliated adults (16%) say their own religious beliefs conflict with science. (Those who are religiously unaffiliated often have supernatural beliefs and spiritual practices, even though they say they do not feel connected to a particular religion. Only about a third of the unaffiliated say they are atheist or agnostic; most describe their religion as “nothing in particular.”)

 
 
 

 
 
 

5 Facts About Evolution and Religion

Are faith and belief in evolution necessarily at odds? According to Pope Francis, the answer is no. Indeed, the pope recently reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s view that “evolution in nature is not inconsistent” with church teaching on creation, pushing the debate on human origins back into the news.

pew_evolution

Although most U.S. Catholics accept the idea of evolution in some form, a substantial percentage of American adults reject the scientific explanation for the origins of human life, and a number of religious groups in the U.S. maintain that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection is not correct because it conflicts with their views of creation.