Whale Origins: A Test Case for Evolution

The Challenge of Whales for Evolution

Nearly all of today’s mammals are tetrapods, having both a front pair and a hind pair of limbs. They generally have a mouth full of hard teeth, and have nostrils near the front of their snout. Fossil specimens of extinct mammals also have these features.

Whales are clearly mammals: they nourish their young in utero through a placenta, give birth to live young, feed newborns with milk, and possess a neocortex and three middle ear bones. However, whales are animals that are thoroughly adapted to living in the water. Modern whales and dolphins typically display no hind legs, their nostrils are located near the top of their heads, and they have various features in their head and jaws that facilitate hearing underwater. Also, one major class of whales lacks regular teeth: the whales of order Mysticeti use baleen plates to filter out food from the water.

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Posted in Bible Interpretation, Fossils, Genome, Macro-Evolution, Mutations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

“Rapid Uncontrolled Disassembly”: Musk’s Positive Take on Rocket Explosion

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you probably saw at least one image of Elon Musk’s “Starship” rocket blowing up last week. This is a really big rocket, some 165 ft high, which Musk intends to use to ferry humans to Mars, as early as 2026. And before that, paying passengers like you and I are to climb aboard for brief tourist excursions to outer space.

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Posted in Technology | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Saint Augustine on Interpreting Genesis

The church father Augustine wrote around 400-430 A.D. He was bishop of the city of Hippo in North Africa. His views are deeply respected by orthodox Christians of all types. Roman Catholics, along with the Eastern Orthodox and Anglicans, celebrate him as a saint. The early Reformers such as Luther and Calvin drew heavily on his theology of sin, salvation, and divine grace.

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Posted in Age of Earth, Bible Interpretation, Evolution, Geology | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Camping in Style in an “Instant Cabin” Tent

This is the time of year when we often think of gifts to give to others, or for others to give to us, if they are so moved. So I will share an item which took a bit of research to lock in on, and which has worked out very well in practice.

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Posted in Camping | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

C. S. Lewis on the Medieval Mind

I recently read C. S. Lewis’ The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature for a reading club. It is based on his course lectures given at Oxford. I had expected a somewhat boring discussion of one obscure manuscript after another. But the book went in a different, highly engaging direction. Here are some of my notes and takeaways.

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Posted in history, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

The Atonement Wars: What the Church Fathers Actually Wrote

Since I blog on the intersection of faith and science, and since the question of how the evolutionary origin of mankind is sometimes thought to impact the meaning of Christ’s atonement, I have recently done some reading on the subject. In the course of that reading, I noticed two things which surprised me. One is the recent vicious opposition to the long-established Protestant teaching that Jesus died in our place, bearing the penalty or consequences of our sin (i.e. “penal substitution”). This doctrine is now being called “horrific” and “cosmic child abuse,” even by more or less Bible-believing evangelicals. That has forced me to rethink this issue.

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Posted in Atonement, Bible Interpretation, Church Fathers | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

“Disciple Science” Videos and Podcast on Integrating Faith and Science

This is to call attention to a new organization which is making useful contributions to the faith-science dialog. “Disciple Science” is a crowd-funded nonprofit that is exploring the interface between science and faith, aiming to be faithful to both the core messages of the Bible and to what is discernable in the natural world. Their platforms include

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Posted in American Scientific Affliliation, Bible Interpretation, Evolution, Natural Theology, Suffering | 2 Comments

Central Banks, Interest Rates, and Zombies

In 2013 I wrote an Overview of the U. S. Monetary System   describing what money is and how it is created; interactions of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and commercial banks; and government and trade deficits. Much of this also applies to Europe, Japan, and other countries or regions with central banks. At that time, the world was in the midst of a painfully slow recovery from the traumatic 2008-2009 Great Recession, and central banks were taking unprecedented measures to try to stabilize finances and help economies regain growth. It is interesting to look back to all the macroeconomic uncertainties seven years ago, and see how things have actually played out. Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Investing | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

2019 Letters to a Creationist, Part 3: Minds Changed?

Preface for blog: This is the last in a series where I show my side of a dialogue with a young earth creationist who I will call Rachel. She had sent me links to some videos that she and her husband had made, where they presented scientific and exegetical arguments in favor of young earth (Y.E.) creationism, and invited my comments. In Part 1, I posted the cover email I sent her, which dealt with Bible interpretation. I attached a Word document to that email, which addressed many of the scientific claims made in her videos. I posted that document as Part 2 of this series. 

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Posted in Age of Earth, Bible Interpretation, Fossils | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

2019 Letters to a Creationist, Part 2: Young Earth Evidence

Preface for blog: As noted in Part 1, earlier this year I had a discussion with an evangelical Christian woman who I will call Rachel. She had recently learned that I endorse modern scientific findings such as an old earth and evolution, and that I have no problem squaring that with the Bible’s teachings. She sent me links to some videos that she and her husband had made, where they presented scientific and exegetical arguments in favor of young earth (Y.E.) creationism, and invited my comments.

In Part 1 of this series, I posted the cover email I sent her, which dealt with Bible interpretation. Below is shown the document I attached to that email letter, which addresses many of the scientific claims made in her videos. The topics I address here are: FALSIFYING THE FLOOD , LAYERS IN GLACIERS AND ICE CORES, MT SAINT HELENS ASH LAYERS AND UNIFORMITARIANISM, WIDESPREAD ROCK FORMATIONS ON CONTINENTS, ON FOSSILS, ARE THERE TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS?, WHALE EVOLUTION, MINING FOR QUOTES ON FOSSILS, and FINAL COMMENTS.  I try to anticipate and answer some common objections made by Y.E. proponents for these various evidences for an old earth.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments