Archive for September 2006

A Real Icon of Evolution

30 September, 2006 EUTC

Nick Matzke has put together some charts of the cranial capacity of hominin fossils vs the age of the fossils. Hominins are humans and supposed ancestors of humans. The charts show a gradual trend of increasing cranial capacity as the fossils become more recent. They are striking illustrations in support of evolution.

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Blue Letter Bible

29 September, 2006 EUTC

I have links to 2 bible sites on my sidebar. The first, Bible Gateway is probably the better known one, and is great for getting bible passages in any of a wide range of translations (etc.) and searching for words and phrases. The second is Blue Letter Bible, and has its own strengths that make it worth using as well.

I use Blue Bible for looking up Greek and Hebrew words. I have no formal theological training, and find the site useful for some basic word exploration.

For example, in 1 Cor 7:7 the Greek word for gift is charisma. If I search for ‘1 Cor 7’ and then click on the ‘C’ next to v7, I get this page, with the Greek words and Stron’g numbers for each word or phrase alongside the English from the KJV. If I click on the Strong’s number next to ‘gift’ I get this page, which provides the lexicon entry for charisma. From the usage list I see the various ways in which the word is used, such as Spiritual gift as definition 5. Of course I don’t have to take their word for it, I can check all the references and see, for example, its use to refer to the gift of eternal life in Rom 3:26, and Paul’s delivery from death in 2 Cor 1:11.

On my pda I have MyBible from Laridian, and they have a new concordance that has some of the same features.

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Vaughan Roberts Talk on Singleness

28 September, 2006 EUTC

The following are my notes based on a tape recording of a talk by Vaughan Roberts in 1997 on the subject of what the bible has to say about singleness.

No Christian is Single Forever

No Christian is single forever, in fact no Christian is single, Christ gives us marriage. Eph 5:22-25 has implications about marriage, but also shows that human marriage is a reflection of divine marriage between Christ and his church. Whether or not you are married to another person, you are married to Christ. 2 Cor 11:2 has the image of engagement. Rev 19:7 shows that when Christ returns our marriage to Christ will be permanent. That marriage is the one that will last, the most important relationship, there will be no human marriage in heaven (Mk 12:25). (more…)

A Snake with Legs

22 September, 2006 EUTC

John Wilkins has written a post discussing the report of a snake with legs. The biological explantion is that genes that normally prevent legs from forming happened to be switched off (I assume this just takes a small mutation), reversing the evolutionary loss of legs that earlier species had.

This is a small example of the kind of thing that contributes to my opinion that the scientific evidence really makes it look like evolution is true (for more on my tentative thoughts on this see my previous post here). The snake legs are such a strange occurence, yet they make perfect sense within the evolutionary framework.

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The Fastest Cake In the West

21 September, 2006 EUTC

What is the fastest cake in the West? Answer: S’gone! This joke is described in an excellent article on the scone, which also discusses the cream tea. The cream tea is a meal traditionally eaten in the West Country (meaning southwest England: Cornwall, Devon and Sommerset) mainly by tourists (a.k.a grockles). It involves drinking hot black tea with plain scones topped by clotted cream and jam. I know in the US you can buy double Devon cream from Giant and World Market, though its more authentic to use clotted cream which has an even higher fat content. You can supposedly make your own clotted cream by scalding cream by gently heating it for a long time. (more…)

New Category – Scones!

20 September, 2006 EUTC

I’ve added scones to my tagline making it ‘Science, Statistics, Singleness and Scones, Spiritually Speaking.’ I’m using scones to represent all things British, including some of my favourite baking recipes. For more British cookery online, I would suggest Delia. Also, the blog Baking For Britain which looks at recipes from around the UK seems interesting from an initial glance.

I was born in England to a Scottish dad and Irish mum, where I lived until coming to the US a few years ago for grad school. I don’t have a particular sense of either of the UK or US being home, but I do have a very strong sense of being British, though not having any English blood I don’t consider myself English now that I don’t live in England (though I support them in sport). I’ve hosted several British Bashes since I’ve got here, where I’ve shared things like fish and chips, scones, irn bru, Scottish dancing and cricket.

Evolution and Morality

19 September, 2006 EUTC

Jason Rosenhouse has written a review of Lee Alan Dugatkin’s new book The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness. This book considers the history of the work done by scientists in explaining the evolutionary origins of altruism. The idea that survival of the fittest could lead to behaviour that benefits others does appear strange, but scientists have made some progress in explaining how some such behaviour could evolve. The explanations that science does provide do seem to require an advantage from the altruistic behaviour, either kin altruism which involves helping family (so family and consequently shared genes gain an advantage), or its expected to leads to future reciprocal help (with net benefit).

But do those things really explain morality fully? I don’t want to turn this into a God of the Gaps argument, just because science doesn’t have answers doesn’t prove that there is no natural explanation. That said, where does morality come from? Maybe science has something to say about some of it, but I still believe that Christianity has the best answer.

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