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Sabbath, Creation and Redemption

The Sabbath, a day set aside to honor the Creator, provides an important opportunity to review briefly two spiritual riches, among many, of the Genesis Creation narratives.

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The Exceptional Properties of Water

There is one small molecule that makes our world unique and special. What is it? Water! Sure, other planets and moons in our solar system may have (or had) water and even more than Earth, but it is rare to find liquid water on the surface of a planet.

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What Is Biology? Part 4 of 4

There is no simple clear definition of what life is. This is appropriate as life is a wonderful, complex, beautiful, enigmatic phenomenon that defies any effort to over-simplify it. Still, most people have no difficulty recognizing living things and differentiating them from non-living things.

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What Is Biology? Part 3 of 4

The scientific method uses inductive reasoning to generate theories that explain data. Deductive reasoning is used to generate testable hypotheses that must be true if a theory is true. When the hypothesis is tested, it may fit well with the new data generated, thus supporting the theory (but not proving it true). If the hypothesis is inconsistent with data, then the theory is inconsistent with data…

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What Is Biology? Part 2 of 4

There are still some rules that we have to follow if we are to do any science, including biology. The first is that empirical data is the authoritative test of all ideas in science.

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What Is Biology? Part 1 of 4

Biology is the scientific study of life. But what is “science?” And what is “life?” Most of us use these words all the time and have a general idea of what we mean by them, however, it is common for scientists themselves to not have a clear understanding of what science is and this is not as surprising as it sounds. Philosophers of science struggle to define their own area of study, with different…

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Conserving Island Earth

The world must have seemed like a big place to Helga Estby, a Norwegian woman who walked across America in the year 1896. Helga immigrated to the United States with her parents in 1871 at the age of 11. On May 5, 1896, at the age of nearly 36, Helga and her 18 year old daughter Clara set out to walk across the United States. They started from Mica Creek, in far eastern Washington state, and walked…

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Teeming Creatures of the Sea!

The number of different kinds of living organisms is one measure of biological diversity, or what has become known as “biodiversity.” Our world’s oceans have the highest known biodiversity, second only to the number of species found in the tropical rainforest.

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The True Colors of the Ocean

Have you ever snorkeled or scuba dove in a coral reef? If you have, and I asked you to describe the experience in less than five words, I bet your answer would be an explosion of color. Well, maybe you would express it slightly differently, but I am sure that you would include the word color in your description. Coral reefs are one of the most colorful spectacles of nature; electric blues, vivid yellows,…

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Annotations from the Literature

A collection of short commentaries on scientific papers published in 2015, covering topics such as phylogeny of moths, beak variations in species of Galapagos finches and scrub jays, functional synthetic chromosomes, horizontal gene transfer, Jurassic fossil snakes, stasis, trace fossils of swimming tetrapods, and habitat diversity in the fossil record. Published in Origins, n. 64.

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Red in Tooth and Claw

During 1833, Arthur Henry Hallam died suddenly and unexpectedly. This would be one of those sad but unremarkable facts of history were it not for his close friendship with Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tennyson spent the next 17 years struggling with the death of his friend. During this time, Tennyson composed “In Memoriam,” a long poem that wrestles with the shock, sadness and despair he experienced and his…

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Creation, Flood and Biogeography: Part 3

The third part of this series on biogeography examines how the flood might have influenced the present patterns of distributions of various types of living organisms.

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Creation, Flood and Biogeography: Part 2

The second part of this series on biogeography emphasize important features that may have affected survival of organisms during the flood.

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Creation, Flood and Biogeography: Part 1

Biogeography is the study of the distributions of living organisms. The major goal of biogeography is to explain why different regions of the earth are inhabited by different types of organisms. Biogeographers seek to discover what historical and ecological factors explain why a species lives in one particular area but not in another area.

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Sociobiology and Creation

Picture a ground squirrel who spots a predator and gives an alarm call. The call alerts other squirrels who run for cover, but the call attracts the predator to the one giving the alarm. This unfortunate squirrel may give its life to protect its neighbors. How could this altruistic behavior, assisting other individuals at the expense of the calling squirrel, result from evolution? This seems contrary…

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Change in Species – Biblical or Not?

Many kinds of animals appear designed for predation and violence, in contrast to what one would expect based on the biblical description of Edenic peace. It seems that animal species must have changed in major ways since the creation, but is this idea compatible with biblical teachings? Many people have asked this question, wondering whether changes in species point to evolution rather than creation.…

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Biomimicry: The Search for Brilliant Design

The West Chester University Professor of Biology, Frank E. Fish, was vacationing along New England's coast frequented by magnificent humpbacked whales. While browsing in a gift shop one day he couldn't help but notice a gifted sculptor’s rendition of one of the splendid creatures and commented to the shop owner that the artist had put bumps on the wrong side of the pectoral fin. The bumps should be…

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Where Did Life Come From?

Among those who reject the Biblical record of God’s action in creating everything, including all living things, the process of chemical evolution from atoms to the first cell is usually explained something like this: elements reacted with each other spontaneously forming simple molecules. These simple molecules continued to react forming larger and more complex molecules such as the nucleotide building…

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The Perfect Wing Stroke

What is the utility of a fourth or a fifth of a wing stroke? Could any insect or bird get by with a wing that is a fraction of its normal size? Could it serve its purpose working at a reduced capacity? These questions are a challenge for those who accept Darwinian gradualism and adaptation. According to the Darwinian evolution theory, biological traits arise by small genetic variations steadily modifying…

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Birds and Flight

Recently I flew to London on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Despite what media hype might lead a Dreamliner passenger to expect, there were no fires on board and the experience wasn’t particularly different from what I’ve experienced on innumerable other flights. From my perspective, the seats were too small, too close together and too hard. That is not to say that there were not some differences,…

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