Monday, May 06, 2013

United with Creation - Red Deer Creation Care Conference, Sermon #1

The following is the first sermon in a series of talks I gave in Red Deer on April 12-14, 2013, on creation care. This text provides the gist of what I said, but of course I riffed a bit. I also had PowerPoint images to go along with this talk. Note that when I talk about creation, I am in no way disparaging evolution. One can affirm creation and evolution, without doing too much damage to the definition of either. To read the introduction of this series, click here.

 


How similar are we to animals? Recently, discoveries in biology have suggested that animals share more in common with humans than previously thought: culture, emotions, humour, long term memory, math, tool use, none of these are considered unique to humans any more. In the past, it was assumed that animals lacked these things, and thus we could do whatever we wanted with animals. But that is no longer the case. Environmentalists use this to declare that humans and animals are equals, and have equal rights.

What is the Christian response to this? Usually Christians respond with a scoff and some statement about how we’re better than the animals. But I would like to suggest that the environmentalists are not all wrong. There is more similarity between humans and animals than Christians like to believe. But I don’t have to base this off of biology – we see it quite clearly in scripture.

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Introduction to Creation Care: A Talk Given at Davenport Church of Christ, Red Deer, April 12, 2013




The following is the introduction to a series of talks I gave in Red Deer on April 12-14, 2013, on creation care. This text provides the gist of what I said, but of course I riffed a bit. I also had PowerPoint images to go along with this talk. Note that when I talk about creation, I am in no way disparaging evolution. One can affirm creation and evolution, without doing too much damage to the definition of either.

I opened with a story that I did not write down, about my bizarre encounter with a strange neon blue marine worm in Halifax, NS, in which I picked up this creature and accidentally dropped it. Its body burst in two, white liquid poured out, and then its smooth face curled up in my direction, its face peeled back and this white puffy flesh emerged. On the end of the flesh were two black, curved fangs. Needless to say, I ran away pretty fast. Only later did I learn that these polychaetes turn a bright blue during the breeding season. They swim to the surface, where part of their body detaches and explodes in a shower of gametes. The white flesh I saw was its esophagus, which it shoots out of its mouth to impale its prey.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ceratium, Alberta's Carnivorous Alga

video

Ceratium hirundinella, featured above, is a single-celled dinoflagellate, which may very well be the coolest non-dinosaur name given to a creature. Its name is well-deserved: Ceratium is a monster. It is the fastest moving of the algae, and it is a carnivore, actively hunting down other algae while also generating food from the sun. During periods of stress, they can form cysts that are resistant to winter temperatures and dehydration. The hardiness of these cysts has enabled Ceratium to spread throughout the northern hemisphere. It is apparently also making inroads in South America.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dileptus, the Carnivorous Elephant of Albertan Ponds

I'm getting more comfortable using my microscope to identify the incredible diversity of organisms living in Alberta's ponds. Rather than keep this to myself, I thought I'd post every now and then on some critter I've identified. Of everything I have seen so far, the species featured below has given me the greatest heebie-jeebies.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Vitamin C Provides Evidence for Human Evolution

Hello everyone and happy New Year. Now that I have finished teaching my course on Science and the Christian Faith at Alberta Bible College, I actually have time to write on this blog again! My New Years' resolution is to post one blog a week (I began this resolution today, so ignore the fact that I missed the first week). I certainly have a wealth of things to share from the last semester! Today though I would like to discuss what I consider to be a fairly compelling piece of evidence for the evolution of humans from nonhuman primates, and it comes from a strange source: vitamin C.