This week we are returning to our series where we examine the claims of everyone’s favorite creationists, Answers in Genesis, about human evolution. The purpose of this series is twofold: I want to learn more about paleoanthropology myself and how to better write about the subject, and I want to act as a resource for anyone who is questioning AiG’s claims but doesn’t know enough about human evolution to be able to refute them. To be sure, I know that Ken Ham and his authors are never going to read this, and they would certainly not change their minds or even their methods if they did. They’ve seen myriads of people arguing against them—and blocked them on Twitter (myself included). This isn’t for the AiG staff but for the more bold of the budding skeptics in their audience.Read more
It’s August 15th, 2008. You’re nine-year-old Matthew Berger, and you’re in Gladysvale, South Africa, looking for ancient human fossils with your paleoanthropologist dad, Lee Berger. “Okay, go find fossils!” says your dad. Only moments later, you find a hominid collarbone sticking out of a rock. Your dad curses in shock after seeing all the other hominid bones lying around it: a tooth and part of a jaw, among others. He goes on to spend years studying these fossils among his colleagues, and he names it Australopithecus sediba.
Fast forward: It’s August 15th, 2020, and you’re a 24-year-old woman with an interest in paleoanthropology. You’re writing a blog post about Australopithecus sediba for a series defending finds like the Bergers’ from the heinous claims of anti-scientists. Hours into your research, you see an article telling you that Matthew’s find was in fact made on this very day, twelve years ago. You don’t believe in coincidences or fate, but it makes you smile nonetheless.Read more
Since I first read the story of the groundbreaking 1974 discovery of possible human ancestor Lucy, I have been captivated by the study of human origins. I felt as if during my atheistic indignation at the fantastical creation stories in the bible, paleoanthropology took my hand and showed me that there is an entire field of study that strives to learn where humans really came from. I’ve been baffled that more people weren’t devouring the findings of fossil hunters. I’m afraid that that might be partly because creationist teachings have been normalized, at least in the United States, and I want to help break down, clearly and understandably, why creationism holds no answers about human origins whatsoever.Read more
Nowadays, it may not seem like this blog is entirely about atheism anymore, and maybe it’s not. However, one could argue that atheism colors my view of the world and what I write, even if it’s not explicitly mentioned. This is especially the case as I write more and more about paleoanthropology, or the study of human origins. Last week when I wrote my book review of Ian Tattersall’s The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack, I felt that I had crawled into the cave of a very niche topic that is paleoanthropological politics, and I never mentioned God or religion or atheism one time, and I wondered if that was what my readers wanted when they visited my domain.Read more
Have you ever been going along throughout your day, minding your own business, when suddenly you were bombarded with an absolute fossil of a buried memory? Or rather, you get bits and pieces of a memory of an old book, movie, or TV show? When this happens, it can be next to impossible to think about anything else until you remember exactly what it is that your brain is reminding you of.Read more
If you only know of Richard Dawkins as a militant anti-theist, then you don’t know Richard Dawkins. In his purest form, the man is an enthusiastic and impassioned science communicator, and one of the biggest fans of Charles Darwin that I have ever read. This was made crystal clear to me as I read The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. I decided to read this book when everyone on the Internet decided to collectively make it known to me that it was an amazing, must-read book.Read more
Enjoy this post written for me this week by my sweet husband!
I have been a passionate Pokémon fan for what feels like forever. My enthusiasm all started when I was given a trading card in fourth grade. That card was Cubone. Since then, I have been fascinated by the creatures, story, lore, and everything else Pokémon. But what does Pokémon have to do with an atheist blog?Read more
For the first twenty years of my life, creationism was a fact. At least, I was taught that it was. God created the earth in six days, and anyone who tells you otherwise is maliciously and purposely lying to you. Evolution was vilified; it was not only factually incorrect, but it was morally reprehensible, as if facts could sin.Read more
A few weeks ago, I wrote a response to a presentation by young-earth creationist Jerry Bergman in which he utilized appeals to authority as his primary forms of argument that “there are a lot of scientists who are being persecuted because they don’t believe in evolution.” Among the men that he used to make his case were C.S. Lewis. On Lewis’ evolutionary stance, Bergman stated, Read more
Recently, I came across a post on my old church’s website that a few months back, they hosted a presentation by a creationist on “The Best Evidence Against Evolution.” You may know that a while ago, I wrote a series for this blog trying to discover the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod‘s official stance on evolution. In the end, it seemed that they decisively hold to young earth creationism, although the church still has no definitive stance on whether evolution is actually true.Read more