What I Love About Paleoanthropology

Four years ago to the day, I wrote a post called “Why I Am Not a Scientist”. I’ve since privated it, because I don’t like the way I spoke about myself and my own intelligence in that post. My main idea was that I was new to being an informed atheist, and I was not confident in my abilities to refute young-earth creationism. I called myself “scientifically challenged” and expressed that I felt that in order to really be confident in my atheist stance, I would have to become much more educated in various fields of science. I said that I was “really bad at science” even as I said that I loved and appreciated how it allows us to learn about the world around us.

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Answers in Genesis is Threatened by Human Fossil Discoveries

Happy Sunday and welcome to the latest installment in my series Creationists Don’t Understand Human Evolution! This week I will be responding to the three Answers in Genesis articles under their category “Hominids” in which the AiG authors contend with “the news” each time it “eagerly reports the discovery of another link in the supposed chain of hominid evolution.” In my opinion, this whole category seems pretty incomplete, as it only covers two fossil discoveries as well as an ongoing debate between paleoanthropologists. I don’t normally respond to each article separately, but the first of these three has virtually nothing in common with the other two, so I’ll have to tackle that one on its own. The articles are:

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3 Ways That Answers in Genesis Doesn’t Understand Australopithecus sediba

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.

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Book Review: Almost Human by Lee Berger

A few months ago, I reviewed my now-favorite nonfiction book, Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind by Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey. I had always been curious about human origins, but that book really ignited my interest in the topic of paleoanthropology: the study of ancient hominid fossils. At the end of my Lucy review, I wrote,

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Book Review: Lucy by Donald Johanson

When I finished Tim Keller’s The Reason for God, I had no idea what to read next. All of my books seemed equally intriguing to me, so I used a random number generator to choose what to read, and I landed on Stephen Jay Gould’s Dinosaur in a Haystack. This book was pretty good, but . . . wait, that’s not what we’re talking about, is it? Oh. Right. This is about Lucy.

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Creationism’s Greatest Weakness

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.

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