Archive for April, 2014

All in the family! Part 2

 

Research on the Neanderthal genome has revealed modern humans and Neanderthals could interbreed with one another.  This means Neanderthals and modern humans are all of the same kind, or family. In other words, Neanderthals are just a variation of humans.

The following is from an article on the New Scientist website entitled, “Breeding with Neanderthals helped humans go global,” by Michael Marshall.

“The publication of the Neanderthal genome last year offered proof that Homo sapiens bred with  Neanderthals after leaving Africa. There is also evidence that suggests they enjoyed intimate relations with other hominins including the Denisovans, a species identified last year from a Siberian fossil.”

Tourists at the entrance to Denisova Cave, Russia from the Wikimedia Commons.

Tourists at the entrance to Denisova Cave, Russia from the Wikimedia Commons.

But another variation of humans was discovered fairly recently, the Denisovans.  Their genome reveals they were related to the Neanderthals.  But there is more to the plot.  The Denisovans also interbred with another mysterious variation of humans.

The following quotes are from another article by Michael Marshall, “Mystery human species emerges from Denisovan genome.”

“The genome shows that Denisovans were cousins of the Neanderthals – this much was already known. ”

“The new hominin has left its traces in the genome of a Denisovan, an extinct hominin known to exist from a finger bone and two teeth found in a Siberian cave. Nobody knows what Denisovans looked like because there are so few fossils. But geneticists have managed to sequence their entire genome to a high degree of accuracy.”

“The best explanation is that the Denisovans interbred with an unidentified species, and picked up some of their DNA. Or as Reich puts it: “Denisovans harbour ancestry from an unknown archaic population, unrelated to Neanderthals.”  

A finger bone and two teeth are not a lot of evidence.  But with the evidence they do have, the information seems to show that these hominins were all in the same family or kind.  There also seems to be a variation within this human family.  This is no surprise to Scripture.

Again, the Bible can shed light on the evidence.

As we study Scripture, God is a God of unlimited knowledge and intelligence capable of making and creating complex creatures.   Scientists are now beginning to see the incredible complexity of life.  Also, as we examine Scripture and science, there is the ability in the genome for great variety.  In Genesis chapter ten, we have the division of the nations as people groups that spread throughout the world.

Genesis 10:5  – By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

Genesis 10:32 - These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

With the separation of nations, certain human characteristics would be more pronounced or prevalent in the dispersed people groups.  Thus giving us the drastic variations of humans we see today, and it was possibly even greater in the past.  As time past from the division of the nations, or even from Adam, some of these people groups have been lost due to wars (genocide), harsh living conditions, diseases, natural disasters, interbreeding with other people groups, etc.

The following is from the same article mentioned above, “Mystery human species emerges from Denisovan genome.”

“Whoever the mystery people were, they are a reminder that inbreeding was rife in human evolution.”

Interbreeding within the human kind and having more little humans is not Darwinian evolution (macro-evolution), but instead micro-evolution or variation within a kind.  This concept is both Scriptural and scientific, but not evidence for macro-evolution.

Going back to the articles, the finding of a wide variety of humans is no surprise.  Some of the humans had big jaws while some had small jaws, some had big skulls and some had small ones, some ate with big teeth and others without, some people had sloping foreheads and big eyebrow ridges and others had straight or protruding foreheads.  Some individuals were very big, and others were small.  Some people even had big noses whiles others had small ones (unfortunate).

Just because an individual has a flat forehead, larger eyebrow ridges, big jaw and teeth, or even a big nose does not mean that he or she is less human or more primitive!  These are some of the variations God has programmed into the human genome.

There are no surprises in the fossil record.  They fit perfectly with what we read in Genesis.  It’s all in the family!

 

Rich Stepanek

All in the Family! Part 1

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Those Stubborn Mules

 

Impossible foal

Photo and caption from the original Denver Post story linked below

I really appreciate people sending me articles. Thanks, Frank, for the one regarding the mule!

One of the tests we have imposed on the term “species” is that of reproduction. If two animals can reproduce and if the offspring is viable (meaning the offspring can reproduce), then we say the original pair are of the same “species.”

It has been a common thought that mules, which are the hybrids between horses and donkeys, do not reproduce. That would mean that the donkey and horse are 2 different species.

Leave it to a mule to be stubborn and defy genetics!  A Denver Post article posted July 26, 2007 and updated in August of 2013 was titled, “Mule’s foal fools genetics with ‘impossible’ birth.”

According to the article, “It’s an event so rare that the Romans had a saying, ‘when a mule foals’ — the equivalent of ‘when hell freezes over.’”

Yes it is a rare event, but not “impossible.” The article mentioned that there are about 50 such cases of mules having offspring. Genetic researchers certainly are intrigued about this and are trying to figure out how this works.

Unfortunately, the young foal died last August from complications after having slipped on the ice earlier in the winter. While alive, it was the center of genetic attention and seems to have opened up new areas of genetic research. This case, and many others like it, should make us question our definition of a species. At the very least, it also shows that the Biblical definition of a kind is a whole lot more useful than our man-made term, “species.”

To read the original article, see: Mule’s foal fools genetics with “impossible” birth.

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Work …a Blessing or Curse?

 

WORK.  What thoughts come to mind when you hear this word?  Are they in a positive or a negative light? Do you like to work? I have been thinking about work and its value for the past few weeks. Since my cancer surgery four months ago, I basically had the “privilege” of being served by others. This was primarily my dear husband and my family, who provided almost everything I needed. They brought me many meals in bed, washed many dishes, and served me in whatever way they could. I was unable to do almost any of the usual household duties I had been accustom to doing for the past 35 years. I had always enjoyed serving, so it was very difficult for me to now be the one to be served. This life went on for over three months.

hThen by God’s grace and some new medication, I started to feel somewhat better. I began to be able to do some simple cooking and cleaning. One of these first days as I was ironing one of my husband’s shirts, a task I had not been able to do for over three months, I just began to cry and praise The Lord for His goodness in allowing me the privilege to do this again! It felt so GOOD to work! At the end of the day, I could look back and see what God had allowed me to accomplish. Now by many standards it really wasn’t much, but it was so much more than I had been able to do before! It brought such a sense of fulfillment. Part of my joy was related to the fact that I wasn’t sure if my health would ever improve, but part was also just the joy derived from doing something of purpose, meaning, and service to my family. After several months of serving me, my husband and family were more than happy to have me resume my role and responsibilities, even with a few limitations!

The subject of work also reminds us of Genesis and creation. Work was part of God’s original plan. He gave both Adam and Eve specific duties and expected them to fulfill them. God knew that work was good and would provide joy and fulfillment. Work was NOT part of the curse after Adam’s sin. The curse made his work more difficult, because of the weeds and thorns, but the work itself was not a curse.

So the next time you are feeling discouraged or dismayed by the work that is before you, I would  encourage you to stop a moment and think. Thank God first for the ability to work, also His provision of work, and maybe ask for a change of heart that you would sense the joy that God intended to be derived from your work.

 

Sue Stepanek

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Getting Buried at the Museum

 

AOI always enjoys opportunities, with two just this past week, to give creation presentations along with museum tours of the Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita, CO. We have heard that this most recent tour has already had an impact on some of the participants!

AOI Museum Tour 2One was for a group of college students. The other group was a vibrant group of home educators and their children. The children really enjoyed the station where you can “dig” up dinosaur bones. Actually, as you can tell by the picture, some of the students enjoyed burying others in the group as much as digging up bones.

Of course, like most museums across this country (except for a few creationist ones), the amount of evolution presented is daunting. Without a proper creationist introduction, it would be easy for these students to “get buried” by the evolutionary philosophy.  This is happening to a high percentage of students in the public school system, as well as many Christian students.

We encourage you, if you get out to Western Colorado, to contact Alpha Omega Institute for materials or even to arrange for a presentation and creationist tour. You can then take the information back to your church, or so we would hope.

If you are not coming out this way, call AOI and arrange to have one of our speakers come to your church or university, thus bringing the truth of creation into your community.

Another option is to come to one of our family camps or perhaps college age students can come out to take part in our Discover Creation Training Institute.  You can read about these great opportunities on our website!

Whatever you do, fortify your family with the truth!

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Good Morning!

 

Snowy in MoabAs we were preparing for a full day of field trips, with the Jackson Hole Bible College, this was the scene in what is supposed to be warm and sunny Moab, Utah. It was still snowing! The students had just came from a pile of snow and very cold temperatures in Wyoming, so they likely think this is normal. However, they did have expectations of warmer weather and had to trade in their shorts for something warmer.

We had to delay our excursion a couple of hours from where we were staying in Moab as we really wanted to have them see something other than clouds, as this is a geology and biology field trip – not a meteorology class.

This has been the case for Mary Jo & I as we have led field trips for various groups over the years, including this bible college for many years. You take the weather you get and make the most of it. One year, we were tempted to make a T-shirt which said “I slid the Grand Canyon,” rather than the traditional, “I hiked the Canyon.”

Other times the weather is just perfect and that is what we are hoping and praying to have for the rest of this trip!  But, by the time I had finished this blog (and sent it to Scott), it was snowing even harder!

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

75 Years of Commitment

 

Happy 75th

My parents, Irwin and Barbara Nutting, just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. First of all, that is hardly heard of because of the age attainments necessary. Secondly, many people are amazed at 75 years because of the fact that people these days seem to drift in and out of relationships with little commitment to each other long-term.

I realize that circumstances can make a marriage seem unbearable, but so many trials that cause many people to split apart, can be overcome. Many “unbearable” situations can actually be overturned to bring victory in a marriage and lead to 75 years. But it takes effort and it takes commitment. Enough preaching.

I really appreciate my parent’s commitment to each other and working through the difficulties of raising 4 boys together to achieve this amazing milestone of 75 years. That is a great encouragement and example for Mary Jo and I. Good job, Mom & Dad.

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.