Consent: Not actually that complicated

rockstar dinosaur pirate princess

A short one today as my life is currently very complicated and conspiring against my preference to spend all of my days working out what to blog. But do you know what isn’t complicated?


It’s been much discussed recently; what with college campuses bringing in Affirmative Consent rules, and with the film of the book that managed to make lack of consent look sexy raking it in at the box office. You may not know this, but in the UK we more or less have something similar to ‘affirmative consent’ already. It’s how Ched Evans was convicted while his co-defendant was not – and is along the lines of whether the defendant had a reasonable belief that the alleged victim consented. From the court documents it appears that while the jury felt that it was reasonable to believe that the victim had consented to intercourse with the co-defendant, it…

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Reading Genesis 1-3 Pt. 2 – The First Creation Narrative

The two creation narratives can be thought of as myths. John Skinner distinguishes between legend and myth by saying that “legend does, and myth does not, start from the plane of historic fact.” Davidson points out that the meaning of myth as something “wholly illusory or devoid of any truth” is not what is meant by scholars referring to Genesis 1 – 11 as “myth.” The creation narratives can be regarded as aetiological myths, from the Greek word aitia, meaning “cause.” Aetiological myths answer the questions that people ask about life, society, and the world around them. They explain why things are as they are.

The First Creation Narrative

This section will examine the first creation narrative found in the Bible, that of Genesis 1: 1- 2: 4b. The prominence and usage of numbers will be discussed, followed by a discussion of the Mesopotamian influences on the narrative and cosmology. The Mesopotamian influences include ideas such as the power in giving something a name, the action of dividing or setting apart, and chaos as something threatening to be vanquished. Lastly, the appropriation of Mesopotamian motifs will be examined.

The use of numbers in the first narrative is interesting. The scheme of six days plus one day is a literary convention which is found in the ancient Near East and serves to emphasize the seventh unit. Conrad Hyers explains the use of numbers as follows:

Seven has the meaning of completeness, wholeness, and totality. This derives from a combination of two other numbers with the same meaning in more limited form: three and four. The number three corresponds to the three main zones of the cosmos pictured vertically (heavens above, Earth below, and the underworld floating on a cosmic ocean beneath). The number four corresponds to the four zones of the cosmos pictured horizontally (the four directions, four corners of the earth, and four quarters). Most suggestive of completeness, wholeness, and totality would then be to put the vertical three and the horizontal four together – hence, the number seven as the more powerful and “complete” number for completeness. …

The number twelve is also worked into the structure in that on each of the six days of creating there are two main divisions: light and dark, waters above and below, seas and dry land, Sun and Moon and stars, birds and fish, land animals and humans. Six days, multiplied by two groupings each day, realizes twelve regions of the cosmic totality.

The narrative structure highlights days three and six, while each of the first three days have a correspondence to one of the last three days. Day one has the creation of light and corresponds to day four with the creation of the luminaries. Day two sees the creation of the sky and corresponds to day five with the creation of birds and fish. Day three with the creation of land and plants corresponds to day six with the creation of animals and mankind. One Babylonian tradition regards the seventh, fourteenth, nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eight days of each month as unlucky. The days stated in Genesis are literal days, as attested by the mention of morning and evening.

Within the Genesis narratives of creation, one can find a Mesopotamian inspiration. Kenneth Mathews states that the closest continuous example of the first 9 chapters of Genesis is the Babylonian Atrahasis, which dates from about 1600 B.C.. Ephraim Speiser states that the Priestly writer’s account of creation is fundamentally different from the Yahwist’s and that the Priestly writer’s account corresponds in a large way with the Babylonian creation narrative Enūma eliš, also called the Babylonian Creation Epic. The extant texts date to the first millennium B.C., but it is agreed that the origin of the text lies in the second millennium B.C. Speiser states that the biblical author then “raised such data to its own theological standards.” It was a common feature of Mesopotamian literature to backtrack back to Creation, especially in historical writings. Other texts of Genesis also have Mesopotamian flavour, e.g. the massive life spans of the antediluvian (pre-Flood) people reflected the use of such life spans within Sumerian literature and the names of antediluvian patriarchs have an Akkadian formation.

The order of events in Genesis 1 and the Enūma eliš are the same. Speiser set the similarities of events out as follows:

Enūma eliš                                                      Genesis

Divine matter and cosmic matter are              Divine spirit creates cosmic matter and exists

coexistent and coeternal                                 independently of it

Primeval chaos; Ti’amat enveloped                The earth is a desolate waste, with darkness

in darkness                                                      covering the deep

Light emanating from the gods                      Light created

The creation of the firmament                        The creation of the firmament

The creation of dry land                                 The creation of dry land

The creation of luminaries                               The creation of luminaries

The creation of man                                        The creation of man

The gods rest and celebrate                            God rests and sanctifies the seventh day

Marduk’s battle with Tiamat. Cylinder seal.

In the Egyptian creation myths found in the Coffin texts (available here) and the Memphite Theology, the god Ptah is the source of creation. In the Theban theology, Amun is seen as the creator. Atum of Heliopolis is also a creator god and he creates Shu and Tefnut, the primal elements of the atmosphere, by sneezing, spitting, or masturbating. The earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut are the offspring of Shu and Tefnut.

Geb and Nut. At night, Nut would come down to Geb. Their children are Osiris, Horus the Elder, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. 

It is interesting to note that in the creative process, God separates certain things from each other. The dividing of heaven and earth is familiar to ancient cosmologies. According to Egyptian creation narratives, Nut, the sky goddess and Geb, the earth god were united at first until they were divided by Shu, the air god. In the Enūma eliš, after Marduk kills Tiamat, the primeval waters, he slices her carcass “like a flat fish into two halves” and uses one part for the sky and the other for the earth . There one can also see the notion of dividing in order to create. In Egyptian cosmology, there existed a heavenly ocean, which was the “upper waters of Horus,” the sky god. Light and darkness are divided from each other. In the Enūma eliš the creation of light is not mentioned, because Marduk is the god of light. Light and darkness was thought of as independently existing elements that did not need the sun, moon, and stars. Thus, it was entirely sensible for light to be created before the sun. In Mesopotamia and Egypt, the darkness was seen as the domain of demons, which are often seen as being banished by the sun. In Egyptian mythology, Apophis is the embodiment of the threatening forces which can endanger the sun and the dark is its domain. The sun and moon where seen as deities, e.g. the Mesopotamian sun god Shamash, the Egyptian sun god Re, and the Ugaritic moon god Yarik. The heavens had a prominent place in the Sumerian pantheon. The Mesopotamian religions believed that the stars dictated one’s destiny, but the writer of the first creation narrative explicitly states that they are only there as markers to distinguish seasons, days, and years.

Set spearing Apophis

God demonstrates his authority by naming the different parts of creation. In the time of Israel, naming something signified and defined the existence of the thing being named, but also demonstrated the superiority and authority of the one giving the name. The Enūma eliš starts with “[w]hen on high the heaven had not been named, / Firm ground below had not been named” and an Egyptian text describes the world before the act of creation by saying “when no name had yet been named.”

The primeval chaos features prominently in Mesopotamian narratives. The storm god Baal-Hadad defends the earth against the threatening chaos and the sea, personified as Yam. In the Babylonian creation epic, the powers of chaos were Apsu, Tiamat, and Mummu. Marduk battled against the primeval chaos, personified as Tiamat, and then formed the cosmos and mankind. Chaos is often personified as a monster, e.g. In the Indian, Hittite, Mesopotamian, and Greek creation myths. The chaos monster is represented in many forms, including a beast with several heads (e.g. the hydra), a large serpent (e.g. Apophis), a fire-spewing crocodile, and a composite animal of half lion and half eagle (e.g. a griffin). The victorious deity is a hero because they provide order. In contrast to the primeval battle myths, the chaos monster is no threat to YHVH and serves as an object of amusement to the sovereign lord. In the Israelite tradition, YHVH has put the threatening waters (Tĕhôm) in their place and thus the sea has been demythologized.

Tiamat depicted as a half-eagle, half-lion composite creature.

The Priestly writer took over the form from the Babylonians and not the other way around, because the cuneiform accounts of the Enūma eliš and other narratives predate the biblical sources. Mesopotamians were scientifically further advanced than the Israelites and the creation narrative uses the accepted science and cosmology known at that time, which was Mesopotamian. Ancient science was not the same discipline as it is today, as ancient science and religion were often blended, especially on subjects such as cosmogony and the origin of humankind. As Othmar Keel explains it, “[a] continuous osmosis occurs between the actual and the symbolic, and conversely, between the symbolic and the actual.” The Israelite version of creation would differ from the Mesopotamian narrative, because of religious differences. In the Babylonian narrative there are several deities who are in rivalry with each other where the biblical version speaks of only one God. Speiser states that “[i]n common with other portions of the Primeval History, the biblical account of creation displays at one and the same time a recognition of pertinent Babylonian sources as well as a critical position toward them.” Mathews states that rather than being a polemic as we understand the term today, the Genesis account are “inferentially undermining the philosophical basis for pagan myth.” As Bill T. Arnold stated: “Ancient religion was polytheistic, mythological, and anthropomorphic, describing the gods in human forms and functions, while Genesis 1 is monotheistic, scornful of mythology, and engages in anthropomorphism only as figures of speech.” The Mesopotamian sources were utilized, but their polytheistic content was reappropriated into a monotheistic view, “it rejects the polytheistic reading of the cosmos and restructures the cosmogonic form and content to read monotheistically.”


Davidson, R. 1973. Genesis 1-11. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hyers, C. 2003. Comparing Biblical and scientific maps of origins. In: Miller, K B (ed). Perspectives on an evolving creation. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans.

Keel, O. 1978. The symbolism of the biblical world: Ancient near eastern iconography and the book of Psalms. London: SPCK.

Mathews, K A. 1996. The new American commentary: Genesis 1-11:26. Volume 1A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman.

Skinner, J. 1976. The international critical commentary: A critical and exegetical commentary on Genesis. Second edition. Edinburgh: T & T Clark. (pdf available here)

Speiser, E A. 1990. The Anchor Bible: Genesis. New York: Doubleday.

Wenham, G J. 1987. Word Biblical commentary. Volume 1: Genesis 1-15. Waco: Word Books.

Reading Genesis 1-3 Pt. I

We embark on the more theological part of the journey and the next couple of posts will be about reading Genesis 1-3.

The creationist Henry Morris argues that all true science and true religion are based upon Genesis, that all doctrines are based on Genesis, and that the book itself is based on its first chapter. Mark Isaak asks why, if creationists esteem Genesis so highly, do they not accept the serious, scholarly study of the book? Scholarly study of Genesis includes recognizing the different authors of Genesis and that the Flood narrative is comprised of two narratives, one by the Yahwist and one by the Priestly writer. J, the Yahwist, is the earliest source, from about the ninth or tenth century B.C., and comes from the southern kingdom of Judah. J uses the divine Tetragrammaton YHWH to speak of God. E, the Elohist, originates from about a century after J, from the northern kingdom. E only appears from Genesis 15 onwards. P, the Priestly source, is the latest at about the fifth century B.C. and provides a framework for the other sources. Bram Van de Beek explains the complexity of reading and interpreting biblical texts when he states that there exists a many-layerdness, which includes the symbolic universum of the reader, the symbolic universum of the writer(s), the experience of the writer(s), and the way the writer(s) perceived the experience. A literal reading disregards these aspects. Gordon Wenham warns against looking for answers to questions that the writer did not concern himself with, e.g. historical and scientific questions.

The claim made by Henry Morris that if “the Bible cannot be trusted on scientific and historical matters, then it cannot be trusted on matters of salvation and spirituality” is a non sequitor, because the Bible was never supposed to be a science or history book and it does not have to follow that if something is wrong in one area that it is necessarily wrong in all others. Van de Beek states that creationism does not defend the confession of God as Creator, but simply one theological model based upon one reading of Scripture which does not take the many-layerdness into account. Conor Cunningham points out that a mistake people make with regard to the Bible is that they think of it as “a self-enclosed, discrete text that can simply be opened, read, and understood.” Unfortunately the Bible cannot simply be read, taken at face value, and then be correctly understood and interpreted.

The Literal Reading of Genesis

Fundamentalism upholds a literal meaning of biblical texts, as Luc Plateaux explains: “fundamentalism denotes the attitude which attributes a literal meaning to the biblical texts (at least in translation), refusing the shifts in meaning which others accept by referring to cultural changes which have come about since the redaction of biblical texts.”  Plateaux goes on to say that:

To tell the truth, no one ever puts this attitude into practise completely. In the Bible there are always texts which are clearly narrative rather than exemplary. It can even be noted that at all times the biblical texts have always been more or less interpreted by the religious and inspired minds which have used them. Be this as it may, a relatively fundamentalistic attitude has long been prevalent in the reading of the Bible, giving numerous terms their literal meaning without excluding their message of revelation. This attitude has had the merit of preserving faithfully the form of this message at times when there was a danger that repetition from memory, or later re-copying, might distort it. However, as human civilization has been transformed by the acquisition of more precise knowledge about the universe, the earth and the living world, fundamentalist attitudes have come up against serious obstacles.

It is important to note that the literal reading of the Bible is never adhered to absolutely and that the texts have been interpreted and reinterpreted throughout the ages. From early times, the literal interpretation was not seen as the only way to interpret the Bible. The Church Fathers Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, and Basil of Caesarea, as well as the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria, saw the creation narratives in Genesis as having a deeper “veiled” meaning which would be destroyed by a literal reading. During the Middle Ages, Scripture was interpreted according to a fourfold plan:

  1. The literal meaning, which is the straight forward or historical meaning.
  2. The allegorical meaning, which is the spiritual or symbolic meaning.
  3. The tropological meaning, which is the moral or ethical meaning.
  4. The anagogical meaning, which is the eschatological or heavenly meaning.

A fourfold pattern is also found in the Jewish exegetical tradition:

  1. Peshat, the plain meaning.
  2. Remez, the allegorical meaning.
  3. Dercsh, the homiletical meaning.
  4. Sod, the mythical or secret meaning.

Bailey notes that most modern-day Bible scholars do not agree with the literal, inerrant reading of the Bible that ignores the human element. Pennock agrees when he says that “[e]ven holding that the Bible is inerrant does not require that we think of it as giving a plainly literal account, especially with regard to scientific matters. Indeed, some argue that faith in a biblical inerrancy requires that we not use a literalist hermeneutic, because taking all biblical statements at face value leads to dozen of explicit internal self-contradictions.” It is probable that the writers of Genesis did not intend for the texts to be read in a literal fashion. Karen Armstrong states that the text of Genesis “was emphatically not intended as a literal account of the physical origins of life” and James E. Talmage, an Apostle of the Latter Day Saints, said the following in 1931: “The opening chapters of Genesis, and scriptures related thereto, were never intended as a textbook of geology, archaeology, earth-science, or man-science. Holy Scripture will endure, while the conceptions of men change with new discoveries. We do not show reverence for the Scriptures when we misapply them through faulty interpretation” (my emphasis). Misapplication and misuse of biblical texts is treating the texts without respect and responsibility. Davidson agrees when he states that “[t]he appeal of Genesis 1 is to the imagination; it is poetic, a hymn written by faith for faith. It is not a scientific hypothesis, nor does it need to be reconciled with any such hypothesis”.

Francisco Ayala argues that science cannot prove religious beliefs to be true or false and that “we should not interpret the Bible as an authoritative textbook on astronomy, geology, or biology.” It is not only in modern times with modern science that Bible scholars do not see the Scriptures as a factual source of scientific knowledge. In his commentary on Genesis, St Augustine warned Christians against attempting to use the Bible to settle matters of science.  In the early and medieval church, the Scriptures were interpreted as allegory. Johannes Kepler argued that the texts of the Bible regarding the natural world should not be seen as accurate science, because the Bible uses commonplace imagery to speak about theological truths. Galileo Galilei quoted Caesar Cardinal Baronius, who stated that “[t]he Bible tells us how to get to Heaven, but not how the heavens go.” During the Reformation a more literal stance was taken, but science was still accommodated. John Calvin taught that the Scriptures were dictated to human authors by God, but that God had to use language that those people would understand. Pope John Paul II wrote that “[t]he Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise but in order to state the correct relationship of man with God and the universe. …sacred Scripture wishes simply to declare that the world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth it expresses itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer.”  It is completely acceptable to think of God as accommodating the limited knowledge of humans in the time they are living. In light of the cosmology of the time, it would not have made sense to speak of evolution, natural selection, quantum physics, etc. As already stated, the Bible was never meant to be a book of science and to be unaccommodating to ancient cosmologies would imply that the correct cosmology would have to be taught first and it would then distract from the actual aim of Scripture.

Within the ancient cosmology, there are many aspects with which we do not agree today, due to our current understanding of the natural world. Examples of passages in the Bible which we do not regard as literal anymore due to scientific discoveries are numerous.  During the time the books of the Bible were written, the cosmology was geocentric, with the sun, moon, and stars moving over the earth from one side to the other. The earth was flat, standing upon pillars and had four corners. I Sam 2:8, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 104:5, and Eccl 1:5, among other verses, claim this cosmology, yet it is not taken literally today. Stanley Rice adds two more examples of the selected literalism when it comes to statements about the natural world: “when Job referred to “storehouses of the wind,” creationists do not build a creationist version of meteorology upon the belief there are actually big rooms where God keeps the wind locked up, nor that God opens up literal windows for rain as is written in Genesis 6.” If Christians who do not accept creationism are compromisers, then creationists themselves are compromisers when it comes to these aspects of ancient cosmology.

Theologians from across the field of denominations choose to accept science and the theory of evolution. In the following quote, critical thought is called on as a virtue that should be used by those who are believers. Ayala quotes the ecumenical Clergy Letter Project:

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator.

In the next installment we’ll look at the creation narratives themselves (one of my favourite parts of the research).


Ayala, F J. 2009. Charles Darwin: Friend or foe? Word & World 29/1, 19-29.

Bailey, D H. 2010. Creationism and intelligent design: Scientific and theological difficulties. Dialogue: A journal of Mormon thought 43(3): 62-81.

Cunningham, C. 2010. Darwin’s pious idea: Why the ultra-Darwinists and creationists both get it wrong. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans.

Isaak, M. 2007. The counter-creationism handbook. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Pennock, R T. 2002. Tower of Babel: The evidence against the new creationism. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Rice, S A. 2007. Encyclopedia of evolution. New York: Facts on File.

Van de Beek, B. 2005. Toeval of schlepping? Scheppingstheologie in de context van het modern   denken. Kampen: Uitgeverij Kok.

Wenham, G J. 1987. Word Biblical commentary. Volume 1: Genesis 1-15. Waco: Word Books.

Arguments Against Evolution pt. 8

The previous post followed the lineage of our own species up until the australopithecines. We now turn to our Homo predecessors in this, the eight and final post in the “Arguments Against Evolution” series.

  • Homo habilis had an increased brain size (650 cc average), a more vertical face, and smaller teeth and manufactured and used simple stone tools . These simple tools are known as Oldowan technology. These features of H. habilis were related to meat consumption, meaning that if our ancestors didn’t eat meat, we wouldn’t be big-brained H. sapiens. Fats and proteins from a diet that included meat were essential in the evolution of larger brains . H. habilis the first significant and rapid increase in brain size. The specimens of H. habilis might include a larger-brained species called Homo rudolfensis, but it is uncertain whether H. rudolfensis is indeed a separate species. This species lived from about 2.4 to 1.5 million years ago. 
  • Homo ergaster is seen as the ancestor of the Asian Homo erectus and also the European Homo Heidelbergensis. H. ergaster had African origins. They were probably scavengers. These hominins had even larger brains, more complex tools (Acheulean technology), more efficient bipedalism, could use fire, and their offspring remained juvenile for a longer period. They might have been the first hominins to use a kind of primitive language.  H. ergaster proves the Out of Africa hypothesis, and therefore also the reasoning of Darwin, to be correct. The most famous specimen of H. ergaster is known as Turkana Boy, or the Nariokotome skeleton, found in Kenya. This specimen is an almost complete skeleton and shows that H. ergaster was built like modern human, but with the brain size of a 1 year old child. Even with the comparatively small skull, H. ergaster needed a human birth and prolonged infant care.

    Turkana Boy

    • Homo erectus date from about 1.8 million to 300,000 years ago and had brain capacities of 099 cc in the earlier specimens and 1,100 cc in later specimens.With H. erectus we see a refinement of tools, which imply planning and acting with purpose . As of 1999 the fossils identified as H. erectus have been recognized as coming from about 150 individuals.                
  • Homo floresiensis are perhaps the most surprising find in the Homo lineage.  Fossils which were thought to be H. erectus were discovered on Flores Island. What was peculiar was that the typically H. erectus tools were “toysized” and all the fossils were of children. More detailed investigation of the skeletons revealed that they were from adult individuals who only reached about 1m in height with 380cc brains. It is presumed that H. floresiensis are descendants of H. erectus that became isolated on Flores Island and evolved to the smaller size. These miniature people existed as recently as 18,000 years ago.

    Homo sapiens and Homo floresiensis

    • Homo Heidelbergensis were from African descent and moved through Europe, evolving into Homo neanderthalensis. They may not have been the first Homo species to enter Europe, as Acheulean stone flakes were found near the Jordan River and may belong to H. ergaster. The H. heidelbergensis that remained in Africa evolved into Homo sapiens and intermediate forms such as the Kabwe and Bodo skulls have been found.    
  • Homo neanderhtalensis were the European descendants of H. Heidelbergensis . H. neanderthalensis had brains as large as those of Homo sapiens and tools more advanced than H. ergaster. The first H. neanderthalensis specimen was found in 1856 in the Feldhofer Cave in the Neander Valley near Düsseldorf, Germany. The Neanderthal’s tools are called Mousterian technology. The Neanderhtals lived between 200,000 and 30,000 years ago. We have bones from about 500 individual Neanderthals.

    Replica skull of a Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis), with a modern human (Homo sapiens) in the background.

  • Cro-magnon fossils were discovered in 1868 the Cro-Magnon cave in France. The Cro-Magnons are completely modern in their anatomy and the term is now used to refer to any Homo sapiens that lived in Europe before people started settling and forming villages. Cro-Magnon remains are between about 35,000 and 15,000 years old. They produced cave paintings, the most famous of which are at Lascaux in France (gallery), and also produced carvings. Other forms of art produced by these people included body decorations, ceramic pottery and musical instruments. Cro-Magnon buried their dead and had distinct cultures. Cro-Magnons were at first thought to be descendants of the Neanderthals, but they are descendants of African H. sapiens.

    Neanderthal (left) and Cro-Magnon (right)

  • Homo sapiens evolved from H. heidelbergensis in Africa and then migrated to populate the globe. In Indonesia they encountered H. erectus and perhaps H. floresiensis and could have reached the continent of Australia as early as 60,000 years ago. Encounters with European H. neanderthalensis resulted in a cultural explosion. This cultural explosion is dated to about 40,000 years ago and is called the Upper Paleolithic period. It is from this period that religious artifacts are found.


As a conclusion to the “Arguments Against Evolution” series (Pt.1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5, Pt. 6, Pt. 7), one can see from the arguments examined that the arguments aimed against evolution stem mostly from a misunderstanding of the science behind evolution (e.g. the missing links, the second law of thermodynamics) or the claims made by evolution (e.g. the hopeful monster theory). Some of the arguments may be conscious trickery on the part of those who seek to discredit evolution. Isaak states that “[m]uch of the strength of creationism comes not from its having good arguments but from creating so many arguments that educators cannot easily teach the answer to all of them.” This is also the problem when it comes to debates between creationism and evolution. Creationism seems to bowl the evolutionists out by sheer strength in the number of claims and arguments, which the evolutionists simply cannot adequately answer or explain in a single debate. This tactic is called Gish galloping. When steamrollered by an avalanche of misinterpretations and untruths, those on the side of evolution are often left floundering and looking like fools.


Cotner, S & Moore, R 2011. Arguing for evolution: An encyclopedia for understanding science. Greenwood: Santa Barbara.

Dawkins, R 2009. The greatest show on earth: The evidence for evolution. London: Bantam Press.

Miller, K B 2003. Common descent, transitional forms, and the fossil record, in Miller, K B (ed.) Perspectives on an evolving creation. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans.152-181.

Rice, S A 2007. Encyclopedia of evolution. New York: Facts on File.

Ruse, M 2006. Darwinism and its discontents. New York: Cambridge University Press.

See Also:

Arguments Against Evolution pt. 7

After working like mad to finish my thesis I can finally get back to my theology and evolution blogs. In this installment we take a look at a very important branch of the evolutionary tree – ours! Allow me to introduce you to some of our hominid and hominin forefathers (and mothers). Hominid used to refer to the family Hominidae, as distinct from the family Pongidae (chimpanzees), but the term now refers to Hominidae as it stands now, including chimpanzees and bonobos in the family. Hominin is the term employed for the lineage that has already diverged from that of the chimpanzees and which leads up to modern humans.

Anti-evolutionists often ask to be shown the fossils. Richard Dawkins recounts a rather infuriating interview (pgs 198-201) which would let any sensible person want to bang their head on their desk.

  • Sahelanthropus tchadensis is the earliest known bipedal ape. Discovered in 2002 in Chad, this creature lived about 7 to 6 million years ago, which is 1 to 2 million years before the lineages of humans and chimpanzees split according to DNA studies.                                   
  • Orrorin tugenensis was discovered in 2000 in Kenya, walked upright, and lived about 6 million years ago.   
  • Ardipithecus ramidus (basic root ape) seems to be the point where the human lineage began. It was discovered in 1994 in Ethiopia and clocks in at about 4.4 million years ago.                        
  • Australopithecines (literally “southern ape”) were hominins that lived in Africa. They were bipedal, but their brains were not consistently larger than other apes. Their leg and pelvic bones attest to upright walking, but a bony ridge on the forearm, which might be vestigial, points to walking on the knuckles.They probably used tools, but much in the same way chimpanzees do today. The earliest species were A. anamensis, A. afarensis, and A. bahrelghazali from about 4 to 3 million years ago. A. garhi and A. africanus lived in the southern regions of Africa at about 3 to 2 million years ago. The Australopithecines are described as “gracile” and were small of stature, only measuring about 1m tall.Their jaws were relatively small as were their faces.
  • Australopithecus afarensis was discovered in 1974. The fossils date from 3.9 to 3.9 million years ago and had humanlike teeth (Isaak, 2007: 106). The first specimen discovered is also the most famous. The nearly complete skeleton of Lucy was helpful in shedding light on the movements of the species. A. afarensis was bipedal. Fossilized footprints of A. afarensis or a closely related species that evidence bipedalism were found in Tanzania in volcanic dust which was dated to about 3 million years ago. The “Dikika Baby” was found in 2006 in Ethiopia and from the shoulder blades it could be deduced that the species could still swing from trees. “Little Foot” was discovered in 2006 in South Africa at Sterkfontein. There are bones from about 150 individuals. 
  •  Australopithecus africanus was discovered in 1924 in a Pleistocene limestone quarry in the Transvaal region near Taung, South Africa. The most famous specimen is the first, called the Taung child. A. africanus have humanlike teeth. This species shows that the skull’s characteristics became more modern before the brain size increased as well as that human evolution began in Africa. The specimens date from about 3 to 2 million years ago and have a brain capacity of 420-500 cc.                                   
  • Kenyanthropus platyops was discovered in Kenya and is thought by some to be the ancestor of humans, rather than Australopithecus. Kenyanthropus lived about 3.5 million years ago. 
  • Paranthropus is a genus consisting of three known species called the “robust australopithecines.”
  • Paranthropus aethiopicus was probably the ancestor of both P. robustus and P. bosei. The Paranthropus lineage seems to have met a dead end. The “robust australopithecines” were most likely the descendants of the “gracile australopithecines,” after the line split into at least two branches. The other branch would lead to the Homo species. 

In the next installment we’ll look at our Homo predecessors.


Cotner, S & Moore, R 2011. Arguing for evolution: An encyclopedia for understanding science. Greenwood: Santa Barbara.

Rice, S A 2007. Encyclopedia of evolution. New York: Facts on File.

Ruse, M 2006. Darwinism and its discontents. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Doing the CorpGoth Thing


My wardrobe has undergone some changes over the past year or so. It used to be populated by T-shirts, tank tops and jeans for the week and corsets and pvc for the weekends. Now that I have a job in admin, I’ve had to start buying clothes that are multi-functional and can work both for the office and for weekends.


Contrary to what one might think, you don’t have to disregard your style completely and look like someone else. Different offices and workplaces will have different levels of strictness when it comes to work dress codes. If you work with customers/clients on a daily basis then the rules will probably be more strict than if you never see clients. I played around on to give you some examples of what I’m talking about.  Many gothic items are formal enough to use for work. The romantic goth style is very neat and formal in itself, so many of those items can be worn for work. Examples of such items are:

– long black skirts (without high slits)

– some shorter black skirts

– lacy tops that are not too revealing

– black boots

– long coats

goth clothes

Depending on the workplace you can even get away with cute gothic jewellery like small bat stud earrings or hairclips. I’ve worn stripy stockings, tentacle earrings, silver bat hairclips, and octopus rings to work (not all at once). The thing is to keep it neat and understated, don’t go too wild.

You cannot go wrong with black trousers. They are the staple of my work wardrobe. You can wear them with different tops for different looks. In the winter I like to wear them with button-up shirts and a waistcoat for a more unisex Victorian look. For a more feminine look you can wear a top with mesh, lace, or ruffles. They work great for winter and summer and you can wear boots, creepers or heels with them.

white shirt   black pants ruffle top

With the current season’s fashion containing many items in black pleather, there are many nice items that can be used for the office and otherwise. Pleather pencil skirts are popular.

PU skirt outfit

You can also experiment with some colours. I have a really nice dark blue men’s shirt that goes so well with my blue streaks in my hair. White shirts work well and other colours like dark purple and red can also look good for a corporate gothic outfit.


I am one of those women who cannot wear heels, so I usually wear black boots, like my Doc Martens or army boots. Other shoes that work well are black Mary Janes, for a more feminine outfit. I have a pair of Doc Martens that have a slight heel and they work so well with trousers.

funtasma victorian

Funtasma: Victorian-120. I have boots like these and this is the limit of heels that I can walk properly in.


I am lucky that my workplace is fine with my blue streaks. Most offices won’t be as lenient, though. If you cannot have weird colour hair, then you can still try colours like black, plum, radiant red, and white. Make sure your hair goes with your natural skin tone and that it doesn’t bother you while you’re working.


For the office I go a bit lighter with my makeup. I still wear mostly black eyeliner with a dark eye shadow, but toned down a bit. A smokey eye always looks good. I’ve also started experimenting a bit more with colour, e.g. purple eye shadow, dark green eyeliner, dark blues, etc. You can still do dark nails (think dark purple, wine red, dark blue). I don’t wear lipstick to work, but a nice plum or deep red would work for the office.


Body Art:

This is one of the tough ones. Most places would ask you to remove piercings and cover up tattoos. For work I only remove my labrette, but keep in my eyebrow piercing and six earlobe piercings. I decided to take out my labrette for work and see what they say about the rest and that worked well for me. If I had to take it all out I would’ve, because I’m not in a position to be picky about work.


Clean and neat are two key ideas for any outfit for work. Iron the things that need ironing and make sure your clothes get enough fresh air so they don’t smell musty (especially if you smoke). Make sure your hair is clean and neat, your clothes fit well and your underwear doesn’t show. These are basic things that should be common sense.

Also See:

10 Christian Stereotypes I Hate

This pretty much sums it up.

Brett E. Shoemaker

I hate when people assume certain things about me without getting to know who I am. You probably hate that too! Whenever people figure out I am a pastor at a Christian church, they tend to always assume the following:

1. Cussing around me is a no-no. Really? I’m honored that you feel the need to change your attitude/language around me, but you don’t need to try and be on “good behavior” when we are together. Typically, I’m not offended by your language and its not like I have never heard it before. I would rather you just be yourself than trying to be someone else for me.
2. I don’t like homosexuals. I understand why you may have gotten this impression considering some of the ridiculous Christians out there. But, I love them. To be honest, I don’t know why so many of my Christian brothers and sisters elevate…

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