Archives For Evolution

 

What the Bible REALLY Says
about Science

 
A Review of 

Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!
Denis Lamoureux

Paperback: Zondervan, 2016
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Reviewed by Emily McGowin
 
 
Denis Lamoureux is Associate Professor of Science and Religion at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta. He holds a Ph.D. in theology, a Ph.D. in biology, and a D.D.S., Doctor of Dental Surgery. Lamoureux is the author of Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution; I Love Jesus and I Accept Evolution; and Darwinism Defeated? The Johnson-Lamoureux Debate on Biological Origins. At one time, Lamoureux was a passionate promoter of young earth creationism (YEC), eager to expose evolution as an elaborate deception. But, in the process of obtaining his Ph.D. in theology, Lamoureux found his assumptions about the Bible—especially what it does and doesn’t teach—challenged and ultimately up-ended. He embarked on a journey to figure out what the Bible really says about science. Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes! is a distillation of Lamoureux’s conclusions and his attempt to help others along the same journey.

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Robert Asher - Evolution and BeliefTacking Religious Beliefs on to Darwin.

A Feature Review of

Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist.

Robert Asher.

Hardback: Cambridge UP, 2012.
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Reviewed by Todd Edmondson

As hot button issues go, ongoing debates about evolution, creationism, and Intelligent Design, situated at the point where religion, science, and politics collide, are among the most contentious. Thankfully, a number of Christian scholars and leaders of the church like Rowan Williams, Alister McGrath, and Peter Enns have stepped into the fray, endeavoring to work toward some measure of reconciliation between the tenets of orthodox Christianity and the findings of modern science. There is still, however, much work to be done. If Christians are ever going to be at peace with the findings of modern biology – in a way that involves neither stubborn resistance nor passive silence – a weighty theological task lies ahead. Fruitful conversation between what are often perceived to be competing orthodoxies will require humility, prayer, and rigorous scholarship. At the close of his excellent work The Evolution of Adam, Enns presents this concluding thesis: “A true rapprochement between evolution and Christianity requires a synthesis, not simply adding evolution to existing theories.” To put it another way, one cannot merely take a scientific theory and tack a religious belief onto it, without committing an injustice against both.

As one who agrees with Enns on this point, I picked up Robert Asher’s recent work Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist hopeful that Asher would take another step toward integrating faith and science, this time from the scientific side of the perceived rift. However, as if to confirm the old adage about judging a book by its cover, the promise of this book’s title goes largely unfulfilled. I should state up front that there is much that this book does well. Asher is not only a respected paleontologist; he is also a very good writer. The prose here is excellent and highly readable, so that even the passages that tend more toward hard science are not lost on a layperson like myself. Throughout the book, Asher guides readers through a number of debates and questions surrounding the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution. As someone thoroughly unenlightened on many significant aspects of natural selection–common descent, the fossil record, the development of animals both familiar (the platypus and elephant) and obscure (the tenrec), and molecular biology – I appreciated Asher’s exposition and analysis of these points.

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Are the Bible and Evolution compatible?

A Review of

The Evolution of Adam:

What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins

Peter Enns.

Paperback: Brazos Press, 2011.
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Reviewed by Jasmine Wilson

Are the Bible and Evolution compatible? That is a question so many people have endeavored to answer, and Peter Enns offers a useful account in his book, The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins. First, he answers questions about how to read the origin texts in Scripture, especially in light of other primordial stories of the time, but the differences about Scriptures texts and what those differences say about Israel. The crux of the book is Enns dealing with Paul’s understanding of Adam, however, since that is one of the biggest concerns. If someone were to argue that I should read Genesis figuratively, I can just point to Paul and say, “Well he obviously read it literally. Why shouldn’t I?” Enns scholarship on this is extremely helpful to the dialogue, and I will return to his specific arguments in a moment.

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“Involved in Mankind

A Review of

The Price of Altruism:
George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness

By Oren Harman

Reviewed by David Anderson.


The Price of Altruism:
George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness

Oren Harman.

Hardback: W.W. Norton, 2010.
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THE PRICE OF ALTRUISMIn a world driven by evolution to its relentless, inevitable conclusions, “No good deed goes unpunished/no act of charity goes unresented,” as they say in Oz. How can we account for altruism, that foolish doing unto others as we hope they will do unto us in return? After all, in evolutionary terms, altruism decreases the fitness of the individual while increasing the fitness of the group. Evolution can explain why someone would jump into the ocean to pull their child or even a sibling’s child out of the grip of a rip tide, but why would anyone risk their life to save a neighbor’s child? Darwin saw altruism as a major problem with his theory and was profoundly troubled by it.

Geneticists and evolutionary biologists for 100 years after Darwin struggled to figure out how altruism fits into the evolutionary scheme of things. The evolutionary biologist W. D. Hamilton (much admired by Richard Dawkins, but don’t hold that against him) made the first major breakthrough in 1964 with what is now called Hamilton’s rule:

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Read an excerpt below from Liberty Hyde Bailey’s classic book:

OUTLOOK TO NATURE.

Anyone who is signed up for a free email subscription to the ERB is eligible to receive a free PDF version of this ebook. 

CLICK HERE to request your free ebook copy of OUTLOOK TO NATURE.

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“The Evolutionary Argument for Dr. Seuss”
Salon.com Reviews ON THE ORIGIN OF STORIES
by Brian Boyd

http://www.salon.com/books/review/2009/05/18/evocriticism/index.html

Why do human beings spend so much time telling each other invented stories, untruths that everybody involved knows to be untrue? People in all societies do this, and do it a lot, from grandmothers spinning fairy tales at the hearthside to TV show runners marshaling roomfuls of overpaid Harvard grads to concoct the weekly adventures of crime fighters and castaways. The obvious answer to this question — because it’s fun — is enough for many of us. But given the persuasive power of a good story, its ability to seduce us away from the facts of a situation or to make us care more about a fictional world like Middle-earth than we do about a real place like, oh, say, Turkmenistan, means that some ambitious thinkers will always be trying to figure out how and why stories work.

The latest and most intriguing effort to understand fiction is often called Darwinian literary criticism, although Brian Boyd, an English professor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the author of “On the Origin of Stories,” a new book offering an overview and defense of the field, prefers the term “evocriticism.” As Boyd points out, the process of natural selection is supposed to gradually weed out any traits in a species that don’t contribute to its survival and its ability to pass on its genes to offspring who will do the same. The ability to use stories to communicate accurate information about the real world has some obvious usefulness in this department, but what possible need could be served by made-up yarns about impossible things like talking animals and flying carpets?

Read the full review:
http://www.salon.com/books/review/2009/05/18/evocriticism/index.html

ON THE ORIGIN OF STORIES
Brian Boyd.

Hardcover: Harvard UP, 2009.
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David Byrne Reviews PEDALING REVOLUTION
For THE NY TIMES

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/books/review/Byrne-t.html

 Full disclosure: I’ve ridden a bike around New York as my principal means of transport for 30 years, so I’m inclined to sympathize with the idea that a cycling revolution is upon us, and that it’s a good thing. Like Jeff Mapes, the author of “Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities,” I’ve watched the streets fill over the years with more and varied bike riders. It’s no longer just me, some food delivery guys and a posse of reckless messengers. Far from it.

That said, the revolution isn’t here just yet. Hedge fund managers and General Motors executives aren’t riding to work (though don’t laugh, they will), and this book is not likely to reach beyond the already converted, which includes me, other cycling advocates, and people in the city-planning and transportation universe. But the book is useful — for those of us who occasionally find ourselves on the defensive, Mapes provides names, dates, facts and figures. He details how cities from Amsterdam to Paris to New York to Davis, Calif., have developed policies encouraging cycling in recent decades, and how other towns are just beginning to make way for bikes. He lays out in an easily digestible way a fair amount of material on trip patterns, traffic safety and air pollution.

Read the full review:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/books/review/Byrne-t.html

PEDALING REVOLUTION:
HOW CYCLISTS ARE CHANGING AMERICAN CITIES
Jeff Mapes.

Paperback: Oregon State UP, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]