Re: textbooks

David Campbell (
Tue, 2 Dec 1997 18:29:46 -0400

"if evolution is really the product of a random selection of variants
created by rnadom processes, it is a deeply materialistic concept, leaving
no room for loftier views. It is possible to believe that a Creator would
create a world ruled by randomness, but for many that is a disconsolate
thought. To reject a vital force or a creational design is as difficult
emotionally as it is to accept that the evolution from cyanobacteria to
humans does not represent progress but merely an increase in complexity.
The matter deeply bothered Darwin himself..."-Tjeerd H. Van Andel, 1994,
New Views on an Old Planet, 2nd ed., p. 315
This confounds scientific and popular or metaphysical definitions of random
and progress, contains factual errors (we aren't descended from
cyanobacteria but from other prokaryotes, based on molecular evidence;
Darwin did not believe that the world was entirely random), and is rather
hostile to religion.

Most of the biology and historical geology texts I checked
(Prothero, 1990, Interpreting the Stratigraphic Record; Drickamer and
Vessey, 1992, Animal Behavior, 3rd ed.; Wallace, Sanders, and Ferl, 1991,
Biology, 3rd ed.; Mitchell, Mutchmor, and Dolphin, 1988, Zoology), in their
discussion of the history of the theory of evolution, have disparaging
remarks about the Biblical account based on young-earth interpretations
(not necessarily current or orthodox young-earth interpretations, e.g. the
claim that the idea of extinction "was repugnant to the theologians'
concept of a caring, all-providing deity".

> "Doctrines of creation, which have a mythical, philosophical, or
>theological basis, are not a part of science because they are not
>subject to objective observations and experimentation by all persons...."

As quoted, this statement says nothing about the accuracy of statements
involving supernatural causes but merely that they are not scientific.
Depending on the definition of science, this is probably true of most
statements that involve the supernatural.

David Campbell