Re: Falk's Coming to Peace with Science

From: Freeman, Louise Margaret <lfreeman@mbc.edu>
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 10:23:08 EDT

I too checked out this book because of a recommendation on this list, and
when I saw it carried back-cover endorsement from both Dembski and Keith
Miller I figured it had to be pretty good. Like Allen, zI appreciated the
exhortion to not treat theistc evoluntionists as second class Christians.
My copy is now in the hands of one of my colleagues, a mathematician who
sponsors the student group that is responsible for inviting Answers in
Genesis speakers to our campus. I'm very interested in his response.
(BTW Ted, I also lent him _Species of Origins_)

I thought the book was well organized, with theological issues at the
beginning and end and his well-reasoned scientific defense of
evolutionsandwiched in the middle. I thought the chapters on island
speciation/continental drift and on genetics were especially well done, with
the "photo album" analogy to genetic mutation and the way went from fairly
recent speciation events (fruit fly radiation in Hawaii) to more ancient
ones, like the isolation of Australia and South America. Even those who
might consider the first example "microevolution" can deny that the second
is cleary "macro."

One thing I found part amusing/part disturbing was the extreme measures he
went to to avoid the terms "evolution" and the name "Darwin." I kept seeing
terms like“gradual creation” “gradual modification of preexisting species”
and “organisms arose to become ideally suited to fill ecological niches”
until I found myself wondering how many euphamisms he could possibly come up
with for the e-word. I bet this is the only pro-evolution book out there
that does a whole chapter on adaptive radiation on islands without
mentioning the Galapagos, and Darwin doesn't even rate an entry in the
index. I suppose he is aware that a large section of his evangelical
audience has a conditioned aversion to those terms. Still, if the reader is
not astute enough to recognize that these are textbook definitions for
Darwinian evolution, they could come away from the book still thinking that
is an inherently unChristian concept.

Falk also is not as strong a critic of ID, though it's clear he's not a big
fan. He states that "We must not give undue attention to that aspect of
Christian apologetics that tries to prove by scientific arguments that there
is a Designer." and cautions against looking for God in some ancient
violation of the second law of thermodynamic (By which I assume he is
referring to so-called "specified complexity) in cellualar structures or
perhaps Behe's "front-loaded" primordial cells?) But he does not say whether
or not ID theory has any place in the world of science, whereas he makes it
clear that "sudden creation" has no scientific support. Still, he was
crtical enough of ID on a theological standpoint that I was a bit surprised
to see Dembski's endorsement.

I liked his commentary on what evangelical Christians can do with the
Genesis creation story beyond interpreting it as a literal scientific
history of how the world came to be. I wish he had addressed the story of
Noah's flood in a similar vein, as that seems to be as big of a concern for
young earth or old earth creationists as the story of Adam and Eve.

I think Falk's book should be much more appealling to the more conservative
evangelical churches that Finding Darwin's God (which I also enjoy). My
Southern Baptist pastor is very interested in the place of evolution in
Christian thinking, and I hope to be able to persuade him to read this, once
I get it back from my colleague. While my first choice would be to see this
book replace the YEC nonsense current on my church's bookshelf, I'd settle
for having Falk alongside it

Louise

__
Louise M. Freeman, PhD
Psychology Dept
Mary Baldwin College
Staunton, VA 24401
540-887-7326
FAX 540-887-7121
Received on Wed Sep 21 10:28:40 2005

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