Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Book Review: Evolution Fact or Fiction?

I had quite low expectations of this little 40 page booklet when I picked it up but John Blanchard's Evolution: Fact or Fiction? surprised me. It attacks atheistic evolution and evolutionary theory by using the words of evolutionists. He hoists them on their own petard (great phrase) and argues for greater confidence in the Bible, although he doesn't attempt to lay out how the Bible interacts with science, although it seems as though the author excepts that the universe is incredibly old.

He has four main points of attack. First up is fossils. Essentially the fossil record doesn't offer any evidence and the event known as the Cambrian Explosion is held up as evidence against evolution.

Secondly, he argues that humanity while similar is so substantially different than any other life form that evolutionary hypothesis falls short. Thirdly, that the missing link remains missing but that more importantly the idea of 'spontaneous generation of life' is a greater leap of faith than it is of science or even to believe in a God. There remains no convincing explanation for how life began.

Fourthly, the brute fact of matter. Where did it come from? Was it just there? How is simply accepting that as a fact any different from the acceptance as brute fact of the existence of God. Fifth comes the argument of irreducible complexity and lastly the argument that people hold on to evolution so passionately because they reject God so fervently.

At 40 pages long you can't expect too much but the strength of the various cases is using the admissions of known evolutionists to undermine their own case. I'm pretty sure there are good counter arguments but if you wanted to introduce someone to the idea that the case for some aspects of evolutionary theory as not as strong as popularly supposed then this may be a good and inexpensive option to begin with.


Ian Matthews on 28 January 2009 at 16:17 said...

When I was working through this issues I gave both this book and Bone of Contention, by Sylvia Baker, to a Biologist and a Geologist (both Christians), and was left in little doubt that both books use old quotes, arguments, straw men and out-of-date scientific research.

The problem is that a faulty argument against evolution can do more damage than good and can push someone scientifically minded further away from faith, not closer.

The Biologist made the point that every scientist (as opposed to campaigning atheist) would have doubts about evolution, or at least some aspects of it, just as a Physicist would have doubts about the Big Bang, quantum mechanics or string theory. But to be able to do science it has to be treated as 'true for now' otherwise the whole endeavour freezes up.

Ari on 28 January 2009 at 17:31 said...

Thanks Phil. Got any book recommendations on this subject. I'm particularly trying to understand how 'intelligent design' sits with creationism (or not).

Phil on 28 January 2009 at 18:16 said...

No doubt there are some old arguments and simplified cases - this is a booklet after all and it's not aimed at the scientifically minded so you can't judge it against that. However I think your last point is very reasonable.

Ari, I'd definitely recommend the 3 views on creation/evolution. I reviewed it here

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