Jump to content

Darwin vs. Creation - a serious question not on the topic at hand


JDaveG
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have become a bit more interested in the debate on evolution versus creation. I intend to do some reading over the summer on the topic, and I have a pretty simple question. I have purchased 2 books to get started. The first is "Why Evolution is True" by Coyne. The 2nd is "Darwin's Black Box" by Behe.

The question is, in what order should I, an evolution skeptic, read them?

Thoughts welcome from either side of the discussion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't read either book, but I know the best watch on evolution I've seen is this:

Remember when they had the big textbook evolution sticker controversy in Cobb years back? This is a lecture the Brown professor who wrote the book gave on basically why there's so much pseudoscience around evolution/intelligent design and how it stacks up credibility wise versus other theories (and intelligent design). Of course it's geared towards the specific evolution/intelligent design textbook debate, but it's got a lot of good points for evolution in general. He also briefly touches on the concept of irreducible complexity that lots of creationists have been using (I think that's what darwins black box is about).

It's about an hour of lecture then an hour of Q&A. Good watch as it's from a very credible person (who happens to be Roman Catholic if I believe correctly).

Other than that, the one thing I'd say is remember that Darwinism isn't equal to modern evolutionary theory. Lots of people go after what Darwin wrote, forgetting that he's really only relevant because he put forth the original theories that have changed and evolved into current theories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just because you are a skeptic doesn't mean you shouldn't read the unfiltered opposing point of view for yourself. Read new things, think new thoughts. The mark of an intelligent man is to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.

Go for it.

Coyne's book IS the opposing view -- I fully intend to read the opposing view.

The question is, what do I read first?

My inclination is to read Coyne first, then Behe. I'm not sold on Behe's work (he's an avowed ID guy) anyway, so that will help avoid any filtering of Coyne's analysis by having already read Behe's work. I was just curious what everyone else thought.

At some point, I'll be working through those who reconcile evolution and Christianity, but I want a good base on both pro-evolutionary thought and anti-evolutionary thought before I get there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well it is too hot a topic. I believe God has made everything evolve over time. I don't think his seven days of creation is the same as "our" seven days. People always ask to show them proof of evolution but our life spans are so short that it is impossible to really "see" evolution. It takes millions of years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you guys are making some solid points and recommendations.

i think i am older than some of you and i can relate to the questions and interests.

no disrespect to anyone here or am i pointing out that i am better, but from my experiences, i had the same urges and issues and sought pretty much the same things most of you guys seen and read.

the question that none of the authors or darwin's definition of evolution can answer is "why we are here"

all of the authors do similar approach and blur the line between cause and reason.

its a debatable topic which was beaten to a dead horse part 1 and ongoing. darwin's reasoning is very simliar to the epicureans and in the late 18th century in american we call it pragmatism...

but none of them can explain more clearly the why/how as the bible does.

(sees a few people groaning)

anyhow have a nice weekend and PM with a few discussions. I would be honored to explain. (coming from a oregon guy who debates with darwin and evolution, and other interesting beliefs on a basis).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is kind of funny timing for me because I was talking with a kid that works with me and made the points that existence itself would seem to be a mathematical impossibility. Couple that with the fact that there is no probability that life can spontaneously create itself, and it would seem to lead to the fact that we are concepts and that nothing is real because nothing can exist given the constraints of our knowledge of existence.

Without endorsing one side or the other it would appear that we are basically equations on a celestial chalkboard somewhere waiting to be wiped away when something doesn't appear to add up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is kind of funny timing for me because I was talking with a kid that works with me and made the points that existence itself would seem to be a mathematical impossibility. Couple that with the fact that there is no probability that life can spontaneously create itself, and it would seem to lead to the fact that we are concepts and that nothing is real because nothing can exist given the constraints of our knowledge of existence.

Without endorsing one side or the other it would appear that we are basically equations on a celestial chalkboard somewhere waiting to be wiped away when something doesn't appear to add up.

aaf8dc6e.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't read either book, but I know the best watch on evolution I've seen is this:

Remember when they had the big textbook evolution sticker controversy in Cobb years back? This is a lecture the Brown professor who wrote the book gave on basically why there's so much pseudoscience around evolution/intelligent design and how it stacks up credibility wise versus other theories (and intelligent design). Of course it's geared towards the specific evolution/intelligent design textbook debate, but it's got a lot of good points for evolution in general. He also briefly touches on the concept of irreducible complexity that lots of creationists have been using (I think that's what darwins black box is about).

It's about an hour of lecture then an hour of Q&A. Good watch as it's from a very credible person (who happens to be Roman Catholic if I believe correctly).

Other than that, the one thing I'd say is remember that Darwinism isn't equal to modern evolutionary theory. Lots of people go after what Darwin wrote, forgetting that he's really only relevant because he put forth the original theories that have changed and evolved into current theories.

Is it Miller? I got Coyne's book over his, but I'll probably end up with his eventually.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you guys are making some solid points and recommendations.

i think i am older than some of you and i can relate to the questions and interests.

no disrespect to anyone here or am i pointing out that i am better, but from my experiences, i had the same urges and issues and sought pretty much the same things most of you guys seen and read.

the question that none of the authors or darwin's definition of evolution can answer is "why we are here"

all of the authors do similar approach and blur the line between cause and reason.

its a debatable topic which was beaten to a dead horse part 1 and ongoing. darwin's reasoning is very simliar to the epicureans and in the late 18th century in american we call it pragmatism...

but none of them can explain more clearly the why/how as the bible does.

(sees a few people groaning)

anyhow have a nice weekend and PM with a few discussions. I would be honored to explain. (coming from a oregon guy who debates with darwin and evolution, and other interesting beliefs on a basis).

The how/why distinction is what got me interested in reading more about it. There are those who say that evolution is about the how and Genesis is about the why, and trying to use either to explain the other (as for example young earth creationists do with Genesis or Dawkins does with evolution) is taking them out of their proper place.

Which, by the way, is why I did not get one of Dawkins' books. I'm not interested in reading about how evolution disproves the existence of God. I don't believe it does. I'm interested in reading about the "how" of evolution, not the "why" that science can never explain and should never try to explain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Coyne's book IS the opposing view -- I fully intend to read the opposing view.

The question is, what do I read first?

My inclination is to read Coyne first, then Behe. I'm not sold on Behe's work (he's an avowed ID guy) anyway, so that will help avoid any filtering of Coyne's analysis by having already read Behe's work. I was just curious what everyone else thought.

At some point, I'll be working through those who reconcile evolution and Christianity, but I want a good base on both pro-evolutionary thought and anti-evolutionary thought before I get there.

Serious question--have you read "Origins of Species" yet? If not then that would seem like a logical place to start.

Also, you might search the internet for syllabi from introductory evolution college classes and read through the books/articles that are common to all of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing I've found is that the most popular books on subjects like this are typically not as good as those few people read. A good example of this is the literature on the "culture war" and polarization. You have "What's the Matter with Kansas?" as one of the most read books on the topic, and yet political scientists (led by Larry Bartels) have summarily debunked almost all of the claims made in the book. If you read the "Kansas" book, which is perfectly reasonable and plausible on its face, you would not have a very good understanding of the topic. Starting with syllabi for college courses is a good way to quickly get a sense of the state of the literature on any topic, especially ones that are contentious or hotly debated.

Also, relatedly, you might consider looking at seminary schools for syllabi for classes covering evolution (probably won't be a whole class on the topic).

Edited by AcworthFalcFan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Serious question--have you read "Origins of Species" yet? If not then that would seem like a logical place to start.

Only bits and pieces, but I consciously did not want to start there because the theory has evolved so much (<---ironic, no?). I wanted to start current -- I'm not looking to map the history of evolutionary thought.

Also, you might search the internet for syllabi from introductory evolution college classes and read through the books/articles that are common to all of them.

That's a good idea -- I might try that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing I've found is that the most popular books on subjects like this are typically not as good as those few people read. A good example of this is the literature on the "culture war" and polarization. You have "What's the Matter with Kansas?" as one of the most read books on the topic, and yet political scientists (led by Larry Bartels) have summarily debunked almost all of the claims made in the book. If you read the "Kansas" book, which is perfectly reasonable and plausible on its face, you would not have a very good understanding of the topic. Starting with syllabi for college courses is a good way to quickly get a sense of the state of the literature on any topic, especially ones that are contentious or hotly debated.

Well, Dawkins' Greatest Show on Earth is probably the most popular pro-evolution book on the subject. I avoided it because of his anti-religious bias, not because of the popularity (Dawkins gets into the why, which I don't regard as within the field of science). Coyne's book was highly regarded, and he is a professor of ecology and evolution. Behe is probably the leading ID guy right now. I'm not so much interested in ID (I'm not a proponent), but I want to see the counter-argument for myself.

Also, relatedly, you might consider looking at seminary schools for syllabi for classes covering evolution (probably won't be a whole class on the topic).

Another good suggestion. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting link, with more interesting links contained therein.

In particular, one of the things that grabbed me immediately was the following statement:

Life evolved in the sea. It stayed there for the majority of the history of earth.

The reason it is interesting is that Genesis 1:20 says:

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

This was after the vegetation was formed on the earth, but before land creatures or man was made. It is pretty striking to one who has never made the connection before.

Still some textual issues (for one, vegetation had already appeared on the land, so one must wonder what means "life" in the first quote, and for another the 2nd Genesis account starts with the creation of man), but it's an interesting parallel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

go out and grab Darwin's Origin of Species......if memory serves me correct, there's only a small section on human evolution, but it seems that one small section has been enough to condemn him. it'd probably be worth the read if you can find a copy. you can probably find a copy on line somewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have become a bit more interested in the debate on evolution versus creation. I intend to do some reading over the summer on the topic, and I have a pretty simple question. I have purchased 2 books to get started. The first is "Why Evolution is True" by Coyne. The 2nd is "Darwin's Black Box" by Behe.

The question is, in what order should I, an evolution skeptic, read them?

Thoughts welcome from either side of the discussion.

Duh---Darwin all the way

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...