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Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061228788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061228780
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Drawing on his fundamentalist upbringing and experience teaching physics at an evangelical college, Giberson has a native understanding of how conservative Christians feel and think about evolution. As a Christian evolutionist, he finds himself occupying a frequently misunderstood middle ground in the midst of a culture war, fought with culture-war weapons by culture warriors. Behind the culture war, Giberson sketches an engaging historical narrative including Darwin's background in intelligent design, what really happened at the Scopes monkey trial and how catastrophist geology derived from Seventh Day Adventism found an audience among the evangelical mainstream in the post-Sputnik era. By tackling the debate in cultural as well as scientific terms, Giberson does greater justice to the motivations of Christians who reject evolution. Yet he does not conceal his frustration—on theological as well as scientific grounds—with the rubbish of scientific creationism, which has climbed onto the radar screens of American intellectual culture only as a bad joke. Giberson's sarcasm, however honestly come by, may cause the book to alienate an evangelical audience it might otherwise engage. (June)
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Review

“Sensitively written and convincingly argued. . . . [A] truly courageous work.” (Library Journal)

“Karl Giberson skillfully unravels the tangled skein of argument about creation and evolution, showing that there need be no incompatibility between Christianity and Darwinism. His writing is lively, in a style that is both informal and informed. This is a book that many will find helpful.” (John Polkinghorne, author of Belief in God in an Age of Science)

“Karl Giberson skillfully unravels the tangled skein of argument about creation and evolution, showing that there need be no incompatibility between Christianity and Darwinism. His writing is lively, in a style that is both informal and informed. This is a book that many will find helpful.” (Ronald L. Numbers, Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, Department of Medical History and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin)

“A much-needed book . . . a powerful contribution.” (Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.)

“Giberson has a native understanding of how conservative Christians feel and think about evolution . . . he sketches an engaging historical narrative. (Publishers Weekly)

Giberson posesses a boundless inquisitiveness typical of many scientiests, but also displays the wry wit of a seasoned polemicist. He seems to know how to counteract your best arguments before you have even made them. (Salon.com)

“An intensely personal account of [Giberson’s] intellectual journey from creationism to the acceptance of evolution . . . By situating his own story in the context of larger social and scientific developments, Giberson’s book can serve as a guide for other Christians on a similar trek.” (Edward J. Larson, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and the American Controversy over Creation and Evolution.)

“A poignant account of [Giberson’s] Christian pilgrimage from Creationist to Evolutionist. He offers a sympathetic historical analysis laced with trenchant criticism of both misguided intelligent design advocates and hard core atheists.” (Kenneth R. Miller, Professor of Biology, Brown University, and author of Finding Darwin's God)

“Giberson makes the case, persuasively and with considerable wit, that there’s no irreconcilable conflict between robust Christian faith and evolutionary biology, rightly understood. This is a wonderfully readable book: humane, modest, and wise.” (John Wilson, Editor, Books & Culture)

“Karl Giberson here presents a poignant account of his Christian pilgrimage from Creationist to Evolutionist. He offers a sympathetic historical analysis laced with trenchant criticism of both misguided intelligent design advocates and hard core atheists.” (Owen Gingerich, author of God's Universe, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy & History of Science, Harvard University)

Giberson attacks the conundrum [of evolution] with eloquence and clarity. (Washington Post)

“One of the best books of 2008” (The Washington Post Book World, 2008 Holiday Guide)

“Giberson . . . provides an edifying summary of the tenets and the flaws of modern creationism . . . and raises a valuable alarm about the dangers facing American science and culture.” (New Republic)

More About the Author

Karl Giberson (1957, New Brunswick, Canada) is an internationally known scholar, speaker, and writer. He holds a PhD in Physics from Rice University. Dr. Giberson has lectured on science-and-religion at the Vatican, Oxford University, London's Thomas Moore Institute, and at many prestigious American venues including MIT, Brigham Young University and Xavier University.

Dr. Giberson has published more than 200 reviews and essays, both technical and popular, in outlets that include NY Times, CNN.com, the Guardian, USA Today, LA Times and Salon.com. He has written or co-authored 9 books, and contributed to many edited volumes. In addition to his published works, Karl is a regular contributor to the public dialogue on Science and Faith. He has appeared as a guest on NPR's Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation as well as other radio programs. He also blogs at The Huffington Post where his articles have generated thousands of comments and are frequently featured.

From 1984 to 2011, Dr. Giberson was a professor at Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) where he received numerous recognitions and awards. From 2007 to 2010 he headed the Forum on Faith at Science at Gordon College. For 3 years, ending in 2009 he was the program director for the prestigious Venice Summer School on Science & Religion. Currently, Dr. Giberson teaches writing, and science-and-religion in the Cornerstone Program at Stonehill College. Karl also lectures at universities, churches and other venues across the country and is working on his 10th book, due for publication in 2014.

Karl enjoys writing in his gazebo, listening to Bob Dylan, watching re-runs of Star Trek the Next Generation, and drinking Diet Coke.

Customer Reviews

This is the other valuable reason to read this book.
Jedidiah Palosaari
The author is quick to explain why evolutionists are right but never really finds time to explain why creationists must be wrong.
R. Hutchinson
If you're a "secularist" try not to be put off by the subtitle, "How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution."
R. Ladouceur

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Paul R. Bruggink on July 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Karl Giberson's book is a very enjoyable history of the "Darwin wars," particularly in America. Near the end of the book, he makes a short but convincing case for the theory of biological evolution, summarizing the evidence from the fossil record, biogeography, comparative anatomy, developmental similarities and genetics. However, he does not address the theological implications of biological evolution. He is, after all, a scientist, not a theologian.

He provides some interesting observations on Darwin's personal religious views, the Scopes trial, the Arkansas trial, the Dover trial, the background of Whitcomb & Morris's book "The Genesis Flood," and the culture war between Richard Dawkins & co. and Phillip Johnson & co.

He makes a number of very blunt negative observations about Young Earth Creationism [YEC], e.g., " 'The Genesis Flood' was intellectually disastrous on two fronts," and "There is no reason for anyone, Christian or otherwise, to take these [YEC] claims seriously."

I highly recommend this book to Christians who want a relatively brief and very readable introduction to how we got to the point where half of America's Christians do not accept the theory of biological evolution and to Young Earth Creationists who are having doubts about their position on this issue.
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68 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Extollager on October 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having grown up in the American evangelical denomination called the Church of the Nazarene (which presumably is the author's affiliation, since he teaches at Eastern Nazarene College), I was impressed, on my very first visit to a congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, by how focused the latter was on Christ. Thirty years later, having been a Lutheran for many years, I am reminded of this experience as I reflect on the subtitle of Giberson's book, "How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution." I understand being a Christian, now, as a radically Christ-centered thing. This means that the importance of Christ is not just basically a matter of what He accomplished two millennia ago on the Cross while today the Christian's relationship to God is primarily a matter of the Holy Spirit, which, if I may simplify a bit, is what I imbibed from my Nazarene experience. Rather, as a Lutheran Christian I understand that it's all, everything, about Christ. Preaching is about Christ, Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper are real means by which He acts in my life, etc.

The relevance of this to the book at hand is that it gives me some idea about why there is virtually nothing in what Giberson writes that, for me, relates to being a _Christian_, as distinct from a believer in "God": that is, Nazarenes are not as focused on the centrality of Christ as Lutherans are. (I do not mean to disparage Giberson's faith in Christ.) But as I read the book and, now having finished it, reflect upon it, I wish that the subtitle had eschewed "Christian" and just said "How to Believe in Evolution and Also in God" or something like that, which would have given a more accurate idea of the book's achievement.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Julie L. Pogue on August 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Like author Karl W. Giberson, I grew up in a strict, fundamentalist home. In retrospect, I had always been a "young-earth creationist", surrounded by those of like belief, with little reason to question the "truth" of a literal translation of Genesis--the description of a six-day Creation and its account of our origins.

Except...

Information I gleaned from field trips to the Smithsonian museums didn't really mesh against what I was taught in private school, church, and in my Bob Jones-breed Christian home. Answers from my childhood "experts" seemed flippant, curt, and imminently unsatisfying.

Years later, I met and grew to love my parents-in-law (and before them, my brilliant, well-read, think-outside-the-box husband!). The whole family valued independent thinking and had the utmost respect for science's contributions to our understanding of our existence. They all encouraged me to explore and test different ways of thinking, much to my growth and amazement. Science, and three people who deeply loved me, quietly tugged at my heart.

But, the icing on the cake came when my pastor preached a sermon titled "Isn't Creation Just a Myth?", a clear assault on all that Darwin stood for. You see, my pastor, whom we still greatly respect and study under, called Darwin's theory of evolution "a religious system" that is "full of lies" on that fateful Sunday. Was my husband angry! For weeks afterwards, I listened to his diatribes. Eventually, he went to talk to our pastor one-one one, and eventually came to some kind of resolution in his own heart and mind on this volatile issue. I had only seen that kind of passion in hard-core fundamentalists before!

So when "Christianity Today" ran a review on Giberson's "Saving Darwin", I was chomping at the bit.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Donald E. Fulton on April 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is (in part) a nicely written history of the effort by a relatively tiny group of fundamentalist christians who have argued, quite sucessfully if polls are to be believed, that biologists have evolution all wrong and geologists have the age of the earth all wrong. Anti-evolution and young earth views fit well with a literal reading of the bible, and this has resulted in the last 50 to 100 years in these views being adopted by a wide swath of the fundamentalist clergy and community, most of whom are untrained technically.

Giberson is a self described christian scientist whose writing is accurate, technically persuasive, and sometimes even poetic. Clearly one of his aims in this book is to convince his friends in the fundamentalist world that their anti-evolution and young earth creationists views are just plain wrong. In just two pages (p189-190) he shows why evolution (almost) has to be true, listing eight (of many) independent lines of evidence that support it. He could have strengthen his argument if he had included a little math. For example, if each of eight 'independent' arguments for evolution is only 90% likely to be true and 10% likely to be false, then the likelihood of no evolution, which requires all eight arguments to fail, is one in 100 million! (This is figured as 0.1 multiplied by itself eight times.)

I agreed with about 99% of the points Giberson makes in this book even though I am a non-religious engineer. The 1% that bothered me was his making nice-nice with the pied pipers who have have spread the anti-evolution and young earth message which have lead a wide swath of the fundamentalist community into the wilderness.
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