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Shadow of Oz: Theistic Evolution and the Absent God Paperback – October 21, 2015

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''As if the thorny terrain separating Darwinism from Design were not intimidating enough, Wayne Rossiter has parachuted into the thickest patch, where people of faith are contending with one another for the future of their faith. Loppers in one hand and a machete in the other, he wastes no time. You may not agree with every cut, but you have to admire his courage and you can't ignore his arguments.''
--Douglas Axe, Director, Biologic Institute

''Professors everywhere are pressuring students into accepting the false view that neo-Darwinian evolution is scientifically correct and friendly to Christianity. Shadow of Oz will give students--and any other reader--the intellectual arguments to stand up and explain why theistic evolution is poor philosophy, illogical theology, and outdated science.''
--Casey Luskin, Research Coordinator, Discovery Institute

''I highly recommend this book for anyone who is seriously engaged in the question of how God interacts with our world, typically cast as the debate between theistic evolution and intelligent design. Just as C. G. Hunter's book Darwin's God examined at length the theology of nineteenth-century evolutionists, Rossiter's book takes a focused and iconoclastic look at the theology of current theistic evolutionists such as Kenneth Miller, Karl Giberson, Francis Collins, and John Polkinghorne. Rossiter approaches the subject as an expert in biology, well aware of the nuances of the arguments. While I may disagree with some of his points, this book deserves to take its place as one of the key review texts of the modern debate.''
--David Snoke, Professor of Physics, University of Pittsburgh --Wipf and Stock Publishers

About the Author

Wayne Rossiter is Assistant Professor of Biology at Waynesburg University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Pickwick Publications (October 21, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 149822072X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1498220729
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #574,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By John B. Hoehn on December 25, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shadow of Oz says so many things that need to be said in the task of understanding life as we find it. Dr. Rossiter is a biologist who self identifies as a "Christian professor at a Christian university” (Waynesburg University), who claims he once was “a staunch and cantankerous atheist” converted from his youthful Christianity by the logical consequences of Darwinian evolution he learned in college and university.
He had just been published on the evolution of rattlesnake venom in the Journal of Molecular Evolution, in 2008 when illness forced him to face his personal mortality. What had made logical sense of proud atheism when young, bright, learning, and healthy with the pseudo-immortality of youth, suddenly revealed itself to him as an empty, dark, and destructive force of everything that made his personal life good, happy, hopeful, and with any shred of meaning. He reconverts to the Christianity that offered him something instead of nothing.
At this point an evangelical atheist like Richard Dawkins would snort, “You see, Christianity is a fairy tale for those afraid of the dark!” (To which John Lennox would retort, “Richard, then Atheism is a fairy tale for those afraid of the Light!”)
But other Christians from the Bio-Logos camp would rush to comfort him, “No, no, Wayne, you can have your faith and evolution too!”—with books like Francis Collins, The Language of God, Karl Giberson, Saving Darwin, John Pokinghorne, Belief, and Keith Miller with Only a Theory, and Finding Darwin’s God.
They all suggest Darwin and God can be in the same snug bed together, a philosophical stance known as Theistic Evolution, and that only foolish and ignorant would oppose the “dominant position of serious biologists who are also serious believers.
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Wayne Rossiter followed an interesting path - from Christianity to Darwinism to a vocal atheism, to crisis and back to Christianity. While he remains a practicing scientist, he found himself troubled by the path chosen by many Christian intellectuals in attempting to maintain a purely Darwinian view of origins while claiming to hold to Christian beliefs.

He begins the book with the troubling tale of a young college student who was so devastated by the destruction of his faith through Darwinism that he committed suicide. While extreme, this brief story sets the stage for the discussion of the uneasy marriage of two contradictory worldviews.

Rossiter is clear from the beginning that the primary concern he has with Theistic Evolution is that it is an entire worldview that ultimately risks negating its own claims to being Christian or even theistic. In essence the theistic evolutionist adopts the posture of the non-theist, pure naturalism in the laboratory – an approach that enthrones the natural processes of cause and effect, pure unguided random processes acted upon by natural law and natural selection with no activity from outside the sphere of nature. Then in a sweeping sleight of hand, God is asserted back into the picture in a contradictory fashion where before it all began, God’s purpose was to use this very purposeless chain of events to produce human beings with a spiritual nature.

What is troubling to Rossiter is that when push comes to shove in the inevitable conflict of two opposite sets of ideas, the theistic Evolutionists virtually always choose to maintain the views of evolutionary naturalism and mold their theism to fit around it. Darwin always wins, Christianity always loses.
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Excellent and very thorough coverage of the thorny problems surrounding a world view which is riddled with self contradiction. Rossiter unpacks the attitudes of theistic evolutionists very well. Theistic evolution has become the defacto standard for many sincere Christians who want to "fit in" with the secular world. Unfortunately, as Rossiter points out, this "fitting in" amounts to a wholesale abandonment of much basic Christian dogma. In effect, the views of the typical theistic evolutionist regarding the ability of God to influence the world are indistinguishable from the views of atheists.
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Shadow of Oz: Theistic Evolution and the Absent God makes a scientifically and theologically appealing argument in delineating the boundaries between the Judeo-Christian faith and the Darwinian paradigm involved in biological evolution. I give this book 5 stars for the honesty in handling the issues presented, the depth and breadth of topics covered, and for keeping the literature lively and thought provoking. Outlining my review is positive and negative critiques, listed below:

POSITIVES:
---Fair treatment was given in considering varieties of mutational changes that occur (i.e. mutations in transcriptional regulatory regions, which could ultimately control much more than a single gene product), origin probability calculations (i.e. assuming caveats to the traditional method of exponential extrapolations on the derivation of the first coding sequence that formed), and general arguments unbiasedly raised on both sides of the issue.
---Rossiter does an excellent job in exposing fallacious arguments, helping the reader to identify authority and consensus fallacies along with circular reasoning.
---Presenting clear-cut scientific and theological thought in supporting his thesis, which is the bankrupt nature of theistic evolution
---Recommended for those who have been presented with the issues and want a novel, interesting engagement (though may be harder for those new to the discussion).

NEGATIVES:
---The author reports that punctuated equilibrium is "almost universally accepted." This may be true of evolutionary biologists, but appears generally untrue of most academia, accepting the gradual, Darwinian model.
---The author also seems to rely, in some instances, on authority-based arguments (pg. 124 and 145), which he warns about
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