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What's Darwin Got to Do with It?: A Friendly Discussion About Evolution
What's Darwin Got to Do with It?: A Friendly Discussion About Evolution
by Janet Moneymaker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.52
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution Made Easy!, June 21, 2006
Feeling primitive? Unevolved? Inorganic? Then try a bowl of Primordial Soup! What's Darwin Got To Do With It? is an illustrated friendly conversation about evolution and what science can explain about life. Aimed at younger students, this comic-book style work helps students understand if finch beaks really prove Darwinism is true or if the encoded message in DNA implies an intelligent designer.

The book opens by helping students to understand important terminology. What does evolution mean? Some people say evolution just means change through time. But simple evidence of change does not necessarily mean that new phyla can emerge or new body structures can evolve. Thus, we have microevolution and macroevolution.

The book explains in illustrated form why intelligent design is the best explanation for life. When we see letters on a hillside spelling out "Welcome to Victoria," we have a valid rationale to believe that that the letters were designed. Similarly, if a radio signal from outer space said "hello earthlings," we would have good reason to infer design. But what about when we find an encoded sequence in our DNA which, using a complicated sequence of biochemical commands, creates miniature motors which resemble human-designed engines? This and other topics concerning intelligent design are presented in clear language with a wealth of illustrations.

This book is a must read for young students who are still learning the basics of science but want to understand evolution and design. As Phillip Johnson wrote when he reviewed the book, it's "more fun than a barrel of Australopithecines."

Why is a Fly Not a Horse?
Why is a Fly Not a Horse?
by Giuseppe Sermonti
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can Darwin Explain Life's Most Basic Questions?, June 21, 2006
Discovery fellow and editor of the prestigious Italian biology journal "Revista de Biologia," Giuseppe Sermonti explains why evolution resembles a "paradigm" more than it does an explanation. Scientists assume that the theory and its implications (such as universal common descent) are true, but no one can ever explain the details of precisely why it is. According to Sermonti, naturalistic theories of biological origins are science-stoppers.

Sermonti explains that biology has advanced greatly when naturalistic theories of biological origins have been disproved. For example, in 1688 Francesco Redi performed an experiment which refuted the notion that flies come from rotting meat--Redi discovered that flies actually come from worms that hatch from eggs laid in rotting biological matter which subsequently develop into flies. The recognition that flies come from eggs rather than meat fostered our early understanding of biological development, but one theory of spontaneous generation had to die before the advance was made.

Sermonti recounts that the field became stalled when the early evolutionist Comte de Buffon imagined that everything from fleas to the hippopotamus emerged from the primordial slime. Providing an Italian perspective on the history of biology, Sermonti explains that an Italian naturalist named Spallanzani refused to just accept spontaneous generation as the easy answer, and through a series of carefully observed experiments, came to the conclusion that "omne vivium ex ovo" (all life comes from eggs). Spontaneous generation was finally disproved by Pasteur's experiments nearly a century later. This was a fact lamented by Darwin, who claimed that Pasteur "denied spontaneous generation." Despite Pasteur's "denial," biology progressed.

Sermonti turns to the primary question of his book: Why is a fly not a horse? According to Sermonti, developmental genes are widely similar across various species. Providing a tour of genetic development, Sermonti finds that genes alone may not be enough to account for differences among the species, something that would pose a profound challenge to Darwin's theory.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 9, 2013 6:06 AM PST

Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing
Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing
by William A. Dembski
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.24
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15 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diverse Scientists Provide Potent Critiques of Darwin, June 21, 2006
This volume provides a summary of the widespread attack upon Darwinism by some of today's leading intellectuals. While authors may vary widely in their religious outlook on life, they have one view in common: Darwinism is deficient to account for life as we know it.

William Dembski opens with a lively recounting of how Darwinists have promoted a myth that they have won this debate. After scrutinizing the citations in one Darwinist's account of Darwinism's victory, Dembski concludes this is merely a "myth of victory past." Robert C. Koons and Phillip Johnson both concur that methodological naturalism is the main prop for Darwinism, not the actual empirical evidence. Nancy Pearcey explains how some Darwinists take the assumption of methodological naturalism and then forget it was an assumption, using evolution to explain everything from the origin of "every feature of every living thing, including human beings." Thus, evolution provides a biological explanation for everything from rape to infanticide to religion, which Dawkins calls a "virus of the mind."

One interesting component of the book is a 1996 interview with the late Marcel-Paul Schützenberger. Schützenberger, a mathematician, explains that "Darwinians have too simple a conception of biology, rather like a locksmith misguidedly convinced that his handful of keys will open any lock." Schützenberger believes that the "functional complexity" of living organisms is beyond the horizon of the explanatory power of Darwinism.

Other highlights include Michael Denton's account of the transformation of his own views, from being a creationist, to being a Darwinist, to being a Darwin skeptic but not a creationist. According to Denton, "homologies" may be better explained by appeal to underlying Platonic forms. He believes that both adaptive and non-adaptive features of biology may be inherent in nature itself.

Discovery fellows Cornelius Hunter explains that Darwinism is more of a religious theory that has penetrated the sciences, based upon presuppositions about what a designer would not do. David Berlinski closes the book discussing how Darwinism does not account for complexity. Richard Dawkins may be right that 5% vision is better than no vision at all, but Berlinski explains that to get any vision requires a myriad of interacting structures, which are unlikely to exist all at once.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2015 10:33 AM PDT

Unapologetic Apologetics: Meeting the Challenges of Theological Studies
Unapologetic Apologetics: Meeting the Challenges of Theological Studies
by William A. Dembski
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.52
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Failure of the Naturalistic Paradigm, June 21, 2006
William Dembski and Jay Richards launch a scathing attack on naturalistic philosophy in this anthology aimed at a Christian audience, with various chapters explaining why naturalism is failing as a philosophical paradigm.

Richards notes that naturalism as a philosophy is impossible to establish, for it relies upon proof of the negative claim that there is no supernatural. Richards further argues that naturalism bows too strongly before Occam's razor, in that it is not appropriate to rule out the supernatural as an explanation if the supernatural may indeed exist. Finally, Richards recognizes that scholars sometimes make a distinction between methodological naturalism and naturalism. But he also explains that Christians have no business adopting the methodological "assumption" of naturalism when they believe that God sometimes directly intervenes in the world. God does not need to be invoked to explain everything, but the pendulum has swung too far to the extreme if we assume that God never acts.

William Dembski also provides a few chapters on intelligent design. He explains that at the heart of the creation/evolution controversy is the big question "Is there evidence of God interacting with the world?" Many theologians have thought that science cannot address this question. But Dembski protests otherwise, by laying out a detailed statistical method by which we can detect design. Dembski, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics, a Ph.D. in philosophy, and a master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, seems a good candidate to explain whether God's purposeful action really might be detectable in the natural world. Dembski explains that "intelligent design resists speculating about the nature, moral character or purposes of this intelligence" (pg. 225) and leaves it as a task for theology to answer religious questions about the identity or purposes of the designer. But the rigorous methods of science now permit us to empirically detect when an object was designed.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2009 8:54 AM PST

Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Study Guide Edition)
Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Study Guide Edition)
by Nancy Pearcey
Edition: Hardcover
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy a House With Cracks In Its Basement, June 21, 2006
Author Nancy Pearcey presents an analysis of the impact that Darwinism has had upon our culture. Pearcey starts by observing that our culture has separated "truth" into two categories. In the "upper story" is noncognitive experience. This is the realm of private truth which ranges from favorite ice-cream flavors to one's preferred religious denomination. Our culture believes this realm is purely subjective and unverifiable. But in the "lower story" is what our culture considers to be verifiable: hard, factual, scientific knowledge.

If Darwinism is true, Pearcey observes, religion and "moral values" become merely irrational and subjective claims, subjugated to the "upper story." Darwinists try to convince the religious world that this is an acceptable fate because as long as moral values are in the upper story, they cannot be rationally scrutinized. Thus, the religious are reassured that religion is "safe" from the claims of scientific Darwinism.

Not so, says Pearcey, who exposes how fields such as evolutionary psychology are now invading the "value" realm by purporting to account for all of human behavior. Sociobiologists are even trying to account for the origin of religion itself in evolutionary terms. Human behavior, such as altruism must be accounted for in evolutionary terms. Richard Dawkins now calls religion a "virus of the mind." According to Pearcey, the "fact" realm is mounting an assault on the "value" realm, and it is thus dangerous for religious people to engage in "cognitive bargaining" that banishes religion to the "value realm." This is because the Darwinists are not interested in keeping their end of the bargain.

But if Pearcey is right, religion has nothing to fear from the "fact" realm. In fact, Darwinism is deficient as a science in many ways. The scientific evidence, as Pearcey shows, points towards intelligent design, not a cosmic accident. The take-home message is that religious thinkers would do better to carefully scrutinize the scientific evidence than to engage in philosophical bargaining with Darwinists.

Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints)
Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints)
by J. P. Moreland
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.96
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gift of God's Miraculous Intervention: A Clear Exposition of Christian Perspectives on the Origin of Life, June 21, 2006
For Christians, the issues raised by the different views on creation and evolution can be challenging. Can a "young earth" be reconciled with a universe that appears to be billions of years old? Does scientific evidence point to a God who designed the universe and life in all its complexity?

Three Views on Creation and Evolution deals with these and similar concerns as it looks at three dominant schools of Christian thought. Proponents of young earth creationism, old earth creationism, and theistic evolution each present their different views, tell why the controversy is important, and describe the interplay between their understandings of science and theology. Each view is critiqued by various scholars.

Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds provide a clear explanation of the differences between theistic evolution, young earth, and old earth creationism. Young and old earth creationism both share a view that there are discontinuities in biology and real design in nature. Yet theistic evolution does not share this view.

Robert C. Newman then explains that his approach is to harmonize both nature and Scripture. Theistic evolution is problematic because of its common refusal to let Scripture speak to matters of origins. Young earth creationism is problematic in that it does not permit science to speak. Wiester argues that the natural record provides many challenges to evolution--such as the explosion of life during the Cambrian period.

Finally Howard J. Van Till expounds his view of a "fully gifted creation" where the universe was created to bring life into existence through natural laws. He finds claims that Scriptures provide "privileged information" to be "embarrassing" because they show little regard for the "informed judgment" of the scientific community. Phillip Johnson finds Van Till's views self-contradictory: Van Till argues that God should "withhold" no gift from creation that would require God's intervention to create, but yet Christians of all stripes believe God has intervened in history.

This volume clearly expounds the pro's and con's of various Christian perspectives on creation. While this debate is surely not going to end soon, this book will bring a greater understanding and appreciation of "other viewpoints" to all interested.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2015 6:14 AM PDT

The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism
The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism
by Phillip E. Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.00
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How The Wedge Predicted the Obfuscation of its Opponents, June 21, 2006
Many Darwinists gloat over having supposedly exposed the allegedly secretive "Wedge project." What they never acknowledge (or realize) is that Phillip Johnson openly discussed the full meaning of the "Wedge" in this book years before the widespread internet circulation of the supposedly super secret "Wedge document," which summarized many of the points in this book in order to clarify for our supporters the important cultural implications of the battle over intelligent design, and explain the importance of forging ahead by calling attention to the growing body of scientific evidence for design in nature.

In his introduction, Johnson explains that naturalism, materialism, and modernism aim to remove any support for belief in a personal God who acted with free will to create and sustain the universe. This philosophical assumption forms the bedrock for the belief that plants and animals arose through undirected and purposeless evolutionary processes, and that humans are therefore just another animal, not created in the image of God.

The curtain of naturalistic philosophy today places a stranglehold over not only the fields of science, but also of literature, psychology, and law. Academics remain committed to naturalism as an explanation for all phenomena regardless of the facts. Johnson's strategy is to expose where naturalism is deficient in its explanations in scientific fields such as paleontology, genetics, and biology. This book outlines the various areas where the "Wedge strategy" is producing viable academic thought to challenge naturalism.

But the Wedge strategy can be countered, Johnson writes, and the Darwinists know how: through obfuscation by focusing on irrelevancies. "Dogmatism thrives by obfuscation, especially by giving the impression that the really important questions should not be asked." (pg. 16) Thus, according to Johnson, "If we in the Wedge have an enemy, it is not those in open and honest opposition to our proposals but rather the obfuscators--those who resist any clear definition of terms or issues, who insist that the ruling scientific organizations be obeyed without question and who are content to paper over logical contradictions with superficial compromises." (pg. 17)

The enemies of the Wedge are thus those who focus on side issues such as the religious beliefs and alleged motivations of Darwin doubters rather than inviting honest discussion of the evidence. Ironically, the Darwinists' current obsession with contents of this book -- the "Wedge strategy"--is proof that Johnson was right.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 12, 2013 6:44 PM PDT

The Untamed God: A Philosophical Exploration of Divine Perfection, Simplicity, and Immutability
The Untamed God: A Philosophical Exploration of Divine Perfection, Simplicity, and Immutability
by Jay Wesley Richards
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.00
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God is that than which none greater can be conceived, June 21, 2006
The essential tenets of classical theism on the doctrine of God can be stated simply. First, God exists. Second, He created the world--meaning, everything other than God--in such a way that the world owes its existence and individual features to him. Thirdly, God created the world freely--that is, nothing external or internal to God compelled him to create this or any other world. Additionally, most theists believe that God is maximally perfect in knowledge, power, goodness, love, freedom, existence, holiness, justice, and the like. As the great medieval theologian Anselm said, "God is that than which none greater can be conceived." Finally, Christian theists also profess that God exists as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit while still being one God.

Many questions have been raised regarding the coherence of these beliefs taken as a whole. Some have seen fit to abandon classical theism. Others, acknowledging tensions in the traditional concept of God, have sought to resolve them by means of making significant concession.

Mindful of these issues, Jay Richards uses the tools of analytic philosophy to explore and critically engage the tenets of classical theism. His own carefully crafted proposal upholds the historic Christian doctrine of God while critiquing some of its more stringent formulations that render God's relations with contingent creation problematic. Astutely interfacing with the thought of Karl Barth and Charles Hartshorne, Richards concludes by addressing the related and currently debated matters of divine simplicity and immutability.

The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy (Turning Point Christian Worldview Series)
The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy (Turning Point Christian Worldview Series)
by Marvin Olasky
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.68
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the Christian Faith Gave Birth to Modern Science, June 21, 2006
A metanarrative has become ingrained in our culture which states that science is the means by which we threw off our religious superstitions and entered a brave new world of reason and progress. Does this metanarrative itself need to be overthrown? In this work Discovery fellows Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton explain how Christian theism has played a vital role in the historical development of science. Moreover, the next scientific revolution may bring science back to a point where it will reconsider the possibility that life was designed.

First, Pearcey and Thaxton shed light on the fact that the "Dark ages" were not quite so dark. While the medieval scholars lacked much of our accumulated knowledge, medieval scientists like Jordanus de Nemore anticipated the work of subsequent scientists through his work on statics. When the scientific revolution swung into full force, early scientists like Newton were devoutly religious and motivated by religion. As one historian they quote put it, "God had designed the universe, and it was to be expected that all phenomena of nature would follow one master plan. One mind designing a universe would almost surely have employed one set of basic principles to govern related phenomena." (pg. 129) Even today, they find that "the DNA code originated from a cause similar in relevant aspects to human intelligence." (pg. 244)

The authors begin by observing that "the idea of a war between science and religion is a relatively recent invention--one carefully nurtured by those who hope the victor will be science." (pg. 19) After reviewing all of the contributions which theists, the church, and Christianized societies have made to science, they conclude, "The Christian religion, hand in hand with various philosophical outlooks, has motivated, sanctioned, and shaped large portions of the Western scientific heritage." (pg. 248)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2014 7:26 AM PDT

The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning  Public Debate
The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning Public Debate
by Phillip E. Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.00
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Right Question is Whether Life Was Designed by Intelligence, or Nothing, June 21, 2006
The Right Questions is the product of an accomplished scholar who is reflecting upon culture and society in light of his other books which provided an extensive scientific critique of naturalistic theories of origins. In this book, Phillip Johnson asks, "What are the right questions" in topics such as logic, the meaning of life, Genesis, and biological origins? It is only by asking the right questions that we will find the appropriate solutions to problems faced by society.

Johnson opens this book with a frank discussion of how his own personal trials and battles over health have renewed his faith. Johnson then reminds us that the key fundamental is not about the precise meaning of this or that passage of Scripture:

"The conflict is primarily not about Genesis, nor does it involve a clash between science and religion, or between science and faith. It would be much more accurate to say that it involves a clash between two religions and two definitions of science." (pg. 60)

Johnson observes, "In every university there are scores of faculty and students who are suffocated by the prevailing dogmas of scientific materialism or political correctness but who almost never get a chance to hear anything else." (pg. 51) Ruling creeds succeed when they keep their followers from exploring alternatives (pg. 73), which is why Darwinists refuse to permit discussion of the controversy over the science of Darwinism.

The right question that must be permitted for discussion in school is therefore, "Did the scientific evidence really support the philosophical conclusion (in a word, naturalism) that the Darwinists wished us to adopt, or could naturalism as a worldview survive only as long as dogmatic philosophical barriers protected it from the evidence that points to a designer?" (pg. 84) Once that question can be asked, Johnson is convinced that the chips will fall where the evidence leads.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 7, 2009 10:32 AM PDT

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