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Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off Hardcover – April 1, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Convinced that "creation is a testable idea that can fall within the domain of science," biochemist Rana and astrophysicist Ross do not shrink from scientific findings about the long and tumultuous history of the earth. Conceding that "the beginning of life (relative to cosmic history) under hellacious conditions poses initial problems for creationists and evolutionists alike," the authors argue that the origin and survival of life on earth over the past 3.8 billion yearsâ€"now seen by most researchers as an awesomely improbable set of eventsâ€"parallels biblical models of God "hover[ing] over early earth like a mother eagle brooding over her young." Although Rana and Ross are Christian apologists with the "Reasons to Believe" organization, their forays into theology are generally modest and brief. Their primary focus is compiling results from biology, chemistry and geology that illustrate how deeply puzzling the origin of life has become. Discussions of the "primordial soup" of prebiotic chemistry, the enigmatic origin of cell membranes and homochirality (the unexplained preponderance of left-handed amino acids and right-handed sugars essential to life) all take readers further than is typical in the creation/evolution literature. Whether or not Rana and Ross quite prove a creation modelâ€"proof being in the eye of the beholderâ€"they certainly tell a compelling story of the early history of life that inspires curiosity and a sense of wonder at what is still, for all we know, a unique habitable and inhabited world.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

FAZALE RANA has published more than fifteen articles in scientific journals and delivered more than twenty presentations at international scientific meetings. He worked for seven years in product development for Procter & Gamble before joining Reasons To Believe, where he serves as vice president for science apologetics. He and his wife, Amy, have four daughters and a son. They live in southern California.

HUGH ROSS serves as president of Reasons to Believe and has written many books, including The Creator and the Cosmos, The Genesis Question, and Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men (coauthored with Kenneth Samples and Mark Clark). He has been a guest on numerous media programs such as Coast to Coast, The Barry Farber Show, Sirius Satellite Radio, 700 Club, and The Keith Rush Show. He lives in southern California with his wife, Kathy, and two sons.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: NavPress Publishing Group; 1st edition (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576833445
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576833445
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. M Millam on May 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have a background in science (PhD in theoretical chemistry) and an equal and abiding interest in theology. As such, I've always been interested in areas where these two passions of mine intersect. This subject of origins is one such subject and is an area of incontrovertible importance to all people. But sadly, most of the books on this subject (on both sides of the debate) shed more heat than light. Finally, here is a book that moves the reader past hostile debate toward meaninful dialog and hopefully resolution. This is a book that has needed to be written for a long time. I'm glad that this book is finally available. Whereever you stand on this issue of origins, you will find this book helpful and informative.
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Format: Hardcover
I would highly recommend this book to science tearchers that are concerned that their students have not been given a sense of the number and type of problems that the current state of research into the origin of life has failed to solve. Its also a great resource to help someone without previous knowledge of the field get an idea of what types of articles to follow to determine how things are going in the major areas of origin of life research. There is an extensive bibliography. The book is a first attempt at comparing a scientifically integrated (general in addition to special revelation) biblical model with the evolutionary models for the origin of life. While it is a high level non-rigorous approach, it does however awaken one to big picture tests that should be taken seriously before quickly discounting the possibility of a supernatural designer. It was good to see that the simplistic probability arguments used by creationists in the past have become more sophisticated. While still not perfect (e.g. the allowed protein sequence space reference used to support Yockey's Cytochrome C analysis only considers the space of alternate side-chains and their conformations without allowing the backbone conformation to change), it still carries substantial weight.
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Format: Hardcover
I am very impressed with the science put forth in this book. This book gives fair attention to both sides (Naturalistic and Supernaturalistic). I have not been entirely convinced by some of the books coming out from the ID camp; but Ross and Rana (not formally affiliated with the Discovery camp) show that they have something very substantive to say.

A must buy for a skeptic who isn't completely closed off to the idea of causes other than naturalistic causes.
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Format: Hardcover
Rana and Ross present a disciplined and enlightening review of modern scientific theories pertaining to the origin of life on our planet. Who could imagine that an entire field of science would have fewer answers today than it did fifty years ago? Yet that is exactly what these authors demonstrate in compelling fashion. The complete absence of credible models in this field turns out to be one of the best kept secrets in the natural sciences . . . I know the profs at my university presented the origin of life as a reasonably well understood phenomenon - So much for that expensive undergrad education.
Origins of Life is written at a popular level, but those with at least a cursory a background in the biological sciences will find it more accessible. Conversely, the book is sufficiently technical to garner the attention of origin-of-life researchers and the scientific community at large. Written from a theistic perspective, the authors forward their own origin-of-life model for consideration. As resident scholars for a Christian apologetics organization called "Reasons to Believe", Rana and Ross present a biblically concordant scientific model for biological origins (complete with a set of falsifiable predictions). Their proposed "RTB" model proves credible and intriguing, primarily because it is consistent with both the modern scientific record and the origin-of-life accounts delineated in Genesis.
The authors' insightful scientific critique of naturalistic explanations for the origin of life gives the reader a full appreciation of the intractable problems that confound researchers in this field . . . As it turns out, there simply are no viable naturalistic models that adequately explain the origin of life on earth.
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One of the most common reasons for the rejection of the Creation viewpoint has been the so-called "argument from ignorance" which basically assumes Creationists invoke a Creator to make up for lack of (or the inconclusiveness of) evidence. However, many recent books (including this one) make it quite clear that the Creationist viewpoint can be presented intelligently, with a great deal of evidential support.
One of the most interesting discoveries I learned is the "evolution" (pun intended) of hypothesis' that the naturalist proponents have gone through as the evidence mounts. What was once assumed to become easier to explain over time and as science advanced has become more difficult from the naturalistic viewpoint: the search for the origin of life on Earth has become frustrating to the point where extraterrestrial origins have become more vigorous.
Similarly, history seems to be repeating itself: once, Copernican's Principle changed our viewpoint from that of Earth as unique and special to that of Earth as a mundane ordinary planet, but more recently we have begun to realize, again, that Earth is indeed a special planet with fine-tuned conditions meant to support life - and according to the authors, all life and conditions prior to the introduction of man were designed especially for a technologically advanced civilization that we have become.
At times, the position of creationism as presented in the RTB Model in this book seems a bit all-encompassing: whereas they eloquently show that the evidence invalidates many of the naturalists' evolutionary predictions, the Creator model does give the appearance of being a "catch-all".
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