Changing My Mind on Darwin

ImageSo I’ve changed my mind about Darwinism.  I guess I have to tell you where my mind was to tell you where it now is.

I’ve never invested much study in evolution because I was neither threatened by it theologically nor enchanted by it philosophically.  The biology teachers taught it to me.  I can explain it.  As a follower of Jesus, I can see a viable explanation for how God could do it that way.  I’m also not overly confident that science is fueled by objective curiosity rather than passionate self-interest and ideology, money and power.  Science is motivated reasoning on its best days.

When I listen to militant Christians talk about Darwinism, it’s pretty clear they aren’t scientists, don’t know what they’re talking about, and aren’t even open-minded enough to think about the subject.  When I listen to militant Darwinists, it’s pretty clear that they aren’t scientists, don’t know what they’re talking about, and aren’t even open-minded enough to think about the subject.  I guess there are just so many fundamentalists in this debate on both sides, I’ve stayed away from it entirely.  I read a few books about it years ago and felt like there were a few intelligent people arguing for and against, surrounded by a cacophony of lunatics.

I’ve just read Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt.  Meyer is a Cambridge PhD in philosophy of science.  He hangs out with the Intelligent Design people.  His writing is fluid, detailed, and reasonable.  He seems to know what he’s talking about.

The book makes the case for the fact that the fossil record doesn’t support Darwinism.  The sudden appearance of new phyla without sufficient time for the mutation and selection process to work is simply unaccounted for by the rocks.

The problem is that when Meyer says things like, “the Precambrian fossil record simply does not document the gradual emergence of the crucial distinguishing characteristics of the Cambrian animals,” how on earth should I know if he’s right?  I don’t have time to immerse myself in paleontology.  I’ll never be an expert.  I just have four hundred pages of articulate, self-assured, well-documented evidence for Meyer’s case.

So here’s how I find my way into a conversation on subjects that are not my primary field of study.  I read the reviews that are antagonistic to the source and just look at the logic that’s employed.  I find that this often gives me the best read on a work.  If the critics are sincere, the reviews are usually precise.

The New Yorker’s review began with a genetic fallacy, presented arguments that Meyer had refuted without mentioning that Meyer had addressed them, and then deferred to another blogger for the scientific content of the review.  It then called Meyer “absurd,” which, given how shoddy the review actually is, was an absurd thing to do.

Then I read the review from which the New Yorker piece got its “science,” which was actually written by a grad student at Berkeley.  Now I have to say that Berkeley is, in fact, one of my fields of expertise, and I know exactly how Berkeley grad students go about their “work.”  Somehow Berkeley selects the crazies and the militants who show the most promise and then teaches them that knowledge is a completely subjective power tool which should be manipulated by those on an ideological crusade to undermine authority.  I’m not kidding.  I went to Berkeley.  That’s what we did.

What’s interesting about the grad student’s review is that it was posted 24 hours after the release of Meyer’s book, and it’s filled with snark.  He’s not having an intelligent conversation, he’s insulting Meyer in order to defend something religiously.  In a later, defensive review, the grad student says that he read the book “during lunch.” He read over 400 pages of scientific material during lunch, and then posted an insulting review.  He says his detractors are just “slow readers.” People who win speed reading competitions tend to cover 1,000 words per minute (maybe 4 pages) with 50% comprehension.  That level of comprehension is almost useless, and it becomes less useful the more information-rich the content.  A book of Meyer’s size would have taken an hour and forty minutes at that pace, with minimal retention, and that’s if you’re not, oh, say, eating lunch.  On top of that, the review is almost 10,000 words long, which would take some time to write, making it highly suspicious that the review was written after the book was read and not before, in anticipation of the book’s release.

See, this is how I know who to trust in academic communities.  The charlatans have no character.  You read the grad student’s defenses of his review (and they sound a little panicked), and you realize that he has been following Christians around and arguing with them for years with an inquisitor’s zeal.  There’s a personal agenda here, and his approach to new information on the subject is anything but scientific.

Now I start to smell a rat, and I change tactics.  Now I really want Meyer to be wrong.  I want one, good, solid review by an objective thinker, maybe even a Christian, who can debunk Meyer.

So then I read Donald Prothero’s review.  He’s a paleontologist and a scholar.  It begins with a caricature and a smear, saying that anyone who questions evolution suffers from confirmation bias (explain Thomas Nagel?).  He then says they have PhD’s in the wrong fields and thus aren’t qualified to discuss evolution (Meyer, again, studied philosophy of science).  Then he launches into unsubstantiated accusations, saying there are errors on every page.  He says Meyer claims the Cambrian explosion happened “all at once.” Now look, I just read Meyer, and he doesn’t say that at all.  This isn’t a mistake.  This is a lie.  The truth comes out as he goes on to refer to Meyer’s religion as a “fairy tale.” Again, I haven’t found a scientific mind.  I’ve found another fundamentalist.

Now I start to sweat.  A host of scientists have endorsed the book (http://www.darwinsdoubt.com/blurbs/).  I want one to reject it on perfectly level-headed grounds, with no patronizing rhetoric.

Another definitive work on the Cambrian Explosion came out in January of this year.  Called The Cambrian Explosion, it attempts to give a scientific explanation for how so much variety erupted in such a short time.  The authors say “the Cambrian explosion can be considered an adaptive radiation only by stretching the term beyond all recognition.” That means the evolutionists are saying the fossil evidence doesn’t bolster evolution in this particular era.

The New York Times ran a science article last month that said that scientists will spend the coming years trying to figure out what combination of environmental triggers caused the Cambrian explosion.  It doesn’t mention Meyer.  It also seems to leave a big, open question mark about why we need to defend Darwinism at points where the evidence leans away from it.

So now I’ve changed my mind.  I don’t think the fossil evidence does support the current representation of Darwinism.  I think there are some otherwise well-trained scientists who are freaking out, and doing it in widely public and observable ways.  Their lack of command of reason is a tell-tale sign that their motives for defending their orthodoxy are not scientific.  And I believe the failure of the scientific communities to engage in this conversation in a rational way is a manifestation of power brokering rather than honest intellectual engagement.

Could humanity have evolved?  Sure.  But the case isn’t as strong as they told me in biology class.

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About Pastor James Miller

husband, father, pastor, author of Hardwired: Finding the God You Already Know

Posted on October 12, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 58 Comments.

  1. I am an understudy of the some of the Cambrian fossil record in Southern California, USA. I have traversed and measured and mapped and collected evidence of how the earth once was many years ago. I have a few of the trilobites and oncoloids (aka oncoidal trace fossils). I can understand the “model”, the theory of how it happened based on how we study the rock record. The earth will always be changing. Sedimentology, Paleontology and Petrology are critical Sciences and we depend on them in our lives today. Paradoxes are difficult for us but paradoxes are a reality with our God. He is beyond our understanding, yet He is knowable. God formed the dimensions we relate to and He supersedes even more dimensions we can’t find. Life creating itself and “Diversifying” on its own is like saying the Second Law of Thermodynamics is wrong. – Mike Muras.

  2. Read a book on marriage once…nothing like living it!

    Example: My totally non religious sister never took a drug, doesn’t drink, has been married for decades. Kids, house, difficult job…the whole catastrophe. Mom had been dead some five years when she calls me up and says…”You won’t believe what just happened. I’m sitting at my dining room table and out of the blue Mom, appears! She just appears. I’m dumbfounded. She tells me some answers to some questions I’ve been deeply mulling over for weeks.
    Then she physically touches me on the shoulder (I can feel her touch)…and she disappears”.

    The point of the story is this.

    Up to the moment this took place my sister never once thought a “spiritual reality” existed. I never once heard a peep of conversation regarding God, ghosts, spirits, an afterlife. In fact quite the opposite.

    All this talk of is there a God, or isn’t goes right out the window when you actually experience something profoundly spiritual. And until that takes place both atheists and those who believe by faith are all but talk.

    I appreciate both arguments regarding God vs. evolution, probably why I’m of neither left or right politically in my country. But one thing I am for, results. My sister got a boat load just by fate. And as one of the most stable human beings I’ve ever known, I believe her.

    So I can only lean toward God’s existence, be he Jesus, or otherwise.

  3. Reblogged this on Samuel Hall and commented:
    Pastor James Miller sparked a stimulating debate on Darwinism … I’m pleased to re-blog his post.

  4. Wow… wow. Seriously that was a fantastic blogpost. The way you expressed your spiritual indifference to the issue of evolution and how their are fundamentalists that crowd out reasoned debate on both sides of this issue could not have been put better. I look forward to reading the comments here later, but I had to say that before heading on to other things. Thank you!

  5. Pastor, have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, a little humility is called for in this situation? Maybe the people who have devoted their lives to studying the science of evolution just might actually know better than you do? And maybe, even if they do get tired of people making the same mistakes over and over and over, and having to refute them over and over and over, people like Stephen Meyer, who is an apostle for claims that have contributed nothing whatsoever to science, for a “theory” that has no hypotheses, no testable claims, no proposed mechanism, and which like it or not does rely solely on God-of-the-gaps reasoning, should not be considered experts over, you know, the people who actually know stuff? What on earth does the “theology” or “philosophy” of evolution matter? It’s science, not theology or philosophy. And it’s the science of evolution, not “Darwinism.” Darwin provided the first general outline, but science theories grow and change (which is a strength, not a weakness). You admit you don’t have the expertise to evaluate Meyer’s claims, yet you dismiss the people who do on what amounts to tone arguments.

    You are not a scientist. Scientists say you are wrong about science. Maybe…. you are?

    • Where to begin with this one?

      1. It’s hard to imagine someone asking for humility while being arrogant, but I guess it’s possible.

      2. This is nothing but a fallacious appeal to authority without actually presenting any arguments, which is exactly what my review critiques. Scientists have been doing exactly what you’re doing for too long, which is why this debate persists. In fact, if you had read my piece, you would see that I went searching for a legitimate scientific critique of Meyer, and far from there being so many people who have refuted his points “over and over,” I couldn’t find one. You don’t offer one either.

      3. Here’s a list of over a hundred scientists who dissent from Darwinism, Ph.Ds, MDs, professors, and the like, so your claim that “scientists say you are wrong” is uninformed at best. In fact, maybe you should have not only the humility but also the common sense to realize that the scientific communities aren’t that monolithic, and an overgeneralization like that one just sounds naive. (http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=660)

      4. The reason philosophy matters is because it’s grounded in logic, which enables one to overturn a poorly founded argument, which is what I am doing right now – I’ve studied philosophy. Given your command of logic, I suspect you haven’t, and given your inability to present a scientific argument, it seems like you haven’t studied science either. This only goes to beg the question of why you feel entitled to be patronizing, when you don’t seem to have an argument, you don’t present any evidence for your case, you make wrong claims because you haven’t investigated the subject on which you are making claims, and consequently you are generally weakening the case you are trying to defend.

      I’d be interested in hearing something either scientific or logical from you, if you have it, and maybe come up with a reply that presents argument rather than simply trying to silence people with whom you disagree.

  6. We have never found any fossils or illustrations to indicate what the rodent to bat transformation looked like.
    I don’t know how longer digits and larger webs between them would convey any advantage to a rodent. Plus, each time they got larger, and longer, wouldn’t that be the result of more genetic mutations? Genetic mutations are independent of what the organism experiences, in the sense that, if longer digits accompanied by larger webbing did convey an advantage, the genes don’t “reward” the organism by giving it longer digits with more webbing. Those would be “lucky” mutations, it’s not as if they have a goal of someday becoming wings. In addition, a number of other genetic variations would have to take place to allow for changes in the muscles, tendons, bone structure, the blood vessels nourishing the “new territory”, etc.
    A very rough analogy would be as if a computer that printed out design changes for a car kept making mistakes that the engineers liked and kept until one day they had an airplane.

  7. Read about you here: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/11/unintended_cons079591.html

    Your testimony is very encouraging! I praise God for your courage and honesty!

    I have done Creationist outreaches on college campuses, and like you have found that the detractors are vicious petty abusive and truth avoiding. I also have found that the capitulation of Pope John Paul II to darwinism and the fact that the Vatican endorses it as true science is a terrible stumbling block to the atheist community who are emboldened in their foolishness by this unwise defection of the Catholic Church from the truth of biblical Creationism.

  8. I would positively say the “fossil record” not only doesn’t support Darwinism, but that there is no proof whatsoever for Evolution.
    Good article!

  9. As both a scientist (geologist) and a Christian… what Meyer says and how he frames it worries me. Let’s take a minute away from the actual scientific arguments and look more closely at how reliable Meyer’s words are. The problems start very early… Below is an open letter of sorts that I put forward earlier this week. Apologies on the length of this post.

    “As I was going through the beginning of Darwin’s Doubt (prologue page ix in the hardback version, or paragraph 15) I saw that you quote Stephen J Gould as having more or less declared Neo-Darwinism to be dead. After going through the original article (somosbacteriasyvirus.com/gould.pdf), I found the use of this quote to be both puzzling and troubling.

    At the beginning of the paper, Gould does state that in a way Neo-Darwinism is dead, but later qualifies it by saying that only it’s rigid, universal form known as “modern synthesis” is dead. As a unifying rule of sorts, it is simply reductionist. It lacks both the nuance and sophistication that are actually present in modern evolutionary theory. He later says,

    “none of this evidence, of course, negates the role of conventional selection and adaptation in the molding parts of the phenotype with obvious importance for survival and reproduction. Still, it rather damps Mayr’s enthusiastic claim for “” (122). (Emphasis added).

    In fact, refuting this oversimplified version of Neo-Darwinism is the whole purpose of his paper. As detailed in the abstract, “a new and general evolutionary theory will embody this notion of hierarchy and stress a variety of themes either ignored or explicitly rejected by modern synthesis: punctuated change at all levels, important neo-adaptive change at all levels, control of evolution not only by selection, but equally by constraints of history, development and architecture — thus restoring to evolutionary theory a concept of organism” (119).”

    I do not believe that building an argument from ignorance, incredulity, by misrepresenting sources, or not understanding the subject, is an effective way to make the case for any position. At present, Meyer seems guilty of at least one of those, though I’m leaning towards misrepresenting sources since this paper is pretty straight-forward and he holds an undergraduate degree in the geosciences. What we seem to have here is a textbook example of “quote mining”. Ethically, this is inexcusable. At three pages in, his credibility is totally lost. If we can’t trust him to reliably represent the current state of the science, how can we possibly trust any claim he makes, either factual or interpretive?

    • Have you read the entire book? Meyer spends an entire chapter on Gould, elaborating on his shifting views over his life, including how he backed away from his Punk Eek and toward (again) Neo-Darwinism. Later chapters go into much detail the effectiveness of the most modern formulations of evolutionary theory and finds them lacking an effective mechanism for genetic novelty.

    • David,

      I think you are taking Meyer’s use of that quote out of context. He clarifies it and supports his points adequately.

  10. Check out Stephen J Gould’s work on punctuated equilibrium. I think reading something like that – something that independently addresses the various issues raised by Meyers and others of his position – will be far more fruitful than any review.

  11. I found Michael Denton’s book, “Evolution: a Theory in Crisis”, a scientific refutation of the theory of evolution, to be an interesting read. Michael Denton is a molecular biologist.
    http://www.creationdesign.org/ also presents some cogent arguments.

  12. Is this the New Yorker review which you are referring to above? http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/07/doubting-stephen-meyers-darwins-doubt.html
    I ask because it is published in the New Yorker which suggests it may be the same review, but I cant recognize its contents from what you wrote about it so perhaps it is not the same review.

    • This comment, from that review, is interesting:
      “Whole genes can be duplicated, for example, and the copy can evolve new functions.”
      I’m not sure that molecular biologists would agree with this statement. Cells have three ways of repairing damage to the DNA code.
      What “new function”?
      In order to be useful, doesn’t a cell have to be a part of what it is coded for, e.g. a bone cell, lung, liver, capillary, eye, etc.?

      • Hi there, I think you might be confused about the gene duplication statement. Whole genes can indeed be duplicated. Genetic duplications are considered a form of mutation. Mutation is a way that novel genetic variation is introduced into the gene pool of a population. If that mutation happens in the germ cells (e.g. eggs or sperm) of sexually reproducing organisms, there is potential for that mutation to be carried onto future generations, and thus evolve – “descent with modification” – as Darwin puts it.
        The duplicated “genes”, also known as paralogs, that result from a duplication event can have a few fates; for instance, they can become lost/non-functional (we call these pseudogenes), or may be free to evolve new functions by chance (since the original gene copy presumably functions normally). This would require subsequent mutations. It’s all very possible and we have a lot of genetic evidence to support this. Please let me know if anything else is unclear.

      • “Whole genes can be duplicated, for example, and the copy can evolve new functions.”..What new function? Fair question.

        This seems from repeat sequences to have happened twice over in the evolution of photosynthesis; PSII and PSI between them can photosynthesise using water as electron source; the simple non-duplicated version would have had to use H2S or ferrous iron. One very specific example is a duplication in Old World primates of the gene for detecting green, mutating (one small shift in one protein) to confer sensitivity to red, giving these primates including us 3-colour vision where most other mammals just have two. A very dramatic example is duplication and reduplication of the whole genome, somewhere between ther simplest chordates and jawed fishes, traceable still by repeats and the order that they occur in.

        So three examples here; of medium, low, and very high complexity. A quick online search on the topic will give you many more, if you want them.

        Is that an answer?

  13. Oh the predetermining power of presuppositions.

  14. Nicely written article. But the last line seems a conclusion jumped too prematurely as compared to the flow of the rest of the content of this article.

  15. Hi, this is Nick Matzke, the former grad student of the 24-hour (actually 36-hour) review. The comments here don’t deal with any of the factual issues I and the other critics raised, so why should they be taken seriously? If Meyer is wrong about these factual issues, then we were right to be annoyed. Judging scientific issues based on whether or not you like someone’s tone is the height of folly. For example, why did Meyer leave out the small shellies, the fossils just before the classic Cambrian Explosion, which gradually increase in complexity over 25 million years? They start as basically millimeter-long worm tubes, and gradually increase in complexity and diversity right up to the first “phyla”. Missing this is as incompetent as discussing human evolution, and leaving out Homo erectus, or discussing bird evolution, and leaving out Archeopteryx.

    If one is already familiar with the science, it’s pretty annoying to see someone like Meyer come in, do a totally hack job which misunderstands or leaves out most of the key data, statistical methods, etc., and then declare that the whole field is bogus. That’s why critics are annoyed. And, it’s annoying to see other conservative evangelicals blindly follow in his footsteps. Sometimes I think an intelligent design person could say that the idea that the moon is made of rock is a Darwinist conspiracy, and you guys would believe him.

    • Actually, Nick, I read Meyer, and you’re misrepresenting him through flippant rhetoric rather than simply engaging the facts. You and I both know that he didn’t “declare that the whole field is bogus.” And your insistence on mischaracterizing his work is a sign that you’re not confident that the facts alone discredit him.

      As opposed to folly, following the motives and methods of debaters gives you real psychological insight on what they’re trying to accomplish, and the scientific enterprise has always prided itself on its objectivity, something we haven’t seen from you.

      I have the sense that you are actually a brilliant mind. Balance it with character and humility and you’ll have far more credibility. I personally would be glad to hear what you have to say if I didn’t have to wade through the disrespect.

      • Looks like you are unwilling to discuss the scientific problems with Meyer’s arguments. Too bad. Have fun trying to figure out science using emotional intuition as a guide. Cheers, Nick

        • It looks like you’re unwilling to realize that humility is the foundation for intellectual integrity, a virtue that science can neither create nor live without. What you’re calling “intuition” is actually just wisdom.

          • If somebody wrote a book about the causes of World War 2, and they left out World War 1 and the Treaty of Versailles, it wouldn’t show a lack of humility for a critic to point out the incompetence.

            Humility means, among other things, forthrightly recognizing when someone has their facts wrong or left out crucial facts. I’ve show that there is plenty of this in Meyer. This is dealing with substantive scientific issues. And you have contributed, what, exactly? Basically you’re saying “I’m going to assume Meyer is right, despite the detailed scientific critiques which make specific, checkable scientific points, because I prefer to be guided by my completely uninformed fuzzy-wuzzy feelings.”

            Along the way, you decry the genetic fallacy, and then, in the very next paragraph, you employ the genetic fallacy to summarily dismiss anything and anyone coming from Berkeley! I’ll grant you one thing, you’ve got chutzpah. Too bad it doesn’t substitute for logic or knowledge of the evidence.

            ===========
            The New Yorker’s review began with a genetic fallacy, presented arguments that Meyer had refuted without mentioning that Meyer had addressed them, and then deferred to another blogger for the scientific content of the review. It then called Meyer “absurd,” which, given how shoddy the review actually is, was an absurd thing to do.

            Then I read the review from which the New Yorker piece got its “science,” which was actually written by a grad student at Berkeley. Now I have to say that Berkeley is, in fact, one of my fields of expertise, and I know exactly how Berkeley grad students go about their “work.” Somehow Berkeley selects the crazies and the militants who show the most promise and then teaches them that knowledge is a completely subjective power tool which should be manipulated by those on an ideological crusade to undermine authority. I’m not kidding. I went to Berkeley. That’s what we did.
            ===========

            I don’t know what program you were in at Berkeley (the Graduate Theological Union, which is near campus but not part of UC Berkeley? I’ll grant that it’s liberal!), but you should realize the science departments at Berkeley are pretty much like science departments at any other major university. (Technically, better than average, as Berkeley is top-ranked in many scientific fields, but, remember, humility.) I don’t think I ever heard the word “postmodernism” in the biology department. All the conversations are about DNA, fossils, phylogenetics, etc.

            • There’s a difference between committing the genetic fallacy and exposing bias. After admitting that I don’t have the credentials necessary to analyze debates over paleontology, I simply pointed out that you claimed to have read 400 pages during lunch and then launched a review that was more invective than explanation. I logically moved on looking for more objective sources. That’s just common sense.

              As to your query, I went to U.C. Berkeley, just like you, and my read on Berkeley was self-deprecating, because it’s funny. Funny is another one of my fields of expertise.

              • Some Jew passing by

                For whatever reason, Nicholas replied to your thoughtful critique of his review by trying to get in digs at you several times, and you showed him up every time without descending to his level. You are a wonderful person, and I wish I lived near your church.

    • Hi Nick Matzke,
      As one person who is following the debates on Darwinian evolution Vs ID, i have a few things for which I would like to know answers from those who speak against ID. One of them is the issue of the Cambrian explosion which Dr Meyer also mentioned.
      Dr Meyer says, “the Precambrian fossil record simply does not document the gradual emergence of the crucial distinguishing characteristics of the Cambrian animals.” Could you please comment on this?
      Thanks in advance.

    • Nick,

      There is no consensus on the “small shellies.” Some think they increase the problems. There is no consensus on how to classify them. Meyer does mention them briefly, so he did not “leave them out” as you say.

  16. …when Meyer says things like, “the Precambrian fossil record simply does not document the gradual emergence of the crucial distinguishing characteristics of the Cambrian animals,” how on earth should I know if he’s right?
    If he was wrong, the evolutionists would be on him like white on rice, and the proof of evolution would be in every textbook on the subject.
    The fact of the matter is, the fossil record simply does not document the gradual emergence of the crucial distinguishing characteristics of
    any
    animals.

  17. Try the Wikipedia page.

  18. Meyer and Discovery have yet to prove that they are “on our side”. Listen carefully to Casey Luskin, for instance; you may be intrigued by certain phrasing he is careful to repeat often. It’s Darwinian evolution that they oppose, not evolution per se. Intelligent Design, espoused by Meyer, Luskin and the Discovery Institute, as far as I can determine from listening to dozens and dozens of their podcasts and reading their articles, does not rule out some from of “common ancestry” for life. Just how that differs from ordinary theistic evolution has yet to emerge.

    Mr. Miller, that last line is a throw-away conclusion having nothing to do with your analysis of Meyer’s book. Human evolution is far and away removed from the Cambrian era “explosion”. Meyer may very well have made a strong case that standard Darwinian evolution does not, never has and never will adequately explain the Cambrian explosion. But only Darwinian evolution by Natural Selection.( I have only read reviews, including the articles you comprehensively scuttle here.)

    Human evolution is an entirely different kettle of fish. Your concluding line implies it is legitimate to conclude from Meyer that the Cambrian controversy as he revisits it provides insights directly applicable to models of human evolution. I would say it doesn’t necessarily follow. In any case, apparently Meyer has not really changed your mind on evolution; just all or part of Darwinian evolution by Natural Selection.

    Your conclusion strikes me as a sort of “bait and switch”; giving credit to Meyer for a lucid argument, and exposing the fallacies of his detractors in a well-designed analysis provides an imposing case suggesting you may now pronounce authoritatively on human evolution.

    You seem confident that human evolution can not be ruled out; only what “biology class” taught you. It may be news to you, but a great many differing views of “how” human evolution “may” have occurred have been presented to biology students and to the public since your and my days in that classroom.

    Do you intend to remain a quasi-evolutionist as a pastor, updating your views based on “authoritative science”? Or will you take that Kierkegaardian leap into the awesome abyss of Scripture to deal with the matter?

    It seems to me your conclusion requires at least that you justify your view, and that as a pastor you ought at least to make passing reference to Moses et. al. if only to leave them in the same ditch; and to reassure us post-moderns that you have trod the paths of Enns, et. al. and the Higher Critics. Perhaps you could get a $30.000 “science in congregations” grant from BioLogos/Templeton to prepare five sermons on the subject?

    • Before you throw Moses and the Pastor into the “ditch” you better take a look at reason with history. If the books of Moses, [no matter who you believe wrote them-which includes Genesis the first book of the Torah] are just a bunch of “fairy tales of iron age old men” then surely the prophecies regarding the Hebrew people would be false or incongruent with the study of history. Moses and the prophets confirm that the Jews would be scattered into all nations due to “unfaithfulness” to the covenant that G-d gave them. So what does this have to do with Meyer’s book and evolution? Moses and “Elohim or Yahweh” do not believe in evolution. Furthermore JESUS, who is presented as the anointed Messiah or Christ in the Gospel’s especially John’s record who presents JESUS as G-d incarnate. Jesus said, Moses wrote of Him. You may not believe that and it is a free country. But what you can not deny is that the Jews are back in the land of Israel and they control Jerusalem. These things were predicted by the Scriptures and the writings of Moses. Before I put all of my faith in a god of evolution that demands nothing from you I would be cautious becomes sometimes “doubt” is a friend. I love design and I love all the great foods, fresh water and other things needed to keep me alive. I have no problem with doubting evolution because it gave me nothing and it certainly did not give be my mind. Doubt is good, it is very good!!!

  19. I heard Dr. Meyer speak to a packed audience at the National Conference on Christian Apologetics this afternoon in Charlotte, NC. Very, very impressive. He has the technical chops, is engaging and entertaining, and was able to explain some very complex material to a heady, but largely non-technical audience. In other words, he’s for real, and can hold his own in a neo-Darwinian knife fight. Very glad he’s on our side. Thanks for a thought-provoking, insightful, and clever review!

    • That he impresses non-scientific Christians, is meaningless and useless. Whether or not he can “hold his own” with scientists, is for those who know the field, to judge.

      • He also impressed the scientific Christians. ;-)

        I agree that this topic is best judged in secular science fields. My point is that Meyer can represent his ideas well, with credibility (as he has done before Congress for example–not that Congress imparts credibility).

        Further, his text is worth considering, whether you agree with his position or not.

      • I’m still waiting for critical scientists to engage the meat of Meyer’s book. Nearly all of them are staring very hard in the other direction. The remainder either have good things to say about the book, do not engage the central points of the book, or throw insults. That’s telling.

  20. And to think I get to hear this man every weekend expound on eternal truths translated into street level faith…Wow!!!! — is that being blessed or what?
    –Tom Ivy
    Member / Glenkirk Church

    • You are blessed indeed! You won’t realize fully how fortunate you are to sit in Glenkirk’s “heavenly places in Christ Jesus” until you can no longer be there.

  21. Dear sir, Do you worry that evolutionary biology challenges or undermines your religious beliefs?

  22. Read the 2nd paragraph of the review.

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