Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Rotten Manna - Evolution vs. Idiocy

I've just finished Karl Giberson's excellent book, Saving Darwin.

Giberson is a Christian who knows about evolution.  He understands how it works, and is smart enough (way smarter than me) to be able to make the case that the universe in general, and life on this planet in particular, has developed over long ages.

He gives both the Young Earth Creationists and the Intelligent Design theorists a thorough trouncing.

He fills in the history of this dumb debate, from Ellen G. White and George McCready Price through to Henry Morris and down to Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe.

Being a believer he also lands some punches on the so-called New Atheists, Daniel Dennett, Richards Dawkins and the gang.

And he's readable as well.

So here's my question.  How come, when you walk into a "Christian bookstore," you're unlikely to find a copy of Saving Darwin on the shelves?

No, what you'll almost certainly find is a lineup of Creationist drivel by an assortment of dilettantes.  Not John Haught, not Ron Numbers and not Karl Giberson.

How can these guys at Manna and Sonshine (or whatever your local Christian bookshop is called) possibly justify that?

How do they sleep at night knowing they're promoting utter nonsense?

Or maybe they don't know.  But then, if you wander into one of those establishments which carries a better range of theological and Biblical Studies texts, chances are you're still going to find unscientific rubbish sitting cheerfully on the shelves, burping and winking at you, opposite weighty tomes by N. T. Wright.

Come back Bernard Ramm, all is forgiven!

All right, enough moaning.  To finish on a positive note, I highly recommend Saving Darwin  (and if you're of the opinion that the gap theory solves all the problems, then you definitely should track down a copy and finally enter the twenty first century.)  Giberson is a living example of how you can still be a convinced Christian and have a scientific view on origins.  A real alternative to the stinking manna (Exodus 16:20) still on offer, despite having passed its use by date a very long time ago.


  1. Gavin, thanks for the recommendation. I definitely will read this book. But I must admit I am, well, skeptical. As a first impression, it sounds to me like just one more attempt to reconcile myth with reality.

    You ask "How come, when you walk into a 'Christian bookstore,' you're unlikely to find a copy of Saving Darwin on the shelves?" Answer: because the owners of these bookstores are interested only in promoting their worldview, regardless of facts.

  2. I am a Christian. The science is unchallengeable. Evolution is responsible for our physical bodies. We are hominids. Why you find so little acceptance of evolution in Christian circles has much more to do with how Genesis is read by evangelicals rather than the science. The evolution/creationism debate is generally framed in such a way that if you accept evolution, you must reject the Biblical account. But this is not the case. Genesis 1 is poetical/allegorical. Its terminology is appropriate to the time in which it was written. Something that literalists cannot accept. So they are backed into corner and must reject science. Hence, Giberson will not be popular.

    -- Neo

  3. Well, Neo, to Jesus and the apostles it was whatcha gonna do? Start a new religion?

  4. Apologies to Douglas. All thumbs on the smartphone, I deleted your comment instead of publishing it and, like Little Bo Peep's sheep, there is no easy way to find it again. Send again and I'll try and be more careful.

  5. Corky, just because something is allegorical, doesn't make it untrue...

    1. And since there is no way to know if a story in the bible is meant to be allegorical or literal just make it up as you go along and hope you get it right this time.

  6. "Genesis 1 is poetical/allegorical"
    - And Pagan - (a patent copy of Babylonian nonsense)

    Why couldn't Hebrew god inspire some original prose?
    Why does Hebrew god wait millions of years to appear in 950BCE?

    1. You are correct in identifying the description of the physical universe in Genesis as having a broader acceptance than just the Hebrew scripture. The Babylonians did believe in a similar poetical, temple based idea of how the universe is organized. In the final analysis, it does not make any difference regarding the meaning that was intended.

      What if someone said to you "Good news is like a welcome gluon received by a waiting quark". But what if a nuclear physicist 300 years from now read this and laughed in derision because then we will know that gluons don't communicate with quarks in the way we thought. They instead communicate through an intermediate particle called "boson quarkon". So technically the analogy about good news is incorrect because it is contextual. It was communicated using the ideas of the time. But the meaning is nevertheless present and understandable. Genesis is about meaning not astrophysics. Poetry serves just as well as a technical manual.

      -- Neo

    2. So Jesus, who was God, knew the true history and age of the planet
      but thought it best to stick with the young-earth Gilgamesh Myth
      he had previously approved as the basis of his holy scriptures for man
      because these people couldn't handle the truth, even though he knew they
      would figure it out for themselves, just after they figure out how to
      separate Church from State! (they could have figured it out sooner if he
      had given them truth instead of the Santa Claus version - arresting
      the progress the Greeks were already making in Logic and Science)

      Jesus is not allowed to lie as this would disqualify him being the
      perfect atonement (orthodox theology)

    3. You know, Minimalist, Jesus could have espoused (correctly) the view that the world was actually round. But, it would have served no useful purpose to do so 2000 years ago.

      He also would have been pressured to explain how He knew such things. But, He did not come to revolutionize scientific thinking in the Ancient World, or to answer scientific or historical questions from non-believers. He DID come to propose a different philosophical bent than people of that era (including the Jews) had ever heard.

    4. Don't deviate from issue I raised Larry
      I was talking about Jesus' endorsement of the Flood Myth.
      Jesus can't lie, but Jesus lied.
      Christianity implodes into a contradictory farce before our eyes.

    5. As far as I know, the Flood was not a "myth". It has been calculated to have occurred on May 10, 2807 BC and continued for several weeks thereafter. I believe this has been discussed here before.

    6. You're joking, right? Please tell me you're joking.

  7. Genesis was written by men in a time when they couldn't possibly understand the nature of the world around them, so they made up "just so" stories to explain it. We should accept these stories for what they are.

    Origin of the Species was written by a man in a time when men were learning more and more about the nature of the world around them and could at last come up with some explanations. Darwin's theory has been adjusted and refined since it was first written, but his original ideas have stood the test of time and have proved to be surprisingly accurate. We should accept this theory for what it is also.

  8. I was just in Manna today. Seriously. I had requested a review copy of a book from a publisher about a month back - and they mysteriously sent it to the Manna bookstore in Dunedin for me to pick up. Fortunately everything in Dunedin is about 5-10 minutes away, so I drove down and picked it up.

    I didn't see much pro-Darwin literature during my stay there. But I did notice a copy of Lion of War in the window, which I was briefly tempted by.

  9. I'd also recommend the book "Genesis and the Big Bang". In reading it, most are either going to reject what is presented, or perhaps enjoy an enhanced understanding, with the outcome determined by their particular mindset going in. I certainly found it useful to my own journey.


  10. I'd also recommend a critique of the book, "Genesis and the Big Bang", which can be found by clicking here.

    Also of interest is the fact that John Hagee, Joyce Meyer, and Joel Osteen are experts in understanding the laws of physics.

  11. >Giberson is a Christian who knows about evolution.<

    I can't comment on what he knows about evolution, but I am absolutely certain he is not Christian as defined by the bible!

    >He understands how it works, and is smart enough (way smarter than me) to be able to make the case that the universe in general, and life on this planet in particular, has developed over long ages.<

    Many others have "made" the same case! The most recent is the infamous Richard Dawkins, but the case has not been convincing made.

    The uninformed have continued worship at the shrine of science, and evolution in particular, which has been fostered on a deceived world by Satan.

    When Dawkins, Giberson or any other supporter of the theory evolution can answer the question: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare if you have understanding"(Job 38:4), then I will take them seriously.

    1. Reality check: Tom's not joking either. These guys really believe this stuff.

    2. The earth doesn't have "foundations" and those "pillars" don't exist either. And, the sky is not fastened at the four corners, neither is it a solid dome like a molten looking glass. The bible is hogwarsh.

  12. >The earth doesn't have "foundations" and those "pillars" don't exist either. And, the sky is not fastened at the four corners, neither is it a solid dome like a molten looking glass.<

    Delivered with the certainty of an eye witness!

  13. Gavin, you sure know how to generate comments. Is this ratings week? First a thread about politics, now evolution! What's next - global warming? Wait - better yet given the nature of your readership - how about a thread about gay rights? Abortion? You'll surpass all records with those topics!