3 out of 4 stars
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Scientific Challenges to Evolutionary Theory and How These Challenges Affect Religion is authored by James (Jay) M. Schabacker. He is an engineer by profession, but as a devout Christian, he is very concerned about the impact of the theory of evolution on faith and family. According to him, public schools focus on teaching only about evolution. He wants to make a legal case and garner support through a signature campaign to promote the inclusion of teaching the scientific aspects of creation along with those of evolution in the curriculum.
The creation vs. evolution debate has been going on in Christian circles for ages. Some see faith as opposed to science, and others see both as compatible with each other. Many scientists like Newton, Faraday, and Galileo were people of faith. In this book, the writer tries to provide “scientific” evidence for creation by referring to non-biblical sources of information to corroborate biblical events. He states that many scientists believe in creation.
The author’s approach intrigues me as a theologian. He asks whether the earth is thousands or billions of years old and argues that evolution is itself a religion. He lists the scientific differences between the creation model of the Bible and the evolution model (according to Darwin). Schabacker seems to have a cafeteria approach of selectively choosing quotations from various sources. I find it difficult to appreciate his views because they don’t seem balanced. Some people tend to be dualistic in their thinking with an “either-or” mentality. As far as I know, most Christian schools teach about creation as well as evolution. They have no problem with the possibility that God used evolution as the mode of creation.
I wonder whether the writer’s campaign for including the scientific aspects of the biblical account of creation in public schools is feasible. Nowadays, students belonging to various religions study together. It is doubtful how Christian teaching will be accepted in public schools. Some may argue that Sunday school in Churches can take care of what is missing in the public school curriculum. When I began reading this book, I got the impression that Schabacker is a staunch proponent of creationism and sees science and religion as incompatible. He doubts whether professors with a Ph.D. sign in favor of evolution merely to “retain their tenure” in universities. After reading the entire book, I conclude that he believes science and religion are compatible, but he does not believe in the possibility of creation through evolution.
I liked the chart “Science Confirms the Bible,” which compares biblical notions, e.g., “innumerable stars” and “the earth as a sphere,” with science “then” and “now.” The illustrations of fossils are what I liked most. The author refers to scientific theories in favor of creation by giving examples such as the gaps in fossil records of different living creatures. He asserts that this is not mentioned in textbooks. He believes that life appeared abruptly (not through a gradual evolutionary process) by giving the example of fossils of all kinds of species that have co-existed for ages. While reading the list of social consequences of believing in evolution, I was quite amused by the following statement: “If humans descended from animals, why shouldn’t humans behave like animals?” The point is worth reflecting upon seriously, but I would still not go against the possibility of creation through evolution.
What I did not like is the book’s presentation. It needs a round of editing as well as formatting. Words breaking into a new line are quite annoying. I found grammatical errors and typos that were distracting. After a thoughtful and critical analysis of the contents, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. In my opinion, the contents are suitable for beginners who need information on the theme. There’s a bibliography for those interested in more reading. I recommend it to teenagers and adults interested in this field. Pastors and teachers may also like it.
Scientific Challenges to Evolutionary Theory
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