First thoughts on The Language of Science and Faith

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First, let me say thanks to Adrianna for sending me this book. One of the best all-around Christian publishing houses for critical Christians is Intervarsity Press, so if you get a chance to check them out, please do so. I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting two of IVP’s staff at the recent SBL annual meeting. Wonderful people.

This will, no doubt, be a continuing series, because that’s how I roll, especially when I feel that a book deserves more than just one blog post.

Let’s be honest – people are afraid of science because for many, they see it as juxtaposed against religion. Since I’ve stopped being afraid of science, and have started to see it as conjoined to a belief in God, the world has become grander, and more welcoming to me. In fact, I no longer see Darwin as the devil incarnate, which is the subject of the authors’ introduction.

The view of Darwin and Darwinism is something which they must change, mainly due to our normal appetites of taking in only what is spoon fed to us, regardless of historical accuracy. Their goal in the introduction is not to make Darwin likable, but to explain first and foremost that the terminology most often applied, Darwinism, is outdated at best, and a purposed distortion at worst. Indeed, both YEC and Evolutionists use Darwin and it’s cognates to describe what is best seen as evolution. What is interesting is the away in which evolution has changed since Darwin. While Chick (Jack T.) would have us believe that Darwin is not only the basis, but the sole source of evolutionary thought, the authors are able to briefly, and with lay terminology, show how science has advanced far past Darwin, evolving you might say, to where we are today. So much so, that to continue to label evolution as Darwinism is patently false. Part of this advancement is due to Christian scientists, such as Mendel, who have furthered science while holding on to their faith in God. On this note, let me add that in this brief introduction they mention the word most often feared by scientists, atheists and Mainliners – GOD. (For scientists, they use ‘God talk’ an awfully lot.) It is not forced, and neither is the use of God as second hand thought. With the ground laid, they move on in the first chapter to discussing key terms.

You realize by now that terms like ‘theory’ and ‘evolution’ aren’t just cute little sayings to throw around generally marked by scare quotes, right? In the chapter, ironically, called Do I have to Believe in Evolution?, they never get around really to answering the question. Instead, they show that certain terms, such as natural section, genes and genetics, common descent and macroevolution actually mean something more than what the YEC would have us believe. They actually have well documented evidence and thus mean more than a slanderous accusation. Also in this chapter they tackle their detractors, such as the so-called Dissenters from Darwin. In what becomes a type for them, they explain the position which they oppose and explain with easy speech how that position is wrong. This is important for chapter two in discussing the speed of light and what that means for the age of the universe.

So far, I haven’t been told anything negative about God; instead, the authors are trying to show that one can take their faith seriously along with science. It doesn’t need to be an either or type of thing.

Yep, get the book. It is an easy read so far, and by far the best science book I’ve read in a long time. Well, besides Genesis 1 😉

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