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Science and Human Origins by Ann Gauger

Science and Human Origins

by Ann Gauger

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A series of scientific arguments challenging the truth of a number of Neo-Darwinians doctrines as well as the theistic evolutionary position of Francis Collins. ( )
  Jotto | Jun 5, 2013 |
I have been left wondering why the Discovery Institute, or intelligent design advocates in general, or biblical literalists feel a need to try and accommodate science when they have a belief in a supernatural entity capable of breaking natural laws. In the case of this book, it has left them needing to make all kinds of awkward criticisms of fields in which the authors clearly lack expertise. A lawyer is not the right guy to challenge the world's palaeoanthropologists, nor the world's geneticists. Certainly, he shouldn't be trying to take them all on at once. It will end with him trying to smear the reputation of scientists rather than engaging with their ideas. Accusations that the entire field of palaeoanthropology is driven by personal disputes and that Francis Collins is a bad Christian are simply not compelling reading in a book that is putatively about scientific argument.

By the end of the book I was left with a massive, if fairly obvious, incongruence. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of scientists in each of the fields addressed in this book share a broad consensus that is at odds with what the authors claim. And, despite the breathless accusations of a Darwinian conspiracy, mainstream scientists are a diverse bunch. Like Francis Collins and Francisco Ayala, who are both singled out in this book, many are themselves Christian yet accept the balance of evidence for our evolutionary past. They accommodate their beliefs with an uncompromised view of the science. This is because they have engaged openly with the evidence of their discipline and concluded that evolutionary principles best explain human origins. There is no atheist conspiracy to force evolution on the public; instead, it is all of the diverse and beautiful evidence of the world around us that points to evolution having shaped us and earth's biota. There is no shame in this, and it hardly makes us less human to acknowledge it.

And, of course, there are entirely different world views, such as the one taken by certain other religious folk. They choose to place their faith paramount to scientific evidence. Although I don't agree myself -- I value the conclusions of science ahead of those of personal revelation -- it is still a stronger position than that of intelligent design.

ID tries to straddle some in-between place, where it claims to disprove scientific consensus in a number of different fields, and then attributes the lack of a shifting consensus towards ID to bias and brainwashing. But, as this book amply demonstrates, the real problem is that ID fails to engage with much of the modern literature in those fields.


Science and Human Origins has to be described first and foremost as being anti-evolution rather than pro-intelligent-design, or pro-science. If it offers solace to those seeking evidence against evolution for their faith, the solace should be as incomplete as the arguments made in the book.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 193659904X, Paperback)

 Evidence for a purely Darwinian account of human origins is supposed to be overwhelming. But is it? In this provocative book, three scientists challenge the claim that undirected natural selection is capable of building a human being, critically assess fossil and genetic evidence that human beings share a common ancestor with apes, and debunk recent claims that the human race could not have started from an original couple.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:00 -0400)

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