Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 09:3 (Fall 2005)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous


Book Reviews

Coming to Peace with Science. By Darrel R. Falk. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004, 235 pp., $17.00 paper.

Falk is professor of Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University in Point Loma, California. He is convinced that the Bible (and especially early Genesis) is theologically significant. Yet he is equally convinced that the natural reading of the text (which he calls the ultra-literal reading) is quite impossible. He believes that many, who have been taught by well-meaning churches and Christian leaders, are forced to choose between rejecting science or rejecting the Bible. Falk believes the evidence is simply overwhelmingly in favor of an ancient earth and gradual creation, but he does not want people to give up their Bible (just their literal reading of it).

Falk, along with Francis Collins (Director of the Human Genome Project), adopts theistic evolution as a peaceful bridge between faith and science. This book is probably the best case yet for theistic evolution, but in my judgment it resolves none of the problems. Falk admits (72) that radiometric dating depends on unchanging decay rates, but there are several other issues with radioactive dating that he does not discuss. He argues (chapter four) that there are many transitional forms in the fossil record but then admits that some of the ones we have (e.g., Archaeopteryx) are likely a side branch in the linage (which means—not a transitional form). Falk is confident, however, that many transitional forms exist (or existed) but fossilization is rare (an interesting but unclear assumption) and transitional species occur primarily in tiny populations (a convenient explanation for their rarity). Why do we not see gradual modification happening today (130)? Falk’s answer is that we do see it, but he admits that peppered moths, extra but non-functional wings on fruit flies, and dog varieties do not qualify. Falk thinks we simply have a much too limited perspective on time. Evolution happens, it just happens too slowly for anyone except trained evolutionary biologists to see it. Evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics, says Falk, because we see things growing and increasing in order all around us all the time if excess energy is available from the sun (chapter seven). The sun’s energy on non-living matter does not increase its order, however, and Falk knows that. Only living matter can capture and convert the sun’s energy to increase order, and that conversion mechanism does not spontaneously arise under any known conditions, nor does it exist anywhere apart from life—and yet the origin of life is the issue. Moreover, the sun’s energy does not modify genetic structures or add any encoded genetic information to living forms, and yet that is exactly what evolution requires. So ...

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