The following post is from Allan Harvey.

Since the list has been pretty quiet, I thought I'd jump in and mention (and recommend) a book I just finished reading: the 2nd edition of Robert Fischer's _God Did It, But How?_. A full review is under the scichr-list Web page:


Following, in case anybody wants to discuss some of the issues, is the conclusion of my review:

I liked this book, but not quite as much as I had hoped to. Perhaps the glowing endorsements from ASA members whose perspective on these issues is close to mine gave me expectations that were a little too high.

The book is well-written and has a good logical flow, but it becomes a bit dry to read (perhaps a few more figures might have helped). I think its most useful aspect is its focus on the difference between the different types of questions, and its insistence that we not make unwarranted linkages between answers to How questions and answers to Who questions. If both atheists and Christian anti-evolution crusaders would learn this lesson, most of the current senseless controversies would disappear.

I do have two medium-sized criticisms. The first is that Fischer seems to be somewhat tied to Biblical literalism. His exegesis of Genesis 1 argues for a day-age interpretation, with an apparent underlying assumption that some scientific information is being given with which the findings of modern science should concord. I wanted to see at least a mention of the option that Genesis 1 might have no science content, instead being a figurative portrait answering only the essential Who and Why questions. Second, I am concerned about the several pages devoted to the deficiencies in the existing theories of biological evolution. While the points are all valid, I worry about their effect on readers. He said he focused more on the weaknesses of the theory than its strengths because "in the teaching of science the concept of biological evolution frequently comes through as being much more definitive and final than it really is." While this is true, the readers of this book will not be the secular science teachers who need to hear that. Instead, many readers will be Christians who have been conditioned to desperately want evolution to be false. My fear is that some might see these weaknesses and miss the much more important point that, right or wrong, the scientific theory of evolution (as opposed to its philosophical extrapolations) is not a threat to Christianity. Perhaps this point could have been made immediately prior to the presentation of the weaknesses, and the strengths given a little more space alongside the weaknesses, in order to guard against this danger.

Overall, however, this book is a most welcome contribution to the science/faith area. As an introduction (suitable, for example, for college freshmen) that will help Christians think in a mature manner about these issues, I think my first recommendation would still be Charles Hummel's _The Galileo Connection_, in large part because it is more engagingly written. But _God Did It, But How?_ comes in a close second, and is well worth reading for anybody interested in these issues. I intend to give a copy to my pastor.


| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | aharvey@boulder.nist.gov |
| Physical and Chemical Properties Division | Phone: (303)497-3555 |
| National Institute of Standards & Technology | Fax: (303)497-5224 |
| 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303 | |
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