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The Battle of Beginnings: Why Neither Side Is Winning the Creation-Evolution Debate

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Voted one of Christianity Today's 1997 Books of the YearCreation versus evolution. The debate is growing louder and hotter--whether in lecture halls or in between the pages of bestselling books. But neither side seems to be winning. Why? In The Battle of Beginnings Del Ratzsch examines the history of the debate and critiques the entrenched positions that he argues merely i Voted one of Christianity Today's 1997 Books of the YearCreation versus evolution. The debate is growing louder and hotter--whether in lecture halls or in between the pages of bestselling books. But neither side seems to be winning. Why? In The Battle of Beginnings Del Ratzsch examines the history of the debate and critiques the entrenched positions that he argues merely impede progress toward the truth. Dissatisfied with both creationist fallacies and materialist misconstruals, he seeks to lay the groundwork for more fruitful dialogue. In considerable detail Ratzsch looks at the history and development of Darwin's theory and common creationist misunderstandings of evolution. He then moves on to examine the history and development of creationist theory and pervasive evolutionist misunderstandings of it. He also discusses the nature of science and common creationist and evolutionist abuses as a prelude to showing why both sides have remained critical of theistic evolution. Above all, Ratzsch argues that until philosophical confusion, logical missteps and various other snarls have been untangled, little real progress can be made in sorting out competing theories of life and its origin. With this book he challenges and equips all of us to think more clearly.


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Voted one of Christianity Today's 1997 Books of the YearCreation versus evolution. The debate is growing louder and hotter--whether in lecture halls or in between the pages of bestselling books. But neither side seems to be winning. Why? In The Battle of Beginnings Del Ratzsch examines the history of the debate and critiques the entrenched positions that he argues merely i Voted one of Christianity Today's 1997 Books of the YearCreation versus evolution. The debate is growing louder and hotter--whether in lecture halls or in between the pages of bestselling books. But neither side seems to be winning. Why? In The Battle of Beginnings Del Ratzsch examines the history of the debate and critiques the entrenched positions that he argues merely impede progress toward the truth. Dissatisfied with both creationist fallacies and materialist misconstruals, he seeks to lay the groundwork for more fruitful dialogue. In considerable detail Ratzsch looks at the history and development of Darwin's theory and common creationist misunderstandings of evolution. He then moves on to examine the history and development of creationist theory and pervasive evolutionist misunderstandings of it. He also discusses the nature of science and common creationist and evolutionist abuses as a prelude to showing why both sides have remained critical of theistic evolution. Above all, Ratzsch argues that until philosophical confusion, logical missteps and various other snarls have been untangled, little real progress can be made in sorting out competing theories of life and its origin. With this book he challenges and equips all of us to think more clearly.

41 review for The Battle of Beginnings: Why Neither Side Is Winning the Creation-Evolution Debate

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Your response to this book will depend in large part upon your expectations. Do not go into the book expecting robust defenses for either creationism or evolutionism. Rather, Ratzsch (a philosophy professor at Calvin College) wants to show how many of the critiques used in these debates are simply misunderstandings of either the opposing theory or of science in general. For a good overview of the contents of the book, check out the table of contents on Amazon or some other preview page. Essential Your response to this book will depend in large part upon your expectations. Do not go into the book expecting robust defenses for either creationism or evolutionism. Rather, Ratzsch (a philosophy professor at Calvin College) wants to show how many of the critiques used in these debates are simply misunderstandings of either the opposing theory or of science in general. For a good overview of the contents of the book, check out the table of contents on Amazon or some other preview page. Essentially, there are four parts: (1) understanding evolution, (2) understanding creationism, (3) understanding science, and (4) theistic evolution. As for the book's strengths, Ratzsch's layout of his argument is really helpful. By giving a broad look at the history and major tenets of both creationism and evolutionism, he is able to clearly show how a great deal of the criticisms made against both theories don't work. It is a helpful tool for people on both sides of the aisle to learn what arguments are on target and which are simply off the mark. The chapters that show misunderstandings are of tremendous value. Now, there are a couple of weaknesses as well. First, Ratzsch's specialty is philosophy of science, so he spends a lot of time addressing this issue and how both creationists and evolutionists misunderstand science as a whole. These chapters are really dense, so don't expect to just fly through them unless you have some philosophy background. He uses a fair amount of illustrations that help to make these difficult topics easier, but I frankly did not find these chapters as helpful as the rest of the book. This doesn't mean they are bad, but unless you are having high level conversations on the topic, they might not be as useful. Second, the book is dated. Luckily for Ratzsch, philosophy of science is not something that changes (evolves?) quickly, so much of the book still proves valuable. But with the resurgence of the new atheists, Michael Behe's complex arguments for intelligent design, and other developments in the debate between creationism and science, it would have been helpful to have some more current examples and illustrations. Finally, and perhaps unfairly, I was hoping for a bit more in his defense of theistic evolution. I say this is an unfair critique in some part because he is a philosopher, so his goal in the chapter is simply to argue that the theory is philosophically viable. In this, I think he does a decent job. But for more conservative Christians (read: me) who are reading the book, he points out that there could potentially be exegetical and theological issues that make this view problematic. He says he does not think those issues constrain the discussion, but he is unable to give reasons why. That may not be his job, exactly, but before I jump on it, I will need more than philosophical discussion. Overall, I would recommend the book, especially the first half. If you have ever had a discussion with someone who held a different view than you on this issue and found the conversation going nowhere, there are some tremendous helps here.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    This is an incredibly great book I discovered at the Bookworm one day by pure chance. It's on the topic of creationism vs evolution, only the author takes the position that in a lot of ways the proponents of both sides are really talking past each other and misunderstanding what the other side is really saying. Written by a professor of philosophy of science at Calvin college, he makes the important point that a proper understanding of the philosophy of science will help out both scientists and This is an incredibly great book I discovered at the Bookworm one day by pure chance. It's on the topic of creationism vs evolution, only the author takes the position that in a lot of ways the proponents of both sides are really talking past each other and misunderstanding what the other side is really saying. Written by a professor of philosophy of science at Calvin college, he makes the important point that a proper understanding of the philosophy of science will help out both scientists and religious people in coming to a better understanding about the issues involved

  3. 5 out of 5

    Achieng Otieno

    The battle between the true (Creation) and imaginary beggining (Evolution)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Derrick

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Douglas

  6. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

  7. 4 out of 5

    James Anderson

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hans

  9. 4 out of 5

    Russell Freeman

  10. 4 out of 5

    PaleoAnthropology+

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

  12. 5 out of 5

    David

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sammy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brandi Welch

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  17. 4 out of 5

    Braley Chambers

  18. 4 out of 5

    Randy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Lawson

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Nelson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jim Milks

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tiffiny

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marcelo

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gordon

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

  27. 5 out of 5

    LMegna

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christian Sanders

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mont'ster

  30. 4 out of 5

    Larry

  31. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Kinard

  32. 4 out of 5

    Richard Williams

  33. 4 out of 5

    Wouter

  34. 5 out of 5

    David Mosley

  35. 4 out of 5

    Lori

  36. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  37. 4 out of 5

    David

  38. 4 out of 5

    Gregg

  39. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  40. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

  41. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Jones

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