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Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Paperback – 18 Jul 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Monarch Books (18 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854247468
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854247469
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Dr Denis Alexander is joint editor of the journal Science and Christian Belief and heads The Faraday Institute in Cambridge. He is also author of 'Rebuilding the Matrix' (Lion).

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Morton on 30 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I have finally been able to pout this book down, now that I have finished it. Although the Evolution/Creationism debate is nothing like as hotly debated on the UK side of the Atlantic, Alexander (a British biochemist) sees the damage that it is doing both to Science and to Religion and here nails the fact that it ought not to be doing anything of the sort.
The very existence of people like Alexander, who have a deep and thorough grasp of evolution while also having deep religious faith ought to put the lie to the idea that these two are mutually inimical. What Alexander does, however, is to explain it. His explanation of evolution is lucid and thorough and avoids the misleading metaphors and simplifications of, say, Richard Dawkins. The discussion of genetics is not always easy to follow, but that's simply because it's a difficult subject. His demonstration that the Bible - especially Genesis - can be perfectly well understood in the light of evolution is also clear and lucid. Moreover his tone is never less than respectful for those who hold a different position from his own.
The central core of his argument - that those who cannot see that evolution and Christianity work perfectly well together springs from a misconception regarding the idea of "naturalism" - is clearly made and, from this Christian science-teacher's perspective, pretty watertight.
At this point I feel I ought to put in some negatives to make this a balanced review. It's hard to find any. It is a little hard-going at times, but the effort required in reading it carefully pays dividends. In short, I would recommend this book without hesitation to any pastor or scientist interested in evolution and/or religious faith.
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Format: Paperback
Whilst disagreeing with the author on many points (more later) I did respect both the scientific and biblical learning that he brought to this book. His love of science and his Christian faith clearly come out in the book. I daresay few Christians are prepared to go back to the original Hebrew to further their understanding and interpretation of Scripture. Paradoxically, I can imagine it was his scientific training that drove him to want to read the original Hebrew. The book gives a very readable and informative account of genetics and how this is extending of understanding of the process of evolution. I have to say that the sections of the book concentrating on religion seemed particularly focussed on dismissing the arguments of Deists, Creationists and the Intelligent Designers. This is a shame as it leads to a muddle; and, criticisms that could be equally levelled at the author's own `strong theist' views. To be fair to the author does say at the start that this is a book for Christians, but, clearly, one particular constituency of Christians.

Considering Alexander's arguments in more detail, the book presents the reader with a huge methodological conundrum. On the one hand, we have the scientific method as applied to the theory of evolution. Here, the arguments are backed up by evidence and testable hypotheses. References are to peer-reviewed scientific publications - this does not mean they are correct, but does demonstrate an intellectual process by which scientific inquiry expands our knowledge. On the other hand, we have the religious method, if it can be described such. Here, the arguments are untestable assertions based on an acceptance that the Bible is the Word of God. References are either to Scripture or to the opinions of other Christian authors.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Peter Davies TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. Its great merit is that it affirms both great science and great faith. The one can, and does, benefit the other. Alexander takes us back to the idea of the scientist as one who explores the workings of God's universe. This book gets us away from the sterile either/or thinking of the evangelical atheists and the militant creationists.

The book echoes echoes thoughts from Michael Ruse (Can a Darwinian be a Christian?) who from a philosophical background shows that Christian faith and evolutionary biology are compatible, and Francis Collins (The Mind of God) who also has no problem reconciling his biological knowledge and his belief in God.

Alexander is particularly good at showing how DNA changes can generate genetic diversity which is the substrate for evolution. He also shows how natural selection is likely to be a conservative force on most occasions.

Alexander takes evolution back to its original role as a biological theory that explained the formation of new species from existing ones. As such evolution is a powerful theory, with great explanatory power. His account of species formation, and the examples provided are excellent.

Alexander is also good at showing how the idea of evolution has been exteneded to ends far beyond its biological use. The right with its belief in survival of the fittest businesses and individuals, the left with its idea of human perfectibility and inevitable historical progress, the Nazis with their idea of "lives not fit to be lived", the atheist materialist who must deny any idea of design or purpose all use evolution far beyond its intended, or valid, remit.
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