Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Casey Luskin Reviews Karl Giberson and Francis Collins On The Language of Science and Faith

arroba Email

In Touchstone Magazine, Casey Luskin offers a scathing review of Giberson and Collins’s book The Language of Science and Faith:

Each chapter of Language addresses a particular question; thus, the first chapter is titled, “Do I Have to Believe in Evolution?” The very framing of this question is telling. Why not title the chapter “Is There Good Evidence for Evolution?” or “Is Evolution an Option for Christians?” Such a formulation would imply that there is room for Christians to hold different views. But the authors’ formulation implies that a full embrace of Darwin may be required for Christians. Indeed, Giberson published a CNN.com op-ed (April 10, 2011) claiming that “Jesus would believe in evolution and so should you.”

But God isn’t the only authority to which Collins and Giberson appeal. Language offers multiple statements like, “almost all Christian biologists accept evolution” (p. 30), or “virtually all geneticists consider that the evidence proves common ancestry with a level of certainty comparable to the evidence that the earth goes around the sun” (p. 49).

Whether or not the claim of near-unanimity among scientists is accurate, the implication is that, if you doubt universal common ancestry, you’re thinking on the level of a geocentrist. I wasn’t completely sure if the book intended this message until I read another article by Giberson, where he states: “To suggest that this ‘data’ can be handed over to non-specialists so they can make up their own minds is to profoundly misunderstand the nature of science” (“On the Integrity of Science: A Response to Bill Dembski,” Patheos.com, May 11, 2011).

Giberson and Collins are correct that there are many experts who support neo-Darwinism. But that doesn’t mean the debate is over, for there are also credible Ph.D. scientists, such as Michael Behe, Douglas Axe, and Ann Gauger, who doubt neo-Darwinism and have published peer-reviewed scientific papers critiquing the orthodox evolutionary view in journals like Quarterly Review of Biology, Protein Science, Journal of Molecular Biology, and BIO-Complexity. Their work raises strong evidential challenges to Darwinian evolution that cannot be written off by appeals to “consensus.”

Ironically, Giberson and Collins seem to recognize this point, writing that “scientific truth is not decided by the number of names on a list,” but rather “is based on the evidence” (p. 33). Here, they are absolutely right—but one can’t help but notice that they just undercut their book’s many appeals to authority.

Since the evidence is what matters most, let’s take a brief look at it.

Click here to read the rest!

I read another article by Giberson, where he states: “To suggest that this ‘data’ can be handed over to non-specialists so they can make up their own minds is to profoundly misunderstand the nature of science”...
It seems to me if an appeal to authority doesn't work, that in a logical progression, the next item on the list would be the enforcement of authority in service of the received truth. It is already an informally enforced dogma, I know, but why not just make the questioning of materialistic evolution as the origin of life formally illegal? Like the Four Horsemen have all more or less hinted at if not espoused. With belief in God remaining legal to promote only if He is One who remains standing way, way, way in the background somewhere (except *ahem* for the resurrection *cough* *cough*). Like before the Big Bang, that would be okay. Marginally. (Just a fine, maybe?) On Darwinistic grounds, I can't think of one good reason not to. It is "survival of the fittest" after all... jstanley01
I agree, Nagel's approach in Mind and Cosmos is quite interesting. Some reviewers treat the subjects of their book reviews, some do not. I think one should read Mind and Cosmos before deciding whether the Leiter and Weisberg review linked to above is the one or the other. Kantian Naturalist
Wow! A new book based on already falsified evolutionary ideas and put out by Christians to boot! How embarrassing! Nagel's approach is so much more refreshing, honest, accurate, and courageous. So sad to see these types of anti-biblical ideas coming from Christian scientists, but how encouraging to see unbelievers showing enough courage to publicly question the consensus evolutionary creation story based on evidence! tjguy
The bad guys once again make their case based on authority. Or rather as the Pharisees said to Jesus BY WHAT AUTHORITY DO YOU TEACH? What is important is that to zillions of North Americans the case for evolution has not been persuasive! For Evangelical Christians and Christians in general there is great conclusion that evolution is hogwash. To persuade us one must first deny Genesis is the truth and while doing this demonstrate evolutionary biology etc is well supported by evidence. Counting biologists for each side is a vain exercise I assure you. By the way it doesn't matter what biologists think about evolution. Evolutionary biology and real biology are different intellectual pursuits. Biologists just accept evolution like Dentists. Its unrelated to biological research which deals with living substance. Few people get paid to be evolutionists. Robert Byers
Not to distract from this entry but the link that follows is a review of Thomas Nagel's look at Darwinism and naturalism: http://www.thenation.com/article/170334/do-you-only-have-brain-thomas-nagel?page=full# lpadron

Leave a Reply