By Lisa Lewis of Home School Enrichment Magazine, May-June 2011
Looking for a textbook that teaches your high school science students about the fallacies of the theory of evolution? Darwin, Then and Now challenges the evolutionary theory with a critical examination of the science and history of evolution. Written by Professor Richard William Nelson, this book is an in-depth study of the most amazing story in the history of science, the rise of the evolutionary theory. Darwin, Then and Now, is a must-read for the home school science student.
In this recently published book, Darwin, Then and Now, Nelson gives a complete analysis of evolution’s entire history from before Darwin to the times of Neo-Darwinism. Nelson shows that the evolutionary theory originated in Greek Philosophy, such as the works of Aristotle and Heraclitus of Ephesus, and rose to prominence in the wake of the Scientific Revolution during the Victorian times. Then, Nelson discusses whether or not evolution is based on science or philosophy. Further, after finding that Darwin’s arguments use deductive, not inductive reasoning, Nelson answers the question of whether or not the basis of evolution is a subjective viewpoint or scientific investigation.
Darwin, Then and Now opens with an account of Darwin’s early life and the lives of his naturalist friends and geology professors who mentored him. In complete detail, Nelson recounts the celebrated voyage of the Beagle and Darwin’s time on the Galäpagos Islands. Nelson proceeds to analyze the rest of Darwin life and writings, his admirers and critics, and most importantly his famous work, The Origin of Species, which changed the world and influenced modern society. Quoting from Darwin’s own works, as well as works of his contemporaries, Nelson reveals what makes Darwin one of the most remembered figures in the history of science.
Continuing, Nelson makes a thorough investigation of whether or not there is evidence that supports evolution, the Origin of Species, and Darwin’s theories about Natural Selection. Nelson examines the alleged evidence for evolution found in the fossil record, such as Piltdown man and Lucy, as well as that seen in geological columns, such as the Burgess Shale of British Columbia and the Ediacara Hills of Australia. Also, Darwin, Then and Now has in-depth discussions of molecular biology, chemical evolution, embryology, and genetics to see whether or not evolution has revealed the origins of life. Further evolutionary evidence is examined: peppered moths, Darwin’s finches, mutations in species. Throughout Darwin, Then and Now, Nelson carefully analyses over one thousand quotations from Darwin’s works and the writings of other scientist and historians. Nelson clearly and thoroughly answers the question of whether or not there is any scientific evidence for evolution.
Darwin, Then and Now allows the home school high school student to understand the errors in one of today’s most commonly accepted theories: evolution. Darwin, Then and Now should be an essential book for every high school science class. Combine science, history, and philosophy into an amazing story, the Most Amazing Story in the History of Science: Darwin, Then and Now.”
“Recommended for Grade Level 8th-12th”
Fore Word Reviews
Rachel Jagareski, writing for Fore Word Reviews, has published a very interesting review of Darwin, Then and Now.
The concluding paragraph states:
“Darwin, Then and Now provides a counterpoint to the largely adulatory publications and events surrounding the sesquicentennial of The Origin of Species. It offers a clearly written, if sometimes densely outlined, perspective on Darwin’s scientific legacy”
Click to read the complete review. Post a Comment
Author’s Critique of Review
The following are counter points to some of the issues Rachel Jagareski mentions in the review on Darwin’s religious views, childhood disposition (lazy and rich), Kennedy and Harry Potter comparisons, and inclusion of evidence from Paleontology, Molecular Biology, Embryology, and Genetics.
Darwin clearly abandoned his earlier religious beliefs
“… on the first page Nelson provides an arresting comparison of “Lincoln sought the emancipation of men from men,” Nelson writes, “and Darwin sought the emancipation of men from God.” Most scholars and biographers of Darwin would disagree with this statement, noting that he was reticent about publicly disavowing the religious tenets he studied as a Cambridge theology student.”
Darwin did disavow earlier religious tenets stating. Darwin wrote in his autobiography: “Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate but at least it was complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlasting punishment. This is a damnable doctrine.”
Darwin continues – “The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.”
While atheists, agnostic and biblical fundamentalists will not find these comparisons troubling, those trying to blend creation with evolution together will find the comparison troubling.
Darwin’s father, Robert Darwin, was clearly concerned that Darwin lazy.
“Nelson selects biographical snippets that highlight Darwin’s faults, giving readers the impression that Darwin was a lazy and dissolute rich boy and an indifferent student at an elite university that catered to ‘young men just like Darwin who had probably too much money and too little discipline.’”
Even Darwin’s father was concerned. Darwin wrote in his autobiography that even his father declared to him that he “cared for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.”
Before entering Edinburg University, Darwin knew he was rich.
“Nelson selects biographical snippets that highlight Darwin’s faults, giving readers the impression that Darwin was a lazy and dissolute rich boy and an indifferent student at an elite university that catered to “young men just like Darwin who had probably too much money and too little discipline.”
Before entering Edinburg University, Darwin knew he was rich.
Darwin wrote in his autobiography, “Soon after this period I became convinced from various small circumstances that my father would leave me property enough to subsist on with some comfort, though I never imagined that I should be so rich a man as I am; but my belief was sufficient to check any strenuous effort to learn medicine.
Kennedy’s and Harry Potter Comparisons
“The Kennedy comparison is repeated at least twice, and other code phrases—like referring to “The Origin of Species” as the Harry Potter of its day—cue the reader about the book’s target audience.”
Kennedy: The Darwin family had been a member of elite British society for several generations. Erasmus, Charles grandfather, was within the King and Queen inner circle. Erasmus was also one of the original “Lunar Men” that has largely credited with establishing the British industrial revolution.
Harry Potter: The selling success of The Origin of Species was even greater than the selling success of one of the most popular books in the past 10 years—Harry Potter. The Origin in Species was completely sold out on the first day.
Paleontology, Molecular Biology, Embryology, and Genetics
Presenting the scientific evidence for Darwin’s theory is the major goal of the book.
“Only an impassioned Darwin fan or foe would likely consume the chapters on paleontology, molecular biology, embryology, and genetics, though the author gets points for his extensive research and footnotes.”
Detailed analysis of scientific evidence for evolution in Paleontology, Molecular Biology, Embryology, and Genetics, while perhaps a little dry, is necessary to address the scientific merits of evolution. While agree that the reading does take some brainpower, the inclusion of these details is unavoidable in achieving the goal of the book.