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Book Review by L. James Gibson
Geoscience Research Institute
BLUEPRINTS: SOLVING THE MYSTERY OF EVOLUTION. M.A. Edey and D.C. Johanson. 1989. Little, Brown and Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 418 p. Cloth, $19.45.
Edey and Johanson trace the history of the modern development of evolutionary theory, starting with Linnaeus and others (one chapter) and continuing to the present. Darwin and Wallace receive the usual accolades for straight thinking (three chapters), but the major thrust of the book (eleven chapters) is a history of the discoveries leading to the understanding of DNA as the material of heredity. The book concludes with a discussion of Johanson’s specialty, paleoanthropology (one chapter), and a warning that human intelligence seems to be creating more problems than it can solve (one chapter). Throughout the book, the reader is assured that evolution is soundly based on scientific evidence, which presumably cannot be interpreted in any other cogent manner.
Creationists are attacked throughout the book. In at least one place (p 50), creationism seems to be equated with belief in fixity of species, which reflects a serious misunderstanding of creationism. Creationists are also accused of ignoring the data (p 2-4), denying the “Central Dogma” that proteins are made from information stored in DNA (p 274- 275), and distorting God’s character (p 291).
Although creationists are human, and prone to make mistakes, the objections raised by Edey and Johanson seem off the mark. The accusation that creationists deny the relationship between DNA and proteins is unworthy of consideration. Two points are of greater significance, both raised on p 291. The first is that if God did something, there is no point in studying it scientifically. Many scientists have felt that in studying science they were “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”
Perhaps we can learn something about the Creator by studying the creation, especially with consideration of the information given more clearly in the Scriptures concerning the Creator and His relationship to nature. The second, more significant, point is the assertion that creationists have an ugly view of God’s character.
To this reviewer, the implications that one’s view of origins have for God’s character is a topic that an evolutionist would want to avoid. Although creationists might make some mistakes in interpreting His character, these mistakes are not inherent in the creation theory. The theory of evolution implies that God is probably not involved in creation. If God is involved, then competition and death are His chosen method of creation, and He, not man, is responsible for death. These implications are incompatible with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ (John 11:25, Luke 12:6) and the apostles (Romans 5:12), and impugn the character of God. This consideration provides a sufficient reason for any Christian to reject evolution.
Two fatal flaws of naturalistic evolutionary theory are briefly mentioned by the authors, seemingly without realizing their seriousness. The resistance of species to change beyond a certain point is well known. Sheep may vary, but they remain sheep (p 125). Similar statements could be made of every species investigated by science. Science is able to test whether species have the capacity to change. The test has been performed countless times, and the result has always been that species can change in modest amounts, but always within limits. When science demonstrates that species can change in ways that produce new types of organisms, creationists will take note of it. In the meantime, creation provides a plausible explanation for the origin of the diversity of living organisms. The second flaw in the argument presented in the book is the failure of science to explain the origin of life. The hypercycle theory of Eigen may be the best naturalistic model available at present (p 295), but it is not convincing. Creationists feel that the best model available is not naturalistic at all. Creation is simply a better explanation for the origin of life and for the origin of higher taxonomic categories. Until science can demonstrate these propositions to be wrong, creationism will thrive.
Overall, the book presents some interesting points of discussion, but they are discussed without an adequate understanding of creationism. Despite the title, evolution does not appear any more plausible after reading the book.