Defending Design

"Charles Darwin didn't want to murder God," TIME magazine commented recently. "But he did." The murder weapon, according to most historians of science, was the theory of natural selection. If all living things, including human beings, evolved by a blind and undirected process of variation and selection, then we become, as TIME puts it, "an accident of natural selection, not a direct product of God." Chances are your teenager has heard something like this in high school -- or, if not there, on a public television program, or from friends. But the news of God's death, as Mark Twain joked after reading his own obituary, has been greatly exaggerated. A delightful new book from InterVarsity Press, What's Darwin Got to Do with It?, makes the point beautifully. This isn't a book you'll have to urge your kids to read. In fact, they won't be able to put it down. And you'll probably find yourself sneaking a peek at the book, as well. It's hard to resist. What's Darwin Got to Do with It? is a cartoon-format conversation between a young female biologist, Professor Questor, and her older male colleague, Professor Teller. Teller is an advocate of Darwinism. Questor, on the other hand, is skeptical of the claims made for Darwinism. She's been doing some hard thinking, and the evidence of biology has convinced her that "intelligent design" is a better explanation for what she observes. Of course, Professor Teller doesn't give in easily. He throws one argument after another at Dr. Questor. How can anyone invoke intelligent design? he asks her. Isn't that just religion or fantasy, masquerading as science? Not at all, she replies. We know that an arrangement of flowers spelling "Welcome to Victoria" has an intelligent cause, even if we can't personally see that cause. Even Darwin's favorite examples, Dr. Questor explains, the changes wrought by selective breeding in domesticated animals like pigeons or dogs, show evidence of intelligent design. Great Danes and Chinese Pugs exist only because of careful, deliberate steps in the breeding process. Well, how about similarities between different organisms? asks Professor Teller. Doesn't that prove Darwinian evolution? Not so fast, answers Questor patiently. She then explains that similarity can have many causes, including design, and illustrates her point with a funny story about space aliens and automobiles. The book What's Darwin Got to Do with It? is marked by its sense of humor -- but it's still fair and valid. Professor Teller, as the representative of standard neo-Darwinism, isn't mocked. Rather, the book's authors -- Robert Newman, John Wiester, and a husband-and-wife team, Jonathan and Janet Moneymaker -- take care to keep the tone friendly and open. In writing and illustrating the book, they drew on a wide range of expert scientific advice, in fields like population genetics, paleontology, and the philosophy of science. But What's Darwin Got to Do with It? is just plain fun to read. Talking panda bears, superheroes, criminal detectives, and even Harvard's Stephen Jay Gould, put in appearances. If intelligent design isn't welcome in your kids' science classroom, why not give them something to read on the bus? What's Darwin Got to Do with It? will help them understand the powerful insights of intelligent design -- and even have some good-natured fun in the process.


Chuck Colson


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