Since Jon is busy with his new band, I thought I might sneak in here and fill a space. I haven’t asked him, so I hope he doesnt mind. Jon has already mentioned and linked to my book review of Michael Denton’s new book Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis. I wanted to post here some of my observations, not about the book, that is what the review is for, but about the reception of the review.
The back story is that I had offered to review a different book, and Jim Stump, Biologos Senior Editor suggested I look at the Denton book instead. I agreed. My wife (Aniko Albert) and I read the book in a couple of days, compared notes, and wrote the review in a very intensive 36 hour period. We submitted it to Jim who was also in the process of reading the book. I had not yet read Darrell Falk’s Amazon review. On Monday, Jim told me that he and other senior folks at Biologos were excited, and they decided to write both a long introduction to the review under Jim’s byline, (which isn’t unusual) as well as a Summary by the Biologos Editorial Team (which is). It was clear to me that Biologos was happy with the review, although I do not speak for them, and Im sure there were some diverse views (as there were with my wife and I).
The review was posted on the site on Tuesday Feb 9, and didn’t get much attention right away. Eventually comments began to come in, and the thread is still going on, approaching 200 comments. But, aside from very perceptive and useful comments from our Hump Colleague Eddie, and a couple from Jon, (here and on my own blog, as well as Biologos) most of the comments were pretty much off topic.
The key point of both my own and Darrell’s review was that Denton’s book was a clear signal from Discovery that the hatchet could theoretically be buried. I have not spoken to Darrell, but my guess is that he would like as much as I would to see this happen. And from the reaction of the Biologos staff to my review, I was, and remain quite optimistic about this possibility.
The commenters however seemed to have missed the point. After a good deal of discussion about ID in general, the terrible title of the book, and so on, the discussion drifted to RNA world and lots of bickering. (Nothing new there). It eventually became clear that later arrivals to the thread didnt even know that the subject was a review of Denton’s book. One commenter actually asked if anyone had read the book.
I want to give a shout out to Eddie for putting a great deal of effort into promoting Denton’s ideas and the “evolutionary” wing of ID. I am a bit disappointed that Biologos commenters are not responding to his (and mine also) attempts to emphasize the importance of this book for reconciliation between ID and EC. But, its early days yet, and hopefully other EC types will post positive or at least partly positive reviews, and eventually we will see some good results arising from this book. As I said at the end of the review, I think the Spirit is moving us in that direction. May God’s will be done.