Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Review on Evolutionary Emergence

One of the struggles that I as a biologist have when looking at the evidences for evolution is an apparent conflict between pattern and process. By this I mean that when I look at the DNA sequence evidence, it seems to point to common ancestry. However, when I look at evolutionary mechanisms I am much less convinced. One of the sticking points is how the major evolutionary transitions might have occurred – for example in the case of the origin of life or the origin of humans. These evolutionary transitions include the appearance of new traits that cannot be reduced to their constituent parts – a phenomenon called evolutionary emergence. Two recent books address this evolutionary emergence but from opposing perspectives. Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design was written by Stephen Meyer, a fellow of the Discovery Institute and a proponent of Intelligent Design. Purpose in the Living World? Creation and Emergent Evolution was written by Jacob Klapwijk, a philosopher in the Dooyeweerdian tradition. As I point out in the review, although these two authors are not writing with each other in mind, their arguments do intersect at the question of evolutionary emergence, in particular on that of the mechanism of the origin of life. In this review I compare and contrast the arguments made by these two authors to see which arguments are more in line with what we see in creation. This review will be published in Dordt College’s publication Pro Rege in March but you are getting a preview here (with permission).

1 comment:

Reformed Academic said...

The published form of the review is available here, at Pro Rege’s web page.