Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose?
Alexander (Denis)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Product Description

  1. Dr Denis Alexander is a biochemist who believes passionately in both the biblical doctrine of creation and the coherence of evolutionary theory. His book draws on the latest genetic research.
    • What do we mean by creation and evolution?
    • What are the common scientific objections to evolution?
    • Is evolution atheistic?
    • Who were Adam and Eve?
    • Can the concept of the Fall be reconciled with evolutionary theory?
    • How could a God of love create a world where animals kill each other?
    • What about intelligent design?
  2. The author concludes that the question in the title is a false dichotomy: we do not need to choose, since both are true. 'Nature is what God does' – Augustine.

Chapters
  1. What Do We Mean By Creation?
  2. The Biblical Doctrine of Creation
  3. What Do We Mean By Evolution? Dating, DNA and Genes
  4. What Do We Mean By Evolution? Natural Selection and Reproductive Success
  5. What Do We Mean By Evolution? Speciation, Fossils and the Question of Information
  6. Objections to Evolution
  7. What about Genesis?
  8. Evolutionary Creationism
  9. Who were Adam and Eve? The Background
  10. Who were Adam and Eve? Genesis and Science in Conversation
  11. Evolution and the Biblical Understanding of Death
  12. Evolution and the Fall
  13. Evolution, Natural Evil and the Theodicy Question
  14. Intelligent Design and Creation’s Order
  15. Evolution – Intelligent and Designed?
  16. The Origin of Life
    Postscript

BOOK COMMENT:
  • Monarch Books, Oxford, 2008.
  • On loan to Anita (15/08/19).



"Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Preface + Postscript"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose?



"Alexander (Denis) - What Do We Mean By Creation?"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 1


Section Headings
  1. Interpreting the Bible
    • The Challenge of Translation
    • Some Key Principles in Interpreting the Bible
  2. The Biblical Language of Creation



"Alexander (Denis) - The Biblical Doctrine of Creation"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 2


Section Headings
  1. Introduction
    • God is Transcendent in Relation to His Creation
    • God is Immanent in His Creation
    • God is Personal and Trinitarian in His Creation
  2. The Three Tenses of Creation
  3. Creation and Miracles
  4. Does the Bible Teach Science?



"Alexander (Denis) - What Do We Mean By Evolution? Dating, DNA and Genes"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 3


Section Headings
  1. Evolution is a Long Process
    • Radioisotopes
    • Table: The Main Recent Geological Era
    • Measuring Cycles
    • Counting Rings and Core Layers
  2. What are Genes?
    • Figure: How DNA Divides to Form Two Daughter DNA Molecules
    • Chromosomes and DNA Packaging
    • Figure: DNA is Packaged with Histone Proteins to form Chromatin, the Central Units of Which are the Nucleosomes, Which then Pack Up Even Further to Make Chromosomes
    • How Do Genes Build Living Organisms?
    • Figure: The Hox Genes of a Fruit Fly



"Alexander (Denis) - What Do We Mean By Evolution? Natural Selection and Reproductive Success"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 4


Section Headings
  1. Evolution – the Big Idea
    • Generating Genetic Diversity
    • Figure: Evolution is a Two-Stage Process
    • Natural Selection
  2. Evolution – the Wider Picture
    • Figure: History of Main Evolutionary Events



"Alexander (Denis) - What Do We Mean By Evolution? Speciation, Fossils and the Question of Information"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 5


Section Headings
  1. Speciation
    • Figure: The Generation of a New Species of Tragopogon by Chromosomal Doubling
    • The Amazing Diversity of Species
    • Species Extinctions
    • Figure: Peaks of Mass Extinction Over the Last 550 Million Years
  2. Genetic Fossils
  3. Where Does New Genetic Information Come From?
  4. Traditional Fossils
    • Which Fossils in Which Rocks?
    • Fossils and the History of Life from the Cambrian Period
  5. From Sea to Land
    • Figure: Fossil Intermediates between Fish and Tetrapods (Land Living Animals)



"Alexander (Denis) - Objections to Evolution"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 6


Section Headings
  1. “Evolution is a Chance Process and this is Incompatible with the God of the Bible Bringing About His Purposeful Plan of Creation”
  2. “The Theory of Evolution is not Truly Scientific because it does not Involve Repeatable Experiments in the Laboratory”
  3. “Evolution Runs Counter to the Second Law of Thermodynamics”
  4. “Perhaps God Makes Things Look Old, Although in Reality they are Much Younger, in Order to Test Our Faith”
  5. “What Use is Half an Eye?”
    • Figure: Eyes in Living Molluscs
  6. “Surely if Evolution were True, God would have Simply Told us So in His Word so that we don’t need to have all this Discussion?”
  7. “Perhaps God made the Original Kinds by Special Acts of Creation which then Underwent Rapid Evolution to Generate the Species Diversity we See Today?”



"Alexander (Denis) - What about Genesis?"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 7


Section Headings
  1. Genesis 1-2 in its Broader Context
  2. What Kind of Literature is Genesis 1:1 – 2:3?
    • Numbers and Genesis 1
    • Genesis 1 as a Critique of Pagan Creation Stories
  3. Genesis Chapter 2: 4-25
  4. All Christians Interpret the Early Chapters of Genesis Figuratively



"Alexander (Denis) - Evolutionary Creationism"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 8


Section Headings
  1. How did Christians Receive Darwin’s Theory?
  2. The Ideological Transformations of Biology
  3. Evolution, Atheism and Evolutionary Creationism
  4. Is Evolution Naturalistic?
  5. How does God Create the Evolutionary Process?



"Alexander (Denis) - Who were Adam and Eve? The Background"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 9


Section Headings
  1. Adam and Eve in their Biblical Context
    • Adam as Humankind
    • Adam as ‘the Man’ and as a Personal Name
    • The Creation of Woman
    • Adam and Eve in the Rest of Scripture
  2. Human Evolution – the Genetics
    • Pseudogenes
    • Transposable Elements
    • Figure: Time of Alu Insertion into Primate DNA
    • Figure: Precise Insertion Site in the Genomes of the Species Involved
    • Retroviral Insertions
    • Chromosome Fusions
    • Figure: A Pair of Human Chromosomes Joined at the Region Known as the Centromere
    • Figure: Telomeric Fusion
  3. Is God a Deceiver?



"Alexander (Denis) - Who were Adam and Eve? Genesis and Science in Conversation"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 10


Section Headings
  1. Human Evolution – the Big Picture
    • Figure: The Evolutionary History of Homo Sapiens over the Past 7 Million Years
    • The Neanderthals
    • Homo Sapiens
    • Figure: The Way in which our Mitochondrial DNA is Inherited from a Single Woman, the So-Called ‘Mitochondrial Eve’
    • The Cultural Development of Homo Sapiens
    • The Development of Language
    • Figure: The Estimated Levels of Intentionality that may Relate to the Hominid Ancestors of Homo Sapiens Based on the Size of the Frontal Lobes of Fossil Hominids as Measured From Cranial Volumes
    • The Neolithic Era
  2. Are Humans Still Evolving?
  3. Adam, Eve and Evolution
    • Model A: No connection between the theological and biological narratives. Genesis 1-2 is a myth, in the technical sense. Quite when the first “spiritually alive” humans came into existence is unknowable.
    • Model B: A gradualist view. Humans became aware of God gradually, presumably in Africa. Genesis 1-2 is still a myth, but refers to real events, though not in the Middle East.
    • Model C: God chose a couple of Neolithic farmers in the Near East. The first couple (or community) have been called homo divinus by supporters of this view. Adam is the federal head of the whole of humanity alive at that time. All humankind are made in God’s image, but God chose two to reveal himself to.
    • Model D: Old-earth creationism. While the earth is genuinely old, God has intervened periodically in a miraculous way during evolutionary history (eg. to create the genetic code, the first cells, the primary kinds, humankind …). In particular there is a discontinuity between Adam and Eve (who were literally created out of the dust of the earth) and all other living things.
    • Model E: Young-earth creationism – a very literal interpretation of the Genesis text.
  4. Comparing the Models: Model C is Alexander’s preferred model. Models A-B are insufficiently close to Genesis, and Models D-E contradict scientific findings.



"Alexander (Denis) - Evolution and the Biblical Understanding of Death"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 11


Section Headings
  1. What Does the Bible Say About Death?
    • Physical Death
    • Spiritual Death
    • The ‘Second Death’



"Alexander (Denis) - Evolution and the Fall"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 12


Section Headings
  1. Introduction
    • Model A: Genesis is a myth illustrating the fact that every human being becomes alienated from God through disobedience of the divine commands. Physical death has always been a fact of life.
    • Model B: There was a process whereby anatomically modern humans gradually became aware of God, but then went their own way. Genesis 1-2 is a re-telling of this story in a Near-Eastern context. Physical death has always been a fact of life.
    • Model C: Adam and Eve are real people who had a revelation from God which they disobeyed, resulting in Spiritual death. All humanity falls with its federal head, Adam. Physical death has always been a fact of life.
    • Model D: While the physical death of plants and animals had always been a fact of life, Adam and Eve were expressly created to be immortal, and their physical and spiritual deaths were the result of the Fall.
    • Model E: There was no death at all before the Fall of Adam, and the introduction of decay into the biological world was the direct result of Adam’s sin. Again, Adam and Eve were expressly created to be immortal, and their physical and spiritual deaths were the result of the Fall.
  2. The Fall in the Genesis Text
  3. The Fall in the Rest of Scripture
    • The Fall in Romans
    • The Fall in 1 Corinthians 15
    • Romans 8:18-27
  4. Pain and Death before the Fall?
  5. The Fall and Models A-E



"Alexander (Denis) - Evolution, Natural Evil and the Theodicy Question"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 13


Section Headings
  1. Biology is a ‘Package Deal’
    • The Question of Waste
    • The Question of Cruelty
    • The Question of Theodicy



"Alexander (Denis) - Intelligent Design and Creation’s Order"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 14


Section Headings
  1. Irreducible Complexity
    • The Bacterial Flagellum
    • Figure: The Bacterial Flagellum
    • Blood Clotting
    • Receptors and Ligands
    • Designer-of-the-Gaps?
  2. Has ID Generated a Research Programme?



"Alexander (Denis) - Evolution – Intelligent and Designed?"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 15


Section Headings
  1. The Meanings of Design
    • The First Problem – Argument from Ignorance
    • The Second Problem – Category Error
    • The Third Problem – the Nature and Identity of the Designer
  2. ID and Naturalism
  3. Is Evolution Designed?
  4. Intelligent Evolution
    • Figure: The Dotted Lines in the Four Panels a–d Illustrate the Various Ways in Which an Enzyme can Evolve to Achieve Optimal Fitness for a Particular Task
    • Figure: Evolutionary Convergence in the Sabre Tooth between the Marsupial Species and the Placental Cat
    • Figure: The World of Genomic ‘Design Space’



"Alexander (Denis) - The Origin of Life"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Chapter 16


Section Headings
  1. Origin of Life Research
    • Carbon and the Building Blocks of Life
    • Making the Macromolecules
    • The Metabolic Powerhouse of Life
    • The RNA World
    • RNA and the Origins of the Genetic Code



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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