A radically new approach to evolution seeks to harmonize reason and revelation.
Charles Darwin’s On the Origins of the Species was a groundbreaking work in 1859—all the more impressive given the limitations imposed by his time. He relied heavily on fossils, but they provide no direct evidence of ancestry and are only really helpful given some prior understanding of genetics, which was not yet an existing science. In fact, all of Darwin’s theories were proposed prior to the discovery of DNA, with the prescience of his contributions a triumph of the scientific method, or inductive reasoning. But in the last 130 years, debut author Jeanson argues, new leaps in the understanding of the mechanisms of evolution have given scientists the vision to correct Darwin’s missteps and inch closer to an account of the origins of human life. The author is particularly interested in the boost given by the development of genetics as a field of scientific inquiry. If the mystery of the origins of the species is essentially one about the origins of traits, and they are governed by DNA, then the science of genetics holds the key to an eventual solution to the mystery. Provocatively, Jeanson suggests that the current bank of evidence available today is consistent with a view that includes a designing God; in one of the more gripping discussions, the author shows how the rate of human mutation actually corresponds to a creationist time scale of 6,000 years. The author is a scientist with peer-reviewed publications and a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology from Harvard University. His knowledge of the material—historical and contemporary—and the rigor of his analysis are unimpeachable. In addition, while the subject matter is likely to be intellectually challenging for even the highly educated layperson, it won’t be because of Jeanson’s prose, which is beautifully limpid. Furthermore, he clearly grasps the gravity of the matter at hand and rises to the occasion: “The reason that the origins debate provokes such emotional responses is because it inexorably converges on philosophical and religious themes. The science of origins reaches to our deepest viscera.”
A thrilling reconsideration of the tug of war between science and creationism.