Friday, May 03, 2013

Read Along: Chapter 4—Is Darwinian Evolution the Only Game in Town?

Today we continue with Chapter Four in the Read Along with Apologetics 315 project. This is a chapter-by-chapter study through the book Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow. (Hear an interview about the book here.) Below you will find an audio intro for Chapter Four, a brief summary of the chapter, a PDF workbook with questions for the chapter, and some notable quotes. You’re also encouraged to share your comments and feedback for each chapter in the comment section below. Feel free to interact!

[Audio Intro] – Jonathan Morrow introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 04 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) – PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] – Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Four: Is Darwinian Evolution the Only Game in Town?
(pages 57-70)

Chapter four explores the question of Darwinian evolution. The new atheists state that evolution is a fact, but is this true? The authors first define evolution, providing a number of ways the term can be used. They also describe the theory of intelligent design and what it claims. They offer reasons to doubt the strength of some of the main lines of evidence used in favor of Darwinian evolution, including HIV and bacterial resistance, homology, biogeography, “poor design,” and pseudogenes. They conclude by underscoring the importance of the origins question and the implications of each theory for human value.

Intelligent Design advocate William Dembski contributes with an essay about the evidence for intelligent design, its implications, and value in making a case for Christian theism.

Notable quotes:

Intelligent design’s main claim is that nature exhibits patterns that are best explained as the product of intelligent cause (design) rather than an undirected material process (chance and necessity). (p. 59)  

The theory of intelligent design does not challenge the definition of evolution as change over time, or even common ancestry.* But it does challenge the Darwinian claim that all life’s complexity and diversity can emerge through a blind, undirected process(p. 60)

Living systems bear unmistakable signs of design, even if such design is, or appears to be, imperfect. Product designers and engineers know that perfect design does not exist. (p. 64)


  1. Why is the question of origins important?
  2. What is the most common evidence for Darwinian evolution you have heard?
  3. What are the implications of Darwinism vs Intelligent Design when it comes to human value?
Recommended Reading
Next Week: Chapter 5—How Did the Universe Begin?