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Did Darwin Get It Right?: Catholics and the Theory of Evolution [Hardcover]

By George S. Johnston (Author)
Our Price $ 12.71  
Retail Value $ 14.95  
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Item Number 129757  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   175
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.35" Width: 5.52" Height: 0.77"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 20, 2006
Publisher   Our Sunday Visitor
ISBN  0879739452  
EAN  9780879739454  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Sort out the facts about evolution by discovering that Catholic belief about God's creation and scientific evidence about the origins of the universe are mutually compatible.

Publishers Description
This book shows why nothing in the theory of evolution is contrary to the Church's teaching of creation.

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1Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Evolution > General   [850  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Evolution   [50  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism   [2524  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Science vs. Religion  Aug 26, 2006
I read the available pages on this site and thought the writing style of this author agreeable enough to purchase. So why the relatively low ranking?

On the few pages I have read, the author's criticism of Darwin seems to me to be very biased. On the very first page of the text (p19) he claims that Darwin is dishonest and puts him with the likes of Frued and Marx. While I agree that none of these men are correct on everything, I think their ideas need to be heard and evaluated independently. I respect all three while not agreeing with all their ideas. If you are evaluating these men based on this book you have nothing to go on but the author's assertions without any supporting evidence. He assumes you already know they are liars.

The author tries to denigrate Darwin with the most outrageous accusations. Darwin is hostile to religion? I sure don't see that in my readings. He may be somewhat frustrated with biblical literalists, but even in 'On the Origin of Species' Darwin writes, "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved." Notice the capitalization of the word 'Creator'. None the less, the author sees Darwin as an atheist. Wishful thinking? My guess is that Darwin was a deist, that god created the world and life and then let it alone.

When he tries to present proof of Darwin's ignorance he only gives evidence of his own. Take a look on page 47-48 (the pages available on Surprise Me!) and the discussion of giraffs. Mr. Johnston claims that giraffs spend more time eating grass than leaves from trees. This of course is nonsense. Giraffs main diet is composed of tree leaves. He also claims that there are no other mammals with long necks. This is equally false. Several species have had relatively long necks in the past and some do now. The extant Okapi is one example. Some others mammals have body part adaptations that enable them to reach the leaves of taller plants. The elephant's trunk comes to mind. Others have developed other strategies for accessing the leaves of trees. Leaf eating monkeys and sloths are two groups of mammals that climb trees to reach the leaves.

Why don't all animals have similar adaptations? There are a variety of niches in a variety of habitats that animals have fit into. Not all energy (food) resources are found in the leaves of trees. Before grasslands became wide spread, for example, we do not find grazers in the fossil record. After grasslands become more and more widespread we see a corresponding larger number of fossil animals with adaptations for grassland life. The fossil record of the horse documents this fairly well.

On the same pages he wonders why females and young giraffs survive at all when competing with their male counterparts. Does the author really think a group of feeding giraffs are competing for leaves as we compete on a basketball team or are they just trying to eat? Those who can access sufficient sustenance during hard times, say during a drought, may have a better chance of surviving. The young often do die during times of extreme stress such as during droughts. As for male-female dimorphism in giraffs I would suggest that maybe the males are a little bigger because they fight for mating privelages. Larger males win over smaller ones. Of course, there are other 'mechanisms' involved in keeping sizes from getting too large. In the case of giraffs, it could be that too large an animal doesn't have enough time in the day to eat enough to maintain it's bulk.

So why do I want to purchase this book? 1) I like the easy writing style. 2) There is a battle going on between creationists and evolutionists and I like to be aware of the arguements on both sides. This book tries to support a creationists view by 'knocking' the opposition, but from what I've read it only furthers the cause of ignorance. 3) I'm a science teacher and I hear a lot of misconceptions about evolution from students and parents. I take note of these misconceptions and try to correct them. 4) It's nice to know what the educated opposition is saying. Sources like this one is where the less educated get their information to support their preconcieved view of the world. The author and some of his supporters here are fairly well educated, but apparently not on Darwin or the scientific endeavor of evolution.
A singular scholastic accomplishment, dated scientific references notwithstanding  Apr 10, 2006
First, I must unexpectedly respond to the "Creationism for Catholics?" review (if you can call it that) of July 27, 2005. Having read and appreciated the excellent quality of Mr. George Sim Johnston's little book, I can attest that either J. Keith "Agastache" has never read DID DARWIN GET IT RIGHT?, or else he is a militant atheist with an uncontrollable name-calling reflex which brands anyone not sharing his pseudoscientific beliefs as a "hard-lined [sic] fundamentalist" promoting "creationism." That mudslinging is an unfortunate slander of Mr. George Sim Johnston (not "Johnson," as repeatedly stated by that reviewer) and a gross misrepresentation of DID DARWIN GET IT RIGHT? (An antidote for such poisonous tirades from "I'm a scientist, so my athiesm must be true" types might be Alister McGrath's DAWKINS' GOD. McGrath earned his Ph.D. in biophysics at Oxford.) And what was with that "Darwin was brilliant and Mr. Johnson [sic] is not." barb? Anyone who reads Johnston's book will surmise that Mr. Johnston is a very modest gentleman with no pretensions of brilliance (though I did some research and discovered that he graduated from Harvard), who would heartily agree that Darwin was a very bright fellow indeed.

There is also a bizarre comment in a more recent review, stating that "like so much of the Neo-Catholic stuff that gets published these days, there's nothing really profound nor hard hitting." There is absolutely nothing "Neo-Catholic" in this fine little tome, so whether this slur is supposed to be insulting, dismissive, directed at the author, or directed at the publisher (I have no idea...), it simply doesn't apply to the book in question. As to there being nothing profound or hard-hitting, that might refer to the absence of the proper polemical tone expected by that reviewer. In fact, DID DARWIN GET IT RIGHT? is not at all a polemical work. It does not hurl insults at anyone, nor does it hold to the biblical or pseudoscientific absolutism of so many tracts. Rather, it seeks to combine both the reason one might expect from the Roman Catholic scholastic tradition with a proper skepticism of scientism (as opposed to science).

I came here, however, primarily to post a positive recommendation of "DID DARWIN GET IT RIGHT? -- Catholics and the Theory of Evolution" for its carefully constructed analysis and levelheaded discussion of the various issues and angles involved in the debate. I found the book's major weakness to be its now-dated (1998) summary of the status of theoretical and empirical inadequacies in the neo-Darwinian synthesis. While some of the weaknesses and outright dishonesty attached to the teaching and promotion of that synthesis still stand, there have since been published some exciting efforts attempting to resolve the weaknesses of neo-Darwinism. Examples include James W. Valentine's (UCLA Berkeley) mammoth and breathtaking ON THE ORIGIN OF THE PHYLA (2004) and Sean Carroll's (Wisconsin/Madison) ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL: THE NEW SCIENCE OF EVO DEVO (2005).

For succinctly illuminating a variety of historical, philosophical, political threads of the debate, Johnston's little book remains among the most intelligent and least dogmatic efforts. This is an admirable accomplishment. The single chapter which deals specifically with Roman Catholic teaching (and popular misinformation about that teaching) is also well written, so that even non-Roman Catholics (this reviewer included) can appreciate it.
Creationism for Catholics?  Jul 27, 2005
This book does not represent the views of any of the Catholics I know, so I am left to wonder whether Mr. Johnson is appealing to some obscure hard-lined fundamentalist faction in the church. This book's contents particularly saddened me because the Catholic Church--being a church comprised of highly educated clergy--has historically accepted evolution.

I first learned about church views of evolution from my grandfather who was a Professor of paleontology (The study of the fossil record of past geological periods) at a well-respected Catholic University. My grandfather was a believer in evolution and a Third Order Dominican, simultaneously. Catholics who believe in evolution accept that our belief in God, the Bible's teachings and evolution are compatible. God is great and mysterious and God's universe (history included) is great and mysterious.

In addition to being neither enlightened nor insightful, Mr. Johnson's "scientific" arguments show that he has a very shallow, piecewise understanding of evolutionary biology and its theories. I'm qualified to say this because I am both a Catholic and an evolutionary biologist.

It is difficult to see so many other readers applauding such linear and fundamental thinking. Darwin was brilliant and Mr. Johnson is not.
Morality vs Darwin  Feb 17, 2003
This book should be read along with a few others so as to validate the authors beliefs. I would read James Perloff's "The Case Against Darwin" and a short pro-Darwin book just to see what the author in this book is focusing on. This book is definately a good source for the individual who is exploring the anti-Christian (especially Catholic) sentiment which exists in laboratory's and classrooms throughout our country.
Darwinism, Anti-Christian?  Feb 14, 2003
This book should be read along with a few others so as to validate the authors scientific beliefs. I would read James Perloff's "The Case Against Darwin" and a short pro-Darwin book just to see what the author in this book is focusing on. This book is a good source for the individual who is exploring the anti-Christian (especially Catholic) sentiment which seems to exist in laboratory's and classrooms throughout our country. The author also explains why he believes Darwinism has become a religion of its own.

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