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The Battle of Beginnings: Why Neither Side Is Winning the Creation-Evolution Debate [Paperback]

By Delvin Lee Ratzsch (Author) & Del Ratzsch (Author)
Our Price $ 17.00  
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Item Number 134765  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   248
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.01" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.76"
Weight:   0.77 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2000
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830815295  
EAN  9780830815296  

Availability  140 units.
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Item Description...
Del Ratzsch examines the history of the debate and takes aim at entrenched positions that he argues impede progress from either side. Dissatisfied with both creationist fallacies and materialist misconstruals, he seeks to lay the groundwork for more fruitful dialogue. In considerable detail he looks at the history and development of Darwin's theory and popular creationist misunderstandings of evolution, moving on to the history and development of creationist theory and popular evolutionist misunderstandings of it. He then discusses the nature of science and common creationist and evolutionist abuses as a prelude to showing why both sides have remained critical of theistic evolution.

Publishers Description
Voted one of Christianity Today's 1997 Books of the Year Creation versus evolution. The debate is growing louder and hotter--whether in lecture halls or in between the pages of bestselling books. But neither side seems to be winning. Why? In The Battle of Beginnings Del Ratzsch examines the history of the debate and critiques the entrenched positions that he argues merely impede progress toward the truth. Dissatisfied with both creationist fallacies and materialist misconstruals, he seeks to lay the groundwork for more fruitful dialogue. In considerable detail Ratzsch looks at the history and development of Darwin's theory and common creationist misunderstandings of evolution. He then moves on to examine the history and development of creationist theory and pervasive evolutionist misunderstandings of it. He also discusses the nature of science and common creationist and evolutionist abuses as a prelude to showing why both sides have remained critical of theistic evolution. Above all, Ratzsch argues that until philosophical confusion, logical missteps and various other snarls have been untangled, little real progress can be made in sorting out competing theories of life and its origin. With this book he challenges and equips all of us to think more clearly.

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More About Delvin Lee Ratzsch & Del Ratzsch

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Del Ratzsch earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Massachusetts. He is professor of philosophy at Calvin College and author of The Philosophy of Science (published by InterVarsity Press in the Contours of Christian Philosophy series), as well as several other books. Much of Ratzsch's work over the last seventeen years at Calvin College has sought to relate science and religion (and more recently creation and evolution) in a way that is philosophically informed, scientifically defensible and theologically meaningful. Although Ratzsch is optimistic that design theory can avoid past mistakes in the creation-evolution controversy, he stresses that fundamental clarifying work remains to be done in this area.

Del Ratzsch has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Contours of Christian Philosophy Contours of Christian Philo

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Winning According to Who?  Jul 30, 2007
What arrogance. He speaks for the whole world huh? So no one is becoming a Christian anymore lol? What an absurd book. There are over 100+ million Christians in my religion that Delvin Lee Ratzsch does not speak for. Delvin, these millions didn't come from no where.
It's not about the "debate"-- It's about the thinking!  Jun 9, 2006
In the years since this excellent volume was published, the political strategies and tactics surrounding the topic have changed, and the subtitle may now communicate something not intended by the author. But make no mistake, Del Ratzch is not trying to insinuate anti-scientific propaganda into the culture when the scientists aren't looking. Ratzch (PhD. from the University of Massachusetts and a philosophy professor at Calvin College) is interested in more important things: how our arrogance and shoddy thinking leads us to mistreat one another, and ultimately endangers the trust upon which all human communities, scientific and Christian included, depend. To deal with this issue, he humbly offers not only critisism of various common mistakes, but also an overview of the historical development and misunderstanding of Darwin's ideas and the ideas of his opponents.

I believe that this book can go a long way towards convincing an entrenched reader to be more willing to submit to the difficult disipline of rational, civil conversation.

From Del Ratzch's conclusion:
"Broad based clarity on the larger issue[s] is going to require that both sides abandon their respective favorite muddles. . . . The two sides may be unable to find a common ground upon which all their differences can be hashed out. But. . . . if various acts were cleaned up, the area of commonality -- or at least of sensible discussability -- probably could be substantially enlarged compared to what it is now. And even if some differences are so foundational that ultimate reconciliation is clearly impossible, that of itself does not justify embracing rationally slipshod cases either for defending the views of one side or for dismissing those of the other side.

"The caricatures, the easy criticims, the propaganda, the familiar commonplaces of the various sides are comfortable--but they have become costly both within and for the Christian Community. So what should we do? On all sides we need to unhitch our egos and do some hard, maybe even painful work. And maybe the various sides should talk. Not debate--talk."
What are all these people talking about  Sep 15, 2004
I once had a girlfriend that said: "There is no balance; there are choices and consequences". When it comes to belief that is always the case. Evolutionary theory is a scientific pursue that is trying to explain empirical evidence. New approaches to speciation, macro-evolution and the so are more precise, but in any case, it is there to try and explain what we see. Creationism, on the other hand, starts from a set of beliefs, and tries to imprint them on reality by inventing a fictional explanation of life. This is not science, this is religious belief, and therefore there is no debate. A debate can be held between two scientific approaches or between two religious approaches, but not across realms. There is no debate, there is no balanced view. There are choices and consequences.
The myth of the creation "debate"  Jul 8, 2004
First of all this book does not really add anything to the "debate", worse yet one of it's writers is a theistic evolutioist, an oxymoron in principle and practice if you've ever heard one. Second of all people who disregard logic, reason and critical thinking should not be even given a chance to be heard. The fact is creationists ignore the flaws and outright lies in the book from which they espouse their theory of "creation". This is what makes everyone who's rightfully studied the bible and many religions very mad. It is their willful ignorance in adhering to a book full of lies and myths and that have been demonstrated to be so countless times. Remember any flaw in the bible contradicts the the idea of inerrancy and perfection, not to mention omniscience, if god wrote it he wouldn't make gross blunderous errors about the nature of disease and reality.

There is no real "debate". The fact that this book does not recognize it is sickening. Theistic evolution is an oxymoron, theistic evolutionists are basically atheists who don't have the courage to get rid of their psychological addiction to social ritual and the promise of eternal life then at the same time rejecting the bible, especially the first two chapters of genesis as "symbolic" read: Divine myth. There is no such thing as a god inspired mythological truth, you mind as well believe in allah or the hindu gods because their is no objective standard to measure 'divinity' or test mythological claims as to the veracity of their origin. In short anyone who claims to be christian and is not a young earther is living in fantasy world created by reading into the bible their own modern ideas.

Next,unless you believe demons cause disease, (see: Mathew chapter 8:30-34) where jesus excorcises demons into pigs and the pigs die. You have a severe problem here Jesus pretended to excorcise them therefore sinning and disqualifying him as being "God in the flesh" or even an honest man through bearing false witness and propogating ignorance, that is, promoting the backward and incorrect idea that demons cause disease.

The only reason the "debate" carries on is because people refuse to accept that the bible is a mythological work written by men and who's writings are not divine in origin. Unfortunately we have to wait out their ignorance until they die and teach the younger children and make them immune from such backward ideas and uncritical thinking performed by their equally ignorant and backward parents.

good intro to both sides, both science and philosophy  Sep 23, 2003
First it is addressed to the general reading public, slanted in tone(style, word choice, difficulty of expression) to high school or freshman college level, with a particular desire(on the author's part) to be read by young earth creationists(YEC) within the Christian community. It is a good, notable addition to the discussion and to anyone's library.

Second, the author's motivation is primarily to gently enlighten, by careful philosophic analysis. He is not argumentative, nor brash, so that the book ought not to insult or anger anyone who feels their cherished beliefs under attack. This alone is a unique characteristic of items in the creation-evolution-design debate(CED), and i would welcome the attitude in more literature or discussion in the field. It is not that he doesn't have strong feelings or convictions but rather that he is interested less in persuading people of the righteousness of his ideas, then to explain the problems with the positions taken in the field. There are several places that a strong materialistic anti-creationist darwinian will hit his personal beliefs and recoil, but even these people ought to acknowledge the general evenhandedness of the particulars.

I come to the book as a result of a self-directed study in the topics of CED, while i usually don't read introductory material, i was attracted to this, not only because i appreciate the author's work, but for one quote.
pg. 129 "So our perceptions, theorizing and evaluations of theories all seem to have an inescapable human tinge to them. And given the significant interflow among those various components, human tinges in any one of the areas have at least the potential to seep into the other areas as well. Thus we cannot eliminate humanness from science (as inductivists wanted to do), nor can we quarantine that humanness in one small corner of science (as hypothetico-deductivists wanted to do). Science is done by humans, and it cannot escape what is inescapably human. Our science is limited to humanly available concepts, humanly available data, humanly available patterns of reasoning, humanly shaped notions of understanding and explanation, and humanly structured pictures of what the world must be like. How could it be otherwise? Science seems to have a serious and incurable case of the humans."

This chapter, 9, "The Nature of Science: A contemporary perspective", is in fact the high point of the book for me, it is his field as a philosopher and science, and he introduces a term "shaping principles" which he defends and elaborates with great effect and substance. If you can read only this chapter, take the opportunity to do so, it doesn't presuppose a great deal and is worth your time.

I had only 1 other 2-starred passage in my highlighting, pg 131 "One important implication of seeing science this way is that although the effects are quite indirect, if philosophical positions, value judgements and even theological doctrines are deeply embedded in science as shaping principles, then they too are subject to some degree of empirical risk and empirical correction as nature responds to the systems of which those principles are components." This is an extraordinary idea, not shaping principles themselves for this is a common idea in the philosophy of science, although under different names. It is the idea that science and philosophy/metaphysics/religion can have this point of contact, this relationship, this empirical feedback mechanism, whereby the goodness/rightness/correctness of metaphysical principles can be empirically tested. Neat. i will be sure to follow up on this in Del Ratzsch's more scholarly work.

The book covers well trod ground in the field, i don't see any surprises, but the two quotes above, but it is the delivery that makes this a good-to-be-recommended book. An easy evening read, without the tension and debate that often accompanies works that will challenge people's viewpoints.


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