Evolving out of Eden
The reality of evolution and human origins is now beyond any scientific dispute. We are first cousins to the chimpanzees, descendants not of any biblical Adam but of lumbering hairy ancestors who were making fires and hand axes in Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago. This challenges many foundational doctrines of Christianity.
Concerned believers are walking a troubled middle path between Genesis and genetics, threatened with the loss of a cherished faith on the one hand or their intellectual integrity on the other. To escort the faithful through the hostile territory outside Eden’s comforting fairyland, a whole cottage industry of science-savvy theologians has emerged. But do they manage to get anywhere?
Writing with the combination of high criticism and low humor that fans have come to love from Robert M. Price, he and co-author Edwin A. Suominen survey the apologetic landscape and offer their own frank reckoning of evolution’s significance for Christian belief.
Their collaboration on the subject began while Bob was advising Ed, then a believing but troubled Christian, about his “dark night of the soul” with a fundamentalist sect of Lutheranism. Ed realized there was a grave conflict between evolution and his inherited faith.
Having both accepted the reality of evolution, the two friends–one a longtime atheist, the other then still wanting to hold onto at least some form of Deism–agreed to research its theological implications and the various ways that Christian writers have tried to smooth things over. What they found was a rough landscape of troublesome issues that defy the evolution-embracing efforts of many earnest liberal theologians. Join them on a tour of the place, under subheadings like “Eden Disorder,” “Groping for Gaps,” and “Shoveling After the Parade.”
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In addition, luminaries like John Loftus and the late Vic Stenger have given the book high praise:
Fellow feline fan Jerry Coyne offered a recommendation of his own when posting a picture of Ed’s cat on his website (don’t you dare call it a “blog”):
Reader Ed Suominen, an ex-Christian, is co-author with Robert Price of the lovely book Evolving out of Eden: Christian Responses to Evolution. I highly recommend it. But he also has a cat (a big ‘un), and sent me a picture of it with a short note. . .
Said cat is curled up behind Ed’s monitor, purring loudly, as these words are being written. Here’s the photo that Dr. Coyne posted along with his kind words about the book:
In his March 2013 posting “God of the gaps–still with us,” Dr. Coyne also noted the draft copy we sent him,
of a very nice new book by two former Christians, Robert M. Price and Edwin A. Suominen, called Evolving out of Eden: Christian Responses to Evolution. No longer believers, but deeply acquainted with theology and apologetics, Price and Suominen simultaneously dismantle creationism, theistic evolution, and other apologetics. And they don’t pull any punches by making nice with faith. They also make the point that “God of the gaps” arguments are still with us, despite the insistence of the faithful that they no longer use that strategy.
You can imagine how it felt for a couple of evolution amateurs to receive such feedback from an intellectual giant in the field! Dr. Coyne is perhaps the world’s foremost expert on the intersection between evolutionary science and religious dogma, with a new book Faith versus Fact coming out in May 2015.
Evolving out of Eden Co-author Dr. Price is course no amateur regarding the Bible and theology. Ed, a retired electrical engineer, patent agent, and inventor, uses and embraces the term as a fitting description of himself when it comes to evolutionary science. His pursuit of that field, as with Bob, arises solely from “the love of it,” amatorem.
It’s been immensely rewarding for both of them to interact with a few gracious non-amateurs like Dr. Coyne along the way. And the dedication they agreed upon for the book reads as follows:
To the fossil hunters—scientists and assistants alike—who have dedicated so many patient hours to finding the evidence that so many choose to ignore.
Those are the intellectual giants, among others, on whose shoulders Ed and Bob humbly crouched rather than stood when writing about evolution.
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Take a look at our overview of the book, an excerpt, or some favorite quotes. As with all our titles, Amazon offers a free sample for the Kindle version that amounts to the first 10% or so of the book.
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