Life — How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation?
(italics on book title)
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Latest revision as of 06:11, 23 October 2012
Life — How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation? is a book published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. As the subtitles indicate, it is about whether life came about via evolution or by creation.
Central to the theme of the book is its insistence upon muddling evolution with abiogenesis, and claims that abiogenesis is a necessary foundation to evolution. Though most of the book is written to appeal to someone of a scientific mindset, the ultimate goal becomes apparent in the last few chapters: to convert the reader to Christianity, specifically the Jehovah's Witness denomination.
Chapter 17: Can You Trust the Bible?
This chapter attempts to demonstrate that the Bible is trustworthy by showing that:
- it contains knowledge unavailable to its authors,
- it is an accurate record of events,
- it has "internal harmony around a central theme", which is unlikely if it was written by multiple independent authors.
While this approach is sound, the execution is flawed.
To support the latter claim, the book cites the fact that the translators of the Douay version of the Bible used the word "globe" in the translation of Isaiah 40:22, ignoring the fact that most other English translations use "circle". This is cherry picking.
The book uses Ecclesiastes 1:7 to claim that the author knew about the water cycle:
7 unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
However, this verse is rather vague, and can apply to anything from evaporation to giant underground pumps.
The section on history mainly falls prey to the Spiderman fallacy: the fact that archeology has confirmed the existence of many of the people, places, and ordinary events (such as battles) in the Bible does not confirm that extraordinary events such as Noah's flood or Joshua's long day ever took place.
Finally, the chapter claims that the authors of the Bible displayed unusual honesty: for instance, in Deuteronomy Moses admits failings that prevent him from entering the promised land. The book never attempts to establish that Moses ever existed, or that he wrote the book of Deuteronomy.
The Bible is also said to have "internal harmony around a central theme", which would be unexpected in a book written by over 40 authors over 16 centuries. This claim fails on two counts.
Secondly, this argument ignores the extensive editing and redacting that the Bible underwent.