Evolution: The Grand Experiment, a Book Review

In response to the challenge I made to Mark Tetzlaff, here is the beginning of my review of the book “Evolution: The Grand Experiment” by Dr. Carl Werner.

Since none of you have probably even heard of the book, let me describe it. It’s a hard cover book approximately 262 pages long. It is written by the good Doctor Carl Werner and filled with photography from his lovely wife Debbie.

You could read along with me if you’d like. The first few pages of the book can be found at Amazon.com.

Tetzlaff recommended this book, because he believes “that Dr. Werner is an honest researcher. He examines the evidence in great detail and contrasts how evolutionists and creationists interpret the evidence. In his book, he never states his opinion or interpretation of the evidence, but simply explains the evidence, how others have interpreted it and leaves it to the reader to make their own choice. This book does not provide answers to our origin or development, but it does offer a tremendous amount of information that teaches us a great deal about the world in which we live.”

Tetzlaff’s recommendation can be found in the comments of this post.

About the author.

The book bio for Werner says the following:

Dr. Carl Werner received his undergraduate degree in biology, with distinction, at the University of Missouri, graduating summa cum laude. He received his doctoral degree in medicine at the age of 23. He was the recipiant of the Norman D. Jones Science Award and was the executive producer of Evolution: The Grand Experiment video series.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the Norman D. Jones Science Award and the results came back empty. There was a question posed on wikianswers.com, but there was not yet a response. I sent an email off to the publisher for clarification, and I have yet to hear back.

Also, I’m a little confused about how a 23-year-old was able to receive their doctorate in medicine. But maybe I’m being overly critical. The average age of entering med school is 24. Maybe there’s something about the semantics that I’m missing. Regardless, that’s what it says.

Although Tetzlaff claims that Werner is fair and balanced and that it doesn’t support either argument for or against evolution, Werner’s endorsements are quite telling. Here’s a good one at Answers in Genesis.

So what, right? Let’s go check out the book!

Chapter 1: The Origin of Life: Two Opposing Views <— That’s the title.

Although the chapter begins with the words, “Two (2) Opposing Views”, the first chapter says:

How did life begin? One view is that an all-powerful God created the universe and all forms of life. Another view proposes that the universe began billions of years ago as a result of the big bang. Later, life in the form of a bacterium-like organism arose spontaneously from a mixture of chemical. Subsequently, this single-cell organism slowly began to evolve into all modern life forms. A third view is that life evolved but God formed the first living organism and then helped the process along.

I count three views here. Anyone else see just two?

I also see the words “all-powerful” before the first mention of the word “god”. I imagine that if this was a book without any bias, it would go with a more general, non-hyperbolic reference to the creator. But this one says “all-powerful.”

So the “two” views we are going to discuss are either an all-powerful god originated the universe, it happened naturally, or number two B, life evolved from a non-all-powerful god and then that non-powerful god helped it along.

To be clear, we will not be discussing any other creation stories, because that would not be American perhaps. Or maybe that wouldn’t be scientific. But I’ll remind you that there are plenty of people who think their creation myth is hands-down better than the one in Genesis. I digress.

For those of you who aren’t following along at Amazon, there is only that bit of copy that I quoted above on page 2 (except for a photo caption under a photo depicting the big bang). Tetzlaff obviously recommended a book written for 10 year olds.

Page three includes a section called, “The Origin of Life.” In a nutshell, it says there is a heated debate over whether god did it or whether the theory of evolution is the winner. Underneath that paragraph is a photo of the painting of Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”.

Page FOUR!!!

After two pages of dramatic information and photos, page four’s section is titled: Americans are split on their beliefs.

It says that according to a gallop poll in 2006, many Americans believe that God created man in the last 10,000 years. “This is surprising,” says Werner, “given the fact that scientists have been teaching evolution for more than a century.”

Second paragraph: “Do most Americans not believe the theory of evolution because it is implausible? Do they not believe evolution because of their religious views? Or, do they not believe in the theory because they are unfamiliar with its concepts?”

Then it says in large print below a photo of laughing students,

“What do you think?”

Let’s  get this straight. Page 2 says there are TWO opposing views and lists THREE.

Page Three says there is a controversy and briefly explains what they are. Please go to page three at Amazon and read for yourself.

Page Four says, hardly any Americans believe in the theory of evolution and asks some really HARD-HITTING questions. And it finishes page four with, “What do you think?”

This book hasn’t given any information about evolution. It hasn’t given any information about creationism. It claims they both exist and that most people in America accept one or the other.

Let’s see what’s on page 5. Oh. Great. It’s the illustrated gallop poll that was mentioned on page four.

Let’s see. It goes from left to right. Guess what view is all the way to the “right”? Five percent have no opinion. I’m going to quote the rest of them:

• 13% “Only 13 percent of Americans believe in evolution, that humans evolved from apes, and God had no part in the process.”

• 36% “Some Americans, 36 percent, believe evolution did occur, but that God guided the process

• 46% “Many Americans surveyed, 46 percent, believe God created man less than 10,000 years ago!”

So you can see that the majority wins, you should be in the majority! The majority either believes that god did it all 10,000  years ago or that god started the process. But god did it 10,000 years ago eeks out the win.

So say I knew nothing of either idea presented here. The first I’d have heard of humans evolving from apes occurred in the poll on page 5. If I were an idiot, I’d be like “Where the hell did the ape stuff come from? Who is this god? Give me some fucking background! The first I’ve ever heard of this all-powerful god is in the pages of this book.’

Obviously, there is no bias in this book.

Pages 6 and 7 are 6 total pictures and it says Do you believe in Evolution at the top of one page, and underneath there are three lovely Cons. On page 7, there are three “Pros.”

Con #1 says, “No, I don’t believe in evolution at all. I think if you just look at the facts, it’s pretty clear; it just can’t be.”

Con #2 says, “Did we come from monkeys? I don’t know. There is evidence of it, but there is also some stuff missing, so making that leap with a missing link there, I have some problems with that.”

Con #3 says, “From what I’ve seen and heard, we have not evolved from apes for the simple fact that apes are still around. I mean, if we evolved from them, why are they still here?”

Page 6 is the first we’ve heard about “stuff that’s missing”. But yet we’ve already been drilled on which one we’re going with. They’re still giving out brand new information here after they’ve asked us. I’m SO confused!

Page 7, the PROS! Werner wouldn’t try to make the Pros out to look dumb would he?

Pro #1: “Yes, I do believe in the theory of evolution because I think that we had to come from some place and you know from ape to man to what we are today. I definitely believe in evolution.”

Pro #1 sounds confused. She thinks we went from ape to man to what we are today. She obviously evolved to the next level and I don’t even know anything about evolution yet because Werner hasn’t told me a good goddamn thing!!!

Pro #2 says, “I think it’s a very sad thing that we’re getting religious views mixed up with governmental involvement with education. I think it’s a sad comment on how people are trying to fix what they see as social problems in today’s world by falling back on religious dogma.”

Pro #2 never says shit about being pro Evolution. She makes a social commentary. She also looks like a stereotypical liberal student with short, colored hair and a stud in her lip.

Let’s go to page 8.

Header on page 8: Evolution: Scientists Can’t Agree

This page simply says just that. There are a growing number of scientists who do not accept Darwin’s theory of evolution. It says that they cite multiple “lines of evidence” that evolution did not occur, including gaps in the fossil record, problems with the big bang theory, the amazing complexity of even the simplest organisms, and the inability of scientists to explain the origin of life using natural laws.

It says evolution’s best arguments are evolution of dinosaurs to birds, the evolution of land animals to whales, and the evolution of apes to man.

Page 9 says that recent gallop polls say that Americans want both evolution and creationism taught in science classes. It says 54% said yes, it should be taught side by side. These numbers are still probably riding in that same vicinity.

There are more man-on-the-street style transposed interviews on page 10. All three interviews think that both sides are important. All three of these headshots are of nice looking people.

I was going to go a little faster with my review, but I decided to tackle chapter 1 with a little more detail. I did this because you could follow along at Amazon dot com. That way anyone could call me out for being biased or inaccurate with my review.

Oh! There’s one thing I forgot to mention … The Publisher!

Who published the book? It’s a company called, “New Leaf Publishing.” You should go check them out.

On the about page, guess what it says about the New Leaf Publishing company?

Tell ’em, Cut and Paste — and throw some emphasis in there to show how non-biased this book is so that Tetzlaff’s integrity will stay in tact!

My father, Cliff Dudley, founded New Leaf Press, Inc. in 1975. After serving as sales manager at Moody Publishing in the late 1960s and co-founding Creation House in 1971, he decided it was time to strike out on his own. My father had a very strong belief in the power of the printed page to move people toward Christ. The mission statement of New Leaf Press has always been, “To Bring the Lost to Christ, and Balance to the Body of Christ.” New Leaf Press maintains a strong reputation within the industry for publishing award-winning inspirational books, and relevant cutting-edge books that address important cultural issues. In 2005 we celebrated our 30th anniversary as a company – and I am proud to say that we remain true to my father’s vision of sharing God’s message of hope and love to the world through the Christian book publishing industry.

In conclusion of Chapter 1

Tetzlaff took my challenge to a book duel. He recommended “Evolution, The Grand Experiment” because it was a fair book. A balanced book. It is a book that doesn’t choose one side over the other, or over the others, in the case that there are three views.

I also imagine he chose this book because it means more to him than Dawkins’ book, “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

How am I to take this challenge seriously? The book I have before me was written and geared toward ten year olds. It’s obviously written to “bring the Lost to Christ, and Balance the Body of Christ.”

So far, the most scholarship in the book has been referencing Gallup Polls and including a quote from Dr. Duane Gish and Dr. Kevin Padian, a part I breezed over (which is hard to do in a coloring book such as this).

But, and this is a big old but, I agreed to this challenge, so I’m going to review this book with determinism and gusto.

So fasten your fucking seat belts, because this is going to be a great fun interesting meh ride.

8 thoughts on “Evolution: The Grand Experiment, a Book Review

  1. It appears that this is falling into the same old trap of popular consensus attempting to trump science.

    Scientific consensus is arrived at through careful observation, experimentation, and the ability to falsify claims.

    Popular consensus is arrived at through what can only be roughly described as propoganda. It’s through the use of emotion, deception, and repitition that popular consenus is formed.

    Popular consensus cannot EVER be allowed to dictate acceptable scientific truth or else we will be quickly headed back to either the dark ages or a very Orwellian nightmarish civilization.

    You have my admiration for following through with your commitment. I don’t know if I could personally stomach the continuous bombardment of non-science and dogmatic propoganda.

  2. Pingback: Le Café Witteveen
  3. I’m sorry Jeremy…reading that guys site…the arrogance, smugness and general ignorance is mind-numbingly awful..

    I can see why some people don’t debate creationists…the stupid hurts sooooo much. They’re the ultimate ostriches with their heads in the sand screaming “I’m not listening I’m not listening”

  4. His claim to a PhD in medicine in puzzling since the usual degree is an MD. An MD takes 3-4 years of undergrad and then 4 years of medical school though some programs do have 6 year programs. The postdoc work is usually another 3-7 years in addition to previous work and MD is usually not seen as a research degree track, unless it is a dual MD/PhD program.

    Assuming his PhD is not in something like the history of medicine, he would still need about 6 years to complete a research oriented advanced degree. However, most people post their alma mater in their CV so this chap’s reticence about his training and education is puzzling.

    Incidentally, a degree in medicine is not a particularly good fit for someone who is trying to be a palaeontologist or geneticist or whatever he is trying to pass himself off as

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