Many years ago, a student entered my science class with a frustrated look and asked, “What is the purpose of history?” Fortunately, my answer is one that I remember and one that I frequently remind myself: To know where you are going, you must know where you are. To know where you are, you must know where you have been – that’s history.
For the past, several years I have done may share of reading about the interchange between science and theology, especially around the topic of evolution. Not all that long ago, I noticed a certain book on the library shelf, but I admit, knowing the reputation of the writer I didn’t proceed. Good news is that I gave in and I’m glad I did.
The creation-evolution debate continues today – many times in a religious context. However, this debate has a story – it has a history that should help us understand today. As it turned out, The Evolution-Creation Struggle (Michael Ruse, 2005) examines this historical perspective.
Although the core of the debate lies in the 1700s, Dr. Ruse starts the story with a view of Aristotle’s (the Great Chain of Being) that served as the baseline for many philosophical perspectives. Awareness of the thoughts before, during, and after Charles Darwin’s writings is paramount to understanding the situation.
While I differ with Dr. Ruse’s views about God, he primarily focused on the history – thus held-back his perspective until the final chapters. Surely, one can argue that Ruse injects his perspective throughout the book through his view of history, but I challenge critics to show me any unbiased analysis. Bottom line – The Evolution-Creation Struggle is worth reading because it helped me better understand the misunderstanding and misconceptions held by many.