On a Book Review about Yes

Because the interchange between science and religion is a hobby of mine, I’ve read my share of books and articles on the topic – so I recognize many of the leading names in the field. Dr. Denis Lamoureux is one of those authors, but I haven’t lamoureuxbookcoverread any of his work. That’s why I placed Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes! on my reading list while snowbirding in warmer weather this past January.

Dr. Lamoureux is a Professor of Science and Religion at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta. Interesting that some colleges have at least a designation of science and religion as a study.

In this book, Dr. Lamoureux incorporates the concept of the existence of two books: The Book of Word (Scripture) and the Book of Works (Nature). This thought has been around for many years as people as Galileo and Francis Bacon used it – but it remains timely today. Lamoureux encourage readers to listen to both books. I was already aware of this concept, so for me, this book reinforces the point.

Dr. Lamoureux also weaves his personal story into the text – his moments of wrestling with science and faith. His journey from Christianity to Atheism to 7-day Creationist to theistic evolutionist is interesting in itself. Because of his experiences, he knows the trials and tribulations people face while understanding the source of their angst. Yet, in this text, I felt him encouraging others.

Because of his involvement with the opposing ends of this topic’s spectrum, Lamoureux knows that the opposing ends force people to make a choice. Therefore, he includes the important concept of dichotomous decisions throughout the text; as well as the effects of forced choices as causing some to lose their faith or not follow a personal dream of a science career – especially in biology.

Along his personal journey, Dr. Lamoureux incorporates words from Richard Dawkins (an evolutionary biologist and staunch atheist), Michael Behe (a biochemist and important Intelligent Design Theory advocate), Charles Darwin, and Scripture. It’s through those interactions that Lamoureux helps readers understand the issues and rationale behind different viewpoints.

Dr. Lamoureux’s passions are apparent in the text. His passion about the interchange. His passion about science. His passion as a Christian – and through these passions he shines a light on the path for those who want to know how to harmonize religion and science without compromising personal faith.

As a university professor, Dr. Lamoureux’s students are at many positions on the continuum of religion and science – especially regarding evolution. Not only does he weave some his encounters along the way, he dedicates an entire chapter (the last one) to various discussions with students. This was priceless for me.

Readers should be aware that Dr. Lamoureux’s view of intelligent design is different than Behe’s Intelligent Design Theory. Although I understand and agree with his point, the natural similarity of the wordings bothered me for some reason. On the other hand, I am over that minor discomfort.

Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes! is an excellent book for those who struggle with a literal Genesis and evolution. It’s also an excellent read for those who do not struggle because it provides reasons they may not know. Lamoureux’s words are rooted in an unwavering belief in the two books that successfully intertwine science and religion.

Two sidebars
Somewhere in the book I noticed that Dr. Lamoureux did a TEDx Talk, so I watched. I recommend this 14-minute lecture because it is a mini-version of this book. Besides, Dr. Lamoureux is also a good speaker. His lecture is below.

After reading the book and watching the lecture, I emailed Dr. Lamoureux. Not only did I appreciate that he took the time to respond, but we also engaged in dialogue, He also gave me additional resources. All of which I am grateful.

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29 thoughts on “On a Book Review about Yes

  1. What an interesting speaker Frank. I come away with so many questions when this subject is on the table. I think there are so many mores way of looking at life and the evolution of life than ‘either/or’ or even ‘thisandthat’ …. Perhaps everything is a theory until proven by human experience. There is still too much we don’t know or understand – or even believe – to say it is this or that for sure. Personally I find it so interesting and exciting that we don’t know, that there is constantly new theories being formulated, that there are still so many discoveries to be made. If we get stuck too soon in beliefs does it slow down progress, does it stop us looking at the new and unexplored and unexplained? Life is a mystery, how we got here is a mystery. The universe is a mystery and how it came into being is still a mystery. The unexplainable is mysterious, yet somehow some of us feel connected to it in a very real and personal manner while others of us growl ‘Bah, humbug’ at the very thought. It’s just all so very interesting!! 🙂 I kind of went off on a ramble here Frank – sorry! 🙂

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    • Pauline,
      This is exactly Dr. Lamoureux’s point (and mine on this pages), those who frame the issue as “either/or” represents the two extremes on the issue … thus not the majority because science and religion do co-exist well with many. As a matter of fact (stats based on the US), given the 25 largest denominations in the US and given the membership size of each, over 60% (I think 62) of US Christians are members of a denomination that supports science (including evolution). The extremes forcing a choice prey on the uninformed, In other words, you asking questions is a good thing. One of these days I will have to do a post showing a continuum of thought on this topic.

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      • Yes, I know, I just went off on one of those random stream of consciousness things 🙂 And please do be aware Christianity is not the only religion in the US or the world. Buddhism for example exhibits a thoroughly scientific approach to many of the questions the west (academic science and Christianity) is still debating

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        • I’m very aware not only of the variation of thought within Christianity, but also with other religions – including Buddhism & and other nontheistic religions. … Judaism (as a whole) is also very supportive – as are the Orthodox Christians … Islam is split. PS: I study this topic for fun.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your post, but I can’t feel that there is a debate between evolution and creationism, really, any more than there is a debate between whether pigs can fly or not. If one believes that pigs fly, no amount of debating will convince you that they don’t – that’s faith. Faith and science are as opposed as good and evil, in their own way..or so I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rose,
      If my memory is correct, you are in the UK. I say that because the creation/evolution debate is bigger here (in the US) than anywhere else. Although the extremes pose questions as forced choices, the many may not realize that it isn’t a forced choice – that is, the science and religion can (and do) coexist with many. I say this to give you a better context of the topic. Interestingly, not only do each of the extremes condemn the other, they also condemn those in between them who bring those two disciplines together.

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  3. Interesting, but I just can’t believe there is a god. If he exists and is all powerful then he is doing a rotten job on the world. If you are brought up with religion if is very difficult to get out from under it.

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  4. The local paper ran a story last weekend about a man who detailed a near-death experience he had. The same paper ran a letter to the editor a few days later from a person who detailed the scientific reasons why this man could never have experienced what he said he did. I liked how Dr. Lamoureux presented his thoughts, calling out all the labels and strict definitions we like to apply when having this discussion. Interesting indeed.

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  5. Resa,
    Glad you got something out of the video. Dr. Lamoueux is both knowledgeable and understandable … and I imagine he’s engaging in the classroom. His basic premise is that we don’t live in a world of facing a forced choice on this topic because science and religion can co-exist.

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    • Christy,
      Thanks for your feedback. I like the way you used “cheating” in your comment. I think it is very fair and accurate because I really believe that too many Christians are actually unknowing about this topic – and the most of Christians are not forced to make a choice. Even most who not accept the “forced choice” that the opposite ends provide, their rationale is (at best) shallow. Here are some suggestions.

      If you didn’t watch Dr. Lamoureux’s video at the end of this post, I encourage you to as it is worth the 15 minutes.

      Two good starter books are Can You Believe in God and Evolution?: A Guide for the Perplexed by Professor Ted Peters & Martinez Hewlett… and … Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (Deborah Haarsma)

      Hope these help and I’m willing to help.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Frank, wow, I cannot thank you enough. Those links will prove very helpful as a starting point for me. I’ll watch the video too this afternoon. It’s not a forced choice, and I’m looking forward to learning more as a result. I love to learn. This is fascinating

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        • Frank, I just finished watching the video and see things clearer from it. I realize it’s less about taking sides and more about examining how the two sides meet and exist together. I also liked there was mention of poetry 😉

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  6. Oddly enough, I lean towards nature as religion -but is that ‘odd’. ‘YES’ works, as does ‘just go with the flow’.

    Do you know who Freeman Patterson is? I might have mentioned him previously here. As theologian slash nature photographer his work treats both, religion and science with balanced reverence.

    By the way, did you happen to read Dr. Lamoureux’s Curriculum Vitae.

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    • Calvin,
      Nope – I don’t find leaning toward nature as religion as odd. It’s called “religious naturalism” – and that fits for some people. Based on your description of Freeman Patterson, I assume he has influenced you thoughts.

      Regarding Dr. Lamoureux – did I read his entire curriculum vitae? No … but he did share various aspects of his life in this book. What should I notice about the vitae?

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      • Frank, I don’t think I could identify with ‘religious naturalism’ by definition as I do not base all that I know, feel or see on reason. But, ‘yes’ I do connect with nature, though is not the same as ‘naturalism’. I do know am not a Beatnik.

        I would not say Freeman Patterson has influenced me but rather confirmed some notions I’ve held. I guess I mentioned him, as he seemed a good fit to this discussion.

        *Peacekeeping Award.

        It is now midnight, time to pull up the drawbridge and release the hounds. Wrapper time Frank.

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  7. I look forward to reading this book, Frank. I have a nice library of books on this topic thanks to your previous recommendations, and I have found them very worthwhile reading. I will watch the TEDx Talk as soon possible. I enjoy reading from a variety of perspectives that strengthen my ability to express both questions and beliefs. It’s very nice that you were in a position to have a personal dialog with the author.

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