Book Review - The Wanderer
This review of the first edition appeared on p. 3 of the 2 August 2001 edition of The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly newspaper. Reprinted with permission. The Wanderer phone: (651)-224-5733.
Breaking New Ground Against Atheistic Evolution
By JAMES LIKOUDIS
Shortly before his recent death, the highly respected theologian Fr. John A Hardon, S.J., reviewed this new book, concluding, “Origin of the Human Species is an explanation of how the human race came into existence. It is a clear exposition of what every Christian believes – that humanity began with Adam and Eve, created by God as the parents of the human race.”
Is belief in the historical reality of Adam and Eve still reasonable in a modern culture which views human origins in terms of gradual evolution over millions of years from hairy primitive primates? Does sound science conflict with the Biblical account of human origins? Do the genealogies in Genesis require belief that true man is only six thousand years old, are they compatible with much longer time spans? Do modern science and sound reasoning still permit reasonable belief that life, especially intelligent life, exists only on Earth? Do modern ape-language studies undermine belief that man possesses a spiritual soul and is essentially superior to brute animals? Is there possibly credible evidence casting reasonable doubt on human evolution’s present theory?
Written with academic precision, Origin of the Human Species explores these and other intriguing questions, offering some novel solutions to vexing problems.
During the last two decades such authors as Michael Denton, Philip E. Johnson, Michael J. Behe, and others, have written significant works challenging atheistic evolution’s intellectual foundations. Philosopher Dennis Bonnette’s radically interdisciplinary book breaks yet more new ground in that scholarly tradition.
Those who take biblical history seriously have rightly been appalled to witness civilization’s destruction in the wake of the atheistic humanism spawned by Darwin’s evolutionary theory. For the last century and a half, atheistic forces have denied man’s creation by God and established in its stead dehumanizing secular social philosophies, ranging from Communism, Nazism, and Fascism to the materialistic errors which permeate secularized Western democracies today. At this pernicious view’s root lies the claim that Adam and Eve, Original Sin, and the consequent need for a Redeemer, are all fairy tales suitable only for the uneducated and naïve. Modern science replaces Genesis with television documentaries visualizing modern man’s gradual emergence from hairy primitive primates, not an individual set of first parents living in the Garden of Eden.
Bonnette’s Origin of the Human Species meets this challenge head on. It offers a rigorously scholarly, scientifically accurate, and philosophically and theologically sound response to all the major questions which evolutionary theory poses to traditional biblical interpretation. Beginning with a tightly reasoned evaluation of the claims of evolutionary theory and the counter-claims of scientific creationism, the author then discusses the meaning of “species” and the philosophical possibility of new and higher forms of life emerging through evolutionary processes. He considers recent ape-language studies, offering what is perhaps the most exhaustive analysis to date of their scientific and philosophical significance. He rigorously demonstrates why these studies pose no legitimate challenge to human qualitative superiority. Bonnette responds decisively to those who claim that life, even intelligent life, must be found throughout the universe. Turning to the claims of evolutionary materialists concerning emergence of human life, he first determines what biblical teaching requires us to believe about Adam and Eve, achieving what theologian William Marshner terms a “flawlessly orthodox Scriptural interpretation”. Bonnette shows that the currently accepted theory of human evolution in no way contradicts Genesis – not even its famed genealogies. Lastly, he examines possibly credible evidence, ignored by modern paleoanthropologists, suggesting that true humans may actually pre-date our alleged hominid ancestors, thus raising a fundamental challenge to the accepted theory of human evolution itself. His epilog offers a surprisingly novel turn of logic, pointing to contemporary evidence of Adam and Eve’s historical reality.
Works by authors, such as those mentioned above, have raised new challenges to the foundations of atheistic evolutionism. Origin of the Human Species offers landmark analysis of the limits of human knowledge over an entire range of scientific claims about man’s true origins, leaving open to all reasonable and educated men the ability to evaluate the claims of divine Revelation in terms of the last few millennia’s well-known evidence – without further fear of claims that evolution undermines the historical status of our first true parents, Adam and Eve.