Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning of Everything

Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning of Everything

by Gerald Rau


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  • 2013 Midwest Publishing Awards Show Honorable Mention

The debate over evolution and creation has raged for decades and shows no signs of letting up. Many promote one view as the only reasonable solution. But what are the main viewpoints, and just why do they disagree? In the midst of an increasingly intense dispute, Gerald Rau answers the important questions with level-headed clarity and evenhanded analysis.
Rau lays out six models of origins, ranging from naturalistic evolution to young-earth creation. He shows how each model presupposes an underlying philosophy that adherents take on faith. With the sensitivity of a seasoned educator, Rau demonstrates how each model assesses the scientific evidence in relation to four different kinds of origins: the universe, life, species and humans. In an age of specialists, Rau sees the big picture. Mapping the Origins Debate cuts through the cacophony and the complexity to provide a lucid and charitable contribution to the conversation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780830839872
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 12/10/2012
Pages: 237
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Gerald Rau (Ph.D., Cornell) is founder and chief editor at Professional English International, Inc., based at National Chung Cheng University in Chiayi, Taiwan. He was previously an adjunct professor teaching biology courses at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois.

Table of Contents




1. Worldviews, Philosophy and Science

1.1 What is Eternal?

1.2 What is Science?

1.3 What questions need to be addressed?

2. A Spectrum of Models

2.1 What is a model?

2.2 What is the Spectrum of Opinion?

2.3 What are the Models?

2.4 What about Intelligent Design?

3. Origin of the Universe

3.1 What is the Evidence?

3.2 How Does Each Model Interpret the Evidence?

3.3 What Difference Does It Make?

4. Origin of Life

4.1 What is the evidence?

4.2 How Does Each Model Interpret the Evidence?

4.3 What Difference Does It Make?

5. Origin of Species

5.1 What is the Evidence?

5.2 How Does Each Model Interpret the Evidence?

5.3 What Difference Does It Make?

6. Origin of Humans

6.1 What is the Evidence?

6.2 How Does Each Model Interpret the Evidence?

6.3 What Difference Does It Make?

7. What We Can Learn From Each

7.2 What Contribution Has Each Made?

7.3 What Does Each Need To Address?

7.4 Seeing the Big Picture

8. The Definition At The Heart Of The Debate

8.1 Whose Definition of Science?

8.2 The Heart of the Debate


Appendix I: Tables Comparing Six Models of Origins

Appendix 2: Comparison of Various Interpretations of Genesis 1



Subject Index

Person and Organization Index

What People are Saying About This

Nicholas G. Piotrowski

"It's about time a book like this hit the market! No caricatures of 'them,' no hackneyed stereotypes of 'the other side,' this is an honest assessment of where the debate lies. Although an expert himself, Dr. Rau shows his seasoned pedagogical skills and does not lose nonspecialist readers in unnecessary technical jargon. If you've suspected that there are more options than just creationism or philosophical materialism, this book is for you."

Raymond J. Lewis

"The thoughtful and comprehensive description of the range of positions on origins that is presented would be enough for me to highly recommend this book. Dr. Gerry Rau's exploration of the origins debate is made even more valuable by a helpful description of the nature of science, a careful exploration of the assumptions and associated conclusions of each position, and a fair and objective presentation throughout."

Karl Giberson

"Mapping the Origins Debate offers readers a helpful map of the confusing and noisy terrain of America's troubled conversation about origins. Readers will appreciate Gerald Rau's calm and reasoned guide to the debate; he provides light in an area where most books offer only heat."

Amos Yong

"Unlike other multiple-views volumes prevalent across the evangelical scholarly spectrum in which contributors attempt to convince others of their views, this book invites readers to understand the religious and scientific logic at work amid the disputes. Rau maps not only the origins debate but also the diversity of scientific presuppositions and methodologies. Mapping has the potential to reorient the evangelical discussion and set it in a constructive direction."

Robert Osburn

"Eminently qualified with advanced degrees in genetics and science education from top universities, Dr. Gerald Rau not only aims to present the arguments for each position as neutrally as possible, he actually succeeds where angels, let alone countless other scholars, have feared or failed to tread. His thoughtful Christian voice rings clearly in the midst of an often shrill debate where too many are unwilling to acknowledge how their respective worldviews shape their interpretations of scientific data."

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