Darwin's Forgotten Defenders coverSince today is Darwin Day, I’d like to take the opportunity to recommend Darwin’s Forgotten Defenders by David N. Livingstone. This short book is a good history of the early scientific debate over natural selection. Unlike the incessant popular portrayal of a war between religion and science, Livingstone shows that the debate was actually over the scientific merits of Darwin’s theory:

The fact is, however, that the historical conflict between science and Christianity is historical only in the sense that it is the creation of historians.

This is an important point that needs to be understood by more people. Far from being the historical Christian view, Young Earth Creationism did not gain wide popularity until after the 1961 publication of Whitcomb and Morris’ book The Genesis Flood. The spread of the ideas in Whitcomb and Morris’ book contributed to the wide acceptance of a distorted view of the early debates over natural selection. This view has become so prevalent that even many Christians do not realize that the Young Earth Creationism and a war between religion and science is not the historical Christian perspective, but a recent development. Livingstone’s book is a welcome contribution to correcting this myth.

Now, to find a good book on Galileo…

BibTeX citation:

	Author = {David N. Livingstone},
	Publisher = {William B. Eerdmans and Scottish Academic Press},
	Title = {Darwin's Forgotten Defenders: The Encounter Between
	             Evangelical Theology and Evolutionary Thought},
	Year = {1987}