Robert J. O’Keefe

Gaining the High Ground over Evolutionism recognizes the ideological nature of the topic of origins. With the accompanying workbook, it is the educational resource that will help teachers and students put today’s anti-creation bias in its place.

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Pacific Book Review

Pacific Book Review

In Gaining the High Ground over Evolutionism, Robert J. O'Keefe presents an organized, well-documented and thoughtful case for Biblical creation. As he states in the book's opening chapter, the debate over the origin of Earth and humankind has been reduced to two opposing viewpoints: the evolutionary or natural thesis, and the supernatural thesis found in Genesis. However, in most communities, the so-called debate has long since been decided in favor of evolution. Politicians, educators at public institutions and even many religious people see a Bible based view of creation as scientifically ignorant. Creation as revealed in Genesis is pushed into religious studies or philosophy classes, if indeed, it is allowed to be taught at all. Without demeaning those with whom he disagrees or condescending to them, Mr. O'Keefe examines the gaps and discrepancies in the natural theory of evolution. In addition, he offers reasoned support for a Bible based explanation of creation.

Gaining the High Ground over Evolutionism begins with a succinct history of the scientific revolution and the events leading up to it. Mr. O'Keefe, then lays out the arguments in favor of the theory of evolution. He separates those arguments into three main groups. geochronology, evolutionary biology and astronomy. The facts underlying the various theses are presented fairly and respectfully. Mr. O'Keefe counters the theories by pointing out their circular logic and the ways in which the theorists break the rules they set even for themselves Intelligent design also comes under Mr. O'Keefe's microscope. While it might be assumed that he would look favorably upon this compromise between evolutionary theory and Biblical creation, the assumption would not be entirely valid. Mr. O'Keefe agrees with the basic tenet of intelligent design ("supernatural causes preceded natural causes"), and he understands the attempt to take the prejudicial religious aspect out of the debate. However, he is at odds with any theistic approach to evolution that strays from a Genesis based model of creation. Additionally, Mr. O'Keefe explores irreducible complexity: the assertion that "even the simplest organisms are far too complex to have evolved through numerous incremental stages." This concept undergirds much of the case for both intelligent design and a purely Biblical view of creation. Although tackling a divisive and multifaceted issue, Mr. O'Keefe injects the discussion with personalities and anecdotes that keep the book accessible and at times, humorous. He makes ample use of philosophical quotations from both camps and gives a brief but telling overview of the Scopes Trial. Sir Arthur Eddington's response when told he is one of the three men who understands general relativity elicits a chuckle, as does the mousetrap tie clasp whom by a trial witness as a jab at irreducible complexity. Gaining the High Ground over Evolutionism will, by its very title, polarize readers; some of whom will not be willing to crack the book's cover. However, the work is a well-referenced scholarly approach to an important debate Those willing to set aside their preconceived notions of Bible based creation will find ample food for thought in this book and people who already adhere to creation as set down in Genesis will find ample support for their beliefs. It will awaken your internal debate in your own mind, as many of us have had in the past, providing an entertaining read while enjoying the entertainment of logic and clarity of O'Keefe's thoughts.

KIRKUS REVIEWS

KIRKUS REVIEWS
TITLE INFORMATION
GAINING THE HIGH GROUND OVER EVOLUTIONISM Robert O'Keefe universe (212 pp.) 527.95 hardcover, $17.95 paperback, $3.99 e-book ISBN: 978-1-4759-4964-3; October 24, 2012
BOOK REVIEW
An ambitious book offers a critique of evolutionary theory along with a reconsideration of the relation between faith and reason.
Many accounts depict the contentious public debate concerning creationism and evolution as a tug of war between blinkered superstition and enlightened reason. This debut volume, however, contends that evolutionary theory, and modem science in general, hasn't cornered the market on rationality and remains riddled with its own assumptions, hypotheses, and conjectures. First, O'Keefe provides a brief history of the development of modem science, demonstrating the ways in which it often embraced supernatural forces. The author revises the familiar narrative that pits a heroic Galileo against the dark forces of irrational theocrats to furnish a much fuller picture of his achievements. Over time, science narrowed its horizon of acceptable explanations. O'Keefe surveys several scientific disciplines to show that each embraces its own unproven assumptions. The nature of human consciousness, the origins of the world, and the very "mystery of existence," O'Keefe writes, have all eluded scientific description. Furthermore, he argues that faith has been unfairly pitted against reason, draining it of any philosophical value. The Bible, according to O'Keefe, never presents faith as the antagonist of reason but rather as its partner: "Nothing is said or implied about any partitioning of Esith from reason. The scriptures take the capacity for reason for granted." The crux of the author's argument seems to be that the absolute compartmentalization of science and religion has been to the detriment of both and a barrier to a richer understanding of the cosmos. While O'Keefe delves into some complex subject matter, his writing remains crisp and mercifully free of academic jargon. Moreover, he maintains an impressive composure wading into waters too typically stirred by emotion and ideology. Some readers will be disappointed that the author didn't devote more time to culturally explosive issues like homosexuality, which he insightfully remarks upon. Also, the work's brevity makes the historical sketches of science and theology too incomplete to be fully convincing; this is scholarly work without much scholarly apparatus attached to it. Even if the reader finds his account of the relation between faith and reason dubious, the perspective O'Keefe provides on biblical interpretations alone makes the book worthwhile. This is a balanced, accessible, and rigorous introduction to an important topic.
A philosophically measured contribution to a debate involving science and religion that too often attracts fanatics.

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