Resource Review: Replacing Darwin Made Simple

One of the first creationist books I ever read was Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson’s Replacing Darwin. At the time, I felt well out of my league reading it.  I was several years removed from my last science class, even further from genetics, and had not been using it very much in my daily life. I’ll be honest, it was hard reading for me. I described it at the time as being at the upper end of the layman level of understanding and this is true. However, science nerds, like myself, will feel at home in the book. For those without the scientific background, Dr. Jeanson has recently released an abbreviated version of the book entitled Replacing Darwin Made Simple. If you wanted to read the original book but were intimidated by the technical terms, then you will want to consider Replacing Darwin Made Simple.

The premise of Replacing Darwin Made Simple is the same as that of Replacing Darwin: Darwin’s ideas are not supported by modern genetic discoveries.  To explain why, Dr. Jeanson breaks down the ideas and predictions of both the creation model and the evolutionary hypothesis and discusses both in simple, uncomplicated language. There are technical terms of course. You cannot avoid them in any discussion of genetics and speciation. However, they are defined and kept to a minimum.  Most layman with a very basic scientific understanding should have no trouble understanding the things Dr. Jeanson writes. Despite being an abbreviated layman’s summary of Replacing Darwin, Replacing Darwin Made Simple still manages to contain over one hundred footnotes.

Replacing Darwin Made Simple is a two-part book. The first part lays out the creation model of speciation and diversification. It is the larger section of the book and contains valuable information that makes the creation model quite understandable. Jeanson freely accepts the Biblical narrative as described in Genesis 1-11. He directly incorporates the Flood and its aftermath and consequences into his model. For example, he works out a rough maximum for how many animals would have been on the ark, less than seven thousand, representing around seventeen hundred kinds.

After laying the Biblical groundwork, Dr. Jeanson gets into genetics and what predictions can be made based on the evidence.  He bases his model on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is only inherited from the mother, unlike other forms of DNA. This allows it to be used as a clock of sorts, to determine how long ago speciation occurred. We can do this because we know the mutation rate of certain organism’s mtDNA. Dr. Jeanson uses the example of cats. We know the rate at which the mtDNA mutates in cats. Based on this, we can work backward and determine approximately the rate at which new species form in felines. In Dr. Jeanson’s estimation, once every one hundred and twenty-years a new cat species formed since the flood. He crunches the numbers on several other organisms as well.

Dr. Jeanson then compares the predictions of the evolutionary model and the creation model based on the number of species we observe. If we view mtDNA as a clock, and if species originated recently, then we would expect only a few “ticks” on the clock.  If species originated anciently as evolution predicts, we would expect many ticks on the clock.  What we observe is that the ticks, mutations, most closely fit with the young earth position of recent species origination.

Having established a young earth model for speciation, Dr. Jeanson then uses part two to deal with the evolutionary objections to his model. He first outlines the most common arguments presented for evolution. Most commonly used is the appeal to the majority fallacy, ie that the vast majority of scientists support it. If this fails, the next argument is often an attack on those unconvinced by an appeal to the majority as unreputable and uneducated.  This commonly includes claiming creation scientists are “lying for Jesus” or something to that effect. If this fails, the last argument, and perhaps the only one that might be logically valid, is an appeal to a lack of testable predictions generated by creationists.

Dr. Jeanson deals masterfully with these objections and points out, crucially, that he has presented testable predictions. The evolutionists, theistic and atheistic alike, have simply ignored them. In fact, he points out a crucial prediction he made in Replacing Darwin which has already been confirmed by studies that came out after he published the book.

When it comes to making recommendations about Replacing Darwin Made Simple, it is quite simple really. Get the book.  Even if you have already bought, read, and understood Replacing Darwin, this book is worth it. The short summary of the arguments in Replacing Darwin is handy as a reference, and there are references to Replacing Darwin throughout which make it easy to find what you are looking for. If you want to get this book, it is available for $5.99 from the Answers in Genesis website.


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