Written to a hypothetical Southern Baptist pastor, The Creation is effectively an open letter to American evangelicals. Locked in its defense of a literal view of the Genesis creation, the church has made science an enemy. The tragedy, says Wilson, is that there is plenty of common ground, and that a global crisis is being ignored while we squabble over matters of origin.
More than that though, this is a loosely themed book that lets one of the world’s best biologists ramble about what he’s most passionate about. He talks about ants, birds and plants, describing each species as “a masterpiece of biology”. He laments the destructiveness of mankind, a species that is altering the climate, “all by our bipedal, wobbly-headed selves.” He estimates that we may only know as little as one millionth of what biology will eventually know. He calls for better, more hands-on teaching of science. It’s a little fragmented, but overall the book adds up to a celebration of biodiversity, of the infinite complexity and beauty of nature, something that we must be able to appreciate regardless of how we believe it came into existence.
As a Christian who shares many of Wilson’s frustrations, it’s great to see an attempt at a rapprochement between science and faith coming from the atheist side. I don’t know if it’ll work, but I hope we might have the humility to reciprocate.