Monday, November 23, 2009

Author Lisa E. Shiel and The Evolution Conspiracy

Today I welcome author Lisa A. Shiel, author of The Evolution Conspiracy.

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times featured a photo of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins standing in front of a bus emblazoned with the slogan "there's probably no God." The most vocal evolutionists, like Dawkins, are atheists. A survey conducted this year by the Pew Research Center revealed that 51% of scientists believe in a higher power while 41% don't. Contrast this with the general public, of whom 83% believe in a higher power. And the atheistic evolutionists don't simply reject the notion of God, they insist on ridiculing anyone who does believe. The description for The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins' best-known book, states that Dawkins exposes how belief is dangerous and has wrought "grievous harm" on the world.

The atheists may be the most vocal evolutionists but the Pew survey demonstrated they are not in the majority. Most scientists, from Isaac Newton to National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins, believe in a higher power. Scientists like Collins have found a way to reconcile evolution and faith into theistic evolution. A Gallup poll conducted for Darwin's birthday earlier this year showed that 25% of people don't believe in evolution and another 36% have no opinion about it. Why then do atheistic evolutionists focus their attacks on God, implying that anyone who doubts evolution is a religious wacko? Such tactics seem counterproductive, since an overwhelming majority of the public has faith and at least a quarter doubt evolution. But the tactic succeeds brilliantly in one area, namely diverting attention away from the flaws in the evidence for evolution.

That's why I wrote The Evolution Conspiracy, to critique the evidence from a secular perspective without involving my personal beliefs. This way, no matter what your beliefs, you can examine the evidence and decide for yourself whether to accept or reject evolution. Pro-evolution books tell you evolution is an absolute fact and an increasing number of them also ridicule belief in God, while virtually all books critiquing evolution promote the author's beliefs or favorite theory. I adopted a different approach in The Evolution Conspiracy, providing all the tools you need to reach your own conclusions.

When I first considered writing a book criticizing evolution, I knew I'd be entering a war zone—and I don't mean the science vs. faith debate. Diehard evolutionists attack anyone who expresses the slightest doubt about evolution, labeling every doubter a creationist as if that word were an insult. I believe in God but I'm not a creationist. Although the evidence mustered in support of evolution has failed to convince me, I proffer no alternative theory. I don't need to, because the evidence can stand or fall on its own. What I find the most interesting is that when creationists or intelligent design advocates disagree with me they do so politely, sans name-calling (in fact a creationist, Paul Abramson, offered a nice blurb for my book). Diehard evolutionists, on the other hand, must resort to ridicule in their futile attempts to silence me. The fact that seems to soar over their heads is that I have made a career out of writing about controversial topics like Bigfoot and UFOs. Anything evolutionists throw at me I've heard before.

You might think paranormal researchers would support each other. Oh, if only! Bigfoot researchers argue with UFO researchers, Bigfoot researchers argue with each other, and UFO researchers argue with each other. Sometimes they argue about the meanings of words like paranormal, other times they argue about whether to capitalize the term Bigfoot. But these arguments don't get published in the New York Times or scientific journals. The battles waged by atheistic evolutionists against dissenters often do. The gist of atheists' derisive rants says that evolution is a fact and you'd better accept it or else.

What's the lesson here? As a writer I recognize that words can exert great power—but only if we let them. Ignore ridicule and it loses its potency. Let only those words that inspire you have any power over you. Believe what is right for you, not what a minority of scientists tell you to think. That's the motto of The Evolution Conspiracy. Read about the evidence, think about it, and decide for yourself.


Lisa A. Shiel researches and writes about everything strange, from Bigfoot and UFOs to alternative history. She has been interviewed for big-city newspapers, national magazines, drive-time talk radio shows, and TV news. She has a master’s degree in library science. As a fiction writer, Lisa developed the Human Origins Series—which includes the novels The Hunt for Bigfoot and Lord of the Dead. Lisa’s other nonfiction books are Backyard Bigfoot: The True Story of Stick Signs, UFOs & the Sasquatch (a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s 2006 Book of the Year Awards) and Strange Michigan. Her latest book, The Evolution Conspiracy, Vol. 1, marks the initial release in a planned three-book series. Find her online at EvolutionConspiracy, Twitter, or on Facebook.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Wow---that's a hot topic! Lisa is a brave writer to tread into that territory.

Interesting comment about paranormal researchers dissenting with each other. I guess it happens with all groups of experts!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Anonymous said...

I think that's part of the definition of an expert--someone who knows a lot about a topic and disagrees with the other experts. :-) If it's not part of the definition, maybe it should be!

Lisa A. Shiel
author of The Evolution Conspiracy

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

“Read about the evidence, think about it, and decide for yourself,” should apply to personal beliefs on every topic. Unfortunately, too many people form opinions without going through those steps. Lisa certainly writes about some interesting and controversial subjects.

The Old Silly said...

Fascinating book Lisa has written and right up one of my major alleys of interest. To me, evolution and science in egeneral do not conflict with the concept of a God at all. They just enlarge my image of how GREAT a God we have. I also read a book once, The Tao of Physics, that put quotes from ancient mystics next to quotes from 20th century quantum mehcanics scientists - and you could not tell who was who - they were saying the same thing - all is ONE. So whether you call that ONE "god" or not, the principles espoused by wise men of old is being "rediscovered" by contemporary (many of them atheists) scientists, not through prayer, meditation and faith/observation understanding, but in their whirring, buzzing, atom smashing laboratories.

Best of luck with this book - I want to read it!

Marvin D Wilson

Creative Chronicler said...

Love the topic and can't wait to read the book. I never understood those who said you had to have God or science, for me the two go hand in hand.

Karen Walker said...

I have many friends who are scientists. Some believe in a higher power; some don't. It makes for very interesting philosophical discussions. I'm with Jane on this one. If only people didn't feel the compulsion to convert others to their way of thinking.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

CC, I think that's part of the power of God - He did create it all through science. People tend to forget the true creationism is built on scientific facts.

Helen Ginger said...

Lisa has tackled a controversial subject, for sure. It's one that many books have been written about and will be an ongoing discussion probably until the end of mankind.

Straight From Hel

Anonymous said...

Thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful comments. My main point in everything I say about evolution is that the debate shouldn't be science vs. religion, but about the "facts" of evolution and whether the evidence stands up to scrutiny. Unfortunately, too many evolutionists focus on attacking religion. That's why I took the approach of examining the flaws in the evidence without involving personal beliefs.

Lisa A. Shiel
author of The Evolution Conspiracy