Human beings observe the remains of animals that can’t be observed, and ask: Where did the remains come from? Scientists invented the theory of evolution: Life evolved from bacteria to mammals over a period of 3.5 billion years.
The author, a member of ASA and a teacher at Calvin College, marshals the evidence for the theory of evolution (carbon dating, fossils, geological observations), and discusses the evidence put forth by creationists to show the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Menninga respects creationism because it is based on an interpretation of the Bible, however, he feels knowledge of our salvation history is compromised by the rejection of the scientific history of our planet.
Menninga rejects the idea that evolution is a fact. He is quite right because there is another theory, related to the Bible and religious faith, that many scientists believe is true. It is the theory that free will is an illusion. There is very little evidence for this theory, which arises from the question: What is the relationship between myself and my body? The answer to this question supported by evidence is that free will is a mystery and humans are embodied spirits. This is why it is important to distinguish between observations and theories.
One of the arguments advanced by creationists is that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics, and Menninga addresses this question. Unfortunately, he shows a lack of understanding of thermodynamics and of evolutionary biology.
Fact or theory, evolution gives rise to the question of what caused it. The only theories that even attempt to explain evolution are creationism and the theory of intelligent design (ID). Forgetting about orthogenesis, the other theory is natural selection, but natural selection only explains the adaptation of species to the environment. It does not explain the increase in the complexity of living organisms as the evolved from bacteria to mammals.
Evolutionary biologists always speak of "adaptive evolution.” The old model for evolution is a tornado hitting a junkyard and producing a Boeing 747 in flight. The new model is a computer generating an English sonnet by the random selection of letters. This model is an attempt to understand the evolution of the primary structure of a protein, which is a chain of hundreds of amino acids. The benefit of the new model is that you can calculate how long it would take a computer to do this. No one has done this calculation because nobody cares. No evolutionary biologist thinks natural selection explains the complexity of life. I refer skeptical readers to an award-winning book by professors of biology at Harvard and Berkeley (The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma). Another reference from mainstream biologists is Biology’s First Law: The Tendency for Diversity and Complexity to Increase in Evolutionary Systems.
Note: This is the first half of the review I posted on Amazon.com where I downloaded If Truth Be Known for free. I came across the book because Dr. Menninga sent me an email saying that I was wrong about an American Journal of Physics article ("Entropy and evolution") being absurd. The rest of my review explains the second law of thermodynamics and evolution. Most of what I say I already said on my Open Forum topic about the American Journal of Physics. I'v attached the article that should be retracted and says the same thing Dr. Menninga says in his otherwise informative book.