As 2020 both cools down in temperature and heats up in rhetoric, here is a response to S. Joshua Swamidass’ recent book that deserves more air time given how a few evangelical Protestant theologians and apologists are expressing surprised praise at it, calling it a ‘game changer’ because of ‘genealogy’ vs. ‘genetics’. I would consider it a ‘game changer’ only in a borrowed or catch-up sense of that term, given Swamidass’ YECist+ audience. Any thoughts here on this critical review of the book by a fellow evangelical active at BioLogos?
From what I’ve read so far, I do not see that Swamidass “makes God a monster” in the book. That rather appears to be what comes from Johnson’s hermeneutics, rather than Swamidass’ intentions or expressions. BioLogos was similarly confused, and hadn’t read Kemp, much like Swamidass (that is, until he finally did). Swamidass has previously written about dungeons & suffering, which perhaps by some people may be mistaken as ‘monstrous’. It would be more appropriate and charitable to say, ‘he knows not what he does’ by opening this rift. Thus, he speaks about “what it means to be human?” as a distant (methodological) naturalist, with an important background personal concern involving local fellow YECists and activistic sociology behind the book’s publication (e.g. choice of publishing house).
I agree with Johnson’s general critique of the book, though with few of his specific ones, given there are other answers that he too apparently hasn’t considered. Swamidass in my interpretation openly & repeatedly distorts the science, philosophy, theology/worldview conversation with his ideology. He intentionally or unintentionally leaves so much important work out, in particular, the work of Catholics and Orthodox, by and large. Nevertheless, he does his work inviting ‘correction’ of facts, data, and empirical natural-physical scientific findings, and speaks as an ex-YEC activist in such a nice, warm and cuddly non-mainline covenant, optimistic way, which makes me thankful for this book & his website. My sincere hope is that the book won’t confuse too many people, and may instead somehow help especially evangelical YECists finally take a step or several steps forward, in order to catch up with where most other Christians have been standing in a more balanced science, philosophy, theology/worldview position already rather calmly for years, wondering why the narrow literalistic evangelicalist efforts on this topic have so badly missed the mark in peoples’ hearts and minds.
“The logic of Genealogical Adam and Eve is entirely circular and makes God a monster.” – Jay Johnson