There is some stunning diversity in this list, and several are very selective in the books they are willing to endorse.
Alan Templeton (leading population geneticist, Jewish) Hugh Ross (Reasons to Believe founder) Darrel Falk (BioLogos founding president) William Lane Craig (Reasonable Faith founder) Walter Bradley (Intelligent Design founder) Nathan Lents@NLENTS (atheist biologist)
Alan Love (philosopher of biology)
Ken Keathley @KenKeathley
Clinton Ohlers @rcohlers
AJ Roberts @AJRoberts
Wow, this is seriously impressive. I think this shows that you’ve done your work well. You were able to bring such a diverse collection of leading thinkers to the table to discuss the grand question of what it means to be human. Well done!
Wow. I’d be surprised if there has there been any IVP book with a more diverse collection of endorsers. Atheists, OECs, ECs, Jews, ID! We’re only missing YECs…I think this has real potential to advance the conversation, not just because of the scientific or theological content, but especially because along the way, you’ve brought together people from all camps to talk peacefully to each other.
I can tell you that there were a few YECs seriously considering endorsing it. As is well known, they are very insular, and would have paid a large price in their home communities. It is disappointing none endorsed, but also very understandable.
Of note, Jeff Mallinson is LCMS, and they just affirmed Six Day creation. So he took a risk in publicly endorsing. @CPArand did you see his endorsement?
It’s not just this. Across the spectrum, the endorsers understood the significance and we’re effusive in their public and private comments. Many are personally invested in getting this book to their own audiences.
They also understand I’m not promoting a “view” on Adam and Eve, but reworking our whole conversation about them.
Josh - One thing I meant to say before… You call this the “final list,” and maybe it is for the dust jacket of the first printing of the hardcover, but you can and should continue to pursue endorsements for the book which you can post on the website (and Amazon) and for future printings of the book, including the paperback.
In fact, you’ll want to keep track of (and pull quotes from) reviews and articles written about it so that you can put those on the website and on a new “praise for…” page in the paperback. And you can also keep track of more informal endorsements, say during an interview or event, or even a tweet from someone prominent, and then follow up with the person and ask if you can quote them as an endorsement. I only did one that once (and afterwards was kicking myself for not doing it more) - Michio Kaku. The endorsement that he “gave” for my book (which was printed in the paperback) actually came while he was interviewing me for his radio show. I wrote him after the interview and asked if I could use the quote (we were about to finalize the paperback) and he said sure. So just keep that in mind as people write articles and blog posts about your book, even tweets and emails you get, etc. Keep track of all that praise! They are all potentially fair game as long as you get the person’s permission. (In my opinion that is ethically necessary because just because someone says something casually doesn’t mean they’re okay with it being dissected out of its context and slapped on a book cover as an endorsement.)
Nathan, despite the self-deprecating humor, your willingness to endorse is quite meaningful. As an atheist biologist, I’m sure you are aware of the potential backlash you are willing to face on Josh’s behalf. This is definitely not something a real “hack” would do
I will have to confess that I am reallllllllly hoping that I haven’t underestimated the potential backlash. But I thought long and hard about it and, in the end, I weighed the potential risk to me and the potential benefit to the larger society that I live in, and decided to go for it. That said, I’m hoping that some of my atheist brethren provide some backup if it’s needed. I’m giving a talk at CSIcon next month and I intend to gently test the waters in some private conversations. Speaking of that, hey @swamidass - what’s the deadline for withdrawing my endorsement? XD I’m kidding. We’re only in this universe for 80 or 90 years, if we’re lucky, and if you don’t take a risk for something you believe in every now and then, what’s the point?
@NLENTS I am really thankful you are taking this risk with me.
In general, I’ve found our colleagues to be fair. In the end, you aren’t even endorsing any of the religious content. Instead, you are endorsing good science and the hope of common ground. There will always be daylight between your views and mine, just because I am a Christian and you are an atheist.
Some people will oppose this, and maybe we won’t be successful in finding that common ground. It would take ideological opposition of the sort I have not yet encountered in science to see people penalize you.
I think, instead, it might position you to be one of the public voices that claims the mantle of the next generation of societally minded atheists. We should all be so lucky for you to claim that place in the conversation.
I expect there will be a few atheists giving you a hard time simply because a few atheists will give anyone a hard time. You see a benefit to society and are moving on it - which is more real action than the grumblers have ever accomplished. I’ll be happy to back you up.
This would be especially powerful if @swamidass also included short rebuttals to the negative reviews with invitations to discuss specific points here on the forum. Might be a lot to try to keep up with, though. I guess that’s how we all can help?
I don’t know about any mantle-carrying on my part, but I do think secularists would do well to move away from the tactics of the “new atheists.” Don’t get me wrong, much of what they as individuals have done, both in their respective professions/disciplines, and in defending reason and science, is laudable and important, but it doesn’t have to come at the price of our civility and our empathy for those who seek and find answers to the grand questions of life beyond the material. I think it’s time for renewed understanding or at least friendship across this aisle. Science does not have to be the enemy of religion, and spirituality does not have to be the enemy of science. They don’t even have to be in tension unless we insist that they be.
Just yesterday I was poring over DNA sequences from the Neanderthal genome. Scientists frequently get so immersed in our analyses that we forget how amazing it is that we’re even able to do this kind of work. Here I am scanning through As and Cs and Gs and Ts from a species that has been extinct for 35,000 years as easily as we pop open the hood of our cars. It’s F$#@ing AMAZING! When it dawned on me that I was doing something that was not even conceivable just ten years ago, I had to sort of pause and take stock of how incredible that was. I found myself daydreaming about what this man’s life had been like, etc. He had hopes and dreams. He had relationships. He may have had children. He certainly had friends. It was a spiritual experience, I would say. I’ve included a screen shot of some of the raw data from the Neanderthal genome project below. It’s mesmerizing to think about where this DNA sequence came from.
We can defend our belief that science should inform public policies around climate, education, medical research, and so on, without insisting that spirituality has no place in the modern world. Perhaps the key is to understand how science itself can be a form of spirituality. It may not check all the boxes, but it certainly checks some of them. It brings people together, it evokes a sense of awe and transcendence, and it is a way to explore and engage with the grand questions, some of which we may never fully know the “right answers” to. Maybe these questions are about finding meaning, rather than being right. Rather than insult others beliefs, maybe we can just explain how we find meaning and celebrate our shared humanity and how wonderful it is that we can even ask these questions together.