The Publisher's Report

The Publisher’s Report: IVP Academic has been encouraged to see the truly unique, communal development process that Josh has embraced for The Genealogical Adam and Eve.

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The (semi-open) communal process of getting this book together is indeed unique and unprecedented. The process advances the discussion much more with this face-to-face, real-time feedback before publication. Even if there were no blatant errors in the original manuscript, having such feedback gives the opportunity to temper, clarify, and/or make slight adjustments to one’s views in light of potential concerns and objections. After words are committed indelibly to ink, I would imagine that for most people, there’s reluctance to revise what has been published. Views become crystallized and we become engaged in attack and defense instead of dialogue. The process is drawn out and costly, but worth it. I hope that this will set a new standard for similar books about science and theology in the future.

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The forum has been an entirely open component of this process too. I’m very grateful to the countless conversations, critique, and correction everyone here gave me. The PS forum is acknowledged specifically in the book for this reason.

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Was the book peer reviewed? Or would you say that these workshops accomplished the purpose of peer review? I haven’t followed the process, so I apologize in advance if I am missing a big part of the story.

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Yes, this book was peer reviewed. This was peer review on steroids. IVP Academic is an academic press.

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Good to know.

By evangelicals.

Yes.

If you’d consider endorsing it, I can send you a copy and you can review the science yourself.

I’m not sure that’s appropriate given my position but I’d consider it. Do you have a plan for having it reviewed (as in a book review) by geneticists? Perhaps by your colleague Alan Templeton at WashU? Or one of the experts in Leipzig like Mark Stoneking? I assume the book is based heavily on human population genetics.

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I’ll let @swamidass answer your questions specifically, but I was at one of the workshops (sat 2 rows behind Alan Templeton) and I would say the peer-review was pretty extensive on the draft we had. I would say for sure that the workshop participants were very involved with critiquing all aspects of the book (science and theology, overall structure and the details). It was not a group of people who were already in favor of Josh’s thesis, in fact, quite the opposite.

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Excellent! That sounds like some intensive peer review. I’m glad to hear it, because a subtitle like “The surprising science of universal ancestry” should give knowledgeable scientists pause. Put it on a book published by an evangelical press that trumpets values like “prophetic” and… well, I’m professionally obligated to be skeptical.

But if Alan Templeton was part of the vetting process, that’s good news. I don’t know him, but I know he is the author of a textbook on human genetics/genomics.

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Are you familiar with IVP? My broad impression is that the science-related books they publish tend to be relatively “mainstream”. Yes, there are some ID titles in their catalog, but they seem to be published a long time ago. The majority of their more recent books on science and theology are of the Biologos variety (and things like John Walton’s Lost World of Genesis series).

Additionally, my impression at the workshop is that the science in Josh’s book is relatively uncontroversial compared to some of the theological issues discussed there. The core of the genetic and genealogical science can already be obtained from the PSCF article and other articles/blog posts that have been made on the Genealogical Adam.

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Yeah, I get it. I think Shaping Science with Rhetoric gives some idea as to how to think about the genre. Also, after talking with Josh’s editor over dinner and seeing him at the workshop, I was very impressed with the desire for true scholarship (even if the subject is a little unusual for scientists). So, I can understand the skepticism for sure, but from my tiny peak behind the curtain I’m pretty happy with the value the editor placed on real scholarship. Not that my opinion matters much :slight_smile:

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Alan was part of it, and is now considering endorsing it. @NLENTS also plans to endorse.

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Yep. I thought my reference to “prophetic” would reveal that I was browsing the site this hour.

It was a lot of books, and not that long ago. It looks like they’ve turned it around, and that’s great.

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@sfmatheson, check you email. I just sent you a confidential endorsement copy.

Don’t forget the figures at the end. Please consider endorsing the book. You will see that the science is solid, and that this will make space for a lot of people who otherwise would be opposed to evolutionary science. I think you would be an ideal endorser to have, and I can’t see any conflicts of interest. Please consider it, and feel free to ask me any questions that arise.

I am pleased to be asked, and will give it serious thought. It would be unusual for an EIC to endorse a book of any kind, but you’re right that there is no immediately-apparent COI. No matter what, though, I am very impressed by what seems a robust scientific vetting process, with recognized global experts on human genetics involved in the book’s creation. I suspect that is unprecedented, and while I am undecided on whether that’s enough for IVP to earn respectability after shoveling ID slop for so long, I suspect I’ll have to surrender on that one, too.

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I’m not asking you to endorse IVP, just my book. That’s it. You can continue to distrust IVP if you like. In fact, you can put in your review that you think this is uncharacteristic for the publisher, and a book not to be overlooked by secular scientists, even though it is from this publisher.

You’ve also followed me enough to know that I’m triangulating ID and BioLogos, and not very much liked by either of them. In many ways, this book presents a mainstream-science-affirming alternative to ID, and many who would never go to the BioLogos tent are gravitating to it.

Thank you for considering endorsement. I hope that you can do so.

That is right. @sfmatheson can find the PSCF article here: https://asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2018/PSCF3-18Swamidass.pdf. This article was peer-reviewed by three population geneticists, and three theologians. The scientists did not have any substantive objections. The book updates and expands the science substantially, making the argument more clear, substantiated, and qualified.

I should also add that Joshua Denny, the director of the NIH All of Us program is writing the forward. At least that is the plan.

@sfmatheson, you know @art too, right? He has been following the science here closely and might be a good person to check in on about the scientific process here if you have questions.

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