Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Your Inner Fish: A journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body- Neil Shubin

First, something that has nothing to do with this book.  I hate listening to audiobooks on iPods, especially the iPod touch.  You should not have to specifically tag an MP3 file as an audiobook file to get it to play fast at "x2", you should not call it "x2" when it is "x1.5", and it should not take a special set of headphones, or 3 to 4 touches of the device to pause the audio.  I learned a little better how to do playlists on the iPod later, but even do the touch was sensitive enough that sometimes I accidentally jumped around in the book making it difficult to find my place and follow the narrative.

Anyway, on to the book.  Neil Shubin's The Universe Within was one of the first books I reviewed on this blog.  I loved getting a biologist's perspective on cosmology.  Therefore, I was very eager to go back and listen to this book.  Furthermore, I was hoping to listen to it before the 3 week PBS series based off of this book aired.  However, time and my frustrations with the iPod did not allow me to listen to it before the series completed.  It was good, but to be honest the TV series was as good and offered great visuals.  Furthermore, this focused so much on research that Neil Shubin did that although it was great to get his personal perspective on it, it also focused a lot on his own personal accomplishments and anecdotal stories.  I don't think he was bragging, or praising himself, but it did not make the book as enjoyable to me as his other one.  Also, the chronological narrative was split to focus on other discoveries that led to his or grew out of his, that again, made the book difficult for me to follow.

[UPDATE: I meant to include this originally and forgot to address it, so here I'm fixing that.] Lastly, for my Christian friends I wanted to comment on evolution again. I don't recall what I've posted here before or what I've waited to say, but here's where i stand now.  I was raised to believe in the Creation.  I came to believe in a literal 6-day young Earth creation in high school and that, along with very poor/weak teaching about evolution in high school [because everyone was afraid to offend by speaking about the science] drove me to c consider this when selecting a college.  I do not regret choosing Cedarville, but I do think they over-simplified the issue and are guilty of the Straw Man Logical Fallacy.  I've come to believe that the Bible does not forbid it, and there is no way the Universe can be young, it must be old.  However, every time I think of buying into the scientific explanation 100%, evolution becomes a hang-up for me.  To some extend, it is the idea of "irreducible complexity", to a lesser extent it is genetic diversity issues [numbers of chromosomes differing so widely, the evolution of sexual reproduction, the first cell and its violation of the cellular hypothesis/theory, and  few other issues.  Reading a book like this always answers some questions and lays some misconceptions to rest, but often, it leaves me doubting the scientific consensus.  If nothing else though, this helps me to keep an open mind and to realize that I need to read, learn, and study more to more fully understand.

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