Sample of errors in It Couldn't Just Happen

Welcome Becky!
I read It Couldn’t Just Happen before my son was in Chall A and found it to be pretty hostile to the EC view and actually inadvertently a great example of the fallacies they learn about 2nd semester. A few examples:

p158 “Evolution and Scripture and are direct conflict over one vital question: Who are human beings? Evolutionists say that people, like apes, evolved from some earlier animal form. The Bible says that God created human beings in his own image” (false dichotomy)

p166 “While some Christians scientists think that God might have used evolution to fill our earth with living creatures, they do not think that humans evolved. The conflict between the Bible and the theory of human evolution is just too clear”

p188 “This is one of the important reasons why we can’t believe in the Theory of Evolution. That theory teaches that people, like animals, are only their bodies. When the body dies, the person just stops existing.” (straw man)

p189 “When we have a choice between the Theory of Evolution and creation by God, it is important that we trust the teachings of the Word of God!..How good it is to trust God’s word and not the empty theories of human beings.” (false dichotomy)

p218 “The idea that God used evolution as a tool is not a very good one and is not supported by Scripture.”

p226 “According to the Theory of Evolution, you have no future. You are just an intelligent animal, one of a race of animals that developed by chance.” (conflation of Evolution with materialism)

The book also had a lot of factual/technical errors. Most blatantly:
p34 “Two parts of oxygen combined with one of hydrogen produces water”

It was originally published in 1987 and has been updated/reprinted as recently as 2011 but they still haven’t corrected a very basic error like that.

But it provided many examples of what they learned in The Fallacy Detective. Too bad they don’t read that before reading It Couldn’t Just Happen :slight_smile:


I moved this to it’s own thread so people could more easily find it if they were looking for input on the book. Thanks for taking the time to pull out these quotes. It gives you a good picture why the book is problematic.

Thank you, Lisa, for doing the work for me in finding these specific errors. In the setting of our own home, one-on-one reading, the take-away that I wanted for her was that there are conflicting views on creation, but it shouldn’t define us or divide us as Christians. I’ve heard much more hostility in other places, including a church that pretty much marginalized us until we left after a class my husband taught, which merely included the EC perspective as a perspective. But going through the book again in CC is an opportunity I should take to get more specific. I’ve already pointed out the very weak list of references, and as we go along into the study of rhetoric and logic, I expect to gently point out ironies. I really do appreciate this list you’ve given me. Now I have no excuse for brushing it off!

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Good list – I remember reading that book in high school. I can definitely see the conflation of evolution and atheistic materialism, which I suppose is even implied in the title.

and equating methological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism.

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After last week’s homeschool CC meeting, my daughter launched into a long vent about the book. Specifically, that it is very one-sided and condescending and manipulative. (My condensation of her rant.). I did not put any words in her mouth; it just spilled out. She said, “I know you weren’t trying to make me against evolution when we read it before, (She was ten), but back then I just thought everything about evolution was wrong. Now I can see it’s …rant, rant.”

Thus ensued long and vigorous discussion. She is pretty worked up about this view being put upon her classmates. She has been thinking about how to respond to the question that will come tomorrow, “What did you think about the chapter?”
That’s a tough one, but has led to more conversations about belief, fears, truth, and what really matters.

We are pretty proud of her, and I thought you would like to know that she has “seen the light” on her own.

I am a bit trepidatous as to what will happen next, though. We are close to these families and I sure don’t want them to distance themselves from me.


Can you elaborate on those terms for me please?

It’s great when you see the fruit of your attempts to encourage critical thinking skills.


Methodological naturalism is a foundation of scientific investigation that assumes that supernatural explanations or causes will not be considered because they are beyond the scope of science. Metaphysical naturalism is a philosophical worldview that assumes the natural world is all there is to reality and the supernatural does not exist. Many anti-evolution resources conflate the normal methodological naturalism approach to science with an atheistic truth claim that the supernatural does not exist. But saying you can’t study the supernatural with the tools of science is not the same thing as denying the existence of supernatural explanations or causes.


Unfortunately, kids tend to see things in black and white, and have a more difficult time with handling the nuances. It would be good to review with her how you see evolution as a secondary issue, and it is OK for others to feel differently about it, as it is not central to faith in Christ. And remind her that it is not her job to change their minds about it. Perhaps it will take a little of edge off and help with conflict in her relationships, as life it tough enough without making it harder.
Having had daughters that age, there is still going to be tears and drama, but will likely go away pretty quickly.


Yep; that’s been our message all along. She is excited and confident and really wants to say what she sees wrong with the book, but not provacatively. She should get that opportunity Friday, tomorrow. I’ve been trying to coach her to keep it simple and focused. We’ll see!

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Were I in @bgee’s position, I wouldn’t be much worried about the kids’ reactions, though in the short term as a parent of course that’s front and center. I’d be more concerned about their parents’ reactions. Christian parents can be pretty protective in such situations and might encourage their kids to dis-fellowship Becky’s kids and Becky’s family. :frowning: I know that’s what we worry about most.


Thanks for clarifying the terms. We do see the conflation in spades. It will provide good illustrations for The Fallacy Detective!
Thankfully, I remembered to get out Novare’s Earth Science text by Kevin Nelstead. I bought it two years ago and nearly forgot. I will have her read them together by topic. The differences in tone are very instructive, very telling, and I’m just so pleased at her maturity.


This is the sad thing. The kids are fine, and they don’t understand why they aren’t allowed to play with former friends. In the end, though, my attitude has always been that I don’t need such people in my life.


I realized I was “preaching to the choir” after I wrote it. Sounds like you are doing a great job. It is just such a minefield for many.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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