Friday, May 27, 2016

Nonfiction Summer

So far this summer I've been working on something unusual for me in summer writing. I've been revising a nonfiction manuscript on evolution that I first completed about five years ago. My original plan had been to write a far reaching treatise on evolution versus creationism. The science part of that book came relatively easily.Oh, there was a lot of research to do, but I already had a pretty good grounding in the field and the information was straightforward.

The religious side of this discussion, though, proved to be a nightmare that I struggled for a couple of years to wade through. There were certainly disagreements to discuss on the scientific side, but there is so much more variability on the religious side. I read widely and learned a lot, and a good section of that part of the book is done. There's still a lot more to cover though.

In the meantime, I've been teaching a class called Comparative and Evolutionary psychology at Xavier for the past ten years. A few years back, I started using the scientific part of my book as a supplemental text in the class. It has gone over pretty well.

This year, I've essentially decided to cut my original book idea in half. I'm now working on turning the scientific section into a complete, standalone work discussing the history of evolutionary theory and what exactly the theory says. And then I'll seek a publisher for it. There will still be discussion of the creationist viewpoint in the book because some of it is tied up with the history of evolutionary theory. It's been there since the beginning. But the focus of the work is no longer on a compare and contrast of these two approaches.

My working title for the book is: Evolution: A Work in Progress. Here's the chapter outlines for the first two chapters. There will be 7 in all, and I'm doing the expansion on chapter 5 now.

Chapter 1. A Man and an Idea  ..........………………………….……   P.     
     A Book that Changed the World
     The Faithful React
     An Idea Whose Time had Come
     Darwin the Man

Chapter 2. Darwin’s Concept .............................................................    P.     
     Natural Selection
     Natural Selection in Action
     Natural Selection on the Galapagos Islands
     But Finches are Still Finches

     Addendum - The Age of Things


Sphinx Ink said...

Good ideas, Charles! I remember you talking about the book a few years ago in the Monday night writers' group. I'm glad you're getting back to it. Good luck ... But you're so disciplined, I know you'll get it finished.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, you might find the comparison between the Theory of Evolution and the ancient Hindu treatise "Dashavatara" very interesting. Many parallels have been drawn between the two. "Dash" means ten and "avatara" means incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the supreme God. Fascinating, really.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sphinx, thanks. it has been going really well. I expect to be finished before summer ends.

Prashant, I'm not familiar with that. I'll check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

oscar case said...

Interesting, Charles. Religion tends to mix things up because of all the different beliefs. Good luck on the book!

sage said...

I will be interested in reading this! If you are looking for sources, I might suggest Scott Hoezee's "Proclaim the Wonder" and Donald Gowan "From Eden to Babel" a theological commentary on Genesis 1-11. Good luck.

the walking man said...

I personally think all science and (for lack of a better word) religion run parallel courses. Where they touch I believe science verifies the religious and where they do not seem to touch, say in matters concerning the spiritual explanation of faith, science will eventually be able to quantify it in mathematical terms.

Religions are more easily quantified in terms of cultural evolution as religions are a cultural based phenomena. Spirituality though--there's the rub and the divide between itself and religion.

IF the spirit which created all things is as we understand, then I doubt that any understanding of evolution beyond the big bang can ever be made, for science can't seem to see beyond the milliseconds after that event.

My money is on the belief that, that spirit is a scientist above all else.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, thankee

Sage, thanks for the sources. Mostly I've been reading creationist views on earth's history. I've got a long section done on the many different creationist views that I don't know if I'll include or publish separately.

Mark, the relative simplicity of science is that it is highly constrained by rules whereas religion is as broad as the imagination may make it. both cover fantastic realms but science has a much better set of signposts, if you ask me, at lease. I can see why religious folks use a book for such signposts, such as the bible. Otherwise it's quite daunting to explore that unknown.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You are certainly an interesting man with the science and fantasy interplay. Wish we could sit down together someday.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, that would be cool

Riot Kitty said...

This looks really interesting to me. I wish I had more of a scientific brain.

Charles Gramlich said...

Riot kitty, probably just a matter of training.