Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Book Review: Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

I remember the first time I heard about the evolution vs creationism debate, I asked my mother what she thought about it. She said, “Well, if God wanted to use evolution, God certainly could have.” In Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature, Mena’s science teacher would certainly agree. She tells the class that science is the “how of things” while religion is the “why of things” and while it’s not her place to teach religion (the whole separation of church and state idea), she doesn’t see why the two can’t peacefully coexist.

Mena herself is trying to reconcile her faith and what she’s been taught all her life by her parents and church with the science that is being taught in the classroom. Complicating matters slightly: her church has banned her, her parents are angry with her and her friends have abandoned her because she wrote a letter that got her church sued. Meanwhile, she is starting to really respect her science teacher and she has a cute, brainy new lab partner, Casey, who just might be more than just a friend to her. That puts Mena smack dab in the center of controversy involving science, religion and the freedom to think for yourself.

Author Robin Brande, who has served as a Sunday school teacher at church, knows her science and her religion and presents the case for a "biblically sanctioned" view of evolution well. Less convincing were her one-sided portrayals of the church group kids. I have a hard time believing that kids who are so sheltered that they know nothing about The Lord of the Rings would be allowed out of the house with sexy t-shirts two sizes too small (shapeless dresses or culottes being more the norm) or even be allowed to attend public school for that matter. I can accept that they may be narrow minded and be easily swayed into collective actions like turning their desks backwards to protest the teaching of evolution, but I find it more difficult to believe that they would be such bullies – using physical intimidation and cussing in public – when it is my experience that fundamentalist church kids are more like “Turn the other cheek” and “The meek will inherit the earth”. Granted, Mena does defend the pastor’s “misguided” daughter by saying she has pure intentions, but on the whole, I was slightly bothered by the over-the-top villainy of the church kids and Pastor Wells (his sermon at church was so unbelievably mean-spirited, it was campy).

What I really do love about this novel is that it is respectful to both science and religion and encourages discussion. Not only that, Mena has a great voice that will especially appeal to those of us from strict households. Plus, it’s just fun to read (AND it has 12 cute puppies in it – what more do you NEED?). Head over to for a great interview with the author.


C. David Parsons said...

There is no biblically sanctioned view of evolution. This is compromise with a scientific community that imposes its will in every aspect of human endeavor. She has fallen viction to their dogma.


The Quest for Right, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view.

The backbone of Darwinism is not biological evolution per se, but electronic interpretation, the tenet that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics. A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterrestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, and the big bang, the explosion of a singularity infinitely smaller than the dot of an “i” from which space, time, and the massive stellar bodies supposedly sprang into being.

The philosophy rejects any divine intervention. Therefore, let the philosophy of Darwinism be judged on these specifics: electron interpretation and quantum mechanics. Conversely, the view that God is both responsible for and rules all the phenomena of the universe will stand or fall when the facts are applied. The view will not hinge on faith alone, but will be tested by the weightier principle of verifiable truths – the new discipline.

The Quest for Right is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a consequence, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state. Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline.

Visit the official website for additional information:

Lenore Appelhans said...

Hey, thanks for your contribution to the discussion.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

sounds interesting ... maybe a summertime read?

Lenore Appelhans said...

Sure - it's light and breezy enough to be a good beach/park read!

Anonymous said...

The portrayal of the "church kids" didn't bother me too much as I've known kids a bit like that from school (NOT from my church, thankfully).
I loved this book. It was amazing and funny and cute. Thanks for reading my review on it. :)

PS. Just had a thought - wasn't Ms. Shepherd's view of God unknown for the majority of the book? To me it seemed like something you weren't supposed to know going into the book.