In an attempt to resolve the conflict between creation and evolution, Dowe focuses on putting both sides of the argument into a historical context. He develops the idea that the current creation science movement is really a recent phenomenon and that the original objections to Darwin were not based on a literal reading of Genesis. Instead, the original objections to Darwin dealt with things like human dignity and superiority.
Thus, Dowe is able to provide several examples of Christians at the time of Darwin who accepted his theory, which develops the strongest basis for his argument of harmony between creation and evolution. To begin, Dowe argues that Darwin himself did not actually hold a conflict view. Darwin believed that evolution could not rule out the possibility of God, and his own agnosticism came from seeing suffering in the world, not from anything biological (126). Another of Dowe's primary arguments comes from Asa Gray, a Christian friend and defender of Darwin. Gray proposes that evolution falls under the category of secondary cause, being a physical mechanism God uses. Furthermore, he infers that the best explanation of the derivation of species is that species came from God through natural selection, as opposed to without God or with God creating fixity of species (129). Thus, Dowe uses Gray's standpoint of theistic evolution as a major support for a harmonious view of creation and evolution. Dowe has a few more examples of harmonious views other than Gray's. For instance, he notes some Christians who believe the biological aspect of natural selection, but say that the creation of the soul requires intervention (136). Lastly, Dowe explains that some objections to Darwin do not actually illustrate conflict between creation and evolution. Several Christians at the time of Darwin were not concerned with biblical literalism, but they instead saw flaws in Darwin's reasoning and therefore disagreed with him on a scientific, not religious basis. Even today's creation scientists, while conflicting with evolution, do not completely conflict with science, since they consider creation science as legitimate science (141).
Dowe's argument has several strengths. First of all, it follows the history of the conflict, beginning before Darwin and going up to today. Doing this allows Dowe to establish both sides of the argument with very little dramatics and caricaturing, which ultimately makes the conflict between the two much less pronounced. Going through the history also places both arguments in their appropriate contexts. The chapter showed how the explanation or roots of humanity's purpose progressed from teleological to mechanical to design to evolution. In this progression of explanations, the idea of evolution merely progressed from a series of ideas, so how it arose makes sense in its historical context. This further dissipates the dramatics that often abound about evolution today. Ultimately, this gives Dowe the ability to present various harmonious views of creation and evolution with a greater chance that his readers will take those views seriously. Also, he points out that the views he presents are from strong, otherwise conservative Christians. Readers are therefore much less likely to think of these unexpected views as a compromise of religion, but rather they will see them as carefully thought out. The fact that he shows Darwin himself as holding a harmonious view is also crucial. If Darwin is the representative for evolution, and he does not think it conflicts with religion, then his idea of evolution is not as threatening and science cannot deny religion. Overall, Dowe uses examples of various views to place most Christians and scientists on the side of a harmonious view, making the creation science movement the odd one out. Creation science only finds conflict because of its strictly literal interpretation of the Bible, Dowe argues. That is an additional strength to his argument for harmony: he has already given numerous examples of Christians throughout history who believed the Bible might not be literal in everything it says. Thus, the idea of the problems of strict biblical literalism ties into the rest of the book and gives Dowe's argument in this chapter an even stronger basis.
However, Dowe's argument is weak in some respects. Most importantly, he does not deal with current ideas about creation and evolution other than those of the creation science movement. Otherwise, the only ideas he presents are those from the time of Darwin, whereas many Christians today may not subscribe to those ideas but also may not be inclined to believe in theistic evolution. Thus, though Dowe's arguments are clear and harmonious, they may not be satisfying to many Christians today. Another weakness in Dowe's argument is his focus on the views of Christians who are scientists. Most of the examples he gave of historical people who held the harmonious view were not only Christians or scientists, but both. Using these people as a basis for harmony between the two is weak, since those people are naturally inclined to hold a harmonious view. Instead, the people who need convincing of the harmonious view are those who are either Christians or scientists. At most, Dowe's argument might show those people that they could accept the other side of the argument, but it does not give them a strong motivation to do so.
Overall, Dowe's argument for the harmonious interaction of creation and evolution is strong. He does not appear to make wide stretches to make the harmonious view make sense, but rather gives several clear examples of people who held reasonable, harmonious views. This argument may not be convincing for people who are strictly creationist or evolutionist, but it is important in that it takes today's dramatics away from the issue and shows that a harmonious view is not completely out of the question for either Christians or scientists.