on April 11, 2016
Good reference for presenting /evaluating the two "models." (theories). Explores the weaknesses of the Naturalism/Evolutionism model in the first 7 chapters. Some of the references are dated - but can be easily looked up. Recommend also reading "Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds" (by Phillip E. Johnson) and "Discerning Truth, Exposing Errors in Evolutionary Arguments" (by Jason Lisle)
on January 28, 2000
Henry M. Morris and the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) present a summary of arguments for what they call "scientific creationism" (in this book, their "scientific creationism" makes no explicit reference to Scripture). Although I do not exactly believe in naturalistic evolution, there have been much more legitimately scientific criticisms of evolution than this book (e.g. "Mere Creation").
Although the book tried to distinguish between "Biblical creationism" (creationism based on the Bible) and "scientific creationism" (creationism based on scientific evidence and making no explicit reference to the Bible) the distinction could have been done much better. At its worst, the book states (p. 188) that the "creation model" would "predict" that the origin of civilization would be located around Mount Ararat (where Noah's Ark is said to be) or near Babylon (where the Tower of Babel allegedly existed). Such "predictions" are clearly based on religion and not on creationism in its less religious form.
On the upside, "Scientific Creationism" does refute the myth that all real scientists are evolutionists. The book presents a list of creation scientists who reviewed the book (pp. i-ii), the vast majority of which hold Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in relevant areas. Even so, anti-evolutionists and even ICR itself have presented significantly better, more legitimately scientific cases for creationism (such as "What is Creation Science?" by Morris and Gary E. Parker) since the book was published.
I do think there are some good, rational, legitimately scientific criticisms of evolution (I am not an adherent of Darwin's theory), but this book does not go far in providing them. The arguments presented in this book are often strained, overgeneralized, and not very scientific. Part of the problem lies in the details. For instance, take the catastrophist argument (from this book) that the fossils were laid down by the flood through the processes of economic zonation, hydrodynamic zonation etc (pp. 118-120). While it does have some explanatory power (trilobites are bottom dwelling sea creatures and are found at the lowest layers) these factors are rather imprecise and tend to explain only the most general features of the geological column. Because of this, the specific details of the data are often missed. For instance, many lines in the fossil record exhibit a progression in the encephalization ratio (a measure of brain size to body size) and both ecological zonation and hydrological sorting are utterly irrelevant here (encephalization ratio does not have anything to do with overall size, shape, streamlining, or anything of the kind). There are no known catastrophic processes that are likely create this sort of order (if we leave out things like ecological zonation, what we have left is simply random-natural processes). This is not to say catastrophism is right or wrong (I make no claim here). However, this book often uses vague theories with vague data (compared to other scientific theories and compared to more sophisticated attacks on evolution) and this is simply not very productive because it does not refute the criticisms (which lie in the details) that could easily be brought forward, like I showed in the example above. Maybe such criticisms can be refuted, but using vague data and theories like this will not solve the problem. You simply need a higher level of sophistication. Although the book may have some collective value, it is certainly not the best of what anti-evolutionists have to offer.
on June 5, 2004
*Scientific Creationism* is the Institute for Creation Research's summa against evolution. I gave the book three stars because it is well written, and does an outstanding job of summarizing the views of several major creationists, most notably Henry Morris (who is responsible for most of the written text) and Duane Gish. I can't in good conscience give it any more stars than that due to the content of the book itself, which is tremendously problematic.
Start with the goal of the book. The book is supposed to be used as a resource for balanced teaching of evolution and creation. However, the whole book is devoted to criticizing evolution. Not exactly a presentation of "balanced treatment". Maybe the ICR thinks that evolution is already well enough understood by science teachers. However, unless they are deliberately misrepresenting evolutionary theory (which I find it very hard to rule out), their own presentation of evolution belies this claim. Similarly, some recent studies have revealed that evolution is *not* well understood, not even by those who teach it to high school students. One may also take issue with the general approach of the book--attempting to refute evolution, even if successful, does nothing to bolster creationism. This work does not even *attempt* to show how creationism explains the relevant data--it merely asserts that it predicts it. For all this book tells us, evolution and creationism might *both* be lousy. Don't bother looking for it in their other works either; I've tried, and come up with a big goose egg for my troubles.
Second, the title. Unfortunately, on their *own* standards, creationism is *not* scientific. Creatonists and other critics of evolution (like Philip Johnson) continually assert Popper's view that the defining feature of science is empirical, and primarily experimental, falsification. Yet the ICR explicitly claims that *neither* evolution *nor* creation is testable in this way. So how can they assert that evolution is not scientific, but creationism is? The very title of the book reveals a dishonest double-standard.
Third, why has this book never been updated? About 30 years have passed since this book was first written, and an awful lot has happened in biology since then, most notably the new developments in population genetics and molecular biology that provide new evidence for evolution. Yet the ICR has chosen not to respond to these new developments, either as a body or as individual members. They continue to repeat the same refrain, like an old record sadly skipping over and over.
Speaking of which, another way in which the ICR has refused to change with the evidence is in their continued adherence to Popper's view of *the* scientific method, as taught to all of us in jr. high. Unfortunately, those doing work in philosophy of science have known for 4 decades now (even before this book was written) that Popper's view faces serious theoretical, applicational and historical difficulties. So why do we still see them proclaiming Popper unabashedly? (Johnson, in many ways a much better critic of evolution than the ICR, is similarly wedded to a naive Popperian view of science.)
I think the answer to this lies in the overall strategy of he ICR: say whatever you have to to discredit evolution, regardless of whether it's true. New developments in our understanding of science make their contention that evolution is not scientific problematic, so stick with Popper come hell or high water (so to speak). "Science" is a laudatory term, so call your view "scientific" even if by your own standards it isn't. Say that biologists haven't given you transitional forms, and when they do, deny that they're transitional. (Note for example the ICR's insistence that since the Archaeopteryx had feathers and flew, it *must* be a bird, no matter what anyone says.) Unfortunately, this tactic is displayed in abundance in this book, in every permutation possible--and maybe even some that aren't.
While *Scientific Creationism* is indeed well-written and accurately reflects the overall positions and arguments of the ICR members, it is filled with so many half-truths, vagaries and double-standards that it singlehandedly demonstrates the old maxim that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". If this book is the ICR's best foot forward, creationism is liable to trip over its own flat feet and fall on its face.
Let me make a couple of things perfectly clear at the outset. I am a conservative Christian clergyman. I have a profound respect for the Bible as the inspired word of God. I am a professional theologian, with a keen layman's interest in science, which goes back to my early elementary school days.
This book is neither credible science nor credible theology. It presents an extremely narrow view of biblical studies, and rejects any other possible explanation or interpretation. Any honest biblical scholar will immediately see that Morris engages in questionable eisegesis -- reading into the text what one already believes -- rather than scholarly exegesis -- reading the text as it is written, and then (and only then) drawing conclusions.
It's also difficult to engage this book in a scientific fashion. Dr. Morris's own credibility as a scholar and researcher is lacking; and some of his conclusions fly in the face of known scientific fact (and I'm NOT talking here about evolution).
What also concerns me is the testimony from scientists formerly involved with Morris' Institute for Creation Research who, while still believing in God, the Bible, and the truth of the Christian message, have gone on record flatly contradicting the value and validity of Morris's "science".
Any Christian, regardless of denomination, believes that God is the Ultimate Source of all that is. But that doesn't mean that the Scriptures are a scientific treatise.
Dr. Morris would be wise to take a page from Augustine of Hippo. This saint of the Church, revered by Catholics and Protestants alike, gave the wise advice that Christians should avoid relying on individualistic ultra-literal personal interpretations of Scripture which fly in the face of known fact, because to do so brings ridicule and scandal to the faith.
I've read too many testimonies of persons who have either left the faith, or who have had undergone major crises of conscience because of Dr. Morris's "theories" to be able to support his efforts.
on June 21, 2001
Let me say from the start that I am a conservative Christian (a supporter of the Southern Baptist Convention, no less), and believe that every word of the Bible was inspired and guided by God. But I do not believe in Creationism. Here's why:
1. Creationism really isn't about disproving evolution - it's about proving the earth is 6-10K years old. The Bible does not teach this. You need to ignore the massive evidence of the Bible that implicitly, if not overtly, says that the Genesis creation account is symbolic. (E.g., the Bible refers to the 2,000 years of the Christian era as the "the last days" when compared with the totality of the universe's existence; the OT prophets use the age of the Earth as a metaphor for the eternity of God; Genesis 2:4 in the more literal translations says that the creation days were "the generations of heaven and earth," indicating their symbolic usage, etc.)
2. This unBiblical teaching urges Christians to circle the wagons and shut out the world around them. It does not encourage them to be salt and light in a dying world. I know NO ONE who has ever been saved as a result of Young-Earth Creationism.
3. If you accept that everything in the Bible - even when the context of the passage, the literary form, and the rest of the Bible itself indicate otherwise - is to be interpreted in a woodenly literal sense, then there is MUCH MORE in the early Genesis accounts that has to be taken literally. For instance, the Serpent in the Garden of Eden was not Satan, but a talking snake. Also, the early chapters of Genesis talk about the earth having "four corners," talk about God has if God had a human body with arms and legs, and present God as "repenting," changing his mind, "grieving," and doing other things that we know God does not do thanks to the advanced revelation of the later OT prophets and the New Testament. If you accept Young Earth Creationism, then you also have to accept Open Theism (the belief that God doesn't know the future and can make mistakes, change his mind, etc.), because they both approach the Scriptures in the same woodenly literal way.
4. Young Earth Creationism was created by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Morris even admits this. Christians throughout all the previous ages - long before Darwin - have acknowledged that the language of Genesis 1-3 is symbolic. Young Earth Creationism is a destructive, divisive movement spawned by a borderline heretical denomination that predicted that Christ would return in 1844. This hardly bodes well for the movement.
There ARE good critiques of Darwinism out there - Michael Behe's "Darwin's Black Box," William Dembeski's work, and Philip Johnson's "Defeating Darwinism" all attack Darwinism effectively and fatally. But let's forget this nonsense about the Earth being 10,000 years old. All it does is let Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins off the hook - they just need to look at the sky at night, proving the world IS more than 10,000 years old, and they think they've proven there is no God. Let's make evolutionists fight the real battles.
on August 16, 2005
I've been reading the reviews on Amazon and I have to say that creationism in the form of ID is mounting the most intelligent attack to date on the problems with evolutionary theory. There are parts of evolutionary theory we have empirically observed, such as mutations within species but we haven't sufficiently observed transitions from one species to another, that's largely an act of faith on the part of evolutionists, whose definition of transitional fossils isnt actually satisfying to me. The part of intelligent design that postulates intelligent design hasnt been proved and would be difficult if not impossible to prove. BUt I would think that anyone who considers themselves scientific would know to research some of the problems raised against the fossil record (to which evolutionists reply that not the best fossils have been fossilized, thats like saying "We cant find it because it was never fossilized but it does exist" not exactly empirical)
on April 16, 2014
This book was a very effective comparison between the creation scientific model and the evolutionary scientific model. This is a book which is ideal for the person who has an open mind and is prepared to see how well observable data fits into each model.
on June 9, 2002
Reading this creationist book will turn your brain into mush. Just read the previous creationist review for evidence of that.
The previous creationist review criticized my previous review for allegedly employing an 'ad hominem' logical fallacy. Huh???
Ad hominem attacks are attempts to undermine arguments by appealing to irrelevant, usually emotional arguments. For example, If Steve Jobs said, "Bill Gates is a pedophile, therefore Microsoft computers are no good; buy an Apple computer instead," that would be an ad hominem argument. Pedophilia has nothing to do with computers, therefore the attack is an illogical ad hominem fallacy.
The alleged ad hominem attack in my review, however, did not involve an irrelevant characteristic at all, but rather commented on Henry Morris' well-established reputation for DISHONESTY. I think most sensible people would agree that honesty is highly relevant in writing textbooks!
Interestingly, the creationist then went on to contemptuously dismiss Raelianism as a "cult." Hello??? Since when are cults simply presumed to be wrong? Isn't that an ad hominem argument?
Finally on this point, the creationist writer failed to address the fact that Henry Morris himself relies very heavily on ad hominem arguments. If ad hominem arguments are objectionable, then why doesn't the creationist reviewer object to Henry Morris' reliance on them?
The creationist reviewer criticized me for saying that Pope John Paul II's endorsement of evolution disproved Henry Morris' claim that evolution is an inherently atheistic philosophy. The creationist reviewer's response that the Pope is not infallible is completely irrelevant. I did not claim the Pope was infallible, but merely that he was an evolutionist. Since the Pope and millions of other Christians are in fact both evolutionists AND Christians, it's pretty clear that Henry Morris is simply wrong. Evolution is NOT inherently atheistic.
(By the way, Henry Morris' harping on the atheism argument is a good example of the kind of ad hominem arguments Morris uses throughout his book. I wonder why the creationist reviewer failed to pick up on that?)
Regarding the evolution of worms, the creationist reviewer stated "The formation of different breeds of worms is NOT macroevolution, it is microevolution." This argument misses the point.
First of all the issue is species, not breeds.
Secondly, the real problem is that Henry Morris insists that not a single new SPECIES has evolved from any other species, but Duane Gish, one of the contributors to the book, has stated just as emphatically that the approximately 25,000 species of modern worms must have evolved from the couple saved on the Ark. Wow! 25,000 new species! That's quite a few! Henry Morris is clearly wrong, even according to his own co-writers.
Furthermore, those 25,000 species of worms are found in two different phyla. I don't know how the creationist writer distinguishes between "macro" and "micro" evolution, but anything that produces two completely different phyla is pretty significant! (BREEDS??? Unbelievable.)
Finally, on the issue of "fossil graveyards," I had pointed out that Morris' version of the fossil record would have required hundreds of billions of animals to be buried and fossilized IN THE SAME PLACE. Not only did Morris refer to the hundreds of billions of soft-bodied invertebrates required to form the world's oil deposits, which are found in very specific geographic areas, but there are also hundreds of billions of land vertebrates fossilized in geographically restricted fossil graveyards too, such as the Karoo Formation. Given that context, the creationist's argument that 6 billion people live on the entire planet today is simply goofy.
"Six billion" is not equivalent to "hundreds of billions;" and a species dispersed over the entire planet (and STILL numbering only 6 billion) cannot be compared to hundreds of billions of animals squeezed in like sardines in restricted geographic areas.
The tightly restricted geography of a fossil graveyard is one of its most important aspects, and the creationist reviewer simply ignored it.
Furthermore, the restricted area of the fossil graveyards and also the very clear HOMOGENEITY of the fossils involved, with land animals found in one place and marine animals found in another place, is highly inconsistent with the creationist hypothesis, especially in light of the same writer's amazing contention that the modern day continents were carved originally from a single, huge continent, and then blasted into their current locations by the force of Noah's flood.
Apparently this creationist thinks that massive continents could be blasted thousands of miles away from their original location, clear to the other side of the planet, but at the same time, puny animals weighing only a few pounds, would remain undisturbed in their original ecological niches, i.e., with marine animals being buried with other marine animals, and land animals being buried with other land animals in homogenous fossil graveyards! In a cataclysmic flood powerful enough to destroy old continents and create new ones, there won't be any mixing of land and marine animals??? Are you kidding?!?
If this kind of young-Earth insanity appeals to you, then by all means, buy Henry Morris' book, but don't complain when American school children do worse on comparative tests than Europeans, Asians, and Australians!
Intelligent design creationists (like William Dembski and Michael Behe) usually think young-Earthers like Henry Morris are idiots. Read Henry Morris' book, and you'll find out why!
on December 30, 1999
Henry Morris presents some interesting information to support his views but he comes short of his goal. There is plenty of evidence to support an old earth and plenty of evidence to show that ancient civilizations were here before his dating of the creation of the earth. Some of these creationists are stuck in a 10,000 year old earth because they want to totally exclude evolution from ever having occurred. As a creationist, I hold to some facets of evolutionary theory (microevolution as opposed to macroevolution) and have support from sensible creationists who hold PHDs, and also a belief that life existed on this planet BEFORE Adam was created, because the bible says it did! Anyone who has honestly studied both sides of this issue (creation/evolution) knows that Morris' book comes up short, but still has some valid points to make. Dating methods are not absolute, fossils have been found that contradict accepted dating of strata, Miller's experiments did nothing to prove that life arose from simple amino acids, data has been manipulated to support evolutionary theory, data contradicting it has been suppressed. The creationists are also guilty of denying anything that supports some kind evolution because it contradicts their beliefs. Until both sides come to the table with an honest and open (actually there are books that do this out there) discussion, this 'debate' will continue.
on September 11, 1997
This book will make you angry. It happened to me, it will happen to you. Why? Because you will realize that you have been told lies all your life; given only one side of the story; led to believe in an evolutionary fairy tale. I wasn't mad at the author, quite to the contrary I was thankful and appreciative of his kind and gracious style. My anger welled within me at my teachers in college and through out the public school system who vehemently insisted on evolution as fact while in reality there are no facts to substantiate it.
If you are content at being duped all your life, do NOT read this book. But if you are an open-minded free thinker then you have a companion in the author who has dared to go against the tide and speak the truth