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The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood Hardcover – August 27, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0393082395 ISBN-10: 0393082393 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (August 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393082393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393082395
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Examining a wide variety of flood and creation stories across centuries, Montgomery provides an enthusiastic and valuable recounting of the history of geology and how the advances in science have consistently faced opposition from the guardians of so-called religious authority, based on a literal reading of the Bible.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Montgomery... offers a thorough critique of creationist worldviews... while treating his opponents with respect, reflecting on both ancient and modern debates and demonstrating that Christians have been arguing among themselves about these subjects for millennia. ...The combination of historical study and humility on behalf of geology makes for an extremely persuasive work. Highly recommended.” (John M. Kistler - Library Journal)

About the Author

David R. Montgomery is a professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he lives. The author of Dirt and King of Fish, he was a 2008 MacArthur Fellow.

More About the Author

David R. Montgomery was born in 1961 Stanford, California, and studied geology at Stanford University before earning his Ph.D. in geomorphology at UC Berkeley. He teaches at the University of Washington where he studies the evolution of topography and how geological processes shape landscapes and influence ecological systems. He loved maps as a kid and now writes about the relationship of people to their environment and other things that interest him. In 2008 he was named a MacArthur Fellow. He lives with his wife Anne in Seattle, Washington.

Customer Reviews

Very informative about the history of geology and the religious debate over Noah's flood.
Jerrod Lessel
As a person who has worked with those who dismiss religion, I can tell you that they would benefit from reading this book with an open mind.
Geo in Indiana
I do have a question about the rock formation at Siccar Point, which is featured both on the dust cover and within the book.
David L. Davies

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood by David Montgomery

"The Rocks Don't Lie" is an interesting historical journey through the world's flood stories and how the Bible's greatest story influenced geology. Dr. David R. Montgomery, a professor of geology at the University of Washington and the author of "The King of Fish: The Thousand Year Run of the Salmon: and "Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations" takes the reader on an explorative ride that focuses on Noah's flood and geology. This well written 320-page book is composed of the following thirteen chapters: 1. Buddha's Dam, 2. A Grand Canyon, 3. Bones in the Mountains, 4. World in Ruins, 5. A Mammoth Problem, 6. The Test of Time, 7. Catastrophic Revelations, 8. Fragmented Stories, 9. Recycled Tales, 10. Dinosaurs in Paradise, 11. The Heretic's Flood, 12. Phantom Deluge and 13. The Nature of Faith.

Positives:
1. Well written, very respectful prose. "Solid" science writing.
2. Accessible book for the masses.
3. The conflict between reason and faith handled with the utmost respect and care. The author does not disrespect opposing views.
4. This book's main focus is the historical interplay between biblical interpretation and the development of geology. It's the ultimate struggle to understand who we are and the rocks do the speaking.
5. The author's specialty is geomorphology, the study of processes that create and shape topography. His perspectives revolve around his expertise and thus provide the impetus that drives this book forward.
6. The conflict between creationists and the denial of modern geology. "In defending an interpretation of God's word contradicted by geological evidence, creationists abandon a long-standing belief that rocks don't lie.
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112 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Geo in Indiana on September 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a geologist, so I was already aware of a lot of this material - but by no means all of it. The science is presented in very clear language and is accurate. The history is also presented clearly. Not being an historian, I really appreciate the extensive bibliography!

The impressive thing about this book, though, is that it doesn't pour fuel on the arguments of those who insist on making religion and science conflict. Throughout, it spells out the origin and timing of competing beliefs about a global deluge, pointing out why many Christians see no contradictions, and why others find the arguments of geologists to be an attack on their faith. The author clearly makes the argument that Christianity has informed and guided science, and that scientific evidence has informed and guided Christianity.

Is this book necessary? Sadly, it is. There are still many people who dismiss religion as scientific heresy, and those who dismiss science as religious heresy. As a person who has worked with those who dismiss religion, I can tell you that they would benefit from reading this book with an open mind. As a person who teaches in a part of the USA where many people dismiss science, I can tell you that they, too, would benefit. This book will never be considered seriously by the most extreme of either camp (see other reviews for evidence of this).

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of both the argument some make for Noah's Flood, and the argument that science and religion cannot peacefully - and beneficially - coexist.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Buell on February 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Montgomery's book is really a paean to the triumph of reason over superstition and institutional inertia of thought. Not as much of a science book as I would have anticipated, you won't find anything in the way of difficult mathematics here, but the scientific concepts are laid out in easy-to-understand bits wrapped around an engaging narrative of the events that led to the discoveries being discussed.

While it is a pretty throrough demolition of Young-Earth Creationism, Montgomery does attempt to speak ecumenically in the final chapters while discussing the limits of knowledge - but the overall message is clear: You may be entitled to your opinions, but you aren't entitled to your facts. If you believe the Rocks Don't Lie, it's hard to square that with the circle of religious fundamentalism.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Shields on November 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Great book! Fascinating history on geology and its origins. Those fascinated by earth's formation will find this book intriguing. Also, Christians who believe in old earth will appreciate this book as well.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By G. Poirier on April 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is not quite what I was expecting; it's a lot more. Using Noah's Flood as his focus, the author takes the reader on a historical journey in which science and biblical scholarship confront each other. Beginning in the ancient world and continuing on to the present day, the progression of religious beliefs pertaining to the origin and evolution of humans (and of the world), is carefully followed in the face of mounting scientific discoveries (especially in the field of geology) that seriously challenged those beliefs.

I found this book to be generally clear, often lively, frequently captivating and relatively accessible. A few of the detailed geological processes described were a bit hard for me to follow; but the historical evolution of scientific thought and that of theological concepts (most of the book) were quite engaging from my perspective.

I did find one error: On page 5 it is stated that carbon-14 decays to carbon-12. This is incorrect: carbon-14 decays by beta (-) emission to stable nitrogen-14. This is correctly explained much later in the book (p. 192) where carbon-14 is discussed in more detail. Consequently, the fact that this error crept in is rather odd.

I think that this book should especially appeal to those interested in the history of science, the evolution of religious thought, the birth of creationism and the interactions between science and religion.
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