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The Counter-Creationism Handbook Paperback – January 12, 2007
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"The intended audience for this book includes science teachers, those caught in arguments with creationists, and even creationists who want to identify weaknesses in their propositions....Every school where evolution is taught needs this book, and public library reference collections would do well to include it for journalists and researchers."-VOYA
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Of the argument that “Creationists are prevented from publishing in science journals,” he gives seven examples of papers written by creationists that WERE published in mainstream, peer-reviewed journals. He also points out, “The main reason that they do not get published in reputable science journals is that they do not try to publish there… In the McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education creationism trial, the creationists… were unable to produce any articles that had been refused publication…” (Pg. 28-29)
Against the assertion that “Most mutations are harmful,” he argues, “Most mutations are neutral… Beneficial mutations are commonly observed. They are common enough to be problems in the cases of antibiotic resistance in disease-causing organisms and pesticide resistance in agricultural pests… Whether a mutation is beneficial or not depends on environment. A mutation that helps the organism in one circumstance could harm it in another.” (Pg. 52)
Of the argument, “The eye is too complex to have evolved,” he lists seven “intermediate stages,” and then notes, “All of these steps are known to be viable because all exist in animals living today. The increments between these steps are slight and may be broken down into even smaller increments… Since eyes do not fossilize well, we do not know that the development of the eye follows exactly that path, but we certainly cannot claim that no path exists.” (Pg. 65)
Of vestigial organs, he points out, “‘Vestigial’ does not mean an organ is useless… Examples from biology include leg bones in snakes, eye remnants in blind cave fish… extra toe bones in horses, wing stubs on flightless birds and insects, and molars in vampire bats. Whether these organs have functions is irrelevant. They obviously do not have the function that we expect from such parts in other animals, for which creationists say the parts are ‘designed.’” (Pg. 70)
Of the use of “half a wing,” he argues, “Half a wing can have several uses: In insects, half a wing is useful for skimming rapidly across the surface of water… In larger animals, half a wing is useful for gliding… In immature chickens, wing-flapping enhances hindlimb traction, allowing the chickens to ascend steeper inclines… In some flightless birds (e.g., penguins), wings are used for swimming… Partial wings may have other useful functions that nobody has thought of yet.” (Pg. 95-96)
Of the contention that “All human fossils would fit on a billiard table,” he observes, “That may have been true at one time, but there are thousands of hominid fossils now. Lubenow found that there were fossils from almost 4,000 hominid individuals catalogued as of 1976. As of 1999, there were fossils of about 150 Homo erectus individuals, 90 Australopithecus robustus, 150 Australopithecus afarensis, 500 Neanderthals, and more…” (Pg. 104-105)
He gives various examples of transitional fossils, including “Human ancestry… Lake Turkana mollusk species… Dinosaur-bird transitions… The jaws of mososaurs are also intermediate between snakes and lizards… Transitions between mesonychids and whales… Transitions between fish and tetrapods…” (Pg. 114-116)
About the “geological column is sometimes out of order” argument, he comments, “Folds account for out-of-order strata with sequences such as A-B-C-B-A. Faults create sequences such as B-C-A-B-C. The evidence is so overwhelming that these conclusions should be obvious. In many cases, the folds and faults can easily be seen in cross-sections of the strata… The geologic column is never out of order in areas that have not been greatly disturbed.” (Pg. 158)
He rejects the argument that fossils are sorted “by their ability to escape” [i.e., Flood waters]: “If they were, we would expect to see slow-moving species like sloths and tortoises and every low-elevation plant at the bottom of the fossil record, while fast-moving species… would be at the top. But… in many cases we find just the opposite. For example, in undisturbed strata there has not been a single sloth fossil found below even the highest velociraptor remains, and flowering plants do not appear in the fossil record until after winged insects and reptiles.” (Pg. 235)
He also rejects the Anthropic Principle and the “fine-tuning” argument: “The claim assumes life in its present form is a given… If the universe is fine-tuned for life, why is life such an extremely rare part of it?... If part of the universe were not suitable for life, we would not be here to think about it. There is nothing to rule out the possibility of multiple universes, most of which would be unsuitable for life. We happen to find ourselves in one where life is conveniently possible because we cannot very well be anywhere else… The anthropic principle is an argument against an omnipotent creator. If God can do anything, he could create life in a universe whose conditions do not allow for it.” (Pg. 263)
This is an information-packed, illuminating (or to some, probably infuriating) volume, that will be “must reading” for anyone even marginally interested in the evolution/creation issues.
Other books either pro or contra creationism, they show only one side of the coin. The reader who is searching for the truth will tend to lean to the side he is reading, since arguments could be presented in a biased way. But Mark Isaak was very fair, he collected the best arguments from the creationism and provided the answers from the best experts, each in his field, and held them up for us to compare and judge. The questions and answers were very concise for people to get quick answer, and for others who want to read more in this particular point he provided many references.
The book covers more than 400 questions from the creationism side who attacks naturalism, darwinism and science and who still up till now thinking that there is God who created everything, therefore we should believe blindly without questioning. The book covers a lot of fields even philosophy and religions. For fairness, objectivity and the wide scope, this book is a must read and deserve the top rating.
I should say that I fully respect the opinions of creationist who believe God created the world as it says in the Bible but who also admit that the scientific evidence does not favor that view. I also fully respect creationists who believe that God created life through the process of evolution even though that might be hard to prove. However, then we have the creationists who believe that the theory of evolution is not science and even believe it is disproved nonsense. These creationists are very mistaken and they aggressively spread disinformation, myths, false hoods, and conspiracy theories, and they also often regard their ideological adversaries with contempt and hostility. Unfortunately these creationists thrive because of the lack of education among the general public.
The purpose of this book is to provide counter arguments for the various assaults from the latter groups. In doing so it educates the reader and also successfully debunks virtually all content of every traditional creationist book out there (I've read quite a few of them). The evidence for evolution by natural selection is massive coming from virtually scientific fields, while creationists cannot present any valid evidence for creationism. What they do is to make claims that seem to put evolution in question, claims that are invariable misleading, irrelevant, or false. The book is intended mostly for people who may have to argue with well rehearsed creationists (teachers, parents, administrators) but who do not know much about the claims the creationists make. However, as the introduction of the book states, creationists themselves can also use this book to devise their strategy.
The book features more than 400 of the most common claims made by creationists. Then it debunks these claims and suggests further reading in research articles or books. I should say it not only features Christian creationism but it also considers other religions. I should add that all 400+ claims the book debunks references and quotes fairly recent and widely read creationist books, movies or public speaches (last sentence added/edited for clarity). The content of the book is organized according to types of creationist claims; Philosophy and Theology, Epistemology, Biology, Paleontology, Geology, Astronomy and Cosmology, Physics and Mathematics, Miscellaneous, Biblical Creationism, Intelligent Design, Vedic Creationism, Native American Creationism, and Islamic Creationism.
Examples of claims debunked in the book are;
- Macroevolution has never been observed
- No new species have been observed
- Some systems are irreducibly complex
- The Bombardier Beetle is too complex to have evolved
- Mutations do not produce new features
- There is not enough moon dust for an old Universe
- The Earth’s magnetic field is decaying, indicating a young earth
- Hitler based his views on Darwinism
- Evolution does not explain morals, especially altruism
- There should be Billions of transitional fossils
- The Piltdown man was a hoax (true but it was exposed by fellow scientists and irrelevant)
- Recent pollen has been found in old rocks
- Cosmic rays and free neutrinos affect U and Ar decays
- Evolution requires as much faith as creationism
- First cells could not come together by chance
- Human foot prints have been found with dinosaur tracks at Paluxy
- A Plesiosaur was found by a Japanese Trawler (myth)
- Juvenile water is added to oceans too fast for an old earth
- Tornadoes in junkyards do not build things (true but is irrelevant to evolution)
- There are gaps between class X and class Y (long lists of X and Y, all debunked)
- Evolution does not make predictions
- Scientific Findings are always changing
- No gradual biochemical evolution models have been published
- Evolution is only a theory
- Evolution is atheistic
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the topic and I also recommend this book just for skimming to those who are only mildly interested (since it can be read that way). It can also be used as a reference book and for looking up facts about creationist claims. It is well organized, but discussing so many claims makes it lacking in depth. However, the frequent references and suggestions for further reading makes up for that.