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Origins, Linking Science and Scripture Hardcover – September 1, 1998
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...after 30 years at the epicenter of the creation/evolution debate, Roth has earned the right to have his perspective taken seriously. -- Ministry, Vol. 72(9), Sept. 1999
...arguably the best... a sweping creationist manifesto that may become creationism's new textbook of choice... Roth knows the literature. -- ISIS 91(2) June 2000
Ariel Roth's excellent book is highly recommended for creationists, non-creationist Christians, and unbelievers alike.
...buy the book. -- Creation Ex Nihilo, Vol. 13(1), 1999
Here is a clearly-written comprehensive non-dogmatic work of value for a person in early or even advanced stages of learning about important creation/evolution issues. -- Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 36, June, 1999
The book is well reference and has a helpful glossary. Those interested in the creation/evolution debate will enjoy and benefit from this well-written book. -- College and University Dialogue, Vol. 11(3), 1999
About the Author
Ariel A. Roth was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and grew up in Europe, the Caribbean, and North America. Holding a master's degree in biology and a Ph.D. degree in zoology from the University of Michigan, he has taken additional training in geology, mathematics, and radiation biology at various campuses of the University of California.
Roth has held a number of college and university appointments and is a member of several learned societies. After serving as chairman of the Biology Department at Andrews University and Loma Linda University, he was director of the Geoscience Research Institute at Loma Linda, California. For 23 years he has been editor of the journal Origins.
Roth has pursued research in invertebrate zoology and on fossil and living coral reefs in both the Pacific and Caribbean. There he has investigated the effects of light and pigment on the rate of coral reef growth. His research in various aspects of biology has been financed by several United States government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Roth has been active in the evolution-creation controversy in the United States, serving as a consultant or witness to the states of California, Oregon, and Arkansas. He has conducted numerous paleontological and geological field trips in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America in areas significant to the creation-evolution controversy. In addition, he has published a hundred and fifty articles in both scientific and popular journals, and has given many hundreds of lectures throughout the world.
Top customer reviews
Dr. Roth points out that far more scientists conduct their research within the paradigm of long ages for the existence of the earth, and far fewer currently research based upon the concept of a more recent (by comparison) act of creation. Scientists who are convinced that gradual evolution is the correct interpretation of the data sometimes claim that creationists are ignoring the data. Such people have clearly never encountered Dr. Roth. He presents ample scientific data from the paradigm of creation rather than evolution, and from the perspective of catastrophism rather than geologic uniformitarianism. In Origins, Dr. Roth repeatedly puts his finger on many problems the evolutionary model encounters within the same data sometimes used in the mainstream to promote it.
As always, my mantra is: the mainstream is the wrong stream, and Origins is another well written and well documented testimony to that reality.
An important distinction that he makes that is helpful for the highly polarized debate among Christian readers regarding the Age of the Universe is the difference between the age of the biosphere and the age of the universe. He remarks,
"Time poses one of the most contentious questions between the commonly understood scientific and scriptural viewpoints. We should expect this, because the marked differences are firmly entrenched. The Bible speaks of a recent creation most likely less than 10,000 years ago, while evolution suggests the development of life for many thousands of millions of years. The difference need not be as broad as often surmised, since little in the Bible precludes a very old universe. However, according to Scripture, the creation of life on earth is a relatively recent event" (p. 233-234)
He is open to a Soft-Gap theory (not the ruin and reconstruction gap theory) interpretation of Scripture which can allow for an ancient universe and an ancient earth, but requires that the earth's biosphere be young (p. 316-318). This view has also been referred to as the "Biosphere" model by author Gorman Gray. The value of the Biosphere model is that it does not have the distant star-light problem that a young universe model has nor does it have the problem of millions of years of animal suffering and death prior to the Fall of Adam and Eve that the theisic evolution and progressive creation models have. I think the Soft-Gap/Biosphere model is the best explanation that I have seen proposed by a Christian author attempting to harmonize the truths of science with the truths of Scripture.
I also agree with other reviewers of Ariel's book that his presentation was attractive because he makes his case while retaining a respectful spirit toward those who do not share his view.
Although written for the educated lay reader, the book is extremely scholarly; numerous endnotes follow each chapter, and cite the relevant scientific literature. The tone of the book is not overly argumentative, but very calm, reflective and respectful. Darwinist scientists wanting to know the views and opinions of a well trained creationist scientist may read this volume without fear that their views will be misrepresented, distorted or ridiculed.
The book covers the usual and customary topics of a book of this nature: the origin of life, the development of, and the problems with, Darwinian theory, the fossil record, the geologic column, questions about past geological processes and the speed with which they occurred, questions about the age of the earth, the uniqueness of the Bible and its witness on the issue of origins, and why the young earth model is to be preferred over compromising long-ages creationist or gap theory models.
If I have a criticism, it is that the writing fails to sparkle. Stephen Jay Gould wrote (in the process of explaining how Lyell carried the day for uniformitarianism) that the scientific profession self-selects for poor writing skills. Gould himself was an exception to that rule, but Roth . . . well, his writing is serviceable and readable but usually not inspiring. The writing style seems to betray a certain weariness of the controversy. Roth relates some of his arguments as though he is reciting them to an audience very familiar with them, rather than explaining them to a reader genuinely new to the controversy. It is like a comedian telling only punchlines, assuming that his audience has heard the jokes many times, and hence only the punchline is necessary.
There are instances where the less than crisp writing is indicative of sloppy thinking. In chapter 12, for example, Roth writes, "Major world catastrophes are extremely unusual, and we have difficulty incorporating them into our thinking." Really? What about the asteroid theory of the K/T mass extinction? Scientists seem to have had little difficulty incorporating that into their thinking. Roth knows this, of course, and carefully explains that strict uniformitarianism is out of fashion with geologists, and that catastrophism is once again openly embraced. And what is meant by the term "major world catastrophes?" Do we know enough to form an opinion as to how unusual they are? That sentence should have been deleted in the editing process, as both boring and inaccurate.
Later in the chapter, Roth writes, "a flood covering the entire surface of the earth is highly unusual." Unusual? It either happened once, as the Bible teaches, or not at all, as most scientists believe. Roth should make his arguments and convince us that the Genesis Flood really did happen, since that is what he believes, but to say that the flood was "highly unusual" seems patronizing.
But these are minor quibbles over style, not an attack on the substance of this work. On the whole, the book is careful and scholarly, and the arguments are sound.