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Science and Earth History: The Evolution/Creation Controversy Hardcover – November 1, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Hardcover, November 1, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This book assesses the attempts of fundamentalist Christians to blend science and religion into a coherent view of the universe, called "creation science," through a literal reading of the book of Genesis. The author, an emeritus professor of geomorphology at Columbia University, examines evidence from astronomy to zoology, and shows that creation science does not meet the criteria of the scientific enterprise. He concludes that it is a belief system that constitutes a pseudoscience at best, a fraud at worst. His analysis is reasoned, balanced, and fair, but, in the end, devastating. Strongly recommended for public libraries. Robert Paul, Dickinson Coll., Carlisle, Penn.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


"...a popular overview of earth history and a scholarly anecdote to the fictions of creationism..." -- Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, December 2001

"A book with a whacking lot of material on both sides of the topic. . . . you will imbibe a dose of rationality designed to dispel misinformation, illogic and muddled thinking. Strongly recommended." -- George W. Earley, The Gate, April, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 575 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573927171
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573927178
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #786,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a clearly written and remarkably comprehensive treatment of all the young-earthers' arguments. If anything, the detail is excessive. The volume functions more as a reference work than as something you would want to read through from cover to cover.
The weird comedy of young earth creationism, in which the biblical account of the flood becomes literal truth (how exactly did the platypus mom and dad get from Mt. Ararat to Australia?), is perhaps scarcely worth debunking, but Strahler does it exhaustively. He is familiar with all the bizarre inventions of young-earthers -- the "canopy" that vented the rains for the flood, etc. -- and deals with them in an easy, humorous manner that is willing to concede the weaker points of geology and evolution as they come up.
If you are looking for a critique of the more intelligent arguments offered by old-earth creationists such as Michael Behe, however, this volume is not the best choice.
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Format: Hardcover
With an exhaustive overview of the geologic and evolutionary history of our planet, Strahler vigorously rebuts a multitude of Christian creationist assertions. Strahler takes some effort to expose the faulty logic, poor science and devious methods Christians have used to impair the public's perception of evolution. The author is able to fully detail each creationist assertion and how science refutes them. If there is a pivot point in this presentation, it would be the spurious "human" tracks "found" in a Texas riverbed. Many facets - the age of the earth, the path of evolution and the role of analysis - are exemplified by the circumstances surrounding this artefact.
While Strahler leaves no doubt over his view of Christian creationists, he provides such a wealth of their material that the book might well be considered "balanced". It is certainly thorough in presenting a history of modern creationism and its spokesmen [if there are any women active in promoting "creation science" they don't appear here]. Strahler lays a foundation by comparing science and pseudo-science. The contrast between empirical research and declaration from assertion should be apparent to all, but Strahler spells it out carefully and clearly. From this beginning he takes us through a succession of topics, exhibiting the creationist declarations, then depicting the errors in them. In some cases, the errors are simply false, while others are twisted use of words or ideas. Strahler set himself a monumental task in composing this book, but as someone with long experience in the geologic column, perhaps there is no-one better qualified to assess the material.
This is a rich trove for almost anyone interested in the planet's history.
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Format: Hardcover
I was disappointed that except for an additional preface, the 1999 "edition" is only a reprint of the first edition from 1987. Outside of the new preface, the book does NOT include "responses to new attacks on evolutionary theory" as promised on the front cover. However, far from being "superficial," the book still contains a wealth of detailed and accurate information that is utterly fatal to creationist fantasies.
It is true that Strahler (p. 135) falsely blames creationist John Woodmorappe of misrepresenting the contents of an article on the radiometric dating of some Hawaiian basalts. In reality, the distortions originated from creationist H. Morris. Nevertheless, Strahler's rebuttal of the distortions is valid.
Clearly, Strahler needs to update this book and respond to the blatant misquotes, misconceptions, and errors that permeate the tabloid literature that continuously streams from various creation "institutes" that claim to be doing "research" or have "answers." For example, geologists have known since at least the early 1960's that SOME magmas travel rapidly through crusts, as fast as several ten's of kilometers per month. Since the first printing of Strahler's book, creationists have distorted the literature on magma movement and cooling, including some of the references in Strahler. Creationists illogically imply that because SOME magmas travel quickly and smaller plutons may cool rapidly, ALL magmas must travel and cool quickly. As a specific example, Strahler needs to supplement his discussions on p. 212-213 and further describe how the cooling of huge plutons, such as the Sierra Nevada Batholith of California (p.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book after a creationist posed some potential problems to me regarding a 4.5 billion y.o. earth. After reading several sections of this book, I am very pleased with the presentation of the material and the depth with which it is covered. The rebuttles to creationism in this book are thorough and often go into more detail than necessary (although I found the depth more interesting and useful if further questions arose).

There are many topics covered in this book. I used information from it on the following potential problems:

-content of the oceans (poor dating method due to "residence times" of elements in the ocean)

-the moon's recession from the earth (consistent with expected age of the moon, websites were also useful in researching this topic)

-radiometric dating with uranium and other radioactive materials (very in depth info on this, and if understood, very convincing of why this is a good dating method)

-decline of the speed of light (this book blows this idea out of the water)

-carbon 14 dating and the earth's magnetic field (these really tie together, and Strahler addresses both very well, showing that C-14 has had variations throughout time, and the magnetic field also variates and can actually flip, as has been observed in the sun; these two tie together since the magnetic field influences how much C-14 is in the atmosphere)

-oil fields (explains how it isn't just a bunch of pools underneith earth, but is in porous rock, which doesn't really support Noah's flood; plus C-14 dating shows it is too old to be from Noah's flood)

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of what is in this book, but these were the topics I found most useful.
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