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Scientists Confront Creationism Paperback – April 17, 1984
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
From the Back Cover
A fascinating and timely book which demonstrates once and for all why 'scientific' creationism is not only bad science but also bad theology---and in the process spells out the principles that guide genuine discovery. Basically, an expose of all pseudo-science. A badly needed overview of the scientific view of evolution, explaining clearly and straightforwardly exactly what scientists think and why.
About the Author
Laurie R. Godfrey is a professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She lives in Massachusetts.
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One essayist states, "Although there was originally some doubt as to the validity of the assumption that the primeval abundance of lead isotopes in the earth is the same as that now found in some meteorites, subsequent research has confirmed it. While an age based on any single set of rock or meteorite data may be subject to criticism, that fact that many independent determinations give the same value makes it extremely unlikely that they could all be seriously wrong. The isochron method is self-checking in the sense that if the group of rocks selected does not yield a straight line plot, then one knows they were not formed at the same time and can reject them." (Pg. 62)
He adds, "Since [Robert V.] Gentry is the only creationist who seems to have substantial qualifications in the field of radioactivity... it is necessary to mention a controversy in which hs has been involved... Gentry and his colleagues claimed that a super heavy element (no. 126) is NOW present in the [microscopic crystalline monazite] inclusions. The paper was rushed into print without going through the usual review process and created a considerable amount of excitement among nuclear physicists. But it was quickly found that other researchers could not confirm the result, and Gentry's group eventually had to retract their claim..." (Pg. 69) He later notes that "[Thomas G.] Barnes refuses ] to accept the overwhelming evidence for magnetic reversals not because he can find anything wrong with the evidence itself, but simply on the grounds that there is not yet a satisfactory theoretical explanation of why the reversals occur at a particular time." (Pg. 76-77)
David Raup admits in his essay, "The use of radioactive isotopes in geological dating has many problems. The methods are inexact and contain many sources of error. In order for the system to work, the parent isotope must enter the rock in the absence of any of its daughter products... so that there is no leakage of daughter products out of the rock... This means that a series of dates run on a single rock may produce different results, either because of leakage or contamination or because different isotopes record different events in the geological history of the rock." (Pg. 155)
Godfrey argues in her essay, "Do [creationists] seriously believe that hydrodynamic sorting better accounts for the successive appearance of groups of organisms than do speciation and adaptive radiation? ... Is it really possible that horses, humans, cows, and rats were true contemporaries of the primitive mammals known from Mesozoic deposits, but somehow only ... primitive utherian mammals managed to die in the right places? Why hydrodynamic properties of their bones could possibly link these small mammals with the giants of the reptile world?" (Pg. 203)
This is an excellent critique of "young-earth Creationism," and will be of great interest to anyone studying the Creation/Evolution controversy.
Scientists Confront Creationism: Intelligent Design and Beyond
Scientists Confront Creationism is out-of-date in three ways: first, the conventional science is out-of date; second, creation science is presumably more sophisticated now than 25 years ago; and third, the book relies too much on the reader being familiar with the complex scientific, philosophical and theological concepts presented. In effect, readers who can understand this book probably don't need it.
I bought the book on Saturday and read it on Sunday and Monday. Although I have a master's degree in Earth science, I found some of the papers difficult to read. This was not because of the subject matter, but because the standard of science writing 25 years ago was below that of modern textbooks and peer-reviewed papers.
One reviewer on this site commented that there was too much material related to the age of the Earth and the universe. I found that George Abell's paper on these subjects was one of the best written and easiest to understand. However, the reviewer also said that creationists no longer dispute the great age of the Earth (greater than 4 billion years). If so, we should accept that reviewer's conclusions: the book is out of date because creationists have moved on and so has the debate. I conclude that readers should invest in a more modern book that sets out the current debate.