Another attempt to trick Christians and line pockets
Reviewer: A reader from Boston
Henry Morris and his cohorts have done more damage to Christianity than nearly anyone else now living. They still insist that the Bible teaches the earth is merely 6,000 years old, despite the many, many passages in the Bible that state or strongly infer otherwise, and the secular media is more than happy to pick on the pronouncements of these hucksters and the uneducated people who they trick into equating their beliefs with Biblical doctrine.
The science and theology in this volume are pure mush. Try reading Intelligent Design advocates if you want a better examination of science and the Bible.
Scientific Mush, June 9, 2002
Reviewer: Tim Beazley from San Diego
Reading this creationist book will turn your brain into mush. Just read the previous creationist review for evidence of that.
The previous creationist review criticized my previous review for allegedly employing an 'ad hominem' logical fallacy. Huh???
Ad hominem attacks are attempts to undermine arguments by appealing to irrelevant, usually emotional arguments. For example, If Steve Jobs said, "Bill Gates is a pedophile, therefore Microsoft computers are no good; buy an Apple computer instead," that would be an ad hominem argument. Pedophilia has nothing to do with computers, therefore the attack is an illogical ad hominem fallacy.
The alleged ad hominem attack in my review, however, did not involve an irrelevant characteristic at all, but rather commented on Henry Morris' well-established reputation for DISHONESTY. I think most sensible people would agree that honesty is highly relevant in writing textbooks!
Interestingly, the creationist then went on to contemptuously dismiss Raelianism as a "cult." Hello??? Since when are cults simply presumed to be wrong? Isn't that an ad hominem argument?
Finally on this point, the creationist writer failed to address the fact that Henry Morris himself relies very heavily on ad hominem arguments. If ad hominem arguments are objectionable, then why doesn't the creationist reviewer object to Henry Morris' reliance on them?
The creationist reviewer criticized me for saying that Pope John Paul II's endorsement of evolution disproved Henry Morris' claim that evolution is an inherently atheistic philosophy. The creationist reviewer's response that the Pope is not infallible is completely irrelevant. I did not claim the Pope was infallible, but merely that he was an evolutionist. Since the Pope and millions of other Christians are in fact both evolutionists AND Christians, it's pretty clear that Henry Morris is simply wrong. Evolution is NOT inherently atheistic.
(By the way, Henry Morris' harping on the atheism argument is a good example of the kind of ad hominem arguments Morris uses throughout his book. I wonder why the creationist reviewer failed to pick up on that?)
Regarding the evolution of worms, the creationist reviewer stated "The formation of different breeds of worms is NOT macroevolution, it is microevolution." This argument misses the point.
First of all the issue is species, not breeds.
Secondly, the real problem is that Henry Morris insists that not a single new SPECIES has evolved from any other species, but Duane Gish, one of the contributors to the book, has stated just as emphatically that the approximately 25,000 species of modern worms must have evolved from the couple saved on the Ark. Wow! 25,000 new species! That's quite a few! Henry Morris is clearly wrong, even according to his own co-writers.
Furthermore, those 25,000 species of worms are found in two different phyla. I don't know how the creationist writer distinguishes between "macro" and "micro" evolution, but anything that produces two completely different phyla is pretty significant! (BREEDS??? Unbelievable.)
Finally, on the issue of "fossil graveyards," I had pointed out that Morris' version of the fossil record would have required hundreds of billions of animals to be buried and fossilized IN THE SAME PLACE. Not only did Morris refer to the hundreds of billions of soft-bodied invertebrates required to form the world's oil deposits, which are found in very specific geographic areas, but there are also hundreds of billions of land vertebrates fossilized in geographically restricted fossil graveyards too, such as the Karoo Formation. Given that context, the creationist's argument that 6 billion people live on the entire planet today is simply goofy.
"Six billion" is not equivalent to "hundreds of billions;" and a species dispersed over the entire planet (and STILL numbering only 6 billion) cannot be compared to hundreds of billions of animals squeezed in like sardines in restricted geographic areas.
The tightly restricted geography of a fossil graveyard is one of its most important aspects, and the creationist reviewer simply ignored it.
Furthermore, the restricted area of the fossil graveyards and also the very clear HOMOGENEITY of the fossils involved, with land animals found in one place and marine animals found in another place, is highly inconsistent with the creationist hypothesis, especially in light of the same writer's amazing contention that the modern day continents were carved originally from a single, huge continent, and then blasted into their current locations by the force of Noah's flood.
Apparently this creationist thinks that massive continents could be blasted thousands of miles away from their original location, clear to the other side of the planet, but at the same time, puny animals weighing only a few pounds, would remain undisturbed in their original ecological niches, i.e., with marine animals being buried with other marine animals, and land animals being buried with other land animals in homogenous fossil graveyards! In a cataclysmic flood powerful enough to destroy old continents and create new ones, there won't be any mixing of land and marine animals??? Are you kidding?!?
If this kind of young-Earth insanity appeals to you, then by all means, buy Henry Morris' book, but don't complain when American school children do worse on comparative tests than Europeans, Asians, and Australians!
Intelligent design creationists (like William Dembski and Michael Behe) usually think young-Earthers like Henry Morris are idiots. Read Henry Morris' book, and you'll find out why!
You Call This "Scientific"???, March 24, 2002
Reviewer: Tim Beazley
Scientific Creationism (SC) is promoted by the Institute for Creation Research as a textbook for high school and college students, and it is still being sold in the year 2002. (In fact, John Woodmorappe, a frequent ICR contributor, wrote a short, but favorable, review just over a year ago!)
But is SC really appropriate as a textbook? Many previous reviewers were impressed by the array of "scientific facts" in SC. Let's take a look!
I estimate the number of quotes in the book at about 400 in the "science" section of the book, and about 400 more Bible references in the last part of the book. What kind of science textbook has that many quotes OR that many Bible references? That's strange!
Morris is well known both for quoting out of context and for otherwise distorting quotes. Any book he writes that contains virtually nothing but quotes is highly suspect!
Chapter 1: Evolution or Creationism?
Morris said all monotheistic faiths are inherently creationist, and atheism is inherently evolutionist. Both halves of his statement are false. Millions of Christians are evolutionists, including Pope John Paul II; and Raelians are anti-evolutionist atheists.
Morris said the Nazis were evolutionists. But most European Nazis were Christians. Using Morris' own analysis, they must have been creationists! And Hitler's racism is endorsed in Morris' other books and by other creationist groups, such as the KKK. Clearly, Nazism and creationism are compatible.
Chapter 2: Chaos or Cosmos?
Morris said most species do NOT go extinct. Unbelievable.
Morris said stars never change and have never changed for as long as man has been observing them. Wrong! Several supernovae have been observed throughout history.
Chapter 3 Thermodynamics.
Morris claims the second law of thermodynamics makes ALL increases in order impossible, so that makes evolution impossible. But he describes systems where increases in order ARE possible: seeds growing into trees, and fetuses growing into babies. Interestingly, all his examples involve biological organisms, so using Morris' own examples, it's clear that increases in order ARE possible in biology, DESPITE the second law!
Morris says not one new species is known to have evolved during recorded history. Wrong! Some web sites list hundreds of them. Also, according to Duane Gish, over 25,000 new worm species have evolved in just the past few thousand years from the few pairs that were on the Ark! (Gish was one of the contributors to SC. I wonder how he explains the discrepancy???)
Chapter 4: Accident or Purpose?
Morris said in Chapter 2 that statistics are ALWAYS invalid in analyzing one-time events. Apparently he changed his mind. This chapter involves the probability of life evolving, something Morris says was a one-time event!!!
Morris bases ALL his statistics on the assumption that only one combination of genes, proteins, etc., will work. Wrong! There's 6 billion people and billions of other organisms on the planet right now with unique sets of genes. For Morris to ASSUME that only one set of genes will work is simply stupid, and it invalidates ALL his statistics.
Morris says ALL life forms appeared simultaneously in the Cambrian, but then lists fourteen MAJOR groups that started hundreds of millions of years earlier or later, including moss-corals, insects, flowering plants, graptolites, and trilobites. Is he so blind he doesn't see the problem???
Morris' most RECENT citation on transitional forms of plants is 1951!!! Unbelievable.
Chapter 5: Uniformitarianism.
Morris says rocks are dated SOLELY by their fossil content Wrong! Moon rocks and meteorites don't contain ANY fossils. In ancient rocks, the rocks themselves are not dated, rather it is their minerals that are dated, and minerals don't contain ANY fossils!!!
Morris repeatedly refers to fossil graveyards containing hundreds of billions of fossils caught in Noah's Flood. ALL those fossils lived at the same time, according to Morris, and that's simply impossible! There's no room on the planet for all of them!!!
Oil is the converted remains of billions of marine animals caught in Noah's Flood. (1.1 billion barrels of oil = 880 million tons of organisms.) ALL these hundreds of billions of tons of animals were living at the SAME time as the hundreds of billions of land animals from the fossil graveyards??? Impossibility piled on impossibility!!!
Morris says hydrodynamic sorting sorted rocks by size and weight during Noah's Flood. But he describes a huge blanket of conglomerates that ended up OVER much lighter sandstones and silt deposits! How'd that happen??? Has Morris repealed the law of gravity???
According to Morris, animals would normally be buried with others living in the same region during Noah's Flood. So entire mountains would be washed away, the fountains of the deep would explode world-wide, and entire continents would be blasted apart a distance of 3,000 miles or more, but no animals would be dislodged from their ecological niches??? Unbelievable.
The Paluxy "man-tracks" overlapping those of acknowledged dino prints are described as "conclusive" "known" proof, even though the ICR acknowledged twice in 1986 that the "man-tracks" had been misinterpreted. Morris also tells his readers to watch a video documentary on the subject, even though the film was withdrawn from distribution following the tracks' debunking. ...
Chapter 6: Old or Young?
Speaking of old, the quotes in this section are particularly old, often from the 40's and 50's, when radiometric dating was in its infancy. For these ancient quotes to be used fifty years later in a textbook in the 90's is simply shameful. (Woodmorappe claims to be a geologist. Didn't he notice the ancient quotes???)
Out of 9 citations on the evolution of man, 8 were from 1973 or earlier, and one of them was from Reader's Digest!!! There was no description of Lucy whatsoever, though she was discovered 12 years before SC was published; nor are the Laetoli footprints mentioned, though they were discovered 7 years before SC was published. Unbelievable.
This textbook is so pathetic, it's simply beyond belief. And THAT'S a FACT!!!
Unbiblical and destructive pap, June 21, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Bora Bora
Let me say from the start that I am a conservative Christian (a supporter of the Southern Baptist Convention, no less), and believe that every word of the Bible was inspired and guided by God. But I do not believe in Creationism. Here's why:
1. Creationism really isn't about disproving evolution - it's about proving the earth is 6-10K years old. The Bible does not teach this. You need to ignore the massive evidence of the Bible that implicitly, if not overtly, says that the Genesis creation account is symbolic. (E.g., the Bible refers to the 2,000 years of the Christian era as the "the last days" when compared with the totality of the universe's existence; the OT prophets use the age of the Earth as a metaphor for the eternity of God; Genesis 2:4 in the more literal translations says that the creation days were "the generations of heaven and earth," indicating their symbolic usage, etc.)
2. This unBiblical teaching urges Christians to circle the wagons and shut out the world around them. It does not encourage them to be salt and light in a dying world. I know NO ONE who has ever been saved as a result of Young-Earth Creationism.
3. If you accept that everything in the Bible - even when the context of the passage, the literary form, and the rest of the Bible itself indicate otherwise - is to be interpreted in a woodenly literal sense, then there is MUCH MORE in the early Genesis accounts that has to be taken literally. For instance, the Serpent in the Garden of Eden was not Satan, but a talking snake. Also, the early chapters of Genesis talk about the earth having "four corners," talk about God has if God had a human body with arms and legs, and present God as "repenting," changing his mind, "grieving," and doing other things that we know God does not do thanks to the advanced revelation of the later OT prophets and the New Testament. If you accept Young Earth Creationism, then you also have to accept Open Theism (the belief that God doesn't know the future and can make mistakes, change his mind, etc.), because they both approach the Scriptures in the same woodenly literal way.
4. Young Earth Creationism was created by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Morris even admits this. Christians throughout all the previous ages - long before Darwin - have acknowledged that the language of Genesis 1-3 is symbolic. Young Earth Creationism is a destructive, divisive movement spawned by a borderline heretical denomination that predicted that Christ would return in 1844. This hardly bodes well for the movement.
There ARE good critiques of Darwinism out there - Michael Behe's "Darwin's Black Box," William Dembeski's work, and Philip Johnson's "Defeating Darwinism" all attack Darwinism effectively and fatally. But let's forget this nonsense about the Earth being 10,000 years old. All it does is let Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins off the hook - they just need to look at the sky at night, proving the world IS more than 10,000 years old, and they think they've proven there is no God. Let's make evolutionists fight the real battles.
No stars would have been more appropriate, April 10, 2001
Reviewer: David Zampino
Let me make a couple of things perfectly clear at the outset. I am a conservative Christian clergyman. I have a profound respect for the Bible as the inspired word of God. I am a professional theologian, with a keen layman's interest in science, which goes back to my early elementary school days.
This book is neither credible science nor credible theology. It presents an extremely narrow view of biblical studies, and rejects any other possible explanation or interpretation. Any honest biblical scholar will immediately see that Morris engages in questionable eisegesis -- reading into the text what one already believes -- rather than scholarly exegesis -- reading the text as it is written, and then (and only then) drawing conclusions.
It's also difficult to engage this book in a scientific fashion. Dr. Morris's own credibility as a scholar and researcher is lacking; and some of his conclusions fly in the face of known scientific fact (and I'm NOT talking here about evolution).
What also concerns me is the testimony from scientists formerly involved with Morris' Institute for Creation Research who, while still believing in God, the Bible, and the truth of the Christian message, have gone on record flatly contradicting the value and validity of Morris's "science".
Any Christian, regardless of denomination, believes that God is the Ultimate Source of all that is. But that doesn't mean that the Scriptures are a scientific treatise.
Dr. Morris would be wise to take a page from Augustine of Hippo. This saint of the Church, revered by Catholics and Protestants alike, gave the wise advice that Christians should avoid relying on individualistic ultra-literal personal interpretations of Scripture which fly in the face of known fact, because to do so brings ridicule and scandal to the faith.
I've read too many testimonies of persons who have either left the faith, or who have had undergone major crises of conscience because of Dr. Morris's "theories" to be able to support his efforts.
Scientific mimicry: Re-establishing ignorance in America, March 31, 1999
A religious fanatic on our local school board, who is always crowing about "The Lord," but who knows absolutely nothing about evolutionary theory or the scientific method, wants to see this book included in high school science curriculums around the country. He is not a stupid man, just deeply ignorant and stubbornly irrational, a condition which he would like to share with every citizen in America. Judging from the number of positive reviews this book has received his quest for a universally witless nation may not have far to go.
Shows no more intelligence than the 1974 edition, November 18, 1997
Reviewer: Darrell T Hambley
Once again Morris displays his ignorance of what science is. You should start with a hypothsis, run experiments or observations to validate or invalidate your hypothesis, and eventually this leads to a theory or to the wastecan. Morris's method is the reverse: You start out with an "fact" based on your faith then gather up any evidence which supports it and shut out all which invalidates it, all the while carelessly using the word "proof"! I am sad for the people who may be reading this book who don't notice the blatant illogic. Morris is guilty of muddying peoples vision in their search to find god.