Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Purchase: Adam's Quest

I hate it when books come out that escape my attention.  Such is the case with a book titled Adam's Quest, by Tim Stafford.  In it, Stafford has interviewed eleven scientists who have struggled with their understanding of how their faith fits in with their pursuit of science.  In a sense, this is like the book Four Views on the Historical Adam, in that it surveys Christians from different perspectives.  He has interviewed young earth creationists, supporters of intelligent design and evolutionary creationists.

As readers of this blog will note, I have been extremely critical of young earth creationists and intelligent design supporters, not so much for their beliefs (which I also find issue with, though) but for their ham-handed and often deceptive way in which they treat the scientific evidence for an ancient earth and evolution.  At least Todd Wood, one of the assembled scientists, has also had issue with this and, from what little I have read of Kurt Wise, he has as well.

Patheos has a short introduction to the book, which focuses on the first group, the young earth creationists, and some of their consternation at the way that science is examined.  There is a passage with a particularly damning quote from Kurt Wise about this:
After that, Wise lost interest in creationist apologetics, especially as he began to realize that many of the creationist evidences from his reading were wrong. “At first I thought it was ignorance.” As he learned more though, he became convinced that the mistakes in creationist literature were willful. … Wise concluded that for many creationists the end justifies the means. For them, “it doesn’t matter if what you say is true. It matters if it brings people to the right conclusion.” (p. 15-16)
This is, perhaps, why I find people like Ken Ham and his organization, Answers in Genesis so contemptible. They pretend to address the scientific concerns in an honest way but misinterpret evidence, arrive at faulty conclusions and smear hard-working scientists as a matter of course.  As i just told my oldest child, I am not going to come right out say they are lying, but it sure looks like it. 

Perhaps one of the scariest parts of the book and one of the principle reasons that I picked it up are in the sample that is available from Amazon, in which the author recounts his upbringing, which is almost word-for-word what I experienced growing up.  He then recounts every Christian parents' nightmare: the falling away from the faith of one of his children, in part because of the strains of learning correct science and being told that he could not be part of his circle of church friends if he continued to accept an old earth. 

Right now my children are in a home school group that is heavily young earth creation-based and I know that several of the parents of their friends would be horrified if they knew that I was an evolutionary creationist.  I simply don't advertise it. One of them thinks of Ken Ham as a hero of the faith.  How would it be of value for me to confront her with the notion that I think he is a charlatan and a heretic? 

As of yet, my oldest child does not seem to be tracking in any scientific direction so I doubt that this will have a huge impact on his life.  The same does not seem to be true with my second child, who is enamored with botany.  She will hit evolutionary biology head-on in college and I will have to prepare her for that and how to hold onto her faith throughout.  That will be, perhaps the greatest challenge that faces me. 

I look forward to reading this book with interest and would encourage downloading the sample.

1 comment:

  1. Jim the problem with this post is it's basically an attack on the person, an implicit argumentum ad hominem. Basically you are implying also, a false dichotomy that "either creationists are ignorant or lying". But unless there is an actual logical disjunction I can only take Wise's comments for example as what they are - a limited choice fallacy.

    I come across your argument a lot. When I read an evolutionists complaints about Steve Austin's research on Mt St Helens, I read that the evolutionist called Steve a liar so I looked into the matter and it turned out that what's actually happening is evolutionists don't like the types of things creationists focus on. They will happily call creationists, "liars" for example, if creationists OMIT a piece of information the evolutionist deems to be of great importance. For example the evolutionist said that Austin failed to mention the stratified rock in the newly formed St Helens canyon, was only a very small portion of the canyon. In fact from a logical perspective from our point of view this is totally irrelevant, because what we are trying to show is that stratified rock can occur quickly, so the portion of rock that is created is quite irrelevant, but basically the creationist was called a liar.

    Jim it seems to me that your argument is a very common piece of propaganda against creationists, that they are ignorant and/or dishonest. Look for example when you say, "They pretend to address the scientific concerns in an honest way but misinterpret evidence, arrive at faulty conclusions", but obviously we would disagree that those conclusions are false, so basically you are predicating your argument on something subjective - the real form of your argument is then this if honestly stated; "I disagree with creationist arguments therefore they are liars/ignorant/dishonest."

    Think about it from our perspective, we could in our subjective judgement, say the very same thing about you, that you always focus on the tenuous evidence for evolution which relies heavily on conjecture, and dismiss the more direct falsification evidence for evolution, and simply say, "this will change our understanding of evolution", instead of saying, "this should count as evidence against evolution".

    Jim my conclusion is that you are basically no different to any other propagandist, but I am afraid that it is logical rules that decide whether an argument is sound, not a personal attack on us. From my perspective you are taking part in the same old slimy false dichotomy all the utube atheists take part in, that "creationists are ignorant liars and evolutionists are informed experts." Well Jim I am afraid this is binary thinking in my book. perhaps you should join and get to know real life, informed creationists rather than setting fire to the stereotypes such as Ken Ham. Ultimately your argument is an attack on the person, and I find evolutionists concentrate on attacking the person and using propaganda to say creationists are ignorant, usually for the reason that they can't win the argument so they choose the easy way out which is to attack the arguer.

    For example look at when Wise says, "for them it doesn't matter if something is true" when he talks about atheists. You should have spotted the error there straight away, it would be like me saying of you, "for Jim it doesn't matter if nobody believes in the Lord with this evolution belief of his."

    Take my post as a warning from the Lord, Jim, you were right to not call His children liars for we are of the truth.