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The Counter-Creationism Handbook.

THE COUNTER-CREATIONISM HANDBOOK by Mark Isaak. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005. 368 pages, index, bibliography. Hardcover; $65.00. ISBN: 031333305X.

Isaak has long been associated with the moderated Usenet discussion forum, Talk.origins, and the TalkOrigins.org website, basic components of a twenty-year running debate between mainstream science and creationism. The leaders of the group find common purpose in explaining the theory of evolution, critiquing the claims of the anti-evolution and Intelligent Design movements, and defending the integrity of science and science education.

Isaak has degrees in biology and computer science and additional college-level education in physics and psychology. He has written "Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution" (www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions. html), "What is Creationism?" (www.talkorigins.org/ faqs/wic.html), and "An Index to Creationist Claims" (www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/index.html). The latter have provided the template for this book. The Counter-Creationism Handbook is aimed at those who need help in countering creationist claims in the sciences, philosophy, and the Bible.

The major sections of the book are Philosophy and Theology, Biology, Paleontology, Geology, Astronomy and Cosmology, Physics and Mathematics, Miscellaneous Anti-evolution, Biblical Creationism, and Other Creationism. Some 400-plus creationist claims are rebutted under various headings within the major sections. A thorough index takes one quickly to the pertinent material. An introduction provides sage advice about reaching out to anti-evolutionists one-on-one and for public venues such as school board hearings and debates.

While the book contests all creationisms, it is the Christian creationism based on particular interpretations of the Bible that receives the most attention. Isaak finds methodological naturalism to be the only "objective standard" for the study of nature, but does not rule out the supernatural, observing however that it "has never led anywhere" (p. 28). The ASA is not mentioned in the index nor is PSCF used as a resource in the 50-page bibliography except to reference the work of Glenn R. Morton.

Having said this, does the book have value for the ASA reader? Yes. First, it offers a broad picture of the arguments that one may encounter. Second, it deals effectively with scientific issues. Third, it provides useful debating strategies for various settings. At the same time, the religious and philosophical arguments may not ring true for the Christian.

One might ask what effect the secular effort to counter creationism has had on the creationist movement. Counter counter-creationist websites, blogs, and ministries continue to appear with great frequency, and the movement goes on unperturbed by "truth." Yet, groups of scientists have joined together at times to successfully counter attempts to include creationist materials and points of view in public schools. The debate over the place of faith in the marketplace whether by symbol or the written word continues.

PSCF has long offered articles countering dubious scientific and biblical claims by these fellow Christians with mixed results-surely the tide has not changed. Truth seems trumped by mission. Sadly, evangelical leadership provides little encouragement for those who would build a worldview that takes the "two books" seriously.

The Counter-Creationism Handbook will appear in a paperback version in 2007. Give it a look for your personal library.

Reviewed by J. W. Haas, Jr., Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984.
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Author:Haas, J. W., Jr.
Publication:Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 1, 2007
Words:536
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