Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Reading List

In the last couple of weeks there was an interesting exchange on the mailing list of the ASA. Merv, the author of the first post, teaches at a Christian school (somewhere in the Midwest IIRC). Ted Davis teaches at Messiah College.

Here's Merv's post:

Our librarian (at a Christian K-12) school has asked teachers to submit titles we would like to see in our library. YEC is already well-represented there.

Do any of you have suggestions for books that would give the "other side" while being respectful to Christianity or religion in general? Or even if it was hostile towards religious thought... But the most of the books we have, hostile or not, still promote the warfare model (thought YECs wouldn't see it that way.) What suggestions would well represent the less antagonistic
strands of thought?

Here's Ted's answer:

YEC's don't mind the "warfare" view b/c they accept it in one of its obvious forms (namely, accepting modern science *does* necessitate abandoning Christian theology). Here is a very short list of books I strongly
recommend, in descending order of my recommndation for your school library.

My list is very, very short on purpose, so I'm leaving out zillions of excellent books and thus slighting none of them; and it's done with secondary school students in mind, and with their Christian convictions in mind.



Michael Poole, Beliefs and Values in Science Education. By far my highest recommendation, and ditto for home schoolers. Goes far beyond origins issues, and makes extensive use of HPS as well as basic science. Very
readable too.

Ronald Numbers, The Creationists. Extraordinarily accurate and well written history. The personal stories are revealing and often not told—but they should be.

Davis Young, Christianity and the Age of the Earth. Required reading for YEC teachers and students alike.

Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, The Privileged Planet. The DVD version gives viewers no clue that the earth and universe are old (this was a deliberate strategy when the DVD was produced), and the DVD is
popular with YECs. Having the book available to consult--and it might attract viewers if it's available--will dispell any misimpressions. Since the authors are linked with ID and the "creation-friendly" DVD, readers might be
more open to accepting the possibility of an old earth if espoused by these particular authors. And no one who reads the book will conclude that the authors believe in a young earth/universe. Thus I recommend it for your

David Hagopian, ed., The G3N3S1S Debate. A collection of three long essays, each defending a different hermeneutical approach to Genesis 1-3.
Negatives: All authors are very conservative Calvinists (and remember, I am sympathetic to much of Calvinism myself, so this is a friendly criticism),so the book does not provide much theological scope; all authors reject
evolution, so students have the impression that TE is beyond the pale; and authors of the YEC section (who actually have the gall to deny that they are YECs, saying only that a literal 24-hour view is required by Scripture) do not even try to engage science at all. Positives: the second of the 3 negatives I just listed is a positive, for this particular school's teachers
and students, allowing them perhaps more readily to consider alternatives to the "literal" view. That's really a huge positive, in this context. And the fact that the reasons given for the 24-hour view are just so weak, in the opinion of this historian (they are mainly arguments from history and tradiition, and the same arguments would readily lead one to reject heliocentrism along with evolution and an old earth), that they leave
the door wide open for the more reasonable (IMO) literary arguments of the "Framework" advocates in the third section. Hugh Ross co-authored the second section on the "day age" view, and there's a lot of good astronomy in
that part though the biology/anthropology isn't very good. Stick to the physical sciences, leave biology out of this, and many YECs can be convinced that OECs are also good Christian believers.

I'll limit myself to these five, or I'll be typing all week.


I've read Numbers' "The Creationists", and I've read a couple of other books by Davis, but the rest are new to me. I know a little about "The Privileged Planet", and I'm not favorably inclined towards it right now (honestly, I'm very skeptical of anything endorsed by The Discovery Institute). Davis thinks ID has some merit, and I'm not convinced (although to be fair, he is very unimpressed with DI-style ID). Still, I've come to respect Davis through reading his contributions to the ASA list (and some of his other material), so I'm going to track down the books on his list that I haven't read. I wanted to post the list here in case anyone who drops by this blog has read any of these books. If so, I'd love to hear your opinion.

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