February 27, 2003
Answers In Genesis
P.O. Box 6330
Florence, KY. 41022
Dear AiG Critics,
There are now many book reviews concerning "Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation" by Dennis R. Petersen. All of them but AiG's describe the book in glowing terms. Your review of the work, titled "Unleashing the Storm" cannot seem to find a single redeeming quality in the book.
In only the second paragraph you mention the name of Hugh Ross -- such a negative reference. But this does help to set the direction and character of your (approx.) 18-page tome.
Also in your introductory remarks, setting the course, your team of experts state: "This release is not coupled with ill will of any sort. We sell many materials from various authors and organizations. If it was a matter of some minor disagreements on a few issues, we would simply not stock it. But we believe that this book has the potential to set the creation movement back by many years if we do nothing, and if undiscerning creationist groups promote it uncritically."
So many other reviews found the book to be a wonderful addition to any library with few if any notable faults. And yet interestingly the AiG review could find nothing but faults. Your team noted that you were sad to have to relate them but that you do have a responsibility, etc.
--Let me point out a few of the more obvious errors in your book review:
Page 37 — The book promotes as if it were proven fact the ideas that increased atmospheric oxygen would virtually eliminate disease, and ageing would be ‘lowered to almost nothing'. There is no evidence that oxygen will get rid of disease or increase lifespans, and plenty of evidence against it. If it were true, then everyone would be lining up for oxygen tents. In fact, the whole issue of higher oxygen is fraught with difficulty. Some evolutionists believe that oxygen was much higher in the Cretaceous period, but others argue that it would cause big problems with wildfires. Also, too much oxygen is a bad thing. Many premature newborn babies have in past years become blind through being given supplemental oxygen. Also, increased oxygen will increase the amount of free oxygen radicals, which are believed to cause much damage, which many believe enhances the ageing process. (This is why ‘antioxidants' are so popular.) The bottom line is that there is no mandate for dogmatically basing virtually an entire creation apologetic on such controversial speculations as if they were ‘facts'. None of these issues are really important in the development of a powerful creation model, nor in effective creation apologetics. There are so many good arguments, that it is sad to see much of the framework of this book devoted to such peripheral and poorly supported ‘evidences'. When it comes to longer lifespans, for instance, it can be said with a fair degree of confidence that these can be Biblically deduced not to be related to the environment, at least not in the ways this book suggests. If the environment is to have changed so dramatically after the Flood that things now live only one ninth as long, then poor old Noah, who was already an old man, even in his own terms (600 years), stepping into this toxic environment, should shrivel up and die fairly soon, but in fact he goes on to live another 350 years!
Have you not read:
Gen 11:16-19 (KJV) "And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters." And…
Have you not read:
Gen 25:7 (KJV) "And these [are] the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years."
So in these five verses we can see a pattern of declining longevity over time. This is a trend well known to Bible scholars for 4,000 years and one that is quite legible to the casual reader as well. Some modern commentators have compared it to a capacitor discharging: a steep decline at first, then later tapering off to almost level. Let's review:
Eber lived to 464.
Peleg lived to 239.
Abraham lived to 175.
And we know that Moses (only a few hundred years later) lived to 120 (Deut. 34:7). This is a plain undisputed reading of the text. I would expect that anyone concerned with writing or critiquing creation materials would be familiar with these facts. And yet … your reviewers stated above: "...then poor old Noah, who was already an old man, even in his own terms (600 years), stepping into this toxic environment, should shrivel up and die fairly soon, but in fact he goes on to live another 350 years!" Your reaction is odd.
Was that written with the intention of being sarcastic? It seems to read that way. How is it possible that the AiG review team appears to possess a blind spot in regards to the plain reading of Genesis in this matter? All of you? No layman needs further instruction in this matter of (the not immediate, but gradual) declining longevity once the pertinent Scriptures are read and yet the AiG review team sought to find fault here. Where is the fault in what the author wrote concerning ancient longevity? In this you appear to be without a basic understanding of the relevant Scriptures.
On a scientific level as well, your team lacks basic knowledge regarding oxygen and air pressure.
Firstly, it has been well known for decades that there was a higher mix of oxygen in the air prior to the Flood. Chemically examining the content of the air bubbles trapped in ancient amber was one illumination of this fact. Evolutionists won't discuss this in public, but many creationists (evidently not AiG's critic) have learned this.
You openly disparaged the hyperbaric chambers. This displays certain ignorance as well as some aspects about your attitude. There are many purposes that leading health professionals have been learning to use increased oxygen pressure as a part of treatment. If your scientists and other experts haven't kept abreast of the relevant literature, then go to Google (www.google.com) for one minute and do a search for "hyperbaric" or "hyperbaric sports." Thousands of web pages will pop up, with legitimate health authorities leading the way.
The author of "Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation" must be aware of this ongoing medical research and published an appropriate summary. This is based upon sound scientific and medical research. But the AiG reviewers were quick to criticize. Your review stated in part above: "...Also, too much oxygen is a bad thing. Many premature newborn babies have in past years become blind through being given supplemental oxygen. Also, increased oxygen will increase the amount of free oxygen radicals, which are believed to cause much damage, which many believe enhances the ageing process. (This is why ‘antioxidants' are so popular.) The bottom line is that there is no mandate for dogmatically basing virtually an entire creation apologetic on such controversial speculations as if they were ‘facts'. None of these issues are really important in the development of a powerful creation model, nor in effective creation apologetics. There are so many good arguments, that it is sad to see much of the framework of this book devoted to such peripheral and poorly supported ‘evidences'...."
AiG was not the editorial team over this book's design and breadth. You know, the Bible itself contains many entire chapters dealing with health and cleanliness issues. Would AiG dispense with these as well?
Where is your heart? And why did you criticize – repeatedly throughout the 18-page review - from scientific ignorance? Your reviewers insist that they are scientific experts in an authoritative position and yet in the case above your researchers turn up lacking in what has become common knowledge even for many laypersons. Many professional sports teams today (where players can be worth millions of dollars each) are using such chambers to facilitate speedier recovery from injuries. The increased oxygen pressure brings consistent positive restorative results. But these chambers (not "tents" as your reviewers misleadingly stated) remain expensive and thus still out of the reach of most persons.
In just this area (regarding your review of the book's page 37) your experts show a distinct lack of Scriptural knowledge, deficiencies in their modern scientific research, and a certain meanness in approach.
Was it the AiG reviewers' intentions to be condescending and dismissive while simultaneously showing their appalling ignorance?
Your review, "Unleashing the Storm," had many errors in regards to science and Scripture but I will not attempt to list them all here. Many laypersons may not recognize many of them offhand, unless they're pointed out, but certainly you should have realized that these would be apparent to many. Or did you not know … because your own scientific experts and undiscerning acceptance are generally deficient (per the evidence above) to start with?
Let's look at another example from your review:
“Page 87 — The last sentence says, ‘This kind of trick had to happen trillions of times over to produce all the systems of life on Earth by chance.' In context, it is potentially misleading, and anyone understanding the selectionist arguments evolutionists rely on would dismiss this out of hand. It is a classic case of destroying one's argument by overreach—one can do a brilliant statistical demonstration of the mathematical impossibility of even a single protein evolving, let alone the first living thing. But once you have a living reproducing thing, you then have selection coming into play. It is logical fallacies like these that leave Christians open to demolition by cleverly written propaganda such as Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker. In fact, this whole two-page spread reinforces that concept, i.e. that evolutionists believe all of the complexity of every living thing just happened by sheer ‘randomness'. This is just one of the ways in which evolutionists can gleefully point to this book as a ‘teaching tool' to prove that creationists don't understand the arguments of evolution. The selection arguments have to be met separately, and can easily be (see: Weasel: a flexible program for investigating deterministic computer ‘demonstrations' of evolution), but it is very unfair and misleading to attack them all under the same umbrella as randomness.”
"Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation" is not an exhaustive science text. It is an overview for laypersons. It does a fine job of covering a wide variety of creation and life topics within its 240 pages. The Gospel's relation to Creation is discussed, along with health, wisdom, and the integrity of the Scriptures. This is all oriented around the Creation message. What an excellent approach. Nothing else available is comparable to this new book.
The book's generalization referenced above is sound and scientifically correct. But the AiG review team appears to be trying to find any kind of fault imaginable. AiG speakers though do not often rise to the challenge of engaging evolutionists in direct debate. (It should be noted that many other creation ministries do not shy away from such opportunities.) Perhaps AiG's tone above is based upon what you think would happen. But it is not usually the case in reality.
Generalizing that randomness cannot have created the vast complexity around us is a perfectly rational creation supporting argument. You appear alarmist in proclaiming that doing so falls right into the evolutionists' hands. The average believer does not want to become an expert in the creation-evolution debate. Your reviewers don't seem to understand these things. Like Bible prophecy, creation science is an issue supportive of the Gospel message as a whole. It is the Gospel message itself that is most important. A person (like Martin Luther, for example) would not actually need to know anything about modern creation theories in order to understand the Gospel completely along with central Biblical themes. Not everything on every page of this book needs to be explained exhaustively as if scientists are lurking behind corners. This book is written to laypersons and would allow a family or Sunday School class to easily read and study it aloud.
Common sense dictates that a general and well-illustrated book written for layperson should be held to a different standard than exhaustive science texts. I find the generalizations made by the author of “Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation” to be sound, but the shrill criticisms of the AiG review team to be lacking. Your reviewers wrote above: “...This is just one of the ways in which evolutionists can gleefully point to this book...” You exhibit a mean spirit to compliment your ignorance. This is actually an excellent book. The fact that AiG does not have a fully illustrated general book for laypersons nearly as good could make one wonder if your "Unleashing the Storm" was motivated by your scientists or rather by your marketing department?
Seriously, this could be the "breakthrough" book. So many other reviewers have examined it and observed that it has a great soft-sell appeal. It doesn't hammer home detailed arguments. It introduces topics in a positive, general and reasoned manner. Many times the reader is challenged to “think” and to come to his own conclusions based on its good evidence. Of the dozen or so extant reviews of this excellent new book, only AiG's is negative, and excessively so! One has to wonder wherein lays the problem.
Let's look at one more of your harsh attacks on this fine book:
“Page 200 — Continues the theme of strong hints at the high technology before the Flood; to cement the fact that it is not just talking about some ingenuity, on page 201, it stretches Solomon's ‘nothing new under the sun' Bible comment to mean this: ‘Whatever we discover or invent has already existed in “ancient” time.' By definition, that means that laptop computers, atom bombs, moon rockets, MRI scanners, etc., are all not original, but were previously discovered and lost. This is obviously ‘stretching it' to an extreme point.”
There are a few of your review sections dedicated to attacking the notion of ancient high technology. It was two men who worked on bicycles that created and flew the first modern airplane; the Wright Brothers, late in 1903. Less than 66 years later (July 1969) the United States landed two men on the Moon. 66 years is not a very long time. Could our distant ancestors with clear minds and long life spans have had the equivalent of bicycle technology and internal combustion engines, prior to the Flood? Would you dogmatically argue against this?
If just one Isaac Newton, or Thomas Edison, or Albert Einstein lived prior to the Flood and had literally hundreds of years to experiment and do research, what could have been possible? What if there had been a handful of such sinful men building their respective research upon each other's discoveries? They had some 1600 years altogether, according to Scripture.
We know that modern evolutionists have been insisting for years now that if we find any kind of life at all outside of Earth then this will be proof positive for evolution. I must, as an educated layperson researcher, strongly disagree. There is another theory. Humans have always been intelligent but often unwise. However your highly vaunted science experts appear willing to concede such basic Creation Science understanding out of ignorance in the areas of human nature, Scripture, history and even the basic sciences.
We have a variety of anomalous human-made tools that have been found in deep strata. Some of these metal alloys cannot be duplicated today. The truth is that we do not know how some of them were made. Magnificent stone structures lie in mute testimony to the high technology of ages past. We do not have cranes today capable of lifting and moving some of the larger of these impressive edifices. You dare to challenge the theories that ancient man had higher technology in certain areas than we do today? You do so out of hubris and profound ignorance. Get your proverbial heads out of the sand and just look at the evidence. Your lack of scientific expertise in some areas shows that you should be reviewing this book in order to learn but not instead to criticize it at all costs.
What were the motives of your book reviewers? Do you not know the Scriptures? A basic principle deduced from the Word is that humans have always been intelligent but often unwise. Evolutionists though, teach that we're trending upward. Yes, from slime but now up to humans and someday we'll evolve even higher. But Scripture teaches that we're fallen though still made in the image of God. We can be extremely creative. We remain wicked and in need of a Savior. Your criticism of ancient high technology appears to concur with evolutionist propaganda and generalizations. This is disturbing. And it also appears to be at odds with both the scientific evidence that ancient man had high technology and Scriptural texts which reveal glimpses of this.
Have you not read:
Gen 4:20-22 (KJV) "And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and [of such as have] cattle. And his brother's name [was] Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain [was] Naamah."
Here in three short verses we see the summarized introduction of ranching, music and iron working. It's brief but nonetheless accurate. The evolutionists teach such progressive sounding concepts as "Bronze Age" then, many hundreds of years later, the "Iron Age," etc. You appear ready to join them in criticizing a plain reading of Scripture. Making iron implements had actually become known early in the antediluvian world. It was being taught by Tubalcain. That's what my Bible says. Would you so brazenly criticize summaries and generalizations within Scripture itself (like a succinct three verse summary) as you would those made by the author of "Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation"? Your experts appear to be selectively intolerant and generally lacking in love. I encourage AiG's science experts to study the Scriptures. There is much that they appear yet in need to learn by just reading and understanding the relevant verses at least one time through.
Let's review one last disturbing item. Throughout your tainted review of this fine book your team used demeaning terms and phrases: "such as Hugh Ross"; "is highly controversial"; "so it is completely irrelevant"; "None of these issues are really important in"; "a controversial and unrelated area"; "Sadly, this sort of thing is not uncommon throughout"; "The kindest things one can say about"; "Presents the discredited"; "poorly expressed and confusing, giving the impression"; "Ignoring the lack of appropriate caveats and caution in using"; "the major blooper here is"; "These sorts of blasé health pronouncements, and many mini-lectures".... The list could go on much further. You are intimating to the public such disdain and an attitude of dismissiveness.
No other review of this book, outside of evolutionary circles, could be so harsh and unfair.
The title "Unleashing the Storm" was used for this particular book review. Hmmm…. That was a curious choice for a review that bills itself as possessing a measure of objectivity.
I would estimate that the number of actual science errors in the 240 pages of “Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation” is actually few and pretty insignificant.
But the science errors and misleading generalizations in the 18-page review of this book by AiG are plentiful!
In fact, I would be willing to test this comparison. Your negative review, reaching deep into the eyes of the public but simultaneously short on finding actual significant scientific errors does much to malign this fine book. You didn't need to launch such an apparent smear campaign masquerading as a book review. Such meanness and so much scientific ignorance exhibited by your reviewers - it was unnecessary unless ... the goal was one initiated by your marketing department and that is now scrambling to try to catch up? I don't think AiG has any current title that's half as appealing to a general lay audience. And your criticisms coupled with a categorically condescending attitude reek of unprofessionalism on your part.
Would AiG be willing to submit, "Unleashing the Storm" to peer review?
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For more information on Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation, contact your local Christian or secular bookstore with ISBN number 0-89051-371, or log-on to www.creationresource.org, or phone toll free (866) 225-5229.
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