C David Parsons, author of a series of creationist textbooks called The Quest for Right, left a comment on one of yesterday’s posts. In it, he described the bizarre content of his books, in which he apparently takes on atomic theory and quantum mechanics, as if they both are cornerstones of modern evolutionary theory. I’ll let his words speak for themselves:
The backbone of Darwinism is not biological evolution per se, but electronic interpretation, the tenet that all physical chemical and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics. A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, ant the big bang, the explosion of a singularity infinitely smaller than the dot of an “i” from which space, time, and the massive stellar bodies supposedly sprang into being.
The philosophy rejects any divine intervention. Therefore, let the philosophy of Darwinism be judged on these specifics: electron interpretation and quantum mechanics. Conversely, the view that God is both responsible for and rules all the phenomena of the universe will stand or fall when the facts are applied. The view will not hinge on faith alone, but will be tested by the weightier principle of verifiable truths – the new discipline.
The Quest for Right is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a result, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state. Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline.
Some bits are particularly galling. Evolution is a “philosophy,” implying that it is not supported by a wealth of evidence. Parsons’ inane books somehow explains natural phenomena better than real science. Evolution, supposedly, is one of an unspecified class of “irresponsible doctrines based on whim.” Perhaps worst of all, he claims that his ideas “may be verified through testing,” indicating that they have not been tested at all! Does he really expect science teachers to expose children to a “scientific” theory that has not been tested in the slightest?
You guessed it: it’s time for a Hovind Factor.
X = 2 – Absolute commitment to scriptural innerancy
This guy claims that his textbook is a mixture of physical science and “biblical phenomena” (whatever that means.)
S = 5 – Kirk Cameron
The guy says that quantum mechanics, a theory that was not proposed until at least half a decade after the publication of On the Origin of Species, is a cornerstone of evolutionary theory. He claims that evolution is an “irresponsible doctrine based on whim.” He proposes a “new theory” to be taught in public schools, and admits that it has never been tested. That’s a pretty jarring lack of scientific competency.
i = 9 – wingnut lunacy on an epic scale
He actually believes that a blatantly creationist textbook might be used in public schools in the US. That says enough.
p = 0 – no self-contradiction
I can’t find anything blatantly self-contradictory in here.
m = 2 – statement maker knows that he is misleading
I gave Mr. Parsons a lower score here because it’s not really possible to get a good grasp on how much he really knows about science. He may well be honestly representing his understanding, and he may well honestly believe that his textbooks, if they were ever used in a public school, would not violate the US Constitution’s Establishment Clause. Still, I can’t believe that he is being completely honest in this regard. He cannot have written a creationist textbook without hearing about Edwards v. Aguillard, for example.
All this results in a Hovind Factor of 48%. This reflects the galling scientific illiteracy of his ideas, but also the fact that no public school will ever use his books, so they represent very little danger.
There is one genuinely frightening fact that must be acknowledged, however. According to this page, 550 copies of The Quest for Right were sent to school boards and superintendents in the US and abroad. No mention is made of whether any of them expressed interest in using it, however. The site also claims that the books were reviewed by scientists, educator, one governor and 2 senators, but the results of these reviews are not posted.
The site also notes that you can meet the author for signings at several locations in Georgia this summer. Might be a good chance to ask some hard questions.
Tags: c david parsons, church and state separation, creation science, Creationism, creationist textbook, establishment clause, Evolution, hovind factor, Hovind Scale, Intelligent Design, quest for right, Science