The Quest for Right (It’s pretty wrong)

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.

Scriptural belief:

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.)

Scientific Illiteracy
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.

Idiocy Factor
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.

paradox factor
p = 0 – no self-contradiction

I can’t find anything blatantly self-contradictory in here.

Mendacity Factor
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.

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5 Responses to “The Quest for Right (It’s pretty wrong)”

  1. cdavidparsons Says:

    “admits that it has never been tested.”

    You are reading something into this that was neither stated nor insinuated; in fact, your statement was falsified. The findings of the investigative effort can be tested and, thus, verified by independent labs. Moreover, dozens of the experiments investigated in the several volumes have already been tested hundreds of thousands of times in labs and classrooms around the world. The Quest for Right simply made some rational sense out of quantum disarray. It appears that the wisdom atheists have spent a lifetime seeking has been denied them by the Spirit of Wisdom. Consequently, they have been turned unto fables.

    For your information, some 750 review copies of Volume 1 were shipped to scientists, educators, politicians, Church leaders, and other influential persons across the United States and abroad. Two groups in Northern Ireland are currently reviewing the book to see if it meets their standards.

    Regarding quantum physics, perhaps the following comment taken from an atheist site will explain:

    “The Quest for Right”: A Creationist Attack on Quantum Mechanics.

    By Stephen L of the newsgroups.derkeiler.com

    Here’s a different take on creationism/ID: “The Quest for Right,” a multi-volume series on science, attacks Darwinism indirectly, by attacking quantum mechanics:

    “American Atheists base their reasoning on Quantum Interpretation, hand in hand with Quantum Mathematics. Summoning the dark forces of quantum mysticism, with mathematical incantations, possesses the power to bewilder, and thus con, the average persons seemingly at will, into believing the bizarre and surreal: Z Particles, Neutrinos, Leptons, Quarks, Weak Bosons, etc. Mystics attempt to pass off quantum abuses as legitimate science, by expressing the theories in symbolic fashion. These formula represent the greatest hoax ever pulled upon an unsuspecting public….The objective….is to expedite the return to classical physics, by exposing quantum dirty tricks. That is, unethical behavior or acts,…to undermine and destroy the credibility of Biblical histories. These dirty tricks include: Absolute dating systems, Big Bang Theory, Antimatter, and Oort Cloud. These…have no further station in Science.”

    http://www.questforright.com

    A more sophisticated way to argue against Darwin is certainly to argue against modern physics. Without modern physics, you lose astrophysics too, which enables the author to make the case for YEC [young earth creationism]. The author goes on to “prove” that things like red supergiant stars and X-ray pulsars don’t really exist, except in the imagination of scientists.”

    End quote.

    Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil. C. S. Lewis

  2. soulbiscuit Says:

    I would like to know more about this “investigation.” Your comments here and your website reveal to me someone with either a serious misunderstanding of modern science, or a willingness to commit serious misrepresentations of it.

    It appears that the wisdom atheists have spent a lifetime seeking has been denied them by the Spirit of Wisdom. Consequently, they have been turned unto fables.

    I would like to see some support for this statement. It is of course not unusual for creationists to claim that scientific findings are taken on “faith,” but their justification for such statements turns out invariably to be nebulous, or simply erroneous.

    Regarding quantum physics, perhaps the following comment taken from an atheist site will explain:

    “The Quest for Right”: A Creationist Attack on Quantum Mechanics.

    By Stephen L of the newsgroups.derkeiler.com

    Please provide a direct link so that I may evaluate Stephen L’s comments more closely. It seems rather clear to me that the first long paragraph of his quote (the one beginning “American Atheists base their reasoning…” ) is a satire of your bizarre thesis. His later statements that arguing against cosmology would strengthen the case of YEC, and his putting “prove” in scare quotes, further reinforce that notion. I don’t think Stephen L takes you any more seriously than I do.

  3. soulbiscuit Says:

    Actually, I found the rest of that Stephen L quote. Here it is:

    There is just one little problem that the author has forgotten about: The integrated circuit chips in his computer, which he used to post his webpage on the Internet, depend on solid-state electronics for their function; and solid-state electronics is derived from modern physics.
    Specifically, the laser in his DVD drive, which he uses to record the DVDs that he’s distributing from his website, depends on the theory of quantum mechanics. So I guess the author has “proved” that his computer does not exist either.

    So, far from being what you slanderously call “quantum mysticism,” modern physics is actually responsible for the design of the computer on which you typed that comment.

    Quoting part of someone’s words out of contest is called a “quotemine.” It’s dishonest.

  4. airtightnoodle Says:

    I’m surprised to see that cdavidparsons actually responded to this post. I have seen him posting links to his work on several wordpress blogs, my own included. The most recent comment he left on my blog was treated as spam as he had very little to say about my actual blog post but then proceeded to post the same stuff supporting his “Quest for Right” as he has posted elsewhere.

  5. soulbiscuit Says:

    The most recent comment he left on my blog was treated as spam as he had very little to say about my actual blog post but then proceeded to post the same stuff supporting his “Quest for Right” as he has posted elsewhere.

    This is a tack I may have to take too.

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