Creationism Disguised as Science

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | November 4, 2010 8:50 am

The view from my iPhone at the Indianapolis airport:

indianapolis photo

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution

Comments (20)

  1. Interesting how they can gather together some random facts (“hundreds of fascinating facts”) and slap a label on it and assume that kids will take it for granted that creationism can “explain” them all. Also interesting to note that this particular copy seems a bit dog-eared and worn at the edges. Evidently been browsed throw but no-one bought it.

  2. Bigby

    As a Catholic and a Conservative I can only say…
    Oh. My. God.
    And I don’t mean that in a good way.

  3. RK

    I don’t see the word science on the cover. I do see religious references, mention of God, and the word “Creation”. How is it disguised science? Its a religious book from the words on the cover.

    If a reader can’t see that, they are not actually “reading”. Don’t get alarmist.

  4. Matt

    Agree with RK. Is the assumption that creationists don’t believe that the creation involved animals and the planet?… I don’t get the point of this article.

  5. Enrique

    The word science is not on the cover, however the word “Facts” plus saying “An illustrated guide to Earth, Space, The Human Body …” jumps into science territory.

  6. Bobito

    To many people, yes, this seems like ridiculous propaganda. And, yes, in areas like stem cell research religious types are a huge problem. But I can see no issue with a book targeted at kids that teach the beliefs (however unfounded) of many.

    You must consider the bases of this. Older generations were brought up to believe certain things, and they believe that in order to go to heaven they must continue to have FAITH that these things are true. It’s going to be very difficult to convince someone to change their minds when they’ve been working on going to heaven for 30, 40, 50+ years. Why would they change now and risk it all?

    If some grandmother wants to buy a book for their grandchild that explains their beliefs. Why would anyone want to stop it? When the kid grows up, and has the capability to explore their own beliefs, they will be able find all the facts they need.

    We no longer have the issue of the church being the primary source of information. It’s all out there, people are generally intelligent, they will figure it out. But to ask someone to switch after a lifetime of thinking one way is asking too much. Especially when the “fear of eternal damnation” is in the cards.

    That fear worked for centuries, but it doesn’t work any more. In some ways, I wish it did, because personal responsibly seems to be an endangered species.

  7. Bob Thomas

    Sheril, keep up the good work. Lying to kids is wrong, even if it does make grandma feel better. We need people to point this out more often and to be clear that making grandma comfortable isn’t the most important thing. Let’s face it, grandmas are pretty reliant and can handle hearing the facts too. We shouldn’t make it our business to judge how much honesty others can handle.

  8. Bob Thomas

    ‘Reliant’ should have been ‘resilient’.

  9. “Lying to kids is wrong.” It isn’t lying when you want to pass on what you believe.

    Celebrating the natural world is one of the things religions do. So does art. And facts aren’t the exclusive property of science. They are everyone’s business, whether or not they’ve even heard of science.

    Has anyone actually looked inside the book?

  10. Jeffery Gauna

    Funny, the book doesn’t seem to specify which god or which creation it deals with.

  11. Bobito

    @8 – I was taught about creationism as a kid, Santa, the Easter Bunny… I don’t believe any of it now.

    Also you said: “We shouldn’t make it our business to judge how much honesty others can handle”

    But you are saying we should judge the content of books? Should we go out and burn all the books that don’t align themselves with science?

  12. Chris Winter

    Earl Wajenberg wrote: “Has anyone actually looked inside the book?”

    You can do that on Amazon. It starts by recounting the creation story from Genesis, then provides explanations in nine parts. Here are two paragraphs from page 14 (of 160):

    “Some people believe that on the first day of creation, God made what scientists call matter. Matter is basically all the materials God would later need to really get the work of creation going.

    One of the basic laws of science is that you can’t make something out of nothing. But God can! And that’s exactly what he did! On that first day of creation, God began an amazing process of putting together everything we see around us—starting with what the Bible calls ‘the heavens and the earth’. (Genesis 1:1)”

  13. vel

    nothing like being a liar for Christ. That’s why the book is offensive. And lying is lying, especially when you do it so kids will believe what you belive and trust that it is correct because they trust *you*.

    I am always amused that the people who have such trouble with the science that shows their myths to be wrong, use it without compunction as long as it makes them comfy. Where indeed are the 1st CE mudbrick huts and dying of diarrhea by God’s will if science is so bad?

  14. Bobito

    @14 – “so kids will believe what you believe”

    I don’t know about you, but all kids I know stopped believing their parents at about age 14 and started figuring things out on their own.

  15. Bob Thomas

    Nobody said the book should be burned. The book is just a sad and pathetic example of how religion sometimes tries to make itself more believable by playing fast and loose with a few cherry picked ‘facts’. I think it is great that both Sheril and Chris have called groups out on occasion for doing this and I encourage them to keep it up.

  16. This is clearly a religious book very poorly masquerading as science. Thanks for posting.

  17. sHx

    Well, it proves yet again that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. This is creationism disguised as science, if the contents are indeed like what was reported above. Still, it is no less absurd than a book that might be titled as, say, “the Science of Kissing”.

  18. Ian

    I haven’t read the book so I cannot comment on the detail – but having read some of the reviews I am concerned by one chapter, but the remainder do appear to describe the amazing world we live in.

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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.com For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.

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