Normally, the only new titles I review from my former publisher are those that I originally wrote or had an important hand in developing. So far, I have reviewed six of them (here, here, here, here, here, and here). However, I feel compelled to review this new title, for two main reasons. First, I have just finished writing a middle school/high school earth science course, and some people might wonder if this elementary course will prepare students for my upper-level course. The answer is, “No.” Second, the author is different from all the other books in the publisher’s “Exploring Creation With…” elementary series, and readers need to be aware of that, because it makes this book very different from the others in the series. If you liked the previous books (authored by Jeannie Fulbright), you probably won’t like this new book.
Why do I say that? Let’s start with the way it is written. Fulbright has a knack for explaining science to elementary students without “talking down” to them. In my opinion, that’s not the case with this book. The tone comes off as condescending from time to time. More importantly, Fulbright is passionate about young-earth creationism and includes “Creation Confirmation” sections in her books. These sections highlight how the material being discussed confirms the young-earth creationist view. This book studiously avoids any direct mention of the age of the earth or even the method of creation. Students who use this course will not learn anything about the creation/evolution debate or the age of the earth debate.
Worse yet, while the author doesn’t discuss the age of the earth directly, there are several statements she makes that support an ancient earth. When discussing soil, for example, the author states:
How long does it take to make soil? That depends on where you start. If we start with really big rocks and wait for them to break down through the weathering process we studied, it can take thousands of years until they become the particles we know as sand, silt, and clay.
First, this statement is utterly false. Soil is formed incredibly rapidly during catastrophic floods and other high-erosion events. Second, it implies that sedimentary rocks take longer to form than the young-earth timescale, since the breaking down of rocks through the weathering process is just the first step in making sedimentary rocks. If that takes thousands of years, there is no time left for sedimentary rocks to form.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying it’s bad that the book allows for an ancient earth. I don’t have a problem with that, even though I disagree. The problem is that the rest of the series is unabashedly young-earth, so I would assume that parents will expect this new book to be young-earth, and it is definitely not.
Also, there is not a single mention of the worldwide Flood in the entire course. I can’t imagine Fulbright ignoring such an important topic in the study of geology. After all, if you are a young-earther, the Flood is what shaped most of the geological structures we see today. If you are not a young-earther, you need to explain why you think the Flood didn’t do that. Instead, this book ignores the Flood entirely. It also pretty much ignores fossils! There are two sentences about fossils in this entire earth science book!
Another way this book differs from the others in the series is that it is not a “living book.” Fulbright strove to make her books deep and rich, and she tried to teach science by telling a story. By contrast, this is like an Usborne book. It is full of pictures, random facts, and terms that are often not explained or explained many pages after they are first discussed. In addition, it barely scratches the surface of nearly everything it covers.
There are also many scientific errors in the book. Based on a Wikipedia article, the author says that water is naturally blue, when it can be defined as, “A tasteless odorless colorless liquid with the chemical formula H2O.” She says that pressure isn’t a real force (it is), but then discusses the Coriolis force as if it is a real force (it isn’t). She also says:
The Sun actually provides us too much energy, so the earth has to get rid of some energy or it will overheat. Getting rid of extra heat is something important our atmosphere does.
Of course, the truth is that the atmosphere retains energy through the greenhouse effect in order to make the planet habitable. That is the opposite of what the book says.
If you are interested, this PDF lists the details of the 11 things that show this book is different from the others in the series, the 5 statements that implicitly support an old earth, the 18 serious scientific errors, and the 17 minor scientific errors that I found. It also lists 4 things that I simply do not understand.
6 thoughts on “My Review of Exploring Creation With Earth Science”
I enjoy your articles so much. I always learn new or different views. Thanks
Have you by any chance seen the Netflix series Ask the StoryBots? The errors you’ve pointed out in this textbook remind me of the episode “Why is the Sky Blue?” from season 1.
The StoryBots (these cute robots who live in computers and are able to shrink and grow at will without explanation) go talk to an artist, because “an artist knows a lot about colors.” The artist tells them about how light is made of different color waves, and that “Red color waves bounce off of an apple, and yellow color waves bounce off of a banana; so there must be something in the sky off of which blue color waves bounce.”
So the StoryBots shrink down to microscopic size and discover Oxygen and Nitrogen molecules and dust particles in the sky. The molecules tell the StoryBots about how they scatter blue light, and the StoryBots say “It’s sort of like how red color waves bounce off of an apple, and yellow color waves bounce off of a banana!”
And then, after watching this and every other episode a dozen times with my daughter, I remembered: Light can’t bounce off of individual molecules, because most molecules are 1000 times smaller than the smallest wavelength of light! (Unless of course we’re talking about vulcanized rubber).
So light can’t bounce off of molecules, but molecules can scatter light. In the episode they do say that the color blue is scattered, but they make it seem like scattering light is the same as light bouncing off objects. Not sure how that could be better explained in a kids netflix show, but there must be a way.
I have never seen that series. You are correct that light doesn’t bounce off of individual molecules. It’s called “Rayleigh scattering,” but it’s often just called “scattering,” which makes it sound like the light is bouncing around, but it really isn’t. The energy from the visible light excites the nitrogen and oxygen molecules, making them vibrate, and that vibration produces it’s own light, which moves in all directions. Thus, the incoming light is changed from moving in one direction to moving in all directions. The vibration is in the ultraviolet end of the spectrum, so blue light excites the vibrations best, which is why blue light does the most Rayleigh scattering.
Ok, that explains it, thanks. In the episode, when the sunlight hits the molecules, they do start vibrating, which I didn’t understand. After all, an apple or a banana doesn’t vibrate when it gets hit by light.
Hey Dr. Wile, this might be a bit random, but what do you think is the best solution to the problem of distant starlight? I haven’t found any articles about it in your blog, so I was wondering how you think it is best solved.
Distant starlight isn’t really a problem for young-earthers, because light years do not measure time. They measure distance. The fact that a star is a million light years away doesn’t tell you that it took a million years for light to get here from the star. That’s because we know time varies throughout the universe, depending on the gravitational fields inthe area. This is one of the standard predictions of Einstein’s General Relativity, and it has been confirmed by the GPS. Time ticks faster on the GPS satellites than it does on the surface of the earth, since they are in a lower gravitational field. If we didn’t actually take that into account, the GPS would not work. Given that, the time it takes for light to travel throughout the universe depends on the nature of how mass is distributed throughout the universe. We don’t know the distribution, but we know for certain that it is not homogeneous, which is required for the idea that light takes a million years to travel a million light years.
If you assume that the universe’s expansion is pretty much like every other expansion we have witnessed (roughly spherical), you end up with a cosmology that fits the young-earth timescale:
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