My Review of Exploring Creation With Physical Science, 3rd Edition

The third edition of Exploring Creation With Physical Science
The company that initially published my science textbooks has been slowly coming out with new editions, which is necessary. Science constantly changes, which means the textbooks must change as well. So far, I strongly recommend two of their new editions: The Human Body, 2nd Edition and Exploring Creation With Marine Biology, 2nd Edition. Another new edition, Exploring Creation With General Science, 3rd Edition, was not good enough for me to recommend, but I also don’t recommend against using it. Another new edition, Exploring Creation with Chemistry, 3rd Edition, has so many flaws that I strongly recommend against using it. Unfortunately, I must include Exploring Creation With Physical Science, 3rd Edition in the same category. I strongly recommend against using it.

In my view, there are many, many problems with this book, but let me start with the most obvious: The student text is softcover. In my mind, this is a big step backwards. Most homeschooling families want the student text to be hardcover, because they want several children to use it over a period of many years. Softcover books do not hold up well in that kind of scenario. Of course, other companies offer their student texts in softcover, such as this one. However, the price is much lower. For Exploring Creation with Physical Science, 3rd Edition, the softcover student text sells for the same price as a hardcover student text. That simply makes no sense.

Of course, the real problem with the course isn’t the makeup of the book; it’s the content. For example, the book contradicts itself when it comes to temperature. Initially, it says that temperature is a measure of heat. That’s not true. Later on, it says that temperature is a measure of the energy of random motion in the molecules of a substance. That is correct. However, the book also says that different colors of light have different temperatures. That’s impossible, of course, since light is not composed of molecules.

This kind of self-contradiction is not limited to light. When discussing motion, the author spends quite a bit of time distinguishing between scalar quantities (which have no information regarding direction) and vector quantities (which include information about direction). She then properly identifies speed as a scalar quantity (it says how fast you are moving), while velocity is a vector quantity (it says how fast and in what direction you are moving). She then properly identifies acceleration as a vector quantity. However, she goes on to show graphs of speed versus time and states that the slope of a speed versus time graph is the acceleration. That’s contradictory. If acceleration is a vector quantity, it cannot be calculated from a graph that has only scalar quantities in it!

The author also tries to give historical context for some of the subjects that are being discussed. Unfortunately, much of the history is often seriously in error. The author claims that the works of Aristotle were lost as the Western world started using Latin instead of Greek, and they weren’t “rediscovered” until the Renaissance. Nothing could be further from the truth! John Philoponus (490-570) specifically discussed Aristotle’s work and argued against some of his ideas, as did Thomas Bradwardine (c. 1300-1349) and many others. Most importantly, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) took great pains to integrate Aristotle’s work into Christian theology, spawning an entire scholastic philosophy called “Aristotelian Thomism.” All of that happened when the author thinks the works of Aristotle were “lost.”

In addition, this book is supposed to be for homeschooled students, but there are so many confusing discussions that I don’t see how someone learning independently could be successful. For example, the author uses units that do not cancel in equations as early as page 56 and expects the students to be able to do so. She has explained how to cancel units, but not what to do when they don’t cancel. She doesn’t explain that until page 195. As another example, she has students determine the chemical formulas for ionic compounds, which requires looking at the periodic table and determining the charge that an ion will have in that compound. She tells the student how to determine the charge of positive ions, but she doesn’t tell them how to determine the charge of negative ions. Nevertheless, the student must be able to do that to solve the problems that she expects them to solve.

If you want to read the full review, you can do so below. It catalogs the 13 serious scientific and historical errors I found as well as 20 less serious errors. None of these errors are typos or misspellings. They are all conceptual errors or factual errors. The full review also includes the 14 confusing discussions I noticed, 12 things I didn’t like but aren’t errors, and three things I just didn’t understand. It also discusses how much of this book overlaps with the book the publisher says the students should use the year before, Exploring Creation With General Science, 3rd Edition.

My Complete Review of Exploring Creation With Physical Science, 3rd Edition

19 thoughts on “My Review of Exploring Creation With Physical Science, 3rd Edition”

  1. Thank you so much Dr. Wile! For this reason, I will be sticking with the 2nd Edition that you wrote for this coming year!

    Very Respectfully,
    Sarah Turner

  2. Thank you for this! Have you had an opportunity to review their updated edition of General Biology? I’ve been anxious to know your thoughts.

    1. I am working on it now. There are not nearly as many science errors (so far), but there are a couple of whoppers! Also, I think that the total amount of material is overwhelming for most high school students. I should have a review ready on Thursday, Lord willing.

      1. Please forgive my ignorance, but how does the revision process allow for such radical changes that the author does not support? I used the Physical Science 2nd ed last year but will be using the Biology 3rd ed this year. I am eager to read your review on the Biology text. I would also love to have access to a more detailed document outlining what areas in the text I should be alert to for some of those whoppers!

        1. Apologia owns the copyright. They can do whatever they want with the books. I will be posting a detailed review of the new edition of biology soon.

  3. Thank you so so much for these very insightful reviews! We are so grateful for choices in curriculum, but sometimes they can be overwhelming. I appreciate your perspective so much. Thank you for all the thoughtful time you put into reviewing these works.

  4. Thank YOU so much for the very detailed review of the 3rd edition. I was looking forward to it! I guess we are keeping the 2nd edition and using it this year 🙂
    Great work!

  5. Thank you. My youngest will be doing Physical Science this coming year, but since I already have the 2nd edition I never considered the new one. The whole softbound-but-costs the same bothers me for exactly the reasons you mention!

    But I’m eager to read your thoughts on the new Biology edition. I teach Biology in co-op every third year and have used Apologia Biology 2nd edition four times already. I’m due to teach it again in the 21/22 school year and I prefer not to be making decisions on texts at the last minute.

    1. I should have that review posted tomorrow. It’s not as bad as the physical science course, but it is really more of a classroom text than a homeschool text.

  6. Dr Wile,
    I’be had some people in the homeschool community tell me that Apologia “fixed” all the errors in their 3rd edition of Chemistry. I see it is also now a softback book, so I’m wondering if this is true. I was thinking if changes were made it would need to be a new edition. But maybe not—I don’t know how all that works.

    1. I haven’t seen the fourth printing, but the 3rd printing does not have everything fixed. Also, some of the issues (like different methods for solving Lewis structures) would be hard to fix.

      1. so if I have an upcoming 8th grader for the 2020-2021 school year will your earth science be ready in time?

  7. So… does this mean you and Berean Builders will be working on a new textbook, “Discovering Design with Physical Science,” perhaps?

    1. I have just started working on Discovering Design With Earth Science. It will cover the grade 7 and 8 material that isn’t covered in Science in the Atomic Age.

  8. In the state of Tennessee, high school students are required to earn a physical science credit. What would you recommend to use for a 9th grade physical science course?

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