# My Review of Exploring Creation With Physical Science, 4th Edition

I wrote the first two editions of Exploring Creation With Physical Science, but the publisher used a different author (Vicki Dincher) to make changes for a third edition. As I noted on this blog, there were many serious scientific errors in that third edition, and the discussion of some topics was very confusing. I assume a lot of people agreed with that assessment, because after only four years, the author significantly revamped the course to produce the fourth edition.

When I heard that the fourth edition was coming out, I hoped that the author had corrected the serious scientific errors that I pointed out in my full review of the third edition. Fortunately, some of them were. For example, the author no longer states that we measure heat with degrees Celsius. That’s good, since heat is a form of energy. Thus, it needs to be measured with an energy unit, not a temperature unit.

However, the author still doesn’t define temperature properly. In the third edition, she said it was a measure of the heat energy in a substance, which is wrong. In this edition, she leaves out “heat” and says it is a measure of the energy in a substance. That’s better, but still not correct. The proper definition of temperature states it is a measure of the energy of random motion in the molecules of a substance. This is important, because a ball sitting on the floor has less energy than a ball sitting on a desk, but if they have been in the same room for a long time, both balls have the same temperature. Thus, temperature is not a measure of the energy in an object.

While some of the major errors have been fixed, many of them have not. For example, the author still incorrectly informs the students that the works of the Greek philosophers were lost when the West Latinized, and they weren’t “rediscovered” until the Renaissance. That is blatantly false. Greek classics became influential once again beginning in about the 10th century, and they were debated vigorously throughout the rest of the Middle Ages. Similarly, both editions still misinform the students about acceleration. The author says negative acceleration means an object is slowing down. That is simply not true. Since acceleration and velocity are both vectors, they can be either positive or negative depending on direction. If the velocity’s direction makes it negative, then a negative acceleration indicates that the object is speeding up!

Other issues are partly fixed. For example, in the third edition, the author refers to all metric units as SI units. They are not. There is only one SI unit for each measured quantity. For example, while you can use many metric units to measure mass (grams, milligrams, micrograms, etc.), there is only one SI unit: kilograms. She has mostly fixed this, but not completely. On page 19, she says, “If you wanted to measure the length of something small, the only unit you could use in the English system would be the inch. However, if you used SI units, you would have all sorts of options for which unit to use.” That’s false. There is only one SI unit for length: the meter. Thus, that would be your only choice in SI units.

So if the author didn’t fix all the errors in the third edition, what is the point of having a fourth edition? I am not sure. The biggest difference between the editions is that the fourth edition has many sections called “advanced concepts.” They are set apart from the rest of the chapter, and the introduction to the book says that students are encouraged to read through the advanced concepts, but unless the students are on the “advanced track” they don’t need to worry about answering questions about those concepts on the study guides and tests.

While I don’t have a problem with that in principle, most of these “advanced concepts” are not advanced at all. They belong in a standard physical science course. For example, in this edition, the definition of a scientific model is an advanced concept. Additional “advanced concepts” are the distinction between heterogeneous and homogeneous solutions, the definitions of sublimation and deposition, the description of isotopes, how to deal with squares in mathematical equations, the difference between charging by condition and induction, and how series circuits are different from parallel circuits. As near as I can tell, the author went through topics that weren’t explained very well and simply made them “advanced concepts” that the students could skip. In my view, this is simply dumbing down the course.

Before I received this new edition, I was hoping that the author had fixed the many problems of the previous edition so that I could recommend it. Unfortunately, I cannot. If you are forced to use this course because of a co-op that you are in, please encourage your student to thoroughly cover everything, even the “advanced concepts.” It will be difficult, since they aren’t explained well, but if the student doesn’t do this, I would say that the level of the course is, at best, seventh grade.

## 2 thoughts on “My Review of Exploring Creation With Physical Science, 4th Edition”

1. K. Jespersen says:

Most of the errors you point out do seem egregious and unfortunate. We might forgive the author about the Greek philosophers, though; she is following the current narrative about them. As indicated in Ross King’s “The Bookseller of Florence,” the current narrative is that the church rediscovered many of the manuscripts between the 10th and 12th centuries, read them, and debated their merits and how to make such pagan writings safe for Christian consumption, if that could be done at all. The writings were then preserved in monastic libraries, accessible but not translated into common vernaculars, until the 1400s, when Florentines and other Renaissance Italians developed a thirst for copying them and translating them for wider reading. Thereby, they were “lost” to the common man until the Renaissance, although the church and some scholars did know and read them.

As a narrative, it IS incorrect to some degree, but it is not the most anti-Christian narrative in science and history. With the other errors to fix from the previous edition and scientific processes to de-agendize, it makes sense that the author would weigh the historical status of the Greek philosophers lightly as a subject requiring a detailed study treatment.

Perhaps a fifth edition in a few years will draw on both your work and this author’s to create something excellent.

1. Thanks for your comment. I certainly agree that the common man didn’t have access to the Greek works until the 1400s. However, the author isn’t discussing the common man in that passage of her book. She is specifically talking about the people who were doing science. As you indicate, the Greek manuscripts were popular among the scholars long before the Renaissance, including natural philosophers (scientists). Indeed, Roger Bacon (the father of the Scientific Method) was strongly influenced by Aristotle’s work. He mentions Aristotle by name a total of 194 times in his Opus Majus (which was given to the Pope in 1267) and tries to show that the Experimental Science he lays down in Part Six of that work is a natural extension Aristotle’s vision.