Author: Chris Stassen
Subject: FAQ: Book Recommendations
One of the best ways to learn about the Creation/Evolution debate is to
pick up a few books. The periodicals (recommended earlier) are useful,
but most assume some level of familiarity with the subject. Recommended
I. Anti-creationism (books which examine and debunk creationist arguments)
Note: I don't recommend any general science books. The creationists'
field of attack is very broad, and science books tend to be specialized.
One would have to buy tens of such books to achieve the coverage of a
single title which is tailored to the creationists' attack.
Strahler, Arthur N., _Science and Earth History_;
New York: Prometheus Books, 1987.
This is the "evolutionist's encyclopedia." It's about 550
large pages filled with tiny print, and has an awesome index.
It's a little long to just read, but is the best general
reference on the topic.
Godfrey, Laurie, Ed., _Scientists Confront Creationism_;
New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1983.
The best reference there was until Strahler's book. Shorter
and easier to read. It's a collection of essays on various
relevant topics from experts in each field.
McGowan, Chris, _In The Beginning..._;
New York: Prometheus Books, 1984.
If I get to only recommend one book from this category to a
creationist, this is the one I recommend. It's not as useful
as a reference, but it's the easiest one to read.
Kitcher, Philip, _Abusing Science_;
Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986.
Not recommeneded for creationists, who will likely find it
offensive. Kitcher plays hardball with creationist tactics
and arguments. [Believed to be out of print.]
II. Anti-evolution (creationist books which whomp on evolution)
Know thine enemy. I don't really know any pro-creation books
per se - except Biblically-oriented ones.
Morris, Henry, _Scientific Creationism_;
San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers, 1974.
(Second Edition, 1985)
This is actually intended to be a student or teacher handbook
of material to use in science class. It is THE reference on
creationist arguments. If you're only going to own one
creationist book, it should be this one or the next one.
Morris & Parker, _What Is Creation Science?_;
San Diego: Master Books, 1982.
This title is supposed to be an introduction to creation
science, but (like most other creationist works) concentrates
mainly on arguments against mainstream science.
It shares much common material with _Scientific Creationism_.
Since it's available in paperback (and the above title was not,
last I checked) buyers on a budget might prefer it.
Gish, Duane, _Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record_;
San Diego: Master Books, 1985.
This is a revised and expanded version of Gish's famous book,
_Evolution: The Fossils Say No!_. If one is only going to have
two creationist titles, this is the second one to buy.
Wysong, R. L., _The Creation-Evolution Controversy_;
Midland: Inquiry Press, 1986.
While none of the three titles above could be accused of
sterling scholarship, this one is an example of the bottom
of the barrel. I purchased it because *any* really bad
creationist argument can be found in it (the index is pretty
III. Titles on the Origin of life
Shapiro, R., _Origins: A Skeptic's Guide To The Creation Of Life On Earth_
New York: Bantam, 1986.
This is one of two titles which I've seen for sale in both
creationist and evolutionist book-ordering services. It's
the best introduction to the various abiogenesis hypotheses
and their strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion, Shapiro
is a little overly skeptical, and in fact would have to eat
a little humble pie on some of his criticisms -- only seven
years after his publication date.
Loomis, William F., _Four Billion Years: An Essay on the Evolution
of Genes and Organisms_; Sunderland: Sinauer, 1988.
A relatively technical abiogenesis scenario. Relatively
long on speculation, especially near the end. Lots of
hard-core chemistry in the early going.
IV. Titles on the Arkansas Trial of Act 590.
Back in the early 1980s, a bill somehow was passed in Arkansas which
required equal time for creationism. It was eventually declared to
be unconstitutional, in a trial which received television coverage
and nationwide attention. Many books from both sides have been
written on it.
Montagu, Ashley, Ed., _Science and Creationism_
New York: Oxford University Press, 1984.
A collection of essays on various topics related to the trial.
Probably the best single title on the trial, as it contains
multiple points of view.
Gilkey, Langdon, _Creationism On Trial: Evolution and God at Little Rock_
Minneapolis: Winston Press, 1985.
Dr. Gilkey is a liberal theologian who was one of the "theological
witnesses" for the plaintiffs (who were trying to get the law
Geisler, Norman L., _The Creator in the Courtroom_
Milford: Mott Media Inc., 1982.
Dr. Geisler is a professor of theology who was one of the defense
"theological witnesses" (supporting creationism). It's pretty
interesting to read both this book and Dr. Gilkey's book. One
wonders if they were both at the same trial.
V. Other topics
Dawkins, Richard, _The Blind Watchmaker_
New York: W. W. Norton, 1986
An in-depth examination of the 'argument from design' and a
look at the 'apparent' designedness of life.