I can remember when there were literally no books available that defended the Biblical teaching that the universe had been created in six literal days about six thousand or so years ago. Seventh-Day Adventists did in most cases take the six days literally, but even they tended to believe in a very old universe. Many of their scientist members also taught that the non-fossiliferous rocks of the earth's crust had been formed long before the six days, as evidenced by the standard radiometric dating of these crustal rocks. But that was sixty years ago.
Things are different now. There are hundreds of young-earth creation books that have been published in the past quarter-century. Most have been written by scientists, plus some by theologians and some by laymen. They cover the broad range from children's books through college and seminary textbooks to technical monographs for scientists. Literally thousands of scientists now believe in six-day creation, and the global flood.
On the other hand, this trend has been countered by the publication of many anti-creationist books, also probably numbering now in the hundreds. A few of these writers profess to be presenting objective analysis of both sides of the issue. However, it is practically impossible to remain strictly neutral on such an emotionally charged issue as the origin, purpose, and destiny of the world and its people. Consequently, all of the books written by evolutionists on this issue are clearly biased against creationism, and this is true even for books written by those professed Christians who believe in evolution.
I have certainly not been able to read carefully all these hundreds of books, but have tried at least to be aware of the contents and emphasis of most of them. So far as I know, until now there has not been a truly neutral and truly informed volume giving a fair presentation of both sides. Several have attempted a historical overview of the conflict, but these are all clearly written from an evolutionary perspective, always on the implied premise that evolution is science and creationism is religion.
With one exception. My own book, History of Modern Creationism (2nd edition, 1993), gives a fairly detailed history of the conflict from the time of Charles Darwin onward, but I certainly admit that this book (written favoring the creationist point of view) is not unbiased either.
Very recently, however, a senior writer with the Washington Times, Larry Witham, has published probably the most extensive and most nearly objective analysis of the controversy written to date. The book is titled, Where Darwin Meets the Bible, with a sub-title, Creationists and Evolutionists in America (Oxford University Press, 2002, 330 pp.).
Witham has obviously made an effort to examine both sides in detail and to do it objectively, interviewing many of the leaders of the two camps and trying hard to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each. He has succeeded in this attempt more than any of his predecessors, and I would be happy to recommend his book on that basis. Interestingly, Eugenie Scott, who is as doctrinaire an evolutionist as one can find, also recommends it as such.
Her "blurb" on the book jacket notes: "What an amazing amount of detail that can be found in this book! The creation-evolution controversy, a story many have told, nonetheless appears fresh in the hands of this skilled journalist." She calls it "a cogent and even-handed description," and I would agree.
However, there are a fair amount of omissions in the book, at least from our point of view. There is no mention at all of Walter Lang and the Bible-Science Association, and only a few passing references to the Creation Research Society, although both of these associations have played key roles in the creationist revival of the past forty years. The quadrennial "International Conference on Creationism" is called "the preeminent meeting of its kind in the world," but Witham devotes only one page (out of 330) to discussing its nature and impact. Ken Ham is also mentioned only on one page, primarily as an opponent of Hugh Ross. Walter Brown and Kent Hovind are not mentioned at all, and all the strong creation ministries in Korea, England, Australia, and other countries are completely ignored. The fine scientists of the Geoscience Research Institute are also omitted from his discussions.
The Institute for Creation Research does receive fairly extensive notice along with the careers of Duane Gish and myself and a brief discussion of John Morris and his search for the Ark. None of ICR's other scientists are discussed, with the exception of Steve Austin.
Witham, I think, was unintentionally off base here. His book includes a fairly lengthy discussion of Kurt Wise, in particular, describing "his" research on the nautiloid beds of Grand Canyon and on the Kingston Range near Death Valley. It was briefly noted that he was accompanied in this and other research at Grand Canyon by "his geologist colleague Steve Austin." I believe he should also have interviewed Dr. Austin!
I should be pleased, I guess, at his fairly long (and generally accurate) review of my own career and contributions to the creationist cause. I do have to take exception, however, to his unqualified quote of Ken Miller's boast that he "flattened" me in our debate at Brown University and that he "easily had my way" in our later debate in Florida. That was not the way I saw it, nor was it the reaction of the student papers or the audiences, although I did note that this young "Catholic" biologist was the most articulate debater I had encountered.
Witham devotes much attention to the "intelligent design" movement and to the theistic evolution of the American Scientific Affiliation. But the greatest attention is given, as one might expect, to the evolutionists, especially to Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the explicitly anti-creationist National Center for Science Education. Dr. Scott once was a professor of anthropology, but since 1986 has been devoting full time to opposing creationism.
Rather surprisingly, she has had trouble financing her Center and so has to resort to the same kind of fund-raising gimmicks typically employed by many non-profit organizations (not by ICR!). As quoted by Witham, she laments: "I've got all of mainline science behind me, but they're not paying any attention" (p. 58).
In a newsletter addressed to "Dear Colleague" (dated February 2004), Dr. Scott is offering a free copy of Defending Evolution by Alters and Alters for a gift of just $50 to her National Center. For a $300 offering a video copy of the PBS Evolution series will be sent, and so on for various other book offers.
Her newsletter listed no less than 29 different states where she and/or her staff had been resisting creationist inroads in 2003. In an article warning evolutionists against being foolhardy enough to accept an invitation to debate the subject (see http://www.skepticfiles.org/evo2/credebe
In an article in Bioscience (March 2003, pp. 282-285) she reviews a number of recent creationist and evolutionist books. She calls Sarfati's recent book, Refuting Evolution 2, "a crude piece of propaganda," presenting just "the usual creationist claptrap." In her anti-debate web article, she urges evolutionary debaters who debate even after being warned not to, simply to expose "creation science for the junk that it is."
Apparently this must be done through ridicule, since she complains that the debate format will not allow enough time to do it scientifically. I guess the definition of "junk science" must be science that allows one to predict things as they really appear to be (such as the gaps in the fossil record, the universal law of decay instead of increasing complexity, the absence of any historical case of macroevolution, etc.)—in other words, creation science.
I now understand why she has never accepted my repeated challenge to answer the brief ICR booklet, The Scientific Case Against Evolution. She has evidently deemed it "junk science" and therefore unanswerable.
Incidentally, her National Center for Science Education was founded originally by Jewish biologist Stanley Weinberg and its current president is Kevin Padian, the paleontologist leading in the successful attempt to saturate the California Science Framework with evolution and the unsuccessful attempt to force ICR to quit incorporating creationism in its science teachings.
Other officers and supporters listed on its letterhead look like an evolutionary "Who's Who." These include Francisco Ayala, Stephen Brush, Joel Cracraft, Brent Dalrymple, Richard Dickerson, Robert Dott, Niles Eldredge, Douglas Futuyma, Laurie Godfrey, Norman Horowitz, Richard Lewontin, Donald Johanson, Philip Kitcher, Lynn Margulis, Kenneth Miller, Dorothy Nelkin, James Randi, Michael Ruse, Tim White, and others. Whether or not these all represent "mainline science," they certainly represent mainstream evolutionary dogma.
One would think such prestigious scientists could easily generate (if they tried) all the financial support needed by Eugenie Scott for all the anti-creationist work needed from the NCSE staff. She is a nice lady and it's a shame that much of her time and talent has to be spent in generating financial support for her eventually futile efforts.
Could it be that the prophesied imminent return of the Creator to judge His creation and make it right is somehow making the funding of anti-creation activism less attractive than it used to be?