Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Line

Jason Rosenhouse. Oxford Univ, $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-19-974463-3
In essence, Rosenhouse, professor of mathematics at James Madison University, has written two intertwined books. One consists of vignettes describing his interactions with attendees at creationist conferences and at the Creation Museum. The second comprises slightly longer essays addressing some of the philosophical and theological ideas underpinning creationism. The personal encounters are compellingly readable. Often quoting his exchanges verbatim, Rosenhouse demonstrates that civility between evolutionists and creationists is possible and, he argues, advisable, whether he is speaking with “creation scientists,” high school students, or the general public. But as he points out, civility is not quite the same as meaningful dialogue, and very few, if any, minds were changed. The longer, more philosophical pieces are less successful because the complex topics touched on (such as the nature of religious experience, the role of theodicy, the meaning of original sin, ways to interpret scripture) demand more detail than Rosenhouse provides. He does a good job of relating the various historical strands of creationism, but his is not a book for anyone looking for arguments to combat specific creationist claims. While he dismisses some handily, others require more space for their demolition. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
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