Quest For Right-A Review
Several months ago, a full page ad in a local newspaper requested information where the author might find a publisher for what was presented as the resolution of the conflict between science and religion.
I contacted the author, C. David Parsons, and asked if he would supply me with a review copy. My intention was, as one scientist to another, to seek to peer review his books. Mr. Parsons did not supply me with a copy.
Keeping the idea in mind when it was published in December, 2007, I purchased an e-book of Volume 1 from the publisher, Tate Publishing.
At his web site the author states that:
The Quest for Right, a series of seven textbooks designed for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences.
After reading Book 1, and setting aside temporarily the quality of the material in the book, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is far too advanced for high school students as much of the book deals with the very difficult physics subject of quantum mechanics. Were the material in Volume 1 suitable, parts of it might, perhaps, serve as the text for a 300 or 400 level college course in physics.
Additionally, as there are to be seven volumes of approximately 300 pages each, it is clear that no high school curriculum could accommodate the time necessary to cover all this material. This would require college courses over at least three quarters of instruction.
Additionally, school boards would have to shoulder the $40 cost per book for each of the seven book series, or an outlay of $280 per student.
After several e-mail inquiries, Mr. Parsons called me. During our discussion I asked him if he considers the Bible to be a scientific textbook. He agreed that he did.
Let us examine the book and see if it would be suitable for its intended audience of high school seniors. The author, Mr Parsons, has graciously allowed use of the quotes from his book.
Although these are not all, the book's material has the following questionable aspects:
1. Among the first things that strike one as odd in this textbook is the ridicule that Mr. Parsons heaps on scientists who laid the foundation of our knowledge. On page 199, we find that it is Einstein's turn for scorn:
The familiar equation [E=mc2] is dependent upon the old architecture and the quantum effort developed to explain the photoelectric effect. In the light of the true architecture, Einstein's postulate was an exercise in futility.
2. On page 77, Mr. Parsons writes:
The lithosphere (the earth's crust and upper mantle) does not consist of a shallow layer of sedimentary rock covering igneous formations; sedimentary layers extend to the known depth that man has been able to drill a borehole, some 8 km (5 miles). In addition, sedimentary layers, in the form of majestic mountain ranges, extend even unto the heavens."
Mr. Parsons is completely wrong in his interpretation. Wells are drilled to find oil and gas deposits. The basement rocks are either igneous or metamorphic and do not contain petroleum deposits. Therefore no one drills into them.
However, seismic profiles, which are used to find petroleum deposits, do indeed show these basement rocks are in the lowest parts of the local geologic columns.
Continuing into page 78, the author equates all igneous rocks with surface eruptions of lava. He writes:
The current disposition of geological formations is estranged from the true; there are only intermittent areas where eruption activity has actually occurred.
Hawaii comes immediately to mind as an area where lava eruptions are continuous and are responsible for the entire mountain chain and line of atolls and seamounts all the way to the Kamchatka Peninsula, see jpeg image.
Igneous rocks are intrinsically associated with geodic [the adjective of the noun geode] cracking and are quite rare. To wit, it is highly improbable that a world traveler, visiting every continent upon the face of the earth, would ever come in contact with an igneous rock formation unless the site of a geodic crack was purposely visited.
This is a demonstrably false statement. One has but to see pictures of Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada batholith (very large igneous intrusive) to see vast areas underlain by granite, an igneous rock that was intruded into the country rock, not on the surface like lava. Granite, and its dark-mineral analog gabbro are commonly found in the Earth's crust. Go to Earth Science World Image Bank and enter "batholith" in "Select a Keyword".
Among many other areas, these rocks also cover huge areas of Canada, where they are known as the Canadian Shield. Mr. Parsons must be unaware that these types of rock underlie Atlanta, the area in which he lives.
All of his referrals to geology reveal this same lack of knowledge of even the most elementary aspects of that science.
3. He throws aside modern knowledge and again and again uses the Bible as his source of information, p. 50:
While nebulae are usually thought of as immense bodies of rarefied gas or dust, the historians of both Job and Proverbs unequivocally state that it contained water.
His recurrent theme of water is apparently an allusion to the Noachian flood. His idea of the formation of the Earth is one of concentric shells of sedimentary rocks accumulating under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The source of this material is a "watery nebula" in space. He writes, p. 50:
the earth accreted (to grow in size by the addition of matter - his definition) from a great mass of water and chemicals, or more precisely, a chemical juice which was in an uproar, surging and agitating violently. The great surging mass had no particular shape and covered a profoundly large area of interstellar space. Amazingly, scientists have proclaimed all the while that the earth accreted from a nebula.
Wikipedia defines nebula as an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen gas and plasma.
Modern spectroscopy has determined that the spectra of the elements in nebulae consist primarily of hydrogen, with lesser amounts of He, O, S, N, etc. Some even have organic molecules, but there is no water.
4. On page 91 he writes:
The libertarian rule of dissent; that is, the obstinate determination of the scientific council to promote religious nonconformity via the occult nomenclature ascribed shall not continue to abide.
In conformity with Biblical commandments not to mention the name of another god, he has, on his own, ignored the maelstrom of dissent when Pluto was removed from the list of planets and renamed all the planets and moons in Table 3, p. 93, and Table 4, p. 96-97. It is odd that he decided not to rename the days of the week, although they are also derived from the names of gods (all references except Thursday are from Wikipedia.com):
Monday is named for the Germanic moon god Mani.
Tuesday is named for the Old English Tiwes dæg, named after the Nordic god Tyr, who was the equivalent of the Roman war god Mars.
Wednesday comes from the Middle English Wednes dei, which is from Old English Wednes dæg, meaning the day of the Germanic god Woden (Wodan).
Thursday finds its roots in the Middle English, from Old English thures dæg, alteration (influenced by Old Norse thorsdagr, Thor's day) (Answers.com).
Friday comes from the Old English frigedæg, meaning the day of Frige the Anglo-Saxon form of Frigg, a West Germanic translation of Latin dies Veneris, "day (of the planet) Venus".
Saturday was named no later than the second century for the planet (Saturn), which controlled the first hour of that day according to Vettius Valens. The planet was named for the Roman god of agriculture Saturn.
Sunday is named after Sunne, Germanic goddess of the sun.
5. A revealing aspect of Quest for Right is that is contains not one reference. It is as though he sat at the computer and made it up as he went along.
6. While developing a completely new Atomic Theory, and theory of the development of the universe in Quest he finds it necessary to update the relevant parts of the King James version of the Bible to reflect his new hypothesis and has incorporated these parts into Table 1. His revised text is listed second:
Genesis Chapter 1
1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (These are the same)
2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters
2. And the earth had no particular shape, and was void; and darkness was upon the face of the watery nebula. And the Spirit of God brooded upon the immense, surging chemical mixture.
Job Chapter 38
4. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding.
4. Where were you when I laid the sedimentary foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding.
5. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it?
5. Who has imputed the measures thereof, if you know? Or who has stretched a rule around its rim?
6. Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who hath laid the corner stone thereof;
6. Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who caused the nebulous rain to descend on the red-hot, glowing gravity crystal?
7. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
7. When the archangels sang together, and all the sons of God [hosts of angels] shouted for joy?
Proverbs Chapter 8
24. When there was no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
24. When there was no watery nebula, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains heavy with chemical elements.
27. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
27. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the watery nebula.
28. When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
28. When he caused the steam to ascend to the upper part: when he strengthened the fountains of the nebula:
7. In page 50, he goes on to state that the Holy Spirit guided the process of accumulation of the various shells of the Earth:
The Hebrew definition persuades us that the turbulent nebula was brought under control quietly and efficiently as the Spirit of God hovered above, carefully planning and meditating each step.
Were that true, the local column of sedimentary rock layers would be the same worldwide. It should look very much like the layers of an onion. They are not and they tell a story of the development of the Earth that is very different both in rock types from place to place and the history of the development of the Earth's crust over vast eons of time.
If God created the Earth as Mr. Parsons supposes, then God the Creator left vast amounts of evidence to the contrary. Consider the theological implications: Would God leave evidence that speaks against the actual record of the Creation? It may be said that God can do things in any manner He desires, however, the final determination that must be made is that the record of nature, being the record of God's creation, is trustworthy as God has chosen not to lie to us.
8. Were Quest for Right used as a public high school textbook, it would be most assuredly struck down in the courts because it relies on one religion alone. Numerous cases, the most recent being Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 2005 ruled (see Kitzmiller vs Dover):
When the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates the central Establishment Clause value of official religious neutrality, there being no neutrality when the government's ostensible object is to take sides.
The York School Board incurred legal fees in excess of $1,000,000 defending their case, all to no avail. If used by a public school board, Quest for Right would be no different.
In closing, Quest for Right is unsuitable for use as a textbook. It addresses an audience that is completely unprepared for the subject matter, the seven volumes contain much too much material for a one-year high school course, and it heaps scorn on the greats of science.
Large amounts of evidence must be submitted when presenting a new hypothesis that goes against conventional wisdom. Witness the revolution in the 1960s to 70s when the Theory of Plate Tectonics won the day, not by dogma, but by the weight of huge amounts of evidence. Mr. Parsons, however, presents no evidence for any of the claims in this his first book, which attacks and would rewrite the entire gamut of scientific disciplines based solely on his words.
If you are looking for a textbook for your science courses, Quest for Right is not it.