Letter in the Skeptical Inquirer, vol. 18, no. 2, Winter
1994, p. 220
I would like to correct some inaccuracies in Robert Baker's review
of Zabilka's Scientific Malpractice. First, Baker states that
"None of the 'research' [creationists] do is peer-reviewed or subjected
to criticism of any sort." A cursory examination of the Creation
Research Society Quarterly or the Ex Nihilo Technical Journal
shows this to be false. At times, the creationists criticize other
creationists more strongly and more accurately than their opponents do.
(Some examples may be found in Ronald L. Numbers' excellent book,
The Creationists.) Second, Baker states that "Creationists are
predominantly technicians," but neither Baker nor Zabilka give any evidence
for this. While this may be true, it is not true of the approximately
600 members of the Creation Research Society, of whom the largest group
is composed of biologists. (Of the ten who founded the CRS in 1963,
five had biology Ph.D.s, one had a biochemistry Ph.D., and one had a
master's degree in biology.) If any discipline is underrepresented among
creationists, it is not biology but geology, as Numbers points out.
Baker concludes by assessing Zabilka's book as clear, concise, and
thorough. While I agree that it is clear and concise, it is not
thorough. It is fairly good in its treatment of the political and
legal history of creationism (although weak in its intellectual history,
where Numbers' book excels), and in its discussion of theological issues.
But its coverage of the scientific claims of creationism is incredibly
weak--only a single chapter of 22 pages is devoted to a superficial
coverage of the scientific evidence that refutes the creationists'
claims. I recommend the other books Baker mentions, but would add that
the most thorough examination of creationism to date is still Arthur
N. Strahler's Science and Earth History (Prometheus Books,
1987), a massive 558-page book that addresses the vast majority of