Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
On Harold Booher's Origins, Icons and Illusions
Gordon C. Mills, ASA Fellow
From: PSCF 52 (March 2000): 75.
After reading the book review of Origins, Icons and Illusions (PSCF 51 [September 1999]: 201) by Eugene Bowser, I felt compelled to comment on what I believe are serious misinterpretations by Bowser. First, let me note that I was a critical reviewer in the production of this book, so I am familiar with the intent of the author in writing the book and with the content of most of the chapters.
In his review, Bowser makes a number of statements that clearly infer that Dr. Booher is quite unqualified to write the book. For example: "His lack of expertise in the field is revealed in his apparently unquestioning acceptance of Creation Scientists' claims ..." However, I believe Booher's qualifications should be judged by the book's content. Booher has indeed covered a broad range of material in the book, on which he had worked for fifteen years. He utilized capable reviewers in a number of fields to help eliminate errors.
In regard to misinterpretations by the reviewer of the book, I believe he fails to note that Booher has attempted to give a clear picture of the different positions on a number of important issues. To do this, Booher often quotes directly, e.g., from some who espouse views of Creation Science. This seems to be a major objection of Bowser to the book. However, it is not clear what Bowser means by "Creation Science." He uses that term five times in his review. In the cases where pages are cited, Bowser applies the term to issues of "Cosmology," that have very little to do with what biologists consider "Creation Science." In one instance (p. 31) where Booher is giving an example of "circular reasoning," Bowser considers this to be a real statement of Booher's views. Booher does have a section dealing with "creation science" in chapter 15, but Bowser makes no reference to this portion of the book in his review. Chapter 15 is particularly well written and gives a good description of various theories of origins, including creation science and intelligent design. If Bowser had read that chapter carefully, he would have found that Booher is much more favorable to intelligent design theories than to what is usually termed "Creation Science."
In addition, I would note that Origins, Icons and Illusions has a very extensive bibliography (85 pages of notes and references). It is written so that serious readers can evaluate the various scientific positions for themselves. I would note that Bowser does conclude his review on a more positive note, when he says: "... Booher does provide an excellent critique and an opportunity for the reader to carefully rethink his own position ..." I would agree, but I wish there were not so many negative comments regarding the book earlier in the review.