Blancke on Among the Creationists

Writing in the academic journal Metascience, philosopher Stefan Blancke has reviewed Among the Creationists. Blancke is a postdoc in the Department of Philosophy at Ghent University in Belgium. Together with fellow philosophers Maarten Boudry and Johan Braeckman, is the author of an important paper calling into question some of the arguments made by the pro-evolution side with regard to methodological naturalism. Since I quote their paper favorably in the book, I was especially interested to know what Blancke thought of the book. Did he like it? Well, here's the opening paragraph:

On a dark and cold December evening in 2008, a colleague and I were driving to a small town in Belgium to meet with two members of the creationist organization Creabel for an interview. I already had some idea of what the average creationist believes and, surely, to a large extent, the Belgian creationists confirmed the stereotype. However, what particularly struck me was their sincere concern with the fate of our souls if we were to continue to endorse evolution. This made me realize that to them, the question whether one accepts evolution or creation is not a matter of scientific fact, but in a very real sense, a matter of life and death. Although this experience was very illuminating, I have not pursued such encounters with creationists afterward and have continued my research on creationism at a more abstract level. Jason Rosenhouse, however, is different. Being a mathematician, he has developed the unlikely habit of attending creationist conferences and visiting creationist museum. During these excursions, he not only repeatedly confronts the speakers with their mistaken conceptions, but also engages in lively and fascinating conversions with the individuals who populate their audiences. As he could no find that information he thus retrieved in the literature, he decided to write a book about his experiences. The resulting volume offers an original, intriguing and well-written introduction not only to the creationist mindset, but also to several scientific, philosophical and theological issues relating to the evolution/creation debates.

Score!

And his conclusion:

To sum up, Rosenhouse has written a highly readable and captivating volume that provides us with an exceptional perspective on creationism and the people who believe in it. Because of its original personal approach, the perceptive comments and the meticulous representations of intricate discussions, I warmly recommend Rosenhouse's Among the Creationists to everyone with even the slightest interest in creationism, fundamentalism, the relation between science and religion and the teaching of evolutionary biology; and to everyone else.

Score some more!

Folks, all the cool kids are reading my book. Don't be the last one to hop aboard! Blancke's review is not freely available online, but you can read the first two pages by going here and selecting the “Look Inside” option. And since the review is only three pages along, that's pretty good!

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I recently bought the book and look forward to reading it.

I checked out the book in Amazon and found that most of the reviews give it 5 stars. Well done!

By Valhar2000 (not verified) on 06 Feb 2013 #permalink

"Being a mathematician, he has developed the unlikely habit of attending creationist conferences and visiting creationist museum."

How does your habit follow from being a mathematician? That seems like a sloppy bit of writing compared to the rest of what he has to say and how he said it.

Still haven't seen the book locally - odd. (And no, I haven't taken up ordering on-line: I enjoy sitting at our bookstore with stacks of photography magazines reading, sipping coffee, and relaxing.)

dean --

Since English is not the native language of the reviewer, I'm inclined to be forgiving of awkward phrasings. Also, if there's a Barnes and Noble in your area, you might find the book in the religion section.

Alex SL --

Thanks for the encouragement! I hope you enjoy the book.

Valhar2000 --

Yes, the Amazon reviews were pretty satisfying. My favorite, though, is the one by the fellow who demoted me to four stars because he was unhappy with a snide remark I made about the Tea Party.

Since English is not the native language of the reviewer...

d'oh: didn't think of that (slight defense: I'm on pain meds after a root canal so am a little slow). Thanks for setting me straight. Feel free to delete that comment if you think you should.

"awkward phrasings"
It's a typical example of Dunglish - Dutch phrasing directly translated into English. I request not to delete Dean's comment. Dutchies like me and Flemish might learn something after reading it and think twice next time.

I took it to mean, (probably wrongly), that mathematicians are given to wacky endeavors.

I'm enjoying it, too. I fully expect you to sign my copy next weekend at USATE.