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Chris McGowan.

Toronto, Macmillan, c1983.
208pp,cloth, $18.95.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Jim Delaney

Volume 11 Number 5.
1983 September.

In recent years, successful efforts have been made by fundamentalist religious groups in the United States to have creation science taught in the schools as an alternative to evolutionism. Dr. Chris McGowan, associate professor of zoology at the University of Toronto and curator-in-charge of the palaeontology department at the Royal Ontario Museum, sees this as a "threat to intellectual freedom and scientific truth," and seeks to rebut the creationist position in his book.

Dr. McGowan directs his main attack against the published works of two leading creation scientists, Dr. D. T. Gish and Dr. H. M. Morris. He disputes the idea of creationism as science, believing that creationists have ignored scientific method and simply twisted the facts to fit the biblical myths. He takes creationist arguments point by point and, mainly using evidence from the fossil record, attempts to refute them.

Creationists believe that all forms of life, including human, were created together and thus lived contemporaneously. They refuse to accept the fossil record as evidence of evolution, preferring to believe that fossils came about as a result of the rapid burial of all living creatures during the great flood of Noah. McGowan looks closely at the biblical story of Noah and his ark, measures it against current scientific knowledge, and comes to the conclusion that, short of a divine suspension of natural law, the event could never have happened as described in the Bible.

McGowan writes with great clarity, and his book contains a number of black-and-white illustrations as an aid to understanding. His hope is that high school science teachers will read his book and be prepared to resist any attacks on evolution by creationists.

Beyond stating that "a belief in God is not mutually exclusive of a belief in evolution," McGowan steers clear of any religious or philosophical statements. Having accused the creationists of trespassing into fields of knowledge where they have no business being, Dr. McGowan is anxious to stick close to his specialty, which is palaeontology. So readers looking for a religious perspective should be prepared for a disappointment: McGowan is no Teilhard de Chardin, blending cosmic evolution with Christianity. Dr. McGowan is concerned with (forgive the pun) only the bare bones of the issue.

Jim Delaney, Msgr. Pereyma School, Oshawa, ON.
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