What do I think of Jay Hall’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I’m not a YEC. I really don’t consider it a credible position based on what I’ve read, but when Jay Hall got in touch with me wanting to be on my show to talk about YEC, I agreed if he was willing to appear alongside an OEC and have it be a debate on YEC vs. OEC. Thus, I should state upfront that this is a review copy that I have been sent.
Something unusual about this book is I do not recall a single mention of God or of Scripture in the text. It could be my memory is faulty, but all I saw was scientific arguments. In some ways, this is refreshing to see. I did not have hammered down my throat that YEC is a literal interpretation of Genesis and is in fact the only literal interpretation. I also have not seen anything that indicates that people like myself who are more OEC are heretics. On both sides of the aisle, this is the kind of exchange that needs to stop. We can think each other’s position is problematic, but let us never make it a salvation issue.
As a non-scientist, I freely admit I did not understand much of what was written here, and if you are not a scientist, you will be lost as well. I do consider that more of a problem because if you’re wanting to write to a popular audience, you need to be able to speak in language that they understand. What you will see of is a lot of quoted material. While it is good to know that someone is doing the reading, as a reader of books that make arguments, I did notice some concerns. For instance, many of these quotations came from sources that could be around 100 years old or older. For foundational material, that’s understandable, but a great scientist today could likely never read Newton and you could be a great evolutionary biologist and never read Charles Darwin himself.
Furthermore, many of these quotes also had ellipses. I understand that many times quotes are too long and many times we do need to shorten them, but when it comes to that, I always wonder about what has been left out. Older material might be harder to come by and if all you have is quotes without a context, you have to give the author the benefit of the doubt, but if you approach a book skeptically as I try to do, you have to ask the question. Of course no one can always give the full context of every quote, but when many of these quotes have this, my skepticism goes up.
I cannot thus say anything on the positives or the negatives of the arguments themselves as I leave that for the people in the sciences to decide, but I can say that when in the end he says that YECs need not be bullied, with this I do agree. If anyone in the field has any argument to make, I think we should listen to that argument and make the best response we can. If someone is convinced the Earth is young, they have all right to go and do the research and experiments necessary and write the papers to try to demonstrate to their peers their opinion. At the same time, they have to be ready for any pushback that comes. This does not apply to just YECs of course. This applies to everyone. Science is all the better for hearing all sides and it could be the sides that we might consider the least likely could point out ways that we can refine our own position.
I would say if you want to see a lot of arguments that are claimed to be scientific for a YEC, this could be a good place to go to. As I said earlier, I cannot either endorse or condemn the science. I am not a scientist and I leave that for the scientists, but I am for good debate across the table, and I hope that the exchange of ideas keeps coming.