(Note for a short 168 word description of the book see this writer's essay Resources that Christians can consult on the creation evolution issue). This writer obtained his copy of the book about 20 years ago, when Mr. Taylor gave his presentation at Stanford University. It was a most informative book chronicling the background and the acceptance of Darwin's theory. Political clout played a major role in the acceptance of the theory. Key people were given Darwin's book. And these people used their influence to propagate Darwin's ideas. Contrary to what many people think the acceptance of Darwin's ideas was not really a matter of overwhelming evidence, but who had political clout.
Everyone probably knows that one of the great trade secrets of paleontology is the gaps in the fossil record. Stephen Jay Gould emphasized that fact in order to promote his own brand of evolution called "punctuated equilibrium."
Another big trade secret mentioned in latest edition of Mr. Taylor's book is that there is no evolutionary order to the fossil record. The chart of simple organisms on the bottom and complex organisms on the top is just a hypothetical construct. Mr. Taylor's latest edition shows the textbook chart, used to teach students, and the real chart used by geologists. The charts are side by side on page 89. The textbook chart shows an evolutionary order from trilobite to man. The geologist's chart does not have the evolutionary order, but certain marine fossils in each stratum. There is an order of certain marine fossils according to density. These marine fossils are called index fossils. These are the real fossils used to date the rock. The order of these marine fossils is not according to evolutionary order. On top of that the order of the index fossils varies from region to region. It was nice that Mr. Taylor made this addition to his book. In earlier editions, the author was not aware of the lack of order in the fossil record and hypothesized some sort of sorting mechanism to account for the supposed evolutionary order. But since there really is NO evolutionary order, the point is moot. This book is constantly being updated.
Anyway the thing to keep in mind is there are strata which span vast geographic areas. The strata have some order but each stratum is not all at the same level. Parts of it are pushed up and parts pushed down. Think of the stratum as a blanket with wrinkles and folds. Fossils, such as dog or man are rarely found in stratum. So index fossils, which are more plentiful, are the fossils used in conjunction with the strata. These index fossils are found in every stratum. Index fossils have some order, but they vary from region to region. It is interesting to see where mention of geology is brought up. The late Richard Burton, in an interview with Dick Cavett, mentioned a coal seam which covered a vast distance. There is also one stratum, called cretaceous, which goes about half way around the world from Ireland to Australia. Think about that stratum and the fact that marine fossils found in every strata of the geologic column. Global flood anyone?
Geology seems to be an ideologically driven system. If a human fossil were found at an early level, before modern man's appearance, it is considered an intrusive burial. How does one know it is intrusive? Just above Leakey's Zinjanthropus fossil, was a fully human skeleton, found by Hans Reck. Why not accept the fossil as is, instead of ruling it out by ideology? This is also one of the topics covered in Mr. Taylor's book.
The book also ties in with a question of epistemology. How do we know the earth is 4.6 billion years old? It is not by precise scientific measurements. A committee gets together and decides. In 1940 the committee decided the earth was 2.0 billion years old. Now it's supposed to be 4.6. In other words the "fact" that the earth is 4.6 billion years old is based on prestige or supposedly expert opinion. This is nothing new. Sir Charles Lyell proclaimed the erosion rate, at Niagara Falls, to be at a certain amount. He never bothered to measure. But because he had the prestigious title of "Sir Charles" who would dare question him? The title of Sir was due to his land holdings not his scientific endeavors. But since class in England carried a lot of clout his word was accepted as truth without question.
How many people take it on the faith that the geologic column is correct? How many people take the pronouncement of some committee about the earth being 4.6 billion years old on faith? Truth is not established by committee vote, especially when there is no evidence to back the pronouncement.
It was a bit amusing to see what happens when the results don't according to plan. When Carbon 14 was first introduced, some dated the age of some dinosaur bones and got ages in the hundreds of thousands instead of millions. And for some convenient reason, Carbon 14 was declared to be accurate up to ten thousand years old and no longer used to date dinosaur bones. Since the Carbon 14 method did not give the desired results it was rejected for dinosaur bones.
The book also covered the social sciences as well as the hard sciences. The book provides some interesting accounts on the how people proved their hypothesis on the question of intelligence. Most notorious was Samuel Morton's attempt to prove the intelligence of white over non-white by skull size. The problem was he only chose the skulls which fit is theory. Another notorious example was the clown who proved intelligence was a matter of genetics, by citing non existent researchers.
The book sells for $ 35 plus shipping. This is probably the best overall book regarding the Creation/Evolution issue.
The book can be ordered from Creation moments by calling 1-800-422-4253. Or one can visit www.creationmoments.com.