Title: The Rise and Fall of the Traditional Theories of Creation and the Science of Creation For Our Universe
Author: David C. Shaw
Genre: Science / Philosophy
The Rise and Fall of the Traditional Theories of Creation and the Science of Creation For Our Universe is the third volume from David C. Shaw that discusses classical creation assumptions, their disproval and the application of Harold Morowitz’s emergences theory. Mr. Shaw also touches upon the associated theology.
This short book is laid out concisely and academically and works as a standalone read. There are some complex ideologies and, overall, the author considers the novice reader as well as those studying scientific and philosophic theories in the way the book is presented.
In general, chapter headings are clear with distinctly marked and succinct sub-paragraphs. The prose is scholarly yet precisely understandable with the relative brevity of the book helpful in gaining a swift, elemental knowledge of the concepts involved.
The chapters that are concerned with the rise and fall of the traditional creation theories are the strongest. Shaw covers the Ancient Hebrew cosmos theory as related in the Book of Genesis and the classical Greek cosmos as designed by Eudoxus of Cnidus and brought to life by Plato’s creation story. Both theories regarded the sky as a solid structure or “Vault of Heaven.”
There are some intriguing beliefs which, although now debunked, still provide educational and historical relevance. Shaw is adept at giving an incisive overview with the pertinent facts to inform the uninitiated reader quickly and with interest. For those who already have a working knowledge, these chapters are summary enough not to become tiresome. The clear structure and considered writing are complemented by two nicely simplistic diagrams.
Chapter 4 moves forward to explain the revolutionary scientific thinking which led to the discovery of a solar system in motion that effectively invalidated the solid sky theories. Again, this is thoughtfully laid out, and the inclusion of the scientists’ pictures was a helpfully engaging touch.
The book then details the invented methods of measuring star distance and their results. These sections are a little weighty and could have benefitted from clearer illustrations. Mr. Shaw follows by discussing the impact on philosophical and theological beliefs. There are some intricate theories to grapple with, ranging from pure science to profound philosophical problems, and the tone becomes subjective, in contrast with the previous objective pitch.
This enthusiasm continues as Mr. Shaw gives the reader an overview of Harold Morowitz’s ground-breaking work, The Emergence of Everything: How the World became Complex 2002, of which he is an avid proponent. The table of contents of Morowitz’s book, which presents a science of creation identifying twenty-eight connected ‘emergences’ from the big bang to philosophy, are reproduced and some chapters paraphrased.
This serves as a synopsis for those wishing to read further but, on occasion, it seems rushed and consequently, a touch confusing. Technically, the book slightly loses the focused structure of the earlier chapters affecting the detached clarity of the information.
Notwithstanding, his concise conclusion of Morowitz’s work is nicely concentrated, giving equal credence to the theological aspects of the emergence theory alongside the science and philosophy.
The Rise and Fall of the Traditional Theories of Creation and The Science of Creation For Our Universe is an interesting and approachably written book making it accessible to all readers. Mr. Shaw poses some compelling questions which provide thought-provoking debate on the development of creation theory. This slim volume can be ably read alone or would equally serve as companion piece to further reading.
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