Is the fool unique?
For those following The Fool and the Heretic, there have been a smattering of updates. Personally, I've had a few comments from other creationists, most of which tended to be confused (about Darrel and the book), cautious, and just a tiny bit confrontational. I've also had very encouraging comments from folks who really appreciate what we're trying to do. That's been gratifying.
In addition to our Bible Gateway interview, you can also read a more extensive interaction between Darrel and me at the Henry Center's website, Sapientia. The exchange begins with Darrel's review of The Quest, followed by my response, and Darrel's final response to me. Then there's an interview with the both of us conducted by Hans Madueme.
Reviews are still sparse. Amazon currently has just four reviews posted, and they are all positive. I think Gregg Davidson's review has an interesting claim that I will address below, namely, that I'm an oddity in creationism and this cannot be done at any larger scale. Goodreads has three other reviews that are also positive.
Joel Duff posted a followup to his review in which he shared some additional thoughts on the themes of the book. He claims that Darrel and I both have misconceptions and errors about our own positions and our perceptions of the other. That's fine. I'm certain we're all wrong about things great and small, and that includes Joel. His most extensive discussion of our perceived errors is something of a defense of me against Darrel's charge that young-age creationists harm the church. If you've followed Joel's blog, you'll recognize his recurring theme here, as he contrasts me with his perception of more famous creationist ministries. Joel writes,
In fact, if more YECs were like Todd Wood, I believe the church, though far from perfect, would be a stronger than it is, even though I still believe Todd Wood is wrong. Why? Because of the character of Wood that is revealed in the book and through my own observations of Wood’s interactions with the creation science and secular scientific community.(As I just pasted that in, I am struck with how weird it is to quote what appears to be a flattering characterization of myself without comment. Let me say this: Thank you, Joel, for your kind words about me, but knowing myself as I do, I'm pretty sure the church would not be better off if more people were like me. The body of Christ needs its diversity, and I wouldn't want everyone to become a lowly fingernail like myself!)
In any event, Joel's concerns about the creationist community and my uniqueness echo those of Gregg Davidson in his Amazon review, where Gregg wrote,
...what does one do if asked to sit down in “fellowship” with someone who is known to willfully misrepresent evidence “in the name of Jesus”? That is a tougher sell. I can be friends with an honest person who disagrees with me, even if I believe I have overwhelming evidence they are wrong (and vice versa). But I can’t be friends with someone who covers up evidence and justifies it with a cross on the cover. Darkness and light have no common table to sit at.There is a lot to say about that, but let me begin with this: I think both of these men, as earnest and conscientious as they are, share a fundamental unfamiliarity with the world of creationism. I am not unique, and creationists for the most part are not liars. My book The Quest hit a chord with hundreds of creationists, and it's been adopted as a supplemental textbook at three different Christian universities. That kind of reception doesn't happen with a lone wolf. It happens when someone articulates ideas that many people have been wondering about but didn't know how to express. I am not nearly alone, but the only way to see that is to get your hands dirty and dig beyond the drivel that gets posted to the internet in the name of creationism.
It's much the same with my tribe and fashionable opinions about evolution. It's easy to think of theistic evolution as a pathetic amalgam of terrible theology and gullible acceptance of science until you actually talk to a Christian evolutionist. That's the point of The Fool and the Quest. You cannot fully understand a position in isolation from those who hold it. You have to talk to people to really and truly get a sense of their concerns, passions, and ideas. People are far more complex than words on a page.
So if I may defend Darrel for a moment, the opening of the book is intended to communicate the worst about "the other side." And that "worst" is in some ways very stereotypical (and in other ways not). Those expectations are supposed to set up the reader for the coming discussion. The book is intended to depict the transformation of true dialogue. So it must begin with things that are oversimplified because those ideas get unpacked into a much bigger and a much more unmanageable complexity at the end.
I'll have more to say about this in the future, but that's enough for today.
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Have you read my book? You should check that out too!