Monday, December 29, 2014

A Pocket Guide to Dinosaurs

Is there a biblical explanation?
by Answers in Genesis
2010 / 94 pages

Over the last few years Answers in Genesis has released more than a dozen "Pocket Guides," most of which are on Creation-related topics with titles like: Global Flood, Six Days, Noah's Ark, Apemen, A Young Earth, and Charles Darwin. This is the third I've read, and I've really enjoyed all of them.

Dinosaurs clocks in at 94 pages (and small pages at that - this really can fit in your pocket) which gives it room to explore and address the big questions, but not in any sort of overwhelming detail. For me this was pretty much the perfect balance of information and conciseness – a good overview of the topic, which can be finished in an evening or two.

There are nine chapters, each written by a different author. The first, by Ken Ham, is the longest, covering nearly a third of a book, and giving an overview of how the different ways that evolutionists and creationists understand dinosaur fossils is really a clash of opposing worldviews - the same evidence is seen by both sides, but interpreted very differently based on their presuppositions (their starting assumptions).

This is a point made in each of these Pocket Guides, so if you read more than one, it will be a bit of repetition for you. But it is such an important point that hearing it again can only be a good thing. Additionally, each chapter is written by a different author which leads to some minor repetition, with points being made by multiple authors. Again, a little repetition (and that's all it is) is not a bad thing.

The other topics dealt with in the book include:
  • Did dinosaurs turn into birds?
  • Why don't we find dinosaur and human fossils together?
  • How did the dinosaurs fit on the Ark?
  • What killed off the dinosaurs?
  • Were there dinosaurs recently?
It is cheap enough, concise enough, and thorough enough that I'd recommend it as a fantastic give-away to anyone who believes the Bible and also evolution. There is probably not enough in here to turn an ardent evolutionist, but many who accept evolution do so on the sheer volume of evolutionary propaganda they've encountered, rather than for any specific reasons, and a book like this could be a real eye-opener for them. It is intended for adults, and would be accessible to older teens as well.

You can buy a copy here, at

Oh, and for the dinosaur enthusiasts who wants to explore the topic in more depth, I would recommend the Institute for Creation Research's Guide To Dinosaurs.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dire Dragons

by Vance Nelson
2012 / 139 pages

This book is an argument, a response to evolutionary claim that dragons (ie. dinosaurs) died off millions of years ago, long before any humans roamed the earth. Or, as National Geographic put it, "No human being has ever seen a live dinosaur."

Vance Nelson says that just ain't so and he's marshalled the evidence to prove it. In page after page he shares artifacts from country after country. There are sculptures, drawings, etchings, reliefs, paintings, pendants and more, all of which were crafted hundreds of years ago, and yet clearly depict dinosaurs, sometimes with stunning accuracy. If no human has ever seen a dinosaur, then how did these artists get it so right?

Some examples:
  • a petroglyph in Utah dated at more than 800 years old shows a Sauropod 
  • A pre-Columbus pot from Peru which seems to show a Protoceratops
  • A brass etching in Britain from 500 years ago which shows to Sauropods intertwined (see pic below)
  • A turquoise dragon carving from China, dated to 4000 years ago which looks nearly identical to an adolescent Protoceratops
Nelson shares dozens and dozens more, some more impressive than others, but all of them contributing to a wealth of evidence showing man did indeed live at the same time as dinosaurs.

brass etching crafted over 500 years ago
I've read articles, and seen a documentary or two on similar subject matter before, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that, as the author notes, "Most of the evidence presented in this book is 'new'" and hasn't been previously published elsewhere. Another thing I really appreciated was how Nelson was willing to share what the critics said about the evidence he's marshalled. For example, in the first example I listed above - the Utah Sauropod - at least one evolutionist thinks it's just depicting a squirrel. Hmmmm.... I don't think so. But I do appreciate hearing the other side.

From front to back this is a really slick book with beautiful ultra-realistic pictures of a host of different dinosaurs. I first read this with two of my pre-school daughters, and while this was a bit beyond them, these pictures held their attention. We flipped from page to page and my three-year-old kept offering her considered opinion that the dinosaur shown on each new spread was "pretty cool."

That said, the book's target audience is adults and maybe as young as Grade 10 (for younger kids, Grade 7 and up, Dragons: Legends & Lore of Dinosaurs makes a similar argument). It would be of the most interest to anyone who knows that evolutionists don't belief men and dinosaurs lived at the same time. You buy a copy at by by clicking here. .

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization

by Vishal Mangalwadi
442 pages / 2011

A recent review on this blog demonstrated that religious pluralism does not reflect the real world, specifically that Islam does not function as a religion of peace wherever it is in control. Vishal Mangalwadi has a similar story to tell, one that actually reflects greater respect toward other civilizations than the ideas of today's politically correct.

What Mangalwadi shows is that the Bible was crucial in promoting the progress of Western civilization, even though in many ways Indian and Chinese cultures, for instance, were much more technically advanced than European societies. He starts by showing the emptiness of present Western culture - "the West Without Its Soul." Next he traces his own journey toward an understanding of the need for a Christian foundation for culture in his native India - to curb corruption and to guide the search for basic understanding of the universe and of himself.

Mangalwadi next demonstrates how the Bible led Western culture to a basic respect for humanity that made human life worthy of protection, to a love for logic connected to the real world (unlike Greek philosophy) that made science possible, and to a compassion that drove monks to invent labour-saving technology and spare humans the tedium of back-breaking toil. He explains how the incarnation of God in Christ led to a new understanding of the hero that has enriched our communal life, and how the command to spread the gospel to foreign cultures led to the creation of hundreds of written languages that promoted many countries' emancipation from colonialism.

Biblically based worldviews have not only had massive practical effects, but continue to affect such cultural activities as literature, education, and science. Mangalwadi also sketches how the influence of the Bible has positively influenced the morality of Western culture, the strength of the American family, the commitment of Western medical care, the stewardship of wealth in Western society, and the love for liberty in Western political life.

He concludes by affirming how necessary the Bible is to bring Stone Age tribes safely into contact with the wider world and to safeguard Western culture from becoming irrelevant. An appendix shows that the Bible does not need to be a "fax from heaven" to be the trustworthy and inspired (and powerful!) word of God - powerful not only to change individuals, but whole cultures.

If you want to read this wide-ranging look at God's power to transform the whole world through His word, go to this link at

Sunday, December 7, 2014

North or Be Eaten

by Andrew Peterson
330 pages / 2009

The second book in the Wingfeather Saga is more serious and somber than the first, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness but author Andrew Peterson's whimsy is still in full evidence here, starting with the title, and continuing on throughout the book, as our heroes meet:
  • a hag with a schoolgirl crush
  • a villain who can be bought off with fruit
  • and the Florrid Sword, who, in the midst of battle, shows himself to be a remarkable swordsman and an even better wordsmith
I don't often review more than one book in a series like this because, well, who's going to start a series based on a recommendation of the second book? But I'm making an exception this time around because I wanted to be able to double down on my previous recommendation - this is another wonderful book in a simply a fantastic series!

There's lots to love here, but one of things I particularly appreciated is how Peterson talks about magic. There's always magic in Fantasy series, and that's the reason that some Christians have a problem with this genre – magic belongs to the supernatural, and the supernatural is God's domain, so hands off wizards, sorcerers and other enchanting sorts!

But Peterson ensures that the magic in this series remains firmly in God's domain. As the children's mother Nia explains to her son Janner:
What is magic anyway? If you asked a kitten, "how does a bumblebee fly?" the answer would probably be "Magic!" [The world] is full of wonders and some call it magic. This is a gift from the Maker - it isn't something that [your sister] Leeli created or meant to do, nor did you mean to see these images You didn't seek to bend the ways of the world to your will. You stumbled on this thing the way a kitten happens upon a flower where a bumblebee has lit.
So the magic in this series isn't a means by which a man can become god-like, but is instead, a wonder given by God to men. And that makes all the difference in the world!

This is listed as for Young Adults but kids as young as 12 could certainly enjoy it. And I would particularly recommend this for dads who read to their kids - then this might be good for as young as ten, and dad will enjoy it as much as they do. You can buy a copy at by clicking here.