Our 2019 Children’s Books of the Year stand out from an increasingly troubling crowd
Afghanistan 99.7 percent, Iran 99.4 percent, Algeria 99 percent, Somalia 99 percent, Niger 98 percent, Azerbaijan 97 percent, Libya 97 percent, Saudi Arabia 97 percent, Djibouti 97 percent, Sudan 97 percent, Senegal 96 percent, Gambia 95 percent, Mali 95 percent.
Those statistics display country-by-country adherence to Islam, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center and other organizations. If such high percentages of inhabitants have those beliefs, they are likely to be right, yes? How could so many people be wrong?
They could be because those countries typically have laws against blasphemy and apostasy. Those who criticize Muhammad or abandon Islam often go to prison and may even face execution, so some poll respondents probably lie. Others may pledge allegiance because they’ve never heard arguments against Islam from sources they consider reliable. Their mullahs say critics of Islam are idiots or liars: Why listen to them?
A Pew survey in 2009 showed 87 percent of scientists agree: “Humans and other living things have evolved over time due to natural processes.” How could 87 percent be wrong? The same caveats apply as with Islam. Few scientists have themselves done experiments related to the evolution debate, so they’re basing their response on what their professors and deans have told them. Given the academic scimitars wielded by the mullahs of materialism, it’s remarkable that 1,000 Ph.D. scientists have signed the “Scientific Dissent From Darwinism” list: You can see their names online.
One leader of those brave souls, Michael Behe, on Feb. 26 releases Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution (HarperOne). Behe brings to bear studies that “have only become available in the past few decades due to rapid advances in laboratory techniques that closely examine the molecular level of life.” That’s important because Charles Darwin 160 years ago knew almost nothing about molecules: Behe notes, “The cell, which we now know is filled with sophisticated molecular machinery, was thought to be made of a simple jelly called protoplasm.”
So how about this for a slogan: Progressives, be really progressive! Don’t rely on 19th-century theories of heredity: Darwin imagined that our bodies shed “gemmules,” particles that collected in the reproductive organs. Only now do we have advanced laboratory equipment and techniques that allow us to test Darwin’s proposed mechanism of evolution—and see that, in Behe’s words, “It has been wildly overrated—it is incapable of producing much biological change at all.”
One more book to add to Feb. 2’s listing for Black History Month: Charles Boothe’s Plain Theology for Plain People (Lexham, 2017), a succinct handbook from an African-American pastor first published in 1890.
Adam Arenson’s Banking on Beauty (University of Texas Press, 2018) shows that commercial architecture does not have to be drab. Barbara Haskell’s Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables (Whitney Museum, 2018) has 105 beautiful plates and interesting analyses of the famous artist, but also what seems obligatory these days: speculation about Wood’s sexual orientation.
Steve Turner’s Turn, Turn, Turn (Worthy, 2018) provides brief information about 100 songs with some connection—usually a loose one—to Biblical words.
Tim Wu’s The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age (Columbia Global Reports, 2018) skillfully and succinctly applies 19th-century lessons to today’s high-tech Goliaths and others: They may reduce consumer costs, but they also limit freedom. George Gilder’s Life After Google (Regnery, 2018) says Silicon Valley is suffering a nervous breakdown. Gilder suggests a blockchain economy will bring salvation, but he does not clearly explain how that will work.
Benjamin Quinn and Walter Strickland II’s Every Waking Hour (Lexham, 2016) succinctly explains the importance of God-glorifying work of all kinds. Does work have a future? Class Dismissed by Nick Adams (Post Hill Press, 2019) notes that high schools try to push everyone toward college today: He ambles through many good reasons not to attend college and proposes alternatives for those not academically inclined. —M.O.