I will post just this one message concerning Ron Numbers and his objectivity
as an historian--and I am not using scare quotes around that word. Allen or
others may have their say, but except to correct any factual errors (should
there be any) I will not belabor the issue and confine myself to the points
Those interested in Ron's personal history can read some of it for
themselves, in the very revealing introduction to The Creationists. His
father was a leading SDA evangelist, and Ron was himself an SDA believer
until some years after his graduation from an SDA college. As he reports,
his lectures on the history of creationism have led people in the audience
to castigate him for being a creationist himself, since he doesn't engage in
debunking the ideas he presents. In the final paragraph of the
introduction, he writes, "Although I no longer believe in creationism of any
kind, I am strongly committed to treating its advocates with the same
respect I might accord evolutionists." Everything I know--and I've known
Ron for nearly 20 years--is consistent with this statement. I know
personally at least a dozen people treated in his book, and none of them
believes that Ron did him wrong, including John C. Whitcomb, Jr., who told
me that both he and Henry Morris believe that Ron treated them fairly in his
account. Indeed, Whitcomb gave Ron a pile of correspondence about
creationism that Ron drew on carefully in the book.
Ron is presently President of the History of Science Society, a signal
honor that one ordinarily does not attain in this day and age without being
known for a general absence of bias, in the pejorative sense of that word.
Bias, of course, can also mean that one has a point of view--and we all do,
and Ron bends over backward in his book to tell the readers what it is.
There are circles, however, in which Ron's work is simply not appreciated.
One of his first books was a scholarly biography of Ellen White (she is
mentioned in various posts lately), a book that some viewed as an "expose"
of this SDA prophetess, and a book that helped get Ron sacked from his
teaching job at Loma Linda University.
If Ron's not an historian, the real thing, then I'm not one either.
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