Saturday, February 14, 2009

Doing Your Research

How do you research an article or a book? Do you research before or after you write the proposal? Do you know your 'stuff' inside and out?

With my second book, the one on Green Horsekeeping, I admit, I did not know the topic inside and out. I knew quite a bit, but during my research, I learned A LOT.

The first part of the book talks about the history of horses on the planet. This can be a tough subject to navigate when you're a creationist, believe you me. But being a "creationist" does not necessarily mean I don't believe in natural selection and some forms of evolution. I don't believe that there's one camp or the other and that you have to plant your flag in your chosen belief camp forever.

So I did some research. I'm curious, for those who believe in evolution, have you ever ACTUALLY READ Darwin's Origin of the Species? I mean cover to cover. You can download it here. It's a fascinating read and even starts off quite good. He references God in the early quotations and says, paraphrasing, that man should be as knowledgable about God's book as he is about God's works. I like that.

He also goes on to say in the very introduction that Origin of the Species is not a finished work. It's his abstract - his initial insights - and that the fullness of his work will take many years. In the introduction he states clearly that there are errors, that it's imperfect and that he has basicially no references to back up some of his statements. He doesn't go anywhere near human evolution except to say that we'll know more later as we learn... He was not an athiest, but more of an agnostic. He questioned God, as I believe we all do at many times in our lives. He saw God as a bit more of a programmer of laws than a creator.

Now Darwin's research has been discussed at great length for many years, it has evolved (har har) and people use the term Darwinism without really knowing who Darwin was and what his beliefs were. That's sad, because I think he was really on to something beautiful and complex and I think that if HE could have finished his work fully without the illnesses and hear problems, Darwinism would have meant something different from what it does today.

At the very least, it's helped me win a few arguments with my athiest friends and family members. :)

Now where was I... oh yes, doing your research. I think that now that we have Wikipedia and Google, we forget about the vastness of what came before. We forget to actually READ Origin of Species before we start referencing it. We think we know what it's about because we read the Coles Notes version in high school. Or skimmed it. We know that the people with the fish on the back of their cars are Christians and the people with the walking fish on the back of their cars, are not.

But I challenge you to go beyond. To not research by way of the wikis and the search engines. Actually read the books. Wade through their thick pages with their complex sentances and read what the writers before you actually said.

You can start with Origin of Species if you like. It really is fascinating!

(Crossposted at the Writing Mother)

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