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by Dennis Wagner

Number Thirty-One, September 18, 2003

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Natural Philosophy:
A Survey of Physics and Western Thought

David W. Snoke
2003 (softbound edition), Access Research Network, 532 pp.

Intended Audience: Homeschool, Private School, Ages 15 to Adult

Last Fall we announced we were working on a new Physics textbook project with Dr. David Snoke and we are happy to announce it is now available. For those of you who had a near-death experience with physics in high school or college—read on. This is not your typical physics textbook. Dr. Snoke takes an integrated approach by teaching physics in the context of Judeo/Christian theology, philosophy and western culture. This book may not be a big hit in the public schools where science is only taught in the context of naturalism, but we think private schools and homeschoolers will find this a refreshing alternative to the standard fare. In fact many of you who studied traditional physics may enjoy revisiting the topic in a new context with Dr. Snoke.

Dr. David Snoke is an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh. Several years ago he was asked by a homeschool group to teach a physics course for high schoolers. What started as a single class has developed into a new high school textbook and a new integrated approach to teaching physics.

This book is intended for a single year-long course of high school physics or an introductory course of college physics. It presents an overview of the entire subject of physics. This book is not just another version of the standard introductory physics text; it is an entirely new approach to physics. Some educators will find it surprising that the book leaves out, or treats in very brief fashion, several topics that are covered extensively in typical physics books, such as inclined planes, springs, etc. The reason is there are two kinds of physics courses. One type of course answers the question, "What introductory material should an engineer or science major in college study?" A second type of course answers the question, "What should every educated person know about physics, assuming that he or she never studies physics again?" This course is designed to answer the second question. As such, it spends a large fraction of the time on modern physics, the types of questions that modern physicists actually think about.

Some educators will find it surprising that many fairly advanced topics of philosophy and Christian theology are included in this course. Is this appropriate for high school or college students? Absolutely. Why should students be experts in machinery and equations and unlearned in related philosophical and theological questions? Historically, physics and philosophy have interacted strongly under the name Natural Philosophy, hence the title of this book.

The interaction of the Bible and science has been a central ingredient of the development of natural philosophy in the Western world, and this interaction still affects the politics of science and education in the United States today. Knowing what the Bible says, and does not say, is essential for understanding this debate. Warning: controversy is what makes philosophy interesting. Dealing with controversial matter, however, means taking positions that some people will not like. Instead of shying away from these issues, the student is encouraged to study the issues further. Wisdom comes from taking the time to understand controversial issues, not avoiding them.

About the Author
Dr. David Snoke received his Bachelor’s degree in physics (magna cum laude) from Cornell University in 1983 and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1990. He is presently Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh, where he has been since 1994 ( Before that, he was an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Physics in Stuttgart, Germany, and worked in industry at various times for the Westinghouse Research and Development Center in Pittsburgh and the Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles. He has published two books with Cambridge University Press on the physics of Bose-Einstein Condensation, and he has published over 50 articles in refereed scientific journals on his research on the optics of semiconductors and other materials. He is director of the Photonics program at the University of Pittsburgh and directs a laser laboratory funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. He is currently preparing a new textbook for Addison-Wesley on general solid state physics theory. David Snoke is also a licensed preacher and an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and has published several articles and a short book on the relationship of science and faith. He and his wife have homeschooled their four children for the past 14 years and are active in the Pittsburgh East Area Christian Homeschoolers (PEACH), their local homeschool support group. Natural Philosophy: A Survey of Physics and Western Thought was developed from materials originally used in a physics class taught for that group.

To view sample passages from the book go to

To order all 532 pages of Natural Philosophy: A Survey of Physics and Western Thought for only $39.95 plus shipping, go to:


Exercise Your Wonder

The Wonder of the Human Body: Learn how the body works and the questions that need to be answered in order to verify the validity of macroevolution.

Mark Hartwig


"It was easy to believe in macroevolution when I was growing up. But then I came face to face with the knowledge of how the body actually works. Neo-Darwinism and macroevolution vs. the truth of Medical Science: it didn't add up then and it doesn't add up now. See what you think!"

Some ID Medicine- Howard Glicksman M.D. finds ample evidence of intelligent design in the human body as he shares his insights in this new monthly web column at ARN.

Caution: This column may stretch your faith in macroevolution while at the same time exercise your ability to wonder. What's your wonder quotient? On one extreme; are you totally gullible and always in wonder? Do you believe everything that you read without investigating it for yourself? Or in the other extreme; are you a complete materialist, thinking that everything, including thought, will and feeling, can be explained only in terms of matter? If so, you are never in wonder because even if you can't explain it you have faith that somewhere, somehow, someday, someone will be able to explain it in a way that makes sense to you? Be prepared to experience; Wonder!!

Can the concept of irreducible complexity be applied to the human body as well as molecular systems? Take a look for yourself. In this first column Dr. G (with a little help from Clint Eastwood) takes a detailed look at the fluid balance system in the human body and identifies ten critical factors that point to irreducible complexity and design:

He Who Cannot Control His Water Will Not Survive: (Neither Will He Be Allowed into the Pool, i.e. the gene pool)


All of the ARN products can be ordered through our web catalog store with secure credit card ordering. There you will find a description of each product and you may add as many products as you would like to the electronic shopping cart. When you have finished, select the type of shipping (Priority for faster delivery, or Standard for lowest cost) and send the order. If you provide your email address, you will receive an email receipt of your. Place your order today online at (click the products links on the top menu bar). If you have any problems or questions, or would rather place your order by phone, call our toll free number at 1-888-259-7102 and our staff will be happy to assist you.


ARN-Announce describes many of the upcoming events and new articles, books, videos and other resources on Intelligent Design. Please forward this message to several of your friends and colleagues to let them know about the resources available at Access Research Network ( Back issues of ARN-Announce can be found at


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