Is the title of a book my colleagues rather amusingly gave me.
The image is from amazon.
It attempts to compare a scientific process and technique, scanning electron microscopy, with faith. And fails. It fails on several different levels. the comparisons are clumsy and seem even theologically incorrect (Jesus is referred to the creator, I hadn't realised that some creationists do this) while the science is most definitely incorrect.
It is quite amusing with regard to the scientific ineptitude and simple language used (with plenty of typos in the text) and the twisting or outright misrepresentation of the process in order to fit in with whatever point about faith that the author wants to make is uncomfortable at best.
Amusing and a good present. Unfortunately he will get money from the sale. I wrote a review on amazon.co.uk. I have copied it below (there may be minor differences from the final review, not sure if I selected the final text or a slightly earlier version).
I am an experienced electron microscopist and was given this book as a rather amusing gift. It is short and poor in its attempt to describe a scanning electron microscope and the preparation techniques involved. Not only does the author skim over important details in order to make the comparison to his faith work, but he is often incorrect in his science (rather astonishing for someone who supposedly sold the instruments for 25 years as claimed).
But this is, as already stated by other reviewers "a work of fiction" according to the disclaimer at the front of the book. This may explain why the images are taken of very (decades) old equipment (photographic plates are not used for SEM any more and only in TEM for high end applications) despite being published in 2008.
A few of the factual errors follow (this book is so small it would have taken perhaps 30 minutes to obtain the correct information had the author chosen).
- Despite the first electron microscopes being built in the 1930's (Max Knoll and Ernst Ruska built the first one in 1931) it wasn't until 1945 that the first image of a biological sample was published, and that was limited in its magnification and resolution. The world was not "stunned" by the images of biological material at the time the author claims.
- The metallic coating on the specimens (usually gold or platinum/palladium) is not applied to visualise or protect the sample (uncoated biological specimens can be imaged) and the electrons from the microscope do not adhere to the coating. The coating dissipates the negative charge that accumulates in the non-conductive biological specimen as a result of being bombarded by negatively charged electrons. The electrons penetrate into the sample and either transfer energy to other electrons, which are then emitted, or are reflected back out of the sample. These reflected or emitted electrons are the ones used to generate the image. If there is no dissipation of the negative charge the electrons used to generate the image are affected, resulting in distorted images.
- Samples can be kept for a long time and re-imaged, the author is correct on that, but the key thing is that the samples must be in a desiccator to stop water from the atmosphere affecting the sample (this would lead to the sample being unstable under the electron beam). The holder shown in the images is just a convenience and this would be placed inside the desiccator. You can stick the stubs into a polystyrene base and they would be fine.
- The images shown are poor quality. My undergraduate students do better on a regular basis. 2a, 2b and 28a show images where a common imaging artefact, astigmatism, is distorting the beam, causing blurring and distortion on out of focus areas. On other images 30a and 30b, lines across the image show where charging of the sample is occurring due to poor microscope operating conditions (the microscope has an accelerating voltage of 20kV, according to the images that show this information, it could be used at around 5 kV to produce better quality images).
This book is written by a creationist. The claim is made that he is also a scientist. I would not describe him as such due to the appalling lack of scientific integrity in the images and factual information included in this book. If you want to purchase his poor quality images (all 165 images, many in colour!) you can give him more money by buying a CD ROM, but you would be better off going elsewhere (plenty of sites have high quality EM images for free).
Unless you want to purchase this book for comedic value, please avoid giving this man any more money.
Skeptical kinkster musing on whatever takes my fancy!