A Doorway of Amethyst: Beginning Geology by Mary Daly is a 200 page full-color, Catholic Christian introduction to geology. It is designed to be used for one semester to learn the basics of geology, that is, the common rock types and land forms: their formation, their changes during mountain-building and plate movements, their erosion, and so forth. The text is organized as follows:
The first two chapters introduce the large picture of the earth and plate tectonics.
The next three chapters introduce igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.
The next four chapters explain some of the basic processes of erosion and also introduce the geologic eras.
The closing chapters explain the geologic eras, apply that explanation to the Williston Basin of North Dakota, and describe a series of (mostly Catholic) geologists.
A bibliography is included along with two appendices, the first one listing other basins in which the entire geologic record is found, and the second discussing some unexpected information about the theory of evolution, relevant to the study of geology because it always comes up, but not integral to the basic presentation.
The text includes teacher support in the form of questions (answers in the back), crossword puzzles (solutions given), and some research suggestions.
Why the Williston Basin?
Some years ago, Glenn Morton, who had for several years been a leading creationist author, began to see that the things he had been taught in his Christian college geology courses were not to be found "in the field" All those revolutionary ideas, without exception, were useless, and when he checked his finding with other creationist geologists in the field, they agreed that they had found the same. At the next creationist conference, he brought his findings, hoping for a challenging and helpful discussion of the right direction to take with this information.
So far from receiving help, he was met with various levels of rejection from stony silence to outright accusations of betrayal. It was extremely painful and caused him to withdraw from writing -- on either side of the issue -- for several years re-evaluation.
After that time, in the hope of protecting other Christians from finding themselves in a foolish and false position, particularly in the claim that all the deposits of sedimentary rock, worldwide, are due to Noah's Flood, he returned to writing. His essay on the Williston Basin explains in detail exactly why a professional geologist cannot view the geologic record as belonging to a short time frame, nor view the sedimentary rocks as deposits of a catastrophic flood, no matter of what proportions. This entire essay is available on the web. I have taken and simplified it, illustrated it, edited out some of the references that don't concern the average reader and provided more detail for some of the technical references. This whole effort is chapter 11 of A Doorway of Amethyst.
I agree with Glenn Morton -- and with Saint Augustine -- that Christians should not expose the gospel to ridicule by claiming that it teaches things about the physical world which unbelievers will certainly regard as false, even obviously false. It does not take an Einstein or a PhD in geology to recognize the problems with a young-earth view, though the first ten chapters of A Doorway of Amethyst might help before tackling chapter 11.
Why the Amethyst?
The Amethyst is the traditional stone of the Bishop's ring, which one kissed as a sign of fidelity to the Church and to the Lord Jesus who gave us this gift as he had promised, so that as his words returned to our minds, we would be able to understand them in an orderly and revelatory manner. Although the kissing of the amethyst ring is no longer customary in most places, I wished to express my intent of being faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The book is presently in the hands of the diocesan censor. The books Creator and Creation, and Genesis 1, House of the Covenant, which deal with the same basic issues of creation, evolution, and the flood of Noah, do each have a Nihil Obstat, and so far as I am aware, there is nothing in this volume that goes (theologically) beyond the ideas already published in those books.
A web support page offers, a chapter-by-chapter list of valuable web sites to extend your study of geology.
What is the cost?
Introductory price is $32. This is 192 pages with many attractive full-color illustrations and good teacher support. The book is being placed in the Creative Commons.
What is the Creative Commons? This a type of open source copy privilege, which means you can copy this work for your friends or your study group, and you can add improvements as you see fit. You must acknowledge the original text and author and make sure that readers know how to order or access the primary text if they wish. If you make improvements, either in the drawings and illustrations or in the text, these also go into the Creative Commons, and anyone else can use them as freely as the original text.
There are spelling errors in the first edition, and one of the crossword puzzles has reversed "across" for "down".
Internet support for teaching A Doorway of Amethyst