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Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism Paperback – June 23, 1983

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Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism + The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History (California Studies in the History of Science) + The Birth of a New Physics (Revised and Updated)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (June 23, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026261037X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262610377
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A marvelously lucid summary of the evidence for evolution and the overwhelming case against its enemies.... As a philosopher concerned with the way science operates, Kitcher is good at showing how creationists distort Karl Popper"s views on scientific method, and how they misuse such books as Thomas Kuhn"s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He is equally skillful at showing how creationists persist in quoting out of context Stephen Jay Gould and other "punctuation ists".... " Martin Gardner, Discover

About the Author

Philip Kitcher is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, and Director of its Center for the Philosophy of Science. Kitcher is the author of a searching book on "Scientific" Creationism, Abusing Science, published by The MIT Press in 1982.

More About the Author

Philip Kitcher (New York, NY) is John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He is the author of twelve books, including Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith; In Mendel's Mirror: Philosophical Reflections on Biology; Science, Truth, and Democracy; and The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities. Professor Kitcher was the first recipient of the Prometheus Prize awarded by the American Philosophical Association for "lifetime contribution to expanding the frontiers of research in philosophy and science." He is also the winner of many other awards, most recently the Award for Distinguished Service to the Columbia Core Curriculum, the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award from Columbia University, the Lannan Foundation Notable Book Award (given for Living with Darwin), and the Friend of Darwin Award (given by the National Committee on Science Education).

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Philip Kitcher's seminal work critical of "Scientific" Creationism remains a clarion call against those who continue abusing science to fit their own zealous religious agenda. Kitcher goes beyond making a point by point defense of evolutionary biology - indeed, all of science - and a total refutation of creationism. He makes a persuasive case why "Scientific Creationism" isn't good science. For example he observes how distinguished 19th Century geologists such as Adam Sedgwick discarded their creationist view of geology, realizing that it was outmoded, invalid science not supported by empirical evidence. Kitcher gives a succinct description of how scientists embark on their research, demonstrating how "Scientific Creationism" falls short of the ideals of excellent science. Kitcher successfully notes why those who argue equal time for "Evolution Science" and "Creation Science" in high school science education are misguided, devious, or both. Last, but not least, Kitcher demonstrates the religious origins of "Scientific Creationism". This is indeed an important primer on how to think rationally, answering at length all criticisms of contermporary science by so-called "scientific" creationists. First published in the 1980's, "Abusing Science" remains an important tome in the history and philosophy of science deserving of a broad readership.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an older book, but it still remains the classic refutation of Scientific Creationism. While many new discoveries have been made in the nearly two decades since this work first appeared, Kitcher still provides a valuable inquiry into the tactics of the Scientific Creationists, and exposes the vacuity of their arguments soundly.
This is true because much of this book explains the philosophy of science, and the scientific method, rather than relying on detailed expositions of particular scientific findings. Kitcher exposes the great difference that exists between the very natures of science and creationism.
Kitcher examines the main arguments of creationists, and describes why they are wrong. But more importantly, he looks carefully at their tactics, and illustrates their essential dishonesty.
For instance, Creationist literature is full of comments taken out of context from mainstream scientists, in an attempt to make it look like those scientists believe something very different than what they actually believe. He shows how both Gish and Morris, arguably the two most popular creationists, use this tactic repeatedly.
For example, Gish discusses the work of A.W. Crompton, who demonstrated in 1978 and 1979 how the bones of the mammalian ear developed from the jawbones of reptiles. He then declares, "Kermack and his co-workers now reject this idea." Gish neglects to tell us, however, that Kermack's hypothesis was published in 1968 and 1973, a full decade before Crompton's work, which, of course, superceded it.
Likewise, Morris quotes G.G. Simpson's "The Major Features of Evolution" as saying that most new species appear suddenly in the fossil record in an attempt to demonstrate his assertion that no transitional fossils exist.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Chris Wiswell on June 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Kitcher does an excellent job with providing a general defense of Darwinism and rebuttal to the "scientific" arguments of creationists, and the book is a good read in that light. Sections on the age of the earth, a rebuttal to "flood geology", the "academic freedom (why not present every silly idea in class?)," and the "whys" of animal traits are particularly good.
Written in 1982, this is a fine rebuttal to creation theories which were popular at the time- those of Morris, Gish, and Wysong. Creationists have switched to a new set of sheep's clothing, however, under the intelligent design movement.
This is not to say that any of the "intelligent designers" (with the possible exception of Micheal Behe) have anything new to say- their defense of intelligent design is still nothing but an attack on Darwinism, but their names are popular and the fact that they aren't addressed here will look like an omission if you don't look at the publication date.
Read this book if you have been pondering creationism based on the claims of intelligent sounding people and want to hear a lucid direct response to those people.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By JOSEPH M JAGELLA on May 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
I remember feeling very alarmed in the 1980s about the efforts of the religious right to undermine science education by censoring evolution in the public schools. I believed and still believe strongly in religious freedom, but I also realized that creationism was a threat both to science and to the First Amendment rights of religious minorities.
It was then with relief that I read Kitcher's "Abusing Science." Not only did Kitcher successfully refute the vacuous arguments of the creationists, but he also did a good job of presenting the evidence for evolution. He then goes even further by discussing some of the basic principles of the philosophy of science. I've used this book in my debates with creationists, and I believe I've been successful in using it to explain to them why evolution is science based in robust evidence, and creationism is religion based on a literal interpretation of the bible.
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