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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Intelligent Design

29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1592575558
ISBN-10: 1592575552
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christopher Carlisle, M. Div., is a professor and the Episcopal chaplain at the University of Massachusetts. He created the popular course BELIEF, which explores the interdisciplinary study of religion and science in the 21st century, and is the co-founder of The God and Science Project.

W. Thomas Smith, Jr., has written four books, as well as thousands of articles for a variety of publications, including USA Today, George, U.S. News & World Report, and BusinessWeek.

Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha (December 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592575552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592575558
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,015,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

351 of 384 people found the following review helpful By Doug Mesner on May 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
...Also, it's self-contradictory. In a segment about atheist evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, the authors dismiss Dawkins' arguments entirely on the grounds that Dawkins is a scientist, not theologian, thus he is not qualified to speak (or write) on matters of God. What a convenient method for ignoring his case for a universe without design. Rather unexpected, coming, as it does, from a theologian pretending to write about science.

The book pretends to be a "balanced" look at the Intelligent Design controversy. Nonetheless, the book bulks the argument in such a way so as to give the impression that ID theory is somewhere on balance with Darwinian evolution by putting forward ID claims have long ago been addressed and falsified by scientists. Such claims as "Evolution runs contrary to the 2nd law of thermodynamics" show the willful ignorance of the authors. Many widely available articles explain how this asinine mis-interpretation of entropy depends on a closed system. The authors either have not done their research, or they are intentionally mis-representing the facts.

Every claim made in this book in favour of Intelligent Design has been refuted by scientists. Intellectual honesty demands that these refutations be dealt with if this book is to be considered balanced. This book does not do this.

This is a transparent attempt to make the "teach the controversy" position appear neutral and moderate while pushing the ID agenda.
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98 of 111 people found the following review helpful By John Hedley on December 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Oddly enough, staunch advocates of Intelligent Design Creationism are likely to consider this book as useless mainstream science advocates do. Intelligent Design fans typically try to hide the well established fact that ID is just a new name for creationism, so a book called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Intelligent Design" that makes so many old, refuted creationist arguments (ones so bad that even many creationists insist they not be used!) just hammers home the obvious reality that "ID" is merely creationism in new clothes. Carlisle and Smith have inadvertently written precisely the book that Intelligent Design advocates are most worried about -- a book that shows that "ID" and creationism are exactly the same thing.
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91 of 106 people found the following review helpful By R. Wood on December 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
I see 2 very well qualified scientists with all the necessary degrees in evolutionary and biological sciences wrote this tripe. har har. If the credentials of the 2 authors don't give away the game that ID is nothing but rotting, decrepit religious myth painted over with a fresh coat of "scientific" sounding gloss, which was convincingly proven in the Dover case, then nothing else will. Buy and read this book only if you wish to strengthen your willful ignorance.

P.S. Isn't the 9th commandment, "Thou shall not bear false witness/lie"?
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269 of 325 people found the following review helpful By Gio on September 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Parable of the Ichthropic Principle

Sixty meters underground, a river used to run through the limestone of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Because the limestone was uneven in density and porosity, the river carved an irregular channel, widening and contracting. Eventually, over a very long period of time, the surface of the land above underwent changes resulting from diminished rainfall. As the volume of water draining through the underground river decreased, the channel it had carved became a cave. Nonetheless, a trickle of rain still flowed through cracks and crevices, enough to maintain stable pools of fresh water in the lightless depths.
In one such pool lived a small school of fish of the family Characidae. Characids are an adaptable group, occupying many ecological niches of the planet Earth. The characids of this geologically isolated pool had several distinctive adaptations, the most unusual being that they were eyeless. Thus we can identify them henceforth as blind cave fish. Lacking sight, the blind cave fish were well equipped to detect vibrations of any sort through the sensory cells of their lateral lines, which was how they foraged for food as well as how they located each other for mating purposes. Fortunately, water is a superb transmitter of vibrations. Greater self-awareness would not have been adaptive in the bleak conditions of their pool, but if they'd possessed it, they would have had no reason to suppose that any other characids inhabited any other pool in this or any other cave, or indeed that any other pool in any other cave was inhabitable.
The blind cave fish had two rigid requirements for survival--oxygen and food.
Read more ›
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64 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Lufer on November 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
Where to begin? I guess a good a place as any is to first admit that I couldn't actually find it within to read this book all the way through. Since I endorse good science, this admission likely disqualifies my review in the eyes of ID's religious fan base. Normally I would never endeavor to review a book without having read it in it's entirety, but that really wasn't necessary for this one. It is exactly as you would expect from a pro-ID theologian. There is really nothing in it that has never been claimed by ID-ists... and soundly refuted by professional scientists.

Old ID and creationist talking points are regurgitated as though never before heard. Even more damning, the accessible, logical, unified and fact based counter arguments readily available in the primary literature are never brought up, let alone addressed. The message here is clear. ID-ists are not prepared to deal honestly with evidence. The only goal they seek is the dissolution of evolutionary science. Any means by which this is accomplished is fine, even if less than honest practices are employed.
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