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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Intelligent Design [Paperback]

by Christopher Carlisle, W. Thomas Smith Jr.
2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)


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Book Description

December 5, 2006 1592575552 978-1592575558
An objective overview of the biggest controversy in American education.

Intelligent Design is one of the hottest issues facing parents and educators to day, but it can be hard to separate the facts from the heated rhetoric. This expert and objective guide gets to the bottom of the questions: What is Intelligent Design? Should it replace or complement traditional science? What’s all the fuss about?
• Explains the terms, the controversy, and the involvement of the American courts
• Indispensable guide for concerned educators and parents
• Written by an expert in the field


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: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,468,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
347 of 379 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Book Is Far From Objective 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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94 of 106 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Creationism in new clothes 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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90 of 104 people found the following review helpful
By R. Wood
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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268 of 322 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I am a Blind Cave Fish 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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52 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK December 4, 2007
Format:Paperback
Just what I was looking for! This book is 5/8 inch thick - exactly the same amount that one of my dining-room table's legs is short. Now, no more peas rolling away at mealtimes! Coincidence? I think not - God made it that way!

As for the contents of the book - well it would be good for a laugh is it wasn't so sad that there still are people who believe all this stuff in the 21st century.
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51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Equal Time December 3, 2007
Format:Paperback
This book is hardly balanced. I mean, can you imagine a book about intelligent design that didn't give equal time to the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Tsk tsk.
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62 of 74 people found the following review helpful
By Lufer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent Design for Idiots
A straightforward guide that is made lucid and fathomable to those attempting to understand the truth of God's magnificent universe. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bartok Kinski
4.0 out of 5 stars Evolution schmevolution
This book really helped me understand why teh all mighty god would go to such great lengths to test the true believers faith. Read more
Published on April 20, 2012 by Scott A. Trowbridge
2.0 out of 5 stars A review from Uncommon Descent
This review from Uncommon Descent sums it up:

[...]

O'Leary

... seems to have sunk like a stone:

An objective overview of the biggest... Read more
Published on March 4, 2011 by Robert Kiehn
1.0 out of 5 stars I actually ordered it, and managed to thumb my way all through it
Yes, I bought it used for very little money. You can too. And then leave this lying around. It's sure to start conversations. Read more
Published on February 12, 2009 by Michael A. Duvernois
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent Design
A straightforward guide that is made lucid and fathomable to those attempting to understand the truth of God's magnificent universe. Read more
Published on November 21, 2008 by Bartok Kinski
1.0 out of 5 stars absolute garbage with no real argument, RELIGION IS NOT SCIENCE!!!!
i must say i found this book to be somewhat amusing, and if that's your intension then go for it, buy it. Read more
Published on August 19, 2008 by D. Piscina
1.0 out of 5 stars There is no controversy
This is the great deception of the ID movement: the idea that there is a controversy. Intelligent Design is not a competitor to the Theory of Evolution. Read more
Published on July 29, 2008 by F. Wilson
1.0 out of 5 stars a guide for idiots indeed
If one wants a good example of religious dogma, intellectual dishonesty, and why americans are a laughingstock: look no further than this book.
Published on April 4, 2008 by Jieyang Hu
5.0 out of 5 stars Common sense for those with open minds
The irony of this debate is that the religious intolerance one might expect to see coming from those who believe in the devine, actually seems to come most stridently from those... Read more
Published on February 23, 2008 by Michael E. Shea
1.0 out of 5 stars "Idiot's Guide" indeed
Why would they have a chaplain write a book about what is supposed to be science? Because intelligent design is NOT science, that's why. Read more
Published on February 9, 2008 by A Book Reviewer
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Book is Far From "Objective"
The comment "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... Read more
Apr 28, 2007 by The Professor |  See all 13 posts
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