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Defending Evolution: A Guide To The Evolution/Creation Controversy Paperback – October 30, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 1st edition (October 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780763711184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763711184
  • ASIN: 0763711187
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,806,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"At last a book to help teachers cope with antievolutionism...Defending Evolution should be on every teacher's bookshelf." -- Eugene C. Scott, Director, National Center for Science Education

"This book becomes a vital document in one of the most important issues of our age." -- Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Zoology and Geology, Harvard

"This book should be in the hands of every educator dealing with the subject of evolution." -- Ernst Mayr, Emeritus Professor of Zoology, Harvard

About the Author

Brian J. Alters, Ph.D. lead author, holds appointments internationally at McGill University, Montreal, where he was recently names William Dawson Scholar, and at Harvard University, Cambridge. Dr. Alters is Director of the newly created Evolution Education Research Centre.

Sandra M. Alters, Ph.D. is a former Associate Professor of Biology and Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and former Associate Professor of Biology at Salem State College (MA). Dr. Alters has authored three textbooks in addition to her most recent, Understanding Life, 3/e, and has written over 60 chapters and features in books about biology, evolution, and science education.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Todd I. Stark VINE VOICE on April 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is probably the single best guide for helping biology teachers deal practically and realistically with the annoying anti-evolution politics that have been waged against their job.
While Moore's "From Genesis to Genetics" does a good job presenting the case for evolution to non-scientists, this book, Defending Evolution, does a far better job pointing out that anti-evolutonists are not all Bible thumping fundamentalists or even anti-scientists. This book also does a somewhat better job explaining why evolutionary theory is useful in biology, rather than just stating the case.
It is a deplorable fact that history has made the teaching of evolutionary science a "separation of Church and State" issue, almost as if evolutionary science were inherently atheistic, or anti-relgious. Some evolution writers have played right into this by linking their own anti-religious views to the defense of Darwin. One of the wonderful things about this book is that it manages to defend evolutionary theory science without attacking religion or the basis of most people's religious beliefs. This is far from an easy task, as many other authors have discovered.
Defending Evolution takes the confusions over evolution seriously rather than just discounting them as wrong, and patiently explains how biological science has resolved each of them. That makes this a very helpful teachers' guide, rather than just another polemic about how science is being abused.
Most importantly, this book does not make the mistake made by many others, equating anti-evolutionism with religion and then going off on an anti-religion argument.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Dave Matson on January 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here is the perfect handbook for the biology teacher who is under community pressure to tone down or eliminate the subject of evolution! The purpose of this book is not to review the volumnous evidence for biological evolution, as apparently assumed by one confused reviewer, but to aid the classroom teacher in understanding the creationist phenomena and in helping his or her students overcome the many basic misconceptions surrounding the subject.
The nature and roots of anti-evolution feeling in the U.S., the common misunderstandings students have about evolution, aids to teaching evolution, the nature of science, the importance of learning about evolution, religious considerations, educational considerations, and even significant court decisions are some of subjects covered.
Many teachers will welcome the thorough and thoughtful answers given to the usual, basic questions asked by students. Such questions often reflect a complete misunderstanding of science and/or evolution -- and may even be taken from creationist literature with the intention of intimidating the teacher and ridiculing evolution. Such questions often touch on deep issues and they certainly deserve careful answers.
This is a handbook that every thoughtful, biology teacher ought to have. I give it a "5".
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Alters' title says it clearly. Teaching science in public schools has changed from subdued academic studies to open battle. The invaders are Christian "creationists" seeking the overthrow of one science - biology. The defenders are teachers of biology. This invaluable book provides a shield of nearly insurmountable strength for educators under siege. The shield, however, isn't war-like propaganda. It is a reasoned analysis of the problem teachers face and some advice on how to deal with it. Of course, the information provided is applicable to a wider audience, even those crusading against evolution by natural selection and the memory of Charles Darwin can gain value from it. The value of this book goes far beyond the classroom. It leads to many issues every society must address and resolve - but with reason, evidence and explanation, not dogmas.
The authors present a straightforward, unemotional description of how Christian creationists think, argue and attack Darwin and evolution by natural selection. They cover the many publications, speeches and other products of creationist sources such as the Institution for Creation Research. The initial segments of the book are an attempt to educate the educators on what they might be confronted with in the classroom and auditorium. They stress that the campaigns are many and varied in technique. There is no single thrust of argument creationists present, because their own beliefs are inconsistent and often self-contradictory. Teachers must be fully prepared to cope with this wide spectrum of opinion. They further note that the teachers' position is made more difficult by the fact they are contending with dogma, not science, in a curriculum based on scientific evidence. It is an arena of apples and oranges.
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