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Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism, and the Nature of Science 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0878936595
ISBN-10: 0878936599
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Massimo PigliucciÂ’s finest work to date. Â… a penetrating, timely analysis of why the controversy still exists..." -- Shawn Dawson, Free Inquiry

... buy, beg or borrow it and read it before you next find yourself caught up in the ‘debate.’" -- John S. Edwards, Integrative and Comparative Biology

Denying Evolution is informative, interesting, and here and there entertaining. It has my strongest recommendation." -- William D. Anderson, Jr., Copeia

It is multifaceted, fascinating, and essential. -- Brian Alters, The Quarterly Review of Biology

Pigliucci presents the most powerful and readable treatise on the evolution–creationism debate to come along in decades. --Michael Shermer, Publisher, Skeptic magazine, and Contributing Editor, Scientific American

The book is written for an audience who needs no background in the subject to begin enjoying it; once finished, however, readers will have extensive knowledge. It is multifaceted, fascinating, and essential. Everyone involved in science research, science education, and education policy (including politicians) should not only read the work, but encourage others to do likewise. --Brian Alters, The Quarterly Review of Biology

Massimo Pigliucci s finest work to date. ... a penetrating, timely analysis of why the controversy still exists. ... Overall, Denying Evolution possesses a subtlety, breadth, and sensitivity to nonscientific issues that is pleasantly reminiscent of the likes of Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould which is no small praise indeed. ... Simply put, Denying Evolution is probably the most insightful book on the evolution creationism topic to come out in years, and it is highly recommended. --Shawn Dawson, Free Inquiry

The book is written for an audience who needs no background in the subject to begin enjoying it; once finished, however, readers will have extensive knowledge. It is multifaceted, fascinating, and essential. Everyone involved in science research, science education, and education policy (including politicians) should not only read the work, but encourage others to do likewise. --Brian Alters, The Quarterly Review of Biology

Massimo Pigliucci s finest work to date. ... a penetrating, timely analysis of why the controversy still exists. ... Overall, Denying Evolution possesses a subtlety, breadth, and sensitivity to nonscientific issues that is pleasantly reminiscent of the likes of Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould which is no small praise indeed. ... Simply put, Denying Evolution is probably the most insightful book on the evolution creationism topic to come out in years, and it is highly recommended. --Shawn Dawson, Free Inquiry

About the Author

MASSIMO PIGLIUCCI, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Sinauer Associates; 1 edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878936599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878936595
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,512,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Massimo Pigliucci is a Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. His research is concerned with philosophy of science, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the nature of pseudoscience.

He received a Doctorate in Genetics from the University of Ferrara in Italy, a PhD in Botany from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee. He has published over a hundred technical papers and several books. Prof. Pigliucci has been awarded the prestigious Dobzhansky Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution. He has been elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science "for fundamental studies of genotype by environmental interactions and for public defense of evolutionary biology from pseudoscientific attack."

In the areas of outreach and critical thinking, Prof. Pigliucci has published in national magazines such as Skeptic, Skeptical Inquirer, Philosophy Now, and The Philosopher's Magazine, among others. He has also been elected as a Consultant for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Pigliucci pens the "Rationally Speaking" blog (rationallyspeaking.org), and co-hosts the Rationally Speaking podcast.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When Massimo Pigliucci speaks about science and creationism, he knows what he's talking about. Denying Evolution reflects his expertise as both a scientist and a committed anticreationist. He is no ivory-tower academic.

Pigliucci covers important bases. He sets the historical context of the creation/evolution controversy and provides an analysis of anti-evolution in its most current form: intelligent design (ID) creationism. Although he explains the varieties of creationism, he correctly recognizes ID as the most troublesome and discusses it at some length. He also devotes a chapter to the anti-intellectualism that has always plagued American culture, explaining much of the resistance to evolution. He follows with a chapter devoted to the nature of science. One of his best chapters is "Creationist Fallacies," in which he deconstructs eleven common misunderstandings of science and evolution.

Yet Pigliucci is fair, refusing to exempt scientists from criticism. He chides them for underestimating the intelligence of creationists, recommending that scientists develop not only greater sympathy for creationists' desire for answers to "fundamental questions," but a better understanding of their own discpline's shortcomings. He offers practical recommendations for addressing the creationism problem with research about how humans learn. But he also recommends attitudinal changes----my personal favorite is "Scientists must come down from the ivory tower!" Finally, he includes valuable appendices: excerpts from David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, in which Hume dissects the argument for design, and William Jennings Bryan's last speech. Readers familiar with ID will note here many of the objections to evolution made by major ID proponents.
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I have to give this book a less than perfect rating because I'm not quite sure what was the purpose of the book. I bought the book, thinking it was a manual on arguing with Creationists, but then I found a disclaimer clause in the book stating that it was not.
"What good is half an eye?" Creationists ask us this question over and over, and I would like to answer it. Pigliucci only gives us is a reference to a journal article on this question.
How can we answer the numerous arguments in "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe? Pigliucci provides some rebuttal, but not much. Rather, he tosses off this responsibility by referring us to the talkorigins Website. I appreciate the references, but I had hoped to do all my shopping in one stop.
And how about another tough challenger--"Icons of Evolution" by Jonathan Wells? He spends a few pages on this book, but not enough. He uses technical terms which he doesn't define, and he hastily presents arguments without clearly spelling out each premise.
Is this book a history of the Creationist-Evolutionist dispute? It seems that way somewhat, but it doesn't stick to that subject either.
But it's an interesting book, and a very informative book. That's why I give it an almost perfect rating.
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I've been looking for book recommendations from people online in the creation-evolution-design debate for books to give to people new to the online debate in order to bring them up to speed as quickly as possible. This book got into my reading list as a result of such recommendations, reading it through was made possible but the well above average writing ability and the excellent way the author handles the material. At this point, it is my first recommendation to people joining the discussion, not perfect but very good for the purpose. It's a worth-the-time to read and understand 6 star book.

The author seems to have two purposes for writing the book. The first is as an introduction to the CED debate, the second is rather muted but it looks like an argument for his more radical skepticism, which has as a primary target the skepticism regarding gods. I think he tones down what is probably a big thing with him, in order to reach more people and to make his book more successful. I see he has other books, i'll read then soon to see. There was only one big place towards the end that dealt strongly with the issue, i suspect that towards the end he had lost most of the more conservative believers in God anyhow, at that point talking to rather convinced skeptics. The other small places were as always little irritants but excusible in the mass of what is well done and worthwhile to read.

It's addressed to interested parties, but i don't think many creationists will wade through it, just too cognitively dissonant for them, rats, they are the ones that need it the most, isn't that always the way it seems? A little sad, for of all the potential readers they are the ones who would benefit the most from the book.
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1 Comment 14 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This book is a discussion of the Creationist/Evolution polemic. It includes:

* A discussion of the Scopes trial with William Jennings Bryan's final speech which is a critical read for the understanding of the Creationist mindset. In 1925 Bryan was saying the same thing Creationists are saying now. The argument is based on faith and not on a theory facts derived from over a century of scientific research.

* The book proceeds to the history of the science/ religion discussion including a continuum of thought from "Flat Earth" believers to scientific adherents. Included here is a discussion of Hume's Dialogues in which he disproves Intelligent Design.

* Creationists have long been guilty of muddying the waters of the discussion by using a pseudo science to bolster their claims. He discusses Intelligent Design which suggests that a force more powerful than humans created the world. Pigliucci renders the arguments impotent The arguments of William Dembski, Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe are successfully refuted. It is done it without malice but with authority. He discusses argumentative fallacies on the part of both sides. His discussion here is not hard on Creationist fallacies and easy on Evolution.

* There is an entire chapter on the dangers of anti-intellectualism fueled by radio talk shows that essentially says that intellectuals cannot see the forest for the trees and that is when likes of O'Reilly can point Americans in the right (literally) direction.

I do take issue with the description of Nowak, Page and Sigmund's study-"Ultimatum Game" to show how Mathematical evolutionary theory applied to ethics.
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