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Doubting Darwin: Creationist Designs on Evolution Paperback – April 16, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Technically sound in both philosophy of science and evolutionary theory, [Sarkar] appreciates the social responsibility of this position. He is not afraid to wade into a charged political atmosphere. It would make a wonderful textbook for an undergraduate course in either biology or philosophy, and could also be effectively used as a jumping off point into a deeper exploration of a host of topics. My copy will be close at hand on my bookshelf when ID creationists present themselves at my door.” (Bioscience, December 2008)

“This is a clear and judicious book … Sarkar is to be praised for his nuanced and balanced presentation of the arguments and issues he discusses.” (Kaleidoscope)

“Sarkar’s concise, elegant prose allows him to enlighten and engage readers on every topic…a must read for anyone interested in following the debate...” (Choice)

Review

"This is a splendid discussion of the whole question of ID. Get this book and read it."
–Michael Ruse, review for National Center for Science Education

“Sarkar’s scientific expositions and dissections of Dembski’s specious arguments and Behe’s lack of imagination are clear, surgical, and authoritative. For those who would fear a return to the middle ages, this is the best critique of ID now available.”
–William Wimsatt, University of Chicago

“Part history, part science, and part philosophy, Doubting Darwin? is a deft critique of the new creationism. Sahotra Sarkar hits all the main points with economy and the broad knowledge of a scientist-philosopher.”
–Jeffrey Shallit, University of Waterloo

“The West’s simultaneous loyalty to Christianity and science is a cognitive dissonance in our culture as a whole, most prominently manifested in the Intelligent Design Movement. Sahotra Sarkar’s book is a welcome attempt to apply cognitive therapy to our culture, by talking us through the contradictions in intelligent design.”
–David Wolpert, Senior Computer Scientist at NASA

“Sahotra Sarkar lucidly and comprehensively dismantles Intelligent Design creationism in the most powerful way: by explaining the biology. This book summarizes the theory and philosophy of evolution with depth and insight, and in a way that sharply refutes the objections of creationism.”
–P. Z. Myers, PhD, University of Minnesota, Morris, and author of Pharyngula Blog

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (April 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405154918
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405154918
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,248,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By John Duncan on July 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
It is easy to dismiss the farrago of nonsense that passes for the theory of intelligent design as so obviously silly that it is not worth wasting any time analysing it. A weaker version of this position is to recognize that Michael Behe does have some scientific qualifications, so one ought to make the effort to analyse his arguments, but not to waste time on other creationists, most notably William Dembski, who have no relevant qualifications at all. However, even the weaker course plays into the hands of those who claim that there is a vast conspiracy of orthodox scientists to deny alternative views a fair hearing, and Sahotra Sarkar has done science a great service by examining the main claims of intelligent design in careful detail.

Dembski's explanatory filter, for example, is supposed to supply a logical frame for choosing between regularity, chance and design, but, as Sarkar explains, the rules for applying the filter are set up in such a way that rejecting design as the explanation is never offered as a possibility. Essentially anything that allows rejection of regularity and chance leads inexorably to design. Worse than that, design itself is not adequately defined: we all know, of course, that it is a coded way of saying creation by God, but we are not supposed to say that.

Sarkar provides numerous examples to dispose of the conspiracy theory, showing that serious challenges to the current orthodoxy have always been addressed seriously, without any suggestion that unwelcome proposals should just be ignored. Charles Darwin himself -- ignorant of Mendelian genetics, which could have provided him with an escape route -- treated Fleeming Jenkin's objections to natural selection with all seriousness.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Colin Kline on June 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In this arena of Evolutionary Theory vs 'Intelligent' Design, there is often found a lot of 'shouting' and trading of insults, i.e., playing the man instead of the ball.

And there are also found clearly identifiable false propositions, and unsubstantiated claims.

SARKAR has eminent qualifications in Biology, Environmentalism, Philosophy, and Philosophy of Science.

He is no 'amateur ranter', as can often crop up in this topic.

Alas, he cannot resist sliding in the debating knife when he finds a weakness in his opponents argument(s).

It may have been better if he just demolished the argument(s) - as he does so profoundly and universally - and let the dialog speak for itself.

He is not the first to identify the egregious and weaseling lies offered by William DEMBSKI's publications, but he makes these falsities more transparent for the lay reader, in a topic that necessarily becomes quite technical.

Whatever axioms a reader might bring to this modern debate, this book and author are a "must read" before jumping in to the arena for combat.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Saganite VINE VOICE on June 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This rather technical (think roughly Scientific American as opposed to New Scientist magazines) response to the putative "arguments" for intelligent design provides a thorough refutation of this form of creationism. It does this without claiming too much for science (there are frank admissions about the gaps in our understanding of certain mechanisms, but no problems that cannot at the least be solved in principle). It also does this with very infrequent reference to religion or the supernatural. Even though it must be acknowledged that for most intelligent design promoters, the motivation behind their support is religious, the author treats the intelligent design position as series of hypotheses that can be critically examined and tested, not as some metaphysical doctrine that cannot be falsified. Using the tools of science from peer reviewed documents, observation, field and lab work, and most especially, math and logic, it is demonstrated with cogent clarity that while there is much that seems improbable about evolutionary theory, there is nothing that is implausible, and the tenets of the theory are by far the best inference from the evidence. Intelligent design, by contrast, rests on unsupportable assumptions, gut intuition, and willing ignorance of inconvenient facts.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Phelps on April 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a high school biology teacher. I purchased this book to consider its use in my AP Biology class, but it is not suitable for this purpose. It is useful information and I will be able to insert a few of the ideas in my teaching, but much of the philosophy and mathematics is beyond my understanding.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David A. Rintoul on July 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
This slim volume packs a lot of value into its 200+ pages. Although it is one in a series of volumes on Public Philosophy, it covers not only Philosophy, but also Biology, Mathematics, Information Theory, and History. Normally one would think that such breadth of coverage would necessitate skimming the surface of each topic, but Sarkar's concise and elegant prose allows him to enlighten and engage the reader on every topic. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in following the debate between the neo-creationists (the Intelligent Design movement) and philosophers, mathematicians, and biological scientists. Here one can gather enough ammunition to combat all of the subterfuges of the neo-creationists, both at the cursory level of facts, and at the deeper level of philosophy. The bibliography is also a treasure trove for those who seek the factual and philosophical resources needed to combat the current neo-creationists, as well as the next generation. No matter how these culture warriors evolve, the information and ideas found in this book will be extremely valuable in rebutting their arguments, and disclosing their anti-intellectual underpinnings. (This review is excerpted from my review in Choice, the review journal of the American Library Association.)
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