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Evolution: A Theory In Crisis Paperback – August 9, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Denton pursues his avowed purpose, to critique the Darwinian model of evolution, in a manner alternately fascinating and tiresome. He details legitimate questions, some as old as Darwin's theory, some as new as molecular biology, but he also distorts or misrepresents other "problems." For example, he falls into the classic typological trap: organisms with the same name are all the same. He has Euparkeria as the closest possible ancestor of Archaeopteryx, thus displaying either ignorance or disregard for discoveries over the past two decades. He misunderstands or willfully misrepresents the nature of a cladogram as opposed to a phylogeny. Much of the book reads like creationist prattle, but there are also some interesting points. For informed readers. Walter P. Coombs, Jr., Biology Dept., Western New England Coll., Springfield, Mass.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Adler & Adler; 3rd edition (August 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091756152X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0917561528
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Matt on February 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I just wanted to provide a clarification for the benefit of the readers. Several of the reviewers have implied that Denton is a Creationist or a member of the teleological design movement. That is untrue. Denton makes it very clear that he believes there are natural causes for life that have yet to be discovered. He believes that life can not be completely explained by Neo Darwinian evolution but makes no claims that it was specially created.

In an interview he is quoted as saying

"There are various forms of teleological theories, extending from Creationist intervention theories to nature mysticism. But these theories are (I don't want to be derogatory) an occultist type of theory. You can't really find any evidence that such phenomena are operating in nature, but you can see that natural selection can operate. This is a great strength of Darwinism. Although I think it is totally incapable of accounting for the broad picture, the complex adaptations required by the tree of life, it's certainly capable of generating a certain degree of evolutionary change. That is its great strength."

It is very clear throughout Denton's book that he considers creationism to be a myth and teleological design in general to be unscientific.

In his own words, Creation and design hypotheses in general are an "occultism type of theory."

So the accusation that he wrote this book with a certain philosophical priori in mind are unfair and inaccurate.

As to the criticism that Denton offers no alternative to Neo Darwinian theory, I can only say that that's a very large burden to place ont he shoulders of one man. Scientific revolutions are rarely made by a single individual.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mike Fredenburg on October 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
I first read Michael Denton's book shortly after it came out in 1986. Since then I have read many other books on the subject including Michael Behe's excellent book "Darwin's Black Box."

Contrary to what some reviews might claim reading Behe's books or Denton's book is not an either or question. In fact they are very complementary and I would recommend that anyone interested in the issue of Intelligent design vs random chance and billions of years read Denton's book first as it is an overall better introduction to the debate.

Evolution: A Theory in Crisis starts off describing Darwin's voyages aboard the HMS Beagle and explains quite powerfully how Darwin came to believe in natural selection as a driving force for evolution. Denton also eloquently shows how the fact that Darwin's theory was used to justify white / European superiority to what the Europeans of the day considered to be the lesser races. Denton then methodically proceeds to give us a well-written and detailed overview of the many disciplines that touch on this debate and some of the problems they face in making a case for Macro evolution.

While Denton does mention the Bible in the context of describing the thinking of pre-Darwin times, his critique of current evolutionary thinking comes from the basis of science.

While one might be tempted to think that since "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" was written in 1986 it is out of date, if so one would be wrong in that Denton's critiques of the various flawed approaches that attempt to validate purely naturalist evolution are still 100 percent valid, with one possible exception. That exception being Denton's view on the Molecular Clock theory of evolution.
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213 of 292 people found the following review helpful By Karen on November 26, 1997
Format: Paperback
Denton's book is a first-rate critique of contemporary versions of Darwinism and is filled with original and compelling arguments. The usual suspects have, naturally, attacked the book with the usual generic accusations, but don't be mislead: "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" is not a defense of "Scientific Creationism" and definitely does not go wrong in easy and obvious ways. It is a penetrating account of features of the natural world that mutation and natural selection are simply inadequate to explain. From biochemistry to the fossil record, Denton systematically demolishes the "fact" of evolution as a sufficient explanation for the world as it is. Denton doesn't deny that evolution occurs; he is, for example, sanguine about the "horse series." He claims, however, that evolution, taken as mutation and natural selection, is no more than a partial answer. His his explication and analysis of the avian respiratory system is as convincing as anything in Mike Behe's book. Some have tried to explain away problems in evolution as owing to the paucity of human imagination, but Denton doesn't merely ask, "How could this have evolved?" e.g., the feather, avian respiration, etc. He argues positively that certain features cannot have evolved, that intermediate forms are not just difficult to imagine, they are impossible. There are those who judge books critical of evolution without actually reading them, evidently considering that to be needless toil. They "know" that evolution is true and explains everything, and therefore "know" that all critics have bad motives and worse education. Those who find that they need actually to read a book in order to fairly judge it will find Denton reasonable, extremely well-informed, clear, readable and thought-provoking. I highly recommend "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis."
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