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Evolution, Creationism, And Other Modern Myths Paperback – June 1, 2004
History To Repeat & Some To Not
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His treatment of evolutionist theory and scientists who defend evolution is fraught with ad hominem attacks, sarcasm, nastiness and rhetorical questions. His references to evolutionist theorists such as Stephen Gould characterize them as "self-appointed high priests of evolution" and the like; on the other hand theologians and ID theorists get "the great Swedish theologian...", "the great German theologian...", or "respected theorist Behe..." (a totally scientifically discredited creationist).
Why? Because attacking evolution theory, attacking even Western creationism and religion, paves the way to give equal credit with science to non-Western legends, fables, and oral history. To paraphrase many jurists who say of oral contracts, such "science" is not worth the paper it's printed on.
Now, I have written articles and made presentations arguing DeLoria's point from my own perspective -- I DO believe there is much in Non-Western oral history and culture that presages modern science, and much that can be gained by melding western and non-western views, especially for ecological studies. What I object to is the constant sarcasm and lack of respect for scientists who hold views that DeLoria clearly disagrees with -- skip the snotty attitude and personal attacks (which do not exist even for the western creationist/Christians he also clearly disdains).Read more ›
Deloria shares the basic rhetorical strategy of ID, considering as a conceptual unit the biological theory of natural selection and the cultural values widely associated with evolution, such as the Victorian ideal of social progress. This is part of the widespread assumptions that Deloria is criticizing. It is this combined notion of "emergent change" Deloria seems to refer to when he talks about the "myth of evolution," which often makes his view of evolution very different from Darwin's. If this had been a 19th century treatise on cultural assumptions surrounding the acceptance of Darwin's theories, it would have some remarkable insights. However, as a critique of biology and creationism in the 21st century it seems quaint at best.Read more ›
Still, this book is valuable and worth reading today. He makes many accurate critiques of how science does what it does, and just as many of how religion does what it does. The answer to the question of "evolution or creation or something else?" still eludes us. This book marks a milestone along the path to figuring out this huge puzzle.
Deloria's genius wanders. You'd have to take his whole body of writing and cut and paste it into topics that develop slowly enough for most of us to get his train of thought. But here are a couple trains I picked out:
Native understanding is willing to tolerate both a scientific perspective and a religious (mythological) perspective AT THE SAME TIME! One example of this is where Deloria tells about some early reports of natives of different tribes meeting for the first time. The tribes would tell each other their stories including their creation myths. One tribe might say that the world was created by two deities, another tribe might say one. One tribe might say it was created as an accident from something the deities were doing unrelated, another tribe might say it was created deliberately. Hearing views different from their own did not infuriate them. It enriched them. They felt richer by having more perspectives!
The message is, perspectives need not exclude one another. Neither is science "right" and religion "wrong," nor the other way, according to Deloria.
Gems like this make each of Deloria's books worth reading and re-reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was looking for more direct history and myth tales directly from the American Indian point of view. Mr. Read morePublished 7 months ago by L. E. Gibson
I purchased this book with the hope of getting the native american viewpoint on the subject, and hopefully a different perspective. Read morePublished on September 18, 2012 by Robert Krampf
I have red most of Vine Deloria's books, my favorite being God Is Red. I read most of them 15 years ago and loved them. Read morePublished on February 26, 2011 by Cactus Ed
There is a good reason why so many used copies of this book are available from Amazon.com for as little as $5. I would gladly give away my copy. Read morePublished on August 21, 2008 by Patrice Cole
Mr. Deloria's scholarship is sound. I've looked at many of his references and it appears that he's been thorough and fair--his critics and reviewers here have not been! Read morePublished on August 5, 2007 by S. Seigel
I was hoping to find an intelligent critique of evolution and fundamentalist Christianity in here, but was sadly disappointed. Read morePublished on April 17, 2007 by P. Oski
I very much enjoyed the vehement imbicility of the various negative/derogative reviews that have been belched forth so vitrolicly against Deloria's superb work: Evolution,... Read morePublished on November 21, 2006 by Morpheus
As one reviewer said, "The author, in what seems to be an attempt to make the two groups equivalent, states that both creationists and scientists require us to take things on... Read morePublished on October 21, 2005 by W. M. Haynes
If you are interested in the argument between evolution and creation, especially as it is taught in the public schools, you MUST read this book.
Why? Read more