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Evolution, Creationism, And Other Modern Myths Paperback – June 4, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

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American Indian scholar Deloria has an unerring eye for the secret assumptions of American culture. In Red Earth, White Lies (1995) and God Is Red (1973), he unpacked the religious and mythological baggage that burdens Americans. Here he extends that shrewd analysis to acknowledge another kind of myth--science--as he argues that both sides in the evolution-versus-creationism debate are wrong. Far from submitting to a simple, we-are-right-and-they-are-wrong resolution, this intellectual duel finds only mistaken orthodoxies in the field, for creationism has no scientific basis, but evolution is far from proven. Indeed, Deloria argues that scientists routinely bury evidence against evolution in order to remain within the fold of scientific orthodoxy. The situation isn't that different from that of those who argue the ostensibly religious point of view, one that Deloria is quick to point out represents the creation myth of only a minority. What, he suggests, if the many cultures that have focused on emergence rather than creation are correct? What if the earth has been formed by a series of catastrophes, the memory of which is encoded in the many myths of worlds extant before this one? Certain to be controversial, likely to outrage the faithful of both camps, and a stunning good read. Patricia Monaghan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"Certain to be controversial; likely to outrage the faithful of both camps; and a stunning good read."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing (June 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555914586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555914585
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,655,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. R.P. Forsberg on October 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
DeLoria is an author I have always respected, and there is much in this book to praise, but the presentation of some views and his critique of them is clearly biased and designed to promote a postmodern view of science and culture in which fables, stories and legends are equally as valid as results reached through experimentation and testing in science.

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).
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66 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Todd I. Stark VINE VOICE on February 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Deloria argues that any current understanding of complex science and any form of dogmatic "fundamentalism" are roughly equally flawed and that the middle path with heart is a spiritual intelligent design view. Deloria points out various of what he claims are widespread (yet supposedly hidden) assumptions of Western religion and Western science, and offers his own take on Native American folk wisdom and other traditions rather than natural selection as the universal acid that explains it all. His view is a hybrid of intelligent design creationism and catastrophism, where meaningful interventions and catastrophes reflect a spiritual dimension to nature.
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.
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20 of 30 people found the following review helpful By S. Seigel on August 5, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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!

Sadly many of the other critics are apparently either died-in-the-wool evolutionists or else religious folks. Deloria is truly neither, and that is his charm and the source of his brilliance. He is a native American spiritist which is less than ideal. Optimally I'd prefer an agnostic Supreme Court Cheif Justice or a world renowned mathemetician or even the world chess champion.

In short, Deloria clearly demonstrates that creationism, evolutionism and every other theory or myth of our origins is not and cannot truly be rigorous science. He argues convicingly that the only reason we place any emphasis on evolution in science is because scientists feel compelled to take issue with the almost ubiquitous belief in some sort of creator.

As an honest scientist I feel that everyone should give this book and its central concepts a fair reading. We all accept that a disproof of existence is effectively impossible. Why, then, should we all invest so much in a theory that gives us so little. While categorization and adaptation are valuable in themselves, there is nothing of predictive or constructive value to Darwin's theory that we should invest so much of our time and resources trying to support it.

In fact, working to support (rather than to refute) a theory is, by definition, bad science.

Vine Deloria is finally asking the right questions. His is not a political book, but a very sound and very important criticism of what science is and what is is becoming. We can't afford to abandon the enlightenment in order to devote our inquiries soley to supporting pet affections!

Required reading!
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