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Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate Paperback – June 1, 1990

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Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate + The Battle of Beginnings: Why Neither Side Is Winning the Creation-Evolution Debate + The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
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Editorial Reviews


'Berra's brilliant exposition offers a refreshing, lucid, and insightful view of one of the most important ideas in the history of science. After readingthis superb book, anyone with prior qualms about the scientific validity of evolution should be convinced that evolution is the explanation for the diversity of life on the planet. This is not an anti-religion book, but a very successful attempt to assist us all in understanding the scientific basis for evolution.' Donald C. Johanson, Institute of Human Origins


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804717702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804717700
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,103,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Tim M. Berra is Professor Emeritus of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University. He received the Ph.D. in Biology from Tulane University in 1969. He is a three-time recipient of Fulbright Fellowships to Australia in 1969,1979, and 2009. He taught at the University of Papua New Guinea before joining the faculty of OSU in 1972. Over the last 40 years he has spent over 8 years doing fieldwork in Australia.

He is the author of over 75 scientific papers and 6 books including Evolution and the Myth of Creationism published by Stanford University Press in 1990. His book A Natural History of Australia (Academic Press, 1998) features 200 of his color photographs, 220 line drawings and maps, and over 500 references. Freshwater Fish Distribution featuring 169 maps, 324 fish drawings and 1,700 references was published by University of Chicago Press in 2007. His latest book, Charles Darwin: The Concise Story of an Extraordinary Man, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2009 and features 60 b/w illustrations and 16 color plates.

In 1992 he was visiting professor at the University of Concepcion in Chile, and in 1996 he was visiting professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He took early retirement from The Ohio State University in July 1995 to devote full time to research and writing.

Dr. Berra is the former editor of The Ohio Journal of Science and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium where he also served on the Conservation and Collection Management Committee. He was also the ichthyological book review editor of Copeia, the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. He resigned these positions at the end of 2000 to pursue fieldwork supported by the National Geographic Society and the Columbus Zoo in Australia in 2001.

He is a member of the Board of Governors of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and Research Associate at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin, Australia where he spent most of 2001 working on the life history of the nurseryfish. He returned to Darwin in 2003, 2004, and 2005 to continue his nurseryfish research. He was back in Darwin to keynote the bicentennial celebrations of Charles Darwin's birthday at Charles Darwin University in Sept. 2009. He is University Professorial Fellow at Charles Darwin University and a Fellow of the Linnean Society. Dr. Berra's paper in BioScience (May 2010) on inbreeding in the Darwin/Wedgwood families attracted international media attention including a story in the NY Times and NPR interview.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 42 people found the following review helpful By The Spinozanator VINE VOICE on June 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
My son passed this book on to me when he was in a Catholic University. It was part of required reading in a Biology class, along with a copy of a book by Morris advocating the other viewpoint. Morris's book pretty much said, "the Bible says blah blah, blah, therefore, science is wrong." Berra's superb book began in the preface with a scathing indictment of the agenda behind Scientific Creationism - that agenda being enforcement of religious views on our educational system. In the process, Creationists misinterpret science wherever they like in order to make it fit the Bible.

As applied to Scientific Creationism, "Scientific" is a misnomer. In order to qualify as science, first , data is gathered. A "Hypothesis" based on the data is formulated. The hypothesis is tested and results are published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The hypothesis, if it passes muster so far, is subjected to retesting by other scientists with verification of the results. The hypothesis describes "how" a process works, but says nothing about "why." A "Theory" may eventually be developed which explains "why", and has a stronger meaning in science than the usual dictionary definition. To become a theory indicates general acceptance by the scientific community, may be the end result of decades or even centuries of groundwork, and is always susceptible to modification or even rejection if new data demands it. This is the scientific method that helped to bring us out of the Dark Ages. Any theory that is not subjected to these procedures does not belong in science class.
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46 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Foot Artist on July 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my sister back when she was in Junior High in 1994 because I wanted her to have the best introduction into the Evolution debate. I explained to her that in a science classroom she should expect to be taught science and science only. None of this anti-science, anti-reason, creationist propaganda that some teachers try to pass for SCIENCE. I explained that if she was interested in the creationist view of the origin of life on Earth she should attend sunday school - she never chose to do so. That's because there is something irrevocable about HARD EVIDENCE - it cannot be denied. To do so is to be willfully blind. Tim Berra eloquently explains and shows the reader why science is called that. Why anything that does not apply the SCIENTIFIC METHOD is NOT science.
Evolution and The Myth of Creationism explains its three related purposes: 1. To explain evolution to people who are genuinely confused by the claims of creationists, who try to pass fundamentalist christian beliefs as science. 2. Provide useful ammunition to the high school biology teacher or school board member who finds him or herself under attack by creationists. 3. To be a useful supplemental text for introductory college-level classes in biology, zoology, botany, or anthropology.
Tim Berra further explains that his book is blunt and to the point because "...scientists have, for too long, treated too lightly on the creationists, and have thereby fostered the impression that the creationists have a legitimate scientific voice. It is time for candor and clarity."
I would like to point out that in many instances, the fundamentalists pull quotes and distort them for their own purposes.
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23 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 1997
Format: Paperback
Several books published in the 1980s critiqued "creation-science," a movement of religious fundamentalists who maintain that science confirms a very literal, narrow interpretation of the Bible, and who aim to influence public school curricula. The Supreme Court struck down on such attempts in 1987, which is why I wonder what Berra had in mind by publishing this book in 1990. What audience was he aiming to persuade? My impression from reading the book is that he assumes the reader to be a near-scientific illiterate, for he gets heavily caught up in conveying very basic information on evolution, biology, and the history of Darwinism, all of which can be found in most textbooks. For instance, on the first page of Chapter 1, he writes: "When you walk into your bedroom and flick the light switch and nothing happens, what do you do next? Chances are, you will turn the switch on and off a few times. Even though you are not conscious of doing so, you have formed a *hypothesis*...." (asterisks indicate bold print). Sounds to me more like a documentary for high school students than a serious critique.
Berra is so caught up in overwhelming the reader with basic scientific facts, he doesn't pay enough attention to the logical reasoning that is so crucial to a polemic on any topic. For example, most critiques of creationism address the old criticism that the theory of natural selection is based on circular reasoning and that therefore explains nothing. Far from refuting this criticism, Berra's definition of natural selection unwittingly confirms it: "The creativity of natural selection involves the retention and subsequent stepwise refinement of variations that yield improved *fitness*.
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