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Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives

3.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262661249
ISBN-10: 0262661241
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is a terrific one-volume summary of the scientific, philosophical and theological issues." Scientific American

About the Author

Robert T. Pennock is Professor in the Lyman Briggs College and the Departments of Philosophy and Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University. He is a Co-PI of the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action.
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Product Details

  • Series: Bradford Books
  • Paperback: 825 pages
  • Publisher: A Bradford Book (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262661241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262661249
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC) is the latest manifestation of anti-evolutionism, a social movement which owes it's roots to pre-Darwinian opposition to the idea of transmutation of species. As with Victorian opposition to evolution, IDC is more concerned with the (putative) social implications of the acceptance of evolution than with the fact that the theory is both scientifically and philosophically sound. The acceptance of evolution is seen as a manifestation of the rampant materialism and naturalism of modern Western culture, and IDC advocates ask practising scientists to replace methodological naturalism (the idea that, while the supernatural may exist, one must exclude supernatural explanation within _scientific_ discourse) with a view that allows the Divine to be used as an explanation whenerver science cannot explain a phenomenon.
Rob Pennock - a philosopher at Michigan State University - has followed his extremely useful "Tower of Babel" with this collection of IDC pieces and responses from more "mainstream" scientists, philosophers and theologians. Pennock is unbiased, allowing both sides to present their case, and the collection contains many articles that were previously only found in academic journals. As such, the volume will be highly useful to individuals on _both_ sides of this issue.
As an educator, I have used Pennock's first book in class and both students and I have profited from his insights and clarity. I only regret that this volume was not in print when I ordered books for the coming semester. He, and MIT Press, are to be congratulated for making this resource available to educators and the general public.
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Format: Paperback
This is a truly useful and comprehensive compendium of articles on both sides of the divide between evolution and ID/creationism. It isn't a fair, evenly split group of articles, a point made openly and up front by the Editor, Robert Pennock. Nonetheless, both sides are presented in their own words with no editing or rewriting of essays, allowing you to judge for yourself. The various articles range from detailed philosophical analyses of ID/creationist positions, to (sometimes contentious) give and take between writers on each side. The articles are telling in their description and analyses of the foundations of the ID/creationist positions and readily show how shallow they are. What comes through from most of the opponents of evolution is their truly shallow understanding of the incredible depth of evidence from multiple disciplines that supports the basic idea of evolution. Even the scientists on the ID side seem to have only a single idea from which they develop their criticism but which never addresses the breadth of data available. Unfortunately, neither here nor elsewhere have I found a really accessible discussion of the total evidence from all disciplines that bears on evolution. Perhaps the closest is Carl Zimmer's book based on the PBS series. The highlights of the book include the opening article by Barbara Forrest that clearly outlines the "Wedge" strategy and the totally religious basis of ID/creationism and does so virtually completely in the words those who favor ID/creationist views. It's rather hard for ID/creationist proponents to deny its religious basis when they themselves state it explicitly. Another is the article by Nancey Murphy critiquing Philip Johnson's arguments.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I want to restate from the product description (and from Pennock's own introduction to this volume): It serves as a companion to Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism For those pretending on either side that this volume should be "balanced" either didn't bother to read the product description (and the introduction) or are internally deluded as to what a book should be. I know of few books, films, articles that are in fact 'balanced', and typically the over emphasis on balance makes a work typically not useful.

I freely admit that I have not read the work that this was intended to be a companion to, namely Pennock's Tower of Babel. So I am not quite sure that I can say that this volume is useful in that arena. Unfortunately though, most reviews of this volume seem to be reviewing the content (namely the ISSUE of ID/Creationism vs Critics) rather than the utility of this volume.

As the title of my review suggests, this volume is NOT for the weak. It is a long, hard read. One truly needs to be dedicated to going through all the essays giving them a fair reading and thoughtful digesting to actually get out of this book what it offers.

Particularly difficult was section VII, ID and Information. I struggled for hours upon hours trying to decode the essays in this section. The arcana of Information Theory left me feeling as if the authors (on BOTH sides) were trying to prove (or disprove) God's existence through statistics, reminding me of the joke about statisticians going hunting:

"One hunter shot at the duck 1 yard too high. One hunter shot at the duck 1 yard too low. The third statistician yelled "We got him!
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