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But Is It Science? The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy, Updated Edition Paperback – December 30, 2008
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About the Author
Michael Ruse (Tallahassee, FL) is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University and the author or editor of The Stem Cell Controversy; Cloning: Responsible Science or Technomadness?; Taking Darwin Seriously; Philosophy of Biology; and But Is It Science?, among many other works.
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Top Customer Reviews
As one of the reviewers who actually read the book, I will say that it is quite worthwhile. The initial article that seemed to have given one exasperated reviewer such trouble was simply Bishop Paley's famous 1805 Blind Watchmaker argument for a creator as first cause. His inclusion of the eye as an example of argument from design is famous, and has stuck with the creationists ever since. Its inclusion in the book was important.
Included articles discuss the history and development of Darwinian theory, the essence of evolutionary and creationist mechanisms (Yes, there is a creationist article in the book, by Gish), and the philosophy of science surrounding both evolution in general, and, towards the book's end, an extensive philosophical analysis of the trial arguments. I found the discussions of the trial to be fascinating.
The sophistication and topics of the essays vary widely, and I would not recommend this book as an initial introduction for the layman. An excellent book to be read first or concurrently with "But Is It Science", would be "Abusing Science", by the noted philosopher of science, Phillip Kitcher. That book covers the basic mechanics and philosophy of evolutionist/creationist theory in any easy to understand, but reasonably thorough way.
The transcript of Ruse's trial testimony and his description of his involvement in the legal battle are among the best readings - concise, thorough, readable - available for clarifying why creationism is not science, and what it means to be "scientific".
For me, I'm not interested in reading a chapter of Darwin again, Paley's watchmaker argument, Genesis, or a paper written over 100 years ago. I'm more interested in recent attempts/arguments to establish what is/isn't science, gray areas, and the like. My thinking was this book would involve that but instead it's just a collection of papers. It seems to be thrown together sort of haphazardly where the editors (before or after a paper) don't discuss how one paper leads to the next.
If you've read about evolution, the creation science debate, and the like the first half up to three fourths of this book won't interest you. If you're completely new where you know nothing about the debate, court cases, and the like, I'd suggest getting it. I just personally find reading papers from a hundred years ago normally pointless compared with how much progress has been made and time being better spent reading up to date information.
As a philosophy instructor emeritus,and with a special interest in the philosophy of science,I could easily relate to Part III: Intelligent Design Creationism and the Kitzmiller case. In that section, the articles by Pennock, Judge John Jones II, and Elliot Sober on why intelligent design creationsm is not science, were clear,detailed and fair. The book did allow the creationst point of view (Larry Laudan, Michael Behe, Philip Johnson, et.al.)so others could read and evaluate their positions.
The last chapter in Part III by Pennock touched on the old problem of demarcation between science and non-science(pseudo-science in particular) and on the conditions necessary and /or sufficient to distinguish between the two areas.
The book is pretty much the "bible" on the creation/evolution issue,at least regarding the legality of teaching some form of creationism in the public schools. I would highly recommend the book to anyone, especially creationists of various kinds.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read this for class. Enjoyed the authors quite a bit as I agreed with their viewpoints for the most part. Fun time.Published 22 months ago by Feiku
Michael Ruse (born 1940) is a philosopher of science who teaches at Florida State University, and has written/edited books such as Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA, But Is It... Read morePublished on May 1, 2013 by Steven H Propp
Although not published until 1996, "But Is It Science?" concerns primarily the Arkansas creationism court trial of 1982, and most of the papers were written around that time. Read morePublished on May 13, 2007 by Harry Eagar
This book presents a nicely edited group of scientific writings, including the opening words of the book of Genesis. Read morePublished on September 21, 2006 by Barbara L. Lemaster
Life is simple in the world of Michael Ruse
1) Only true scientists are entitled to question evolution
2) Creationists are not true... Read more
Even for a Darwin skeptic this is a useful collection of pieces dealing with Darwinism, and also includes material on Karl Popper, along with the philosopher of science Laudan on... Read morePublished on February 16, 2004 by John C. Landon