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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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But Is It Science? The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy, Updated Edition + Evolution and Religion: A Dialogue (New Dialogues in Philosophy) + Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 577 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Updated edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591025826
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591025825
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert T. Pennock (East Lansing, MI) is a professor at Michigan State University, holding joint positions in the Lyman Briggs School of Science, the department of philosophy and computer science and engineering, and the ecology and evolutionary biology and behavior graduate program. He is the author of Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism; the editor of Intelligent Design, Creationism, and Its Critics; and many scholarly articles.

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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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on February 3, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book of readings on the evolution/creationism controversy is set within the framework of the important case of McLean vs. Arkansas that overthrew an "education equal time" law in Arkansas in 1982.
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.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Zhimbo VINE VOICE on September 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a very good starting point for anyone interested in either creation-evolution or issues in the philosophy of science. The final section - "The Philosophical Aftermath" - is pretty tough going for philopsophical neophytes, but the rest of the book has excellent background materials and lucid summaries of arguments and relevant philosophy. (Since it's a collection of materials from various sources, the quality and readability do vary - the opaqueness of the text an earlier reviewer implied really only applies to a few of the many essays and selections.)
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".
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Although the content of this book requires a great deal of understanding of the arguments between both evolutionists and creationists, I found it to be very informative.Likewise, philosophy is a very difficult discipline to read and understand at times. Ruse deliver's arguments from both the evolutionists and creationists perspectives in their published form. Upon doing so, the reader is able to discriminate between those claims that are scientific and those that are "nonscientific". I highly reccomend this book to anyone researching "The Evolution vs. Creationism" debate.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is in effect an anthology of selected writings dealing with the science vs. creationism issue. The author starts with Bishop Paley's famous blind watchmaker argument for a creator and brings the arguments up to date. As other reviewers have noted, the quality of the reading depends in some cases on the original author. However, Ruse has done a good job of including a variety of styles and levels, and a complete reading should give you a good overview of the arguments over the years. This makes a good reference book or a good reader for someone trying to familiarize themselves with the controversy. The extensive philosophical analysis of the trial arguments are indeed fascinating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul O. Ricci on December 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book in general!

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.

P.O.R.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barbara L. Lemaster on September 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book presents a nicely edited group of scientific writings, including the opening words of the book of Genesis. I did find Michael Ruse's writings on evolution to be a bit simplistic compared to Richard Dawkins, but the book stands as a good primer on the evolution versus creationism debates.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read this for class. Enjoyed the authors quite a bit as I agreed with their viewpoints for the most part. Fun time.
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