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Science and Creationism Hardcover – January 12, 1984

ISBN-13: 978-0195032529 ISBN-10: 0195032527 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


"One of the most substantial and scholarly counterattacks against creationism to date.... Point by point, in chapter after chapter, the myths which creationists present to the public as historical facts are systematically debunked and the rhetorical devices which cloud debate on evolution are carefully exposed.... This carefully chosen collection should appeal to informed general readers."--Library Journal

"One of the strongest, most enlightened sources for understanding the present dispute and its dangerous portents."--Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

M. F. Ashley Montagu is at Princeton University.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 415 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 12, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195032527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195032529
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.2 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,873,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By KP Stark on January 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This volume edited by the late Ashley Montagu is a superbly well-rounded collection of essays that expose modern creationism as pure pseudoscience with one foot stuck in religious dogma. The essays range from well written and straightforward refutations of the common creationist arguments to what are perhaps the most interesting contents-- serious examination of what the creationists actually say about themselves. The essay by Robert Root-Bernstein contains extensive citations of creationist literature that demonstrate that creationism has nothing to do with science. For example, despite the creationist claim that what they do is science, Root-Bernstein found this statement by Henry Morris which shows that creationists have have no interest in experimentation or the scientific method, but rather insist that the Bible be used as a science textbook:
"The main trouble with catastrophist theories is there is no way to subject them to empirical test...There seems to be no restraint on imagination or speculation when catastrophism is espoused, and this is one reason why it has been in such poor repute for over 100 years. And yet catastrophism, as we have seen, is necessary. It is NOT necessary to speculate, however, since the Biblical record has provided a clear description of the causes, nature, and results of true catastrophism: The Noahic Flood.... We cannot verify it experimentally, of course, any more than any of the various other theories of catastrophism {eg. Velikovsky}, but we need no experimental verification; God has recorded it in His Word, and that should be sufficient." -- Henry Morris, Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science, Craig Press, 1970, p.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 31, 1996
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of 21 essays by various scientists, philosophers, historians, theologians, etc., about the relationships between science and creationism. A few of the essays are bad: Sidney W. Fox's essay, on research into the beginnings of life from inanimate material, is far too technical for this volume, and badly written--a fatal combination. And I have no idea what the point of Kenneth E. Boulding's "Toward an Evolutionary Theology" is supposed to be. There are other minor annoyances (mislabeled diagrams, etc.), attributable to the editing, or lack of it.
But most of the essays are very fine, and thought-provoking. It is often pointed out, for example, that by any modern definition of Science, "Creation Science" isn't Science. But George M. Marsden, in "Understanding Fundamentalist Views of Science", argues that creationist thinking is similar to--and has its roots in--Baconian science of the 17th and 18th centuries. (Personally, I think that Francis Bacon would be horrified by the bungling of "Creation Scientists".)
Included in the book is the "Decision of the Court", by Judge William R. Overton, who ruled in 1982 that Arkansas' "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act" was unconstitutional. This is simply a spectacular piece of writing, which should be required reading for anyone on either side of the Creationism/Science debate.
Creationist writers all promote some variation of the statement, "no transitional forms are found in the fossil record". False. In "Paleontologic Evidence and Organic Evolution", Roger J. Cuffey lists *hundreds* of examples of continuous sequences of transitional fossil forms, across species, genera, families, etc.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book, along with Douglas Futuyma's SCIENCE ON TRIAL and Richard Dawkins' THE BLIND WATCHMAKER, was one of my first books on creationism and evolution. Overall, I think the book is excellent; however, I found the individual essays to be of varying quality. In my opinion, Ken Miller's essay, "Scientific Creationism versus Evolution: The Mislabeled Debate," is probably the most useful essay in the entire volume. Ken Miller, a Catholic biologist, is arguably the best pro-evolution debater today. (See his recent book, FINDING DARWIN'S GOD.) Also of value were Robert Root-Bernstein's essay on demarcation criteria for distinguishing science from pseudoscience, both of Stephen Jay Gould's chapters, Isaac Asimov's illuminating chapter on the "threat" of creationism, and the text of Federal Judge William Overton's decision in the historic Arkansas case. However, other chapters were lass valuable. In particular, I think Roger Cuffey's bibliographic essay, "Paleontologic Evidence and Organic Evolution," will be worthless to almost everyone except specialists. Similarly, I was also disapppointed by the contributions of Sidney Fox and L. Beverly Halstead; I was left wishing they had each written essays more accessible to laymen. But despite these flaws I think the book is an important one. Creationists, evolutionists, and anyone else interested in the creation/evolution controversy will want to be familiar with this important book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan L. Widger on February 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Science deals with the world of nature, the discovery and ordering of the world of facts and their relations, with concepts that have been tested by the facts. What the creationists attempt to do is to measure the facts by their conformity to Genesis, and this is absurd." --Ashley Montagu, Introduction, Science and Creationism
The late Ashley Montagu (1905-99) was a British-American anthropologist who earned his Ph.D. in 1937 from Columbia University. He was also a prolific and popular science writer of over 60 books. He is well known for discrditing the notion of race in the editions of his book, Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (1942, 6th ed. 1998). His selections of essays for Science and Creationism range from the philosophical to the legal, historical and scientifically technical. The essayists in this collection include such academic luminaries as Isaac Asimov, Stephen Jay Gould, and others. The essays highlight the opposite methodology of scientists and creationists.
Scientists collect and investigate data and then attempt to formulate explanatory theories. Those theories are always subject to revision or even replacement in the face of new data. They often publish their research in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and their data, hypotheses, and theories are subject to independent verification and replication. Crationists, on the other hand, have an entirely different methodology.
They start first from their desired dogma that the Bible must be inerrant, infallible, and then work backwards to the data.
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