- Hardcover: 251 pages
- Publisher: Pantheon Books; 1st edition (December 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0394523717
- ISBN-13: 978-0394523712
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,150,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The author presents many of the creationist arguments, and spends time refuting them. As I mentioned above, he really gets irate when he considers their criticisms of evolutionary theory. "Abysmally ignorant", "nonsense", and "absurd" are some of the modifiers he uses when discussing them. His main points are that creationists perform no original research of their own, but instead try to discredit evolution by such means as: quoting scientists out of context; using disagreements between scientists as evidence that evolution is in trouble; conveniently disregarding evidence that they cannot explain; and promoting arguments inappropriately such as the second law of thermodynamics.
There are other excellent books to read on this subject. My favorites are The Blind Watchmaker by R. Dawkins, and Abusing Science by Philip Kitcher. This one deservedly belongs on the same bookshelf, unless of course, you are a creationist.
Creationist arguments sometimes include claims of the Earth being very young. The author shows that these are falsified by elementary geology. Matter of fact, some of them are falsified by elementary archaeology.
Another claim is that the second law of thermodynamics prevents order from arising naturally. Futuyama shows that's false. First the Earth is not a closed system: we get useful energy from the Sun, as well as from volcanic vents. In addition, has anyone making this claim ever seen a snowflake? It is easy for order to arise naturally. As a matter of fact, order tends to arise in a gravitational system as well, as anyone looking at our Solar System can observe. And an embryo becoming an adult shows an enormous increase in order.
One common claim is that life could not have originated "by chance." But, as Futuyama explains, this is suspect, given the compatability of the Earth with life, and given the presence of the ingredients. I agree. Sure, one can do a sloppy calculation, and say there is little chance for life to originate. But given that there is life here, the chances of that calculation being wrong are high. It's unreasonable to make an argument of the form, "I'm not smart enough to figure out exactly how life got here, therefore it never did get here."
There are also claims that mutation, recombination and natural selection can't form new features. In response, Futuyama shows how small changes have led to new features. And he also answers the question of how a new function, such as sight can develop so that each step confers a competitive advantage.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Douglas Joel Futuyma (born 1942) is an American biologist who is professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Read morePublished on May 6, 2013 by Steven H Propp
Science on Trial is likely the widest used book in Colleges today on evolution, but If you really are wanting to discover the evidence for or against evolution then I would... Read morePublished on November 15, 2011 by K. Dillingham
This book is the one that finally tilted me from creationism to evolutionism and thus changed my life. Read morePublished on January 9, 2010 by Brother Anansi
I bought this book hoping to read about a large amount of scientific evidence to back up the Theory of Evolution. Read morePublished on March 10, 2008 by Cody E. Johansen
'Science on Trial' is exactly what "intelligent design" is forcing upon the public - but the public doesn't have the educational background to grasp it and creationism is an easy... Read morePublished on December 6, 2005 by Send Gold and Oil Please
This 1995 Edition is similar to the 1983 version. A serious science researcher should not waste good money on this book - it cannot be considered a serious, reliable scientific... Read morePublished on July 10, 2005 by Michael S. Shelton
Though a little outdated since the pseudo-scientists calling themselves "creation scientists" have long since gone to "intelligent design" since they clearly lost the previous... Read morePublished on January 23, 2005 by Obi
Futuyma's Science on Trial is really two books. One is a lucid, accessible, and convincing argument against so-called creation science. Read morePublished on November 10, 2004 by Burl Horniachek
You don't need to look any further than the sample excerpts on page 4 to see the bias and ignorance of the author's ability. Read morePublished on January 15, 2002