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The Evolution Controversy: A Survey of Competing Theories

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801031748
ISBN-10: 0801031745
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In the debate surrounding evolution, it is often difficult to cut through the competing agendas to gain an unbiased understanding of the scientific issues involved. Most books on the topic are one dimensional, attempting to sway readers to join a particular camp. Thomas Fowler and Daniel Kuebler, however, take a different approach to the subject in The Evolution Controversy.

Instead of advocating a particular position, the authors present various sides in the evolution debate, leaving aside the profound philosophical and religious issues involved in the controversy in favor of a balanced and critical examination. Not only do they trace evolution's development from the ancient Greeks to the present but they also summarize and critique four leading schools of thought: Neo-Darwinism, Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Meta-Darwinism. Numerous diagrams, tables, and comparison charts are included to help readers understand, learn, and master the content. In addition, a technical glossary covers terms from abiogenesis to vestigial structures, and a helpful bibliography includes books, articles, Web sites, and organizations for further research.

About the Author

Thomas B. Fowler (Sc.D., George Washington University) is senior principal engineer at the Center for Information Technology and Telecommunications at Noblis, formerly known as Mitretek Systems, a not for profit consulting firm working in the public interest in Falls Church, Virginia. He is also an adjunct instructor at George Mason University and Christendom College. Daniel Kuebler (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is assistant professor of biology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio. He has written a number of articles for scientific journals as well as for the National Catholic Register.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801031745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801031748
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This book is a technical, well-organized, and critical overview of the controversy's history, issues, rhetoric, evidence, arguments, and counterarguments on all major sides, without taking sides. It is quite informative and fair, in my opinion, and sorely needed.

Reading through reviews, it looks like some people criticize this book because of its inclusion of ideas by people they disagree with, or its failure to stake a position that agrees with their own (or to even stake a position at all). I think some have misunderstood the authors' intent in writing this book. Some perhaps did not actually read the book's content all the way through. Before you buy this book and then complain that it wasn't what you would prefer in a book on evolution, read the following. (And before you review the book, please read it first.
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I think it fair to state my position: I'm trained in physical science, and until five years ago I accepted Darwin's theory blindly, and admired Dawking's books as the summum. Now I have my doubts: I find some of the objections levelled against Darwinism reasonable, although I recognize there's not as yet any competing theory: only, as I said, some objections, which might or might not prove true. On balance, I tend to be a theist with agnostic overtones, and I KNOW science has nothing to say about the general problem of existence.

I was uncertain how to rate this book. It's a very good intro to the subject; however, if you know something about the evolution controversy, large parts of it will sound very repetitive. So for beginners (only?):

Strong points:
1) It's written in a wonderfully civil style, which is a nice thing indeed, given that in most books on the subject and reviews of them one finds mostly an exchange of rancorous epithets, and no consideration at all for the genuine arguments the other side is trying to make (especially, I regret to say, from the naturalist camp): it has become an ideological and power contest, somewhat like string theory in physics.
2) It is written for the complete layman: it explains for example the conditions an hypothesis should fulfill to qualify as a scientific theory.
3) It has a systematic, if somewhat superficial, procedure for rating the competing theories.
4) It gives a (to my knowledge) unbiased presentation of Darwinism (oops!
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Format: Paperback
The work gives creationists (those currently most prominent) involved in the "evolution controversy" a fairly neutral hearing, which one doesn't often find outside the Christian/creationist press. But creationism has many very different streams, and authors are inconsistent in lumping them and separating them. And they go overboard in places when working to deflect criticism away from creationists. For example, they accuse a prominent evolution supporter of "propaganda" and trying to "smear" creationists with the label of flat earthers and geocentrists. Consulting the text they cited for the claim shows this is to be a patently false and grossly unfair accusation. The author made it quite plain creationists with those views were on the extreme fringe, very few in number remaining any more (though they aren't extinct yet!), a different breed from the young earth creationists and inconsequential in the modern evolution debate. Authors also overstate the influence of today's more scientifically rigorous creationists as well, and minimize the influence their slip-shod brethren in the movement still hold. Tsk tsk. The information put forth by the most prominent and influential spokespersons in today's creationist circles has changed little in the last twenty or thirty years.
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Format: Paperback
This book starts with the massive credibility problem faced by Darwinian theory. Despite the prolonged ascendancy of Darwinian evolution in high school and college biology classes, the controversy over Darwin's theory gets hotter with every passing year. A majority of the scientific community accepts it, but a majority of American citizens does not.

The Evolution Controversy addresses this dilemma primarily from the scientific point of view. It provides an impartial examination of the several schools of scientific thought regarding human origins. It covers the presuppositions of each school, the explanatory scope of their respective theories, the data marshalled both for and against, the legitimate inferences to be drawn, the predictive success of each theoretical model, and the degree to which each theory is falsifiable, which is an important criterion for valid scientific work.

Daniel Kuebler is a professor of biology at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Thomas B. Fowler is a physicist, a senior information technology engineer, and a philosopher. Their combined authorship gives them a strong claim to be able to treat the complex topic they have chosen.

The first part of the book provides a history of evolutionary thought, a brief review of the available evidence, and an explanation of the principal points in dispute. The second part dispassionately examines the evidence and inferences, strengths and weaknesses of the four major scientific schools of thought in contemporary debates over evolution. These schools are Neo-Darwinism, Meta-Darwinism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design.

The two Darwinisms tend to be identified with mechanistic or even atheistic scientists, though this is not necessarily the case.
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