From Publishers Weekly
Shermer (The Science of Good and Evil
), founding editor of the Skeptic
and Scientific American
columnist, thoughtfully explains why intelligent design is both bad science and poor religion, how a wealth of scientific data from varied fields support evolution, and why religion and science need not be in conflict. Science and religion are two distinct realms, he argues: the natural and supernatural, respectively, and he cites Pope John Paul II in support of their possible coexistence. Shermer takes the "ten most cogent" arguments for intelligent design and refutes each in turn. While on the mark, the arguments' brevity may hamper their usefulness to all but those well versed in the debate. Looking for converts, Shermer offers a short chapter entitled "Why Christians and Conservatives Should Accept Evolution" (i.e., it "provides a scientific foundation" for their core values). His overall message is best summarized when he writes, "Darwin matters because evolution matters. Evolution matters because science matters. Science matters because it is the preeminent story of our age, an epic saga about who we are, where we came from and where we are going." Although there's not much new here, Shermer's wit and passion will appeal to many but won't convince believers. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The publisher of Skeptic
magazine was once an enthusiastic Evangelical Christian, but his ardent pursuit of a scientific education induced reconsideration. Now he staunchly advocates discriminating religion from science and in this book concisely defends evolutionary theory from the almost exclusively -Evangelical--Christian-backed concept of intelligent design (ID), aka creationism, aka creation science--the name changes whenever a suit over having public schools teach the idea as science gets shot down by a high U.S. court (the ID movement always appeals mere state-court decisions). Shermer debates ID often, and he expertly marshals point-by-point explanations of why evolution is worthwhile science, why ID isn't science at all, why ID criticisms of evolution are irrelevant, why science cannot invalidate religion, and why Christians and conservatives ought to accept evolution. His orderly presentation makes the book something of a reference manual on evolution, and only the historically minded will smile at his citation of congruence between evolution and Adam Smith as reason for conservatives to embrace evolution, for Smith's capitalism is a branch of classical liberalism. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved