Customer Review

55 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accomplishes Its Intent, February 7, 2009
This review is from: Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism (Paperback)
I am a PhD scientist, and I also teach honors high-school math and science courses to highly gifted young people. I am convinced that Explore Evolution (EE) will stimulate more interest and encourage more young people to pursue careers in the biological sciences than any other textbook I've seen.

Most high-school biology texts present biology topics (alas, also science) as a list of static theories and stale facts, rather than in the context of an exploration and learning process which is underway, fascinating, changing by the minute, and accessible to most anyone willing to invest themselves. Especially today, as the field of biology is expanding in so many new and exciting ways.

I am also convinced that this book will SWEEP the home-schooling community, as the prose is lucid and non-intimidating to any 'home-school parent.'

For those of you who want to understand why the ID community is critical of Neo-Darwinism, EE is an easy introduction. It is a bit shallow on its presentation of ID itself, as ID was not the focus. For a more thorough yet still accessible intro to ID, Behe's book is an essential read. Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution Behe's sequel is brilliant and thorough, but a bit more challenging read.The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism

I appreciate the inquiry approach employed in EE for use at the high-school level, and have employed it many of my classes in the past. For example, I've had the students read Behe's book and Gould's 'Full House' books back-to-back (Gould's book is also brilliant, yet accessible Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin). Our class then took a field trip to meet with the late Dr. Gould, who was gracious and engaging.

Scientists are REAL people, they have real and interesting questions to explore, and they argue and debate about them all the time. That's half the fun! Giving our students a taste of that fun is an excellent way to interest them in science. And interested students learn more.

If you're expecting to see all the technical arguments in detail, you'll be disappointed. Remember, the audience is a high-school classroom. It is the gist of the argument/discussion that hooks them. But if you want the technical details, the book is well-referenced...and the references are refreshingly current.

The pitiful state of high-school science classes is well-lamented, and the legal and political debate over classroom curriculae will not end soon. The authors have tactfully removed the obstacles a typical school board would encounter. Thus, I expect to see EE popping up in school districts all over the country.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 120 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 6, 2009 8:56:10 PM PST
D. G. Frank says:
I've now had the chance to speak with several school administrators (including some home-school), and I am confident that this book is going to find a place in many, many school curriculae. In fact, I'm using it next year in at least two of my classes.

Posted on Sep 22, 2009 8:51:21 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 14, 2010 1:29:55 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 9, 2009 7:05:29 AM PDT
D. G. Frank says:
Yesterday, one of my HS students stayed after class to chat with me (a class in which I am using this book). I don't know his religious disposition, but I suspect he believes some variety of creation. He said, excitedly, "Dr. Frank, this week I had an argument with an evolutionist." "How did it go?" I asked. "We were talking about fossil succession, and I knew more about it than he did."

Cha-ching! This student has learned more EVOLUTION than his public high-school counterpart, and well-enough that he is confident enough to argue about it.

I am using four books in this class, with authors from a variety of viewpoints. One by Garber (Darwin), one by Gould (Punk Eek), one by Behe (common descent, ID), and this one by Meyer (inquiry, ID). Thus, I am using the inquiry-based method superimposed on other inquiry-based methods! (Forgive me; "Exponential Inquiry.") At the end of this class, I suspect my students will have learned MORE evolution and MORE biology, and be far MORE interested in biology than they would have been had I merely used a single biology textbook. Inquiry works!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2009 5:05:27 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 14, 2010 1:27:58 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2009 6:50:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 23, 2009 8:33:05 AM PDT
D. G. Frank says:
Anyone who reads your posts can clearly see that you are refusing to be rational and logical, and to discuss the questions at hand. Instead, you holler, "Hilarious nonsense" over and over again. Fine; you are entitled to your religion. But our discussion would be more fruitful if you would read the subject book before you began shouting from the pews.

How can you comment on a book without even reading it? By accepting someone else's straw-man caricature of it. I've read the book, and I am currently teaching the book; therefore I have an informed opinion. Your opinion is based upon ideology and second hand information.

I gave a recent example of how one of my students is excited about his understanding of Fossil Succession (I said nothing of ID or religion), one of the pillars of evolutionary thought, and how he had to explain it to one of his peers from public school, whose biology classes had given him far less understanding of the subject. Hmmm. An anecdotal case in point.

By the way, this week we discussed mutations, ERV's, and other evidences for common descent. After all, some smart people think this is the correct way to organize the history of life (e.g. Behe, Gould, Collins), some smart people don't. So the students should learn both sides.

I suppose you wouldn't be allowed to teach these ideas. After all, Behe and Collins accept them, and they are both religious, so their ideas couldn't be correct.

Dude, read the book first, then let's have a discussion. Your rants are not helpful.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2009 2:30:47 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 14, 2010 1:26:59 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2009 3:44:51 PM PDT
D. G. Frank says:
Once again, you demonstrate your religious commitment to some particular paradigm. Dude, you have issues. I have no such commitment, and am objectively evaluating the questions at hand, although you continue to insist that I have some agenda. Einstein said, "Any scientist who believes his own theory ceases to be a scientist."

OK, I admit it. I have an agenda. I would like to convince you to actually read and consider objectively what this book has to say, and to then discuss it in an informed way. Please note that I did not say that I hoped you would be 'convinced' one way or another.

SSS: "you have not bothered to read the books that explain why the creationist nonsense really is nonsense!!!"
--Dude! ...you have a crystal ball? I thought you didn't believe in the supernatural. Neither have you seen my library sir, which clearly is more complete than yours, since I enjoy reading the BEST of what BOTH sides offer in a discussion. Apparently, your intellect cannot sustain the cognitive dissonance long enough to consider the questions objectively...your mind shorts to ground, and "Hilarious Nonsense" pours from your fingertips.

Also, sir, you are clearly in need of a bit of SCIENCE education. In science, one considers ALL the evidence....ESPECIALLY the negative evidence. Otherwise, one is cherry-picking, and scientific progress stalls. Even Darwin listed several lines of evidence and experiments that would invalidate his hypothesis (must be hilarious nonsense...shucks, that Darwin). This is what real scientists do. The literature is chock full of negative evidence for all theories of origins. Negative evidence is not disproof. The challenge is to infer the best explanations which account for the best evidence, and to continue to attempt to reconcile apparent discrepancies.

Denying the existence of negative evidence does not resolve scientific questions.

(re-reading your post...trying to find something constructive to say about it...it is tough...let me try again...)

OK, here is something. Have you read Behe yet? The guy is a skilled biochemist, and his book features intuitive explanations of several biological systems; some of the best I've ever come across. The students really engage his prose, and understand these systems far better than if they had read the corresponding sections in a typical textbook. Even students that disagree with Behe's argument like the book. Hmmm. I must be teaching my students objectivity...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2009 11:56:53 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 14, 2010 1:26:59 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2009 6:39:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 27, 2009 6:08:11 AM PDT
D. G. Frank says:
I did not intentionally ignore the above mentioned post...I somehow missed it. Today I remedied this. And by the way, his post was rational and thoughtful.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2009 4:05:59 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 14, 2010 1:26:56 PM PDT]
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