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Don't Judge This Book By Its Cover
on July 26, 2007
Alas, Darwin's great-grandson has not been well served by his publisher. Athough Chapman's description of the dramatis personae of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial is both engaging and illuminating, the book's presentation suffers from a lack of attention by its publisher and/or editor.
The cover itself seems to advertize a work of pulp fiction, not an entertaining account of a trial with historic implications. It's reference to " . . . Oxycontin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania" is not only false, but unnecessary; the actual content of the book would be its best advertisement.
Another reviewer has commented on the hilariously unflattering photo of the author, which implies that the publisher does not take this book seriously. And a firmer editorial hand might have spared us such phrases as the Center for Thought and Ethics having provided certain documents "thoughtfully and ethically," and a book with a panda on the cover being referred to as "unbearable."
Apart from the general cutesiness of the author's attempts at puns, the account of the trial and its aftermath make for entertaining and informative reading.
But the final chapter, in which Chapman argues that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools so that its falsity can be demonstrated is tedious. Worse, Chapman apparently fails to appreciate the irony: he is, in essence, arguing FOR the first step of the "wedge strategy" advocated by the Discovery Institute, that is, to "Teach the Controversy," thus elevating "Intelligent Design" to a level apparently competitive with evolution. Given Chapman's obvious viewpoint expressed in the book, his failure to appreciate the implications of his final disquisition is disappointing. Not to mention that demonstrating the falsity of Intelligent Design in athe classroom might well run afoul of the Establishment clause of the Constitution.
40 Days and 40 Nights has the appearance of having been rushed into print with little attention to serious editing. The publisher should be embarrassed.