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Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction

4.2 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 860-1300196244
ISBN-10: 0313321221
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Editorial Reviews


"[N]otable for its coverage of the history of the creationist movement and its presentation of the past and current legal issues surrounding the controversy. With creationists continuing to mount court challenges to the teaching of evolution, the currency of this work is crucial for libraries trying to keep up with developments….Many libraries may not own creationist books or journals, so this new title is an excellent way to provide access to that literature while keeping it in a scientific, scholarly context….Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers." - Choice

"The executive director of the National Center for Science Education, which advocates the teaching of evolution in U.S. schools, has written a valuable manual to the debate. It includes a section on evolution as part of the scientific process, a history of creationism, primary source materials from both sides, and a list of further resources." - Library Journal, Starred Review

"Regardless of ones personal perspective, this book is a valuable contribution to the literature in evolution and creationism. Virtually any reader will find something of interest within its pages. It will surely raise the dander of some and bring delight to others a quality possessed by many a good book." - Science in Christian Perspective

"At last a book that both Henry Morris, of the Institute for Creation Research, and Niles Eldredge, a prominent scientist, can agree upon! Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, is an articulate and engaging author. She has written a book suitable for a wide audience: high school and college students, teachers, and nonspecialized general readers. The book is comprehensive, treating scientific evidences for evolution, religious views, and a history of the so-called evolution- creation controversy. It is a best buy for school and college libraries." - Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

"Scott, a physical anthropologist, runs the National Center for Science Education, which defends the teaching of evolution in high schools. (She advised the parents fighting the Dover school board.) Scott be said to be the one doing God's work as she patiently rebuts people who make most other scientists spit gaskets like short-circuiting robots. Her book is both a straightforward history of the debate and an anthology of essays written by partisans on each side. Its main virtue is to explain the scientific method, which many invoke but few describe vividly. Scott also manages to lay out the astronomical, chemical, geological and biological bases of evolutionary theory in unusually plain English." - The New York Times Book Review

"The executive director of NCSE provides a comprehensive and balanced introduction to the many facets of the current debate--the scientific evidence for evolution, the legal and educational basis for its teaching, and the various religious perspectives--as well as a concise history of the evolution/creationism controversy. Recommended." - School Library Journal

"[S]peaks directly to the reader in an energetic, engaging manner and explains material ranging from biological and earth sciences to the philosophy of science….[a]n insightful must-have for students and teachers from high school and beyond and a should-read for interested laypersons." - Science Books & Films

"The author, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, has done an outstanding job presenting background to the tension between evolution and creationism. In addition to carefully explaining science and evolution to her reader, she has also accomplished a long-needed task of describing the full range of creationists such that the reader can see and understand the history, politics, and range of views in this complex cluster of beliefs….Highly recommended for any library whose readers range from the general public to teachers or experts in field of evolution. Understanding the sides in an ever-lasting political battle is crucial, and this book helps that understanding." - E-Streams

"[A]n excellent resource for any science teacher….Teachers who engage in this scholarly book will come away with a deep and valuable understanding of the scientific and social implications of the creationist movement….[a]n excellent tool for teachers who are questioned by students and parents about the evolution-creationism convtroversy….Teachers will have a hard time finding a more comprehensive overview of the evolution-creationism controversy." - NSTA recommends

"With the evolution vs. creationsism debate as an issue today, this thorough overview of the contributors and theories wil be a welcome addition to the high school collection….Science and social studies classes will find a wealth of background information for research projects. This informative work provides the reader with a clear, insightful summary of the complicated issues and viewpoints surrounding the evolution/creationism debate. Recommended." - Library Media Connection

"In view of the ongoing controversy over how life began and how this question should be approached within the classroom curriculum, this timely volume provides a clearly organized and comprehensive overview of both evolution and creationism. Although there is no shortage of recent books dealing with various aspects of the controversy, this volume is unique becuase it offeers a thorough exploration of all perspectives related to each theory, examining both from a historical, legal, educational, political, scientific, and religious point of view….An excellent resource for research reports of for debate preparation this title would be a useful tool for teachers as well." - VOYA

"[L]ooks at the controversy from historical, legal, education, political, scientific, and religious perspectives, something no other single book does." - Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal Skeptical

"Evolution vs. Creationism [i]s an ideal introduction to the concepts of evolution and creationism. Methodical, adhering to the highest standards of academic research, and superbly organized in its presentation….Strongly recommended for both school and community library collections, Evolution vs. Creationism is significantly enhanced with ten pages of References for Further Study; as well as a Name Index and a Subject Index." - Internet Bookwatch


Perhaps someday schools in the US will catch up to those in other developed countries and treat evolution as a normal scientific subject. Before that happens, though, people need to understand evolution, and also understand the creationism and evolution controversy. ^IEvolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction^R is a step towards this goal, and readers will indeed learn a great deal about the scientific, religious, educational, political and legal aspects of this controversy. (Niles Eldredge^LThe American Museum of Natural History^LFrom the ^IForeword^R)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwood (June 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313321221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313321221
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 6.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,898,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. D. Weitzenhoffer on March 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon -- it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.

The pro-creationist reviewers of this book clearly demonstrate this to be true.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Eugenie Scott explains the nature of science: Science is guided by natural law, is explanatory by reference to law, is testable against the empirical world, is always tentative and subject to revision and is falsifiable. Creationism is an act of faith without testing and fails the nature of science.
What many do not understand is that there is 1) no general all-purpose scientific method, 2) science is not only about experiments, 3) science is not invulnerable to fraud, 4) science can never provide final or absolute truth and 5) there are questions that science cannot answer. Science never proposes an irrefutable hypothesis such as "God did it!" Science accepts what cannot otherwise be disproven - and keeps testing, always looking for the defects and failures.
Following Garrett Hardin's method of taking the opposite view, Ms. Scott makes a concerted effort on behalf of "Intelligent Design" and creationism proponents. The ID folks refuse to allow Ms. Scott to quote from their published materials, contrary to the norms of open and democractic discussion.
The nature of science is that science is an act of nonfaith and is always subject to further testing. Science can never rely on the supernatural. There is no conflict between science and creationism. There is only a conflict in the minds of those who only rely upon the supernatural and faith.
Ms. Scott presents a credible, easy to read and understand discussion. This book belongs in the hands of every K-12 and university educator, minister, school board and the general public.
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Format: Paperback
As someone who was reared in Creationism, but is currently thoroughly confused about the whole topic, this was a very helpful book. It is a great introduction to all the issues surrounding the evolution/creation debate: science, history, politics.

For me, it was helpful in pointing out many misnomers about evolution. For example, evolution does not teach that man came from apes, but that they came from a common ancestor. Also, the way scientists define "fact" and "theory" are very different from what we commonly think. Theories are the highest form scientific findings and facts are the lowest, opposite of what most think.

I took 1 star away b/c I felt the title is a bit misleading. I thought the book would present both sides but not take sides. The book does take sides: it is pro-evolution. I do think the author does her best to understand and explain the positions of Creationists. No, maybe she can't be totally unbiased since she is an evolutionist, but who can be totally unbiased? Would a Creationist be unbiased?
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Format: Hardcover
Scott's book is probably the best on the creation/evolution dispute available at the moment which is accessible to students. It carefully addresses an audience which does not have a great deal of background knowledge of the subject.  People who are already deeply involved in the creation/evolution wars might find some of its material, particularly its characterizations of the nature of science, overly simplistic.  But that should be no concern.  Cutting some corners is unavoidable in any basic text.  The book is ideal for its market.  Many, such as myself, who have been teaching on the subject have lamented the lack of a good introduction for beginning students.  This is exactly what we need, and it fills an important gap in the available material.
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Format: Hardcover
. . . one can only hope someone is listening. Actually, it's a bit depressing to reflect on the number of trees felled in convincing certain Christians that their notion of life is false. We can forgive Scott her use of more paper. She has produced the most effective and comprehensive work on why evolution is our guide to the natural world to date. Her organisation is excellent and presented in a clear, effective prose style. With her objectives so well outlined and stated, Scott offers a useful synopsis of the struggle educators face in dealing with the creationist crisis.

Scott breaks her presentation into a triad of subjects: science and how it works, the multi-pronged counter-attack of Christians on Darwin and other scientists, and what creationist writers say about evolution by natural selection. The opening section is a vivid presentation of scientific methods and the avoidance of dogma. Science, Scott declares, is "truth without certainty". Science is more than a "collection of facts", but it is the analysis of facts to explain the universe we inhabit. Scott shows how science's lack of absolutes results in a cleft Christians use as an entry point in their attempts to refute science from astronomy to zoology. Their main thrust, however, remains our biological heritage.

In the second part of her book, Scott traces the history of thinking about the universe and life on Earth. She makes clear that "stasis" wasn't the theme adhered to by early thinkers. Variety was in evidence, but poorly understood. The Aristotelian "ideal" became the standard by which life and its processes were considered. Change was obvious and during the Enlightenment the means of bringing it about over time was sought.
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