- Series: MIT Press
- Paperback: 825 pages
- Publisher: A Bradford Book (December 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262661241
- ISBN-13: 978-0262661249
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,527,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives
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"This book is a terrific one-volume summary of the scientific, philosophical and theological issues." Scientific American
About the Author
Cornelia Vismann is a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studyat the Wissenschaftskolleg of Berlin and an Assistant Professor atthe Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurtam Main. In addition to research in rhetoric and media theory inrelation to law, she has practiced in the area of labor law. Her publicationsinclude "Jurisprudence: A Transfer-Science", in Lawand Critique (1999), Akten: Medientechnik und Recht [Files:Media-Technique and Law] (2000), and, with Friedrich Kittler,Vom Griechenland [On Greece] (2001).
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IDers in this collection include Philip Johnson, Alvin Plantinga ], Howard J. Van Till ], Michael Behe ], William Dembski ], and more; evolutionists include Michael Ruse ], Richard Dawkins ], Stephen Jay Gould, etc.
One essayist notes that "The 'Wedge,' a movement... which seeks to undermine public support for teaching evolution while cultivating support for intelligent design theory, was not born ... from any kind of scientific research, but out of personal difficulties after a divorce which led to Philip Johnson's conversion to born-again Christianity. The wedge movement thus began... as a religious epiphany in the life of Philip Johnson... he says that 'the experience of having marriage and family life crash under me... made me... give myself to Christ at the advanced age of 38. And that aroused a particular level of intellectual interest in ... naturalistic and agnostic thinking.'" (Pg. 6-7)
Philip Kitcher [author of Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism] notes in his essay, "Suppose that the earth really was created about ten thousand years ago... How are we to account for the distributions of isotopes in the earth's crust? How are we to explain the regular, worldwide, ordering of the fossils? The only creationist response to the latter question has been to invoke the Noachian deluge... [but] you face some obvious puzzles: ...pine trees, fir trees, and deciduous trees are mixed in forests around the globe, and yet the deciduous trees are latecomers in the worldwide fossil record. Maybe we should suppose that the oaks and beeches saw the waters rising and outran their evergreen rivals?" (Pg. 259)
Kitcher continues, "Far from being a solution to creationism's problems, the Flood is a real disaster. Consider biogeography. The ark lands on Ararat, say eight thousand years ago, and out pop the animals ... We now have eight thousand years for the marsupials to find their way to Australia, crossing several large bodies of water in the process. Perhaps you can imagine a few energetic kangaroos making it---but the wombats?... to touch on just one more problem, creationists have to account for the survival of thousands of parasites that are specific to our species. During the days on the ark, these would have had to be carried by less than ten people. One can only speculate about the degree of ill-health that Noah and his crew must have suffered." (Pg. 259)
This book will be of exceptional interest to anyone seriously studying the Intelligent Design movement.
I freely admit that I have not read the work that this was intended to be a companion to, namely Pennock's Tower of Babel. So I am not quite sure that I can say that this volume is useful in that arena. Unfortunately though, most reviews of this volume seem to be reviewing the content (namely the ISSUE of ID/Creationism vs Critics) rather than the utility of this volume.
As the title of my review suggests, this volume is NOT for the weak. It is a long, hard read. One truly needs to be dedicated to going through all the essays giving them a fair reading and thoughtful digesting to actually get out of this book what it offers.
Particularly difficult was section VII, ID and Information. I struggled for hours upon hours trying to decode the essays in this section. The arcana of Information Theory left me feeling as if the authors (on BOTH sides) were trying to prove (or disprove) God's existence through statistics, reminding me of the joke about statisticians going hunting:
"One hunter shot at the duck 1 yard too high. One hunter shot at the duck 1 yard too low. The third statistician yelled "We got him!"
This volume is probably good as a study supplement on the topic of ID and Criticism, but I am not too sure it is great for the average lay person trying to get an easy handle on the topic.
There is one bias in this volume that I have not seen addressed in the reviews here (and one could well be misinformed about it by reading the reviews): Fully 2/3 of this book is filled with essays by theists: Evolutionary Theists arguing with ID/Creationism Theists. To be honest, after reading their respective essays, I have to say that the ID/Creationism Theists SEEM more honest and convincing. The pretzel twisting, logic looping, scripture reinterpretation of the Evolutionary Theists is dizzying. I say this as an Evolutionary Atheist. One thing that I did take away from these arguments, is that I am more and more convinced by Richard Dawkin's proposition that Evolution does lead to atheism.
The quality of the writing in this volume is all over the place in all honesty. Some of it is clear, straightforward and understandable. Phillip Johnson (whom I totally disagree with the conclusions he draws, and the 'honesty' of his arguments) writes cogently and understandable. Similarly, Barbara Forest writes a strong and coherent essay. As for the bulk of the essays in this volume, I am not so willing to be so generous.
Ultimately, if You wade through this volume, You WILL be rewarded with a broad overview of the general complexity of the issues of ID/Creationism and It's Critics. It does seem, at times, a very long way to get there though!
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