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But Is It Science? The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy, Updated Edition Paperback – December 30, 2008
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About the Author
Robert T. Pennock (East Lansing, MI) is a professor at Michigan State University, holding joint positions in the Lyman Briggs School of Science, the department of philosophy and computer science and engineering, and the ecology and evolutionary biology and behavior graduate program. He is the author of Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism; the editor of Intelligent Design, Creationism, and Its Critics; and many scholarly articles.
Michael Ruse (Tallahassee, FL) is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University and the author or editor of The Stem Cell Controversy; Cloning: Responsible Science or Technomadness?; Taking Darwin Seriously; Philosophy of Biology; and But Is It Science?, among many other works.
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As a philosophy instructor emeritus,and with a special interest in the philosophy of science,I could easily relate to Part III: Intelligent Design Creationism and the Kitzmiller case. In that section, the articles by Pennock, Judge John Jones II, and Elliot Sober on why intelligent design creationsm is not science, were clear,detailed and fair. The book did allow the creationst point of view (Larry Laudan, Michael Behe, Philip Johnson, et.al.)so others could read and evaluate their positions.
The last chapter in Part III by Pennock touched on the old problem of demarcation between science and non-science(pseudo-science in particular) and on the conditions necessary and /or sufficient to distinguish between the two areas.
The book is pretty much the "bible" on the creation/evolution issue,at least regarding the legality of teaching some form of creationism in the public schools. I would highly recommend the book to anyone, especially creationists of various kinds.
As one of the reviewers who actually read the book, I will say that it is quite worthwhile. The initial article that seemed to have given one exasperated reviewer such trouble was simply Bishop Paley's famous 1805 Blind Watchmaker argument for a creator as first cause. His inclusion of the eye as an example of argument from design is famous, and has stuck with the creationists ever since. Its inclusion in the book was important.
Included articles discuss the history and development of Darwinian theory, the essence of evolutionary and creationist mechanisms (Yes, there is a creationist article in the book, by Gish), and the philosophy of science surrounding both evolution in general, and, towards the book's end, an extensive philosophical analysis of the trial arguments. I found the discussions of the trial to be fascinating.
The sophistication and topics of the essays vary widely, and I would not recommend this book as an initial introduction for the layman. An excellent book to be read first or concurrently with "But Is It Science", would be "Abusing Science", by the noted philosopher of science, Phillip Kitcher. That book covers the basic mechanics and philosophy of evolutionist/creationist theory in any easy to understand, but reasonably thorough way.
For me, I'm not interested in reading a chapter of Darwin again, Paley's watchmaker argument, Genesis, or a paper written over 100 years ago. I'm more interested in recent attempts/arguments to establish what is/isn't science, gray areas, and the like. My thinking was this book would involve that but instead it's just a collection of papers. It seems to be thrown together sort of haphazardly where the editors (before or after a paper) don't discuss how one paper leads to the next.
If you've read about evolution, the creation science debate, and the like the first half up to three fourths of this book won't interest you. If you're completely new where you know nothing about the debate, court cases, and the like, I'd suggest getting it. I just personally find reading papers from a hundred years ago normally pointless compared with how much progress has been made and time being better spent reading up to date information.
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